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The Storm-Fiction by Sean O'Keefe
Claire Morgan's Key to Happiness-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Badass Ted's Christmas Adventure-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
As Good on Him as on a Dead Man-Fiction by Jeff Esterholm
Using Your Kit-Fiction by Andrew J. Hogan
The Apathetic Tide-Fiction by Alan Edward Small
Christmas Karma-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Salt Lake City Slaughterhouse-Fiction by J. Brooke
Mean Mama-Fiction by Tom Barker
All You Can Drink $5.00-Fiction by D. L. Shirey
Shell Shocked-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
The Present-Mark Joseph Kevlock
Red Christmas-Flash Fiction by Morgan Boyd
Samurai Santa-Flash Fiction by BAM
Guns and Rose-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Christmas Eve Blow and Doll Houses-Flash Fiction by Luke Walters
Holly, Jolly-Flash Fiction by Mandi Rose
Pineapple-Poem by Cindy Rosmus
Life is Weird-Poem by Meg Baird
Appendages-Poem by Samuel Cardinale
The Means of Production-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Suicide of Living-Poem by John D. Robinson
It's On My List-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Hoarding Life-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Homeless in NYC-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Death Speaks-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Time Stops-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
House of Un-Reality-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Ghosts of Borges-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Bitchers-Poem by David Spicer
Voltaire and the Literary Guerillas-Poem by David Spicer
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Darren Blanch 2018

Samurai Santa


by BAM



“A long time ago.”

 “Like the 1980s?”

 What? The ’80s weren’t a long time ago.”


“Geez. A long time ago this local in Nagano dressed as Santa Claus. His katana sliced through a head.”

Oh, no. I’m scared.”

“Of a pumpkin.”

“Hmm. Uh-huh. And then?”

“He cut through intestines.”


“Meaning naughty children’s present boxes.”

“Tsk. I see.”

“They called him, ‘Samurai Santa.’ ”

“Papa, Japan hasn’t been doing Christmas long. I don’t believe a word. Tell me a different story.”

“You want Samurai Santa to destroy your presents?”

“No. Please tell me his story.”

“His name wasn’t always Samurai Santa.”

“You don’t say?”

“Smart aleck.”

“Whatever. Go on.”

“His name was Purettsu Kurisu. His day job: fireman. Kurisu san was trapped in a blaze caused by bad children. He died a violent death when an inflamed bookshelf crashed on his skull.”

“Would Mommy be okay with you telling me this story, Dad?”

“Semantics. Ever since, his spirit would appear. All of the bad children in Nagano found destroyed presents on Christmas Day. His blade was so thin you wouldn’t see the steel until your new bike was diced into pieces.”

Daddy. Did you say I got a new bike?”

“Shh. No. Lie down and close your eyes while I finish the story. Legend tells he waits until Santa Claus makes his rounds, then Samurai Claus . . .”

“I thought you said his name was Samurai Santa.”

 “Eh-hem, Samurai Santa does his business before everyone wakes up. He’s a fast ghost. No one sees him. Bad children face his wrath when he mutilates body upon body of presents. One time, a child found the remains of his box below the Christmas tree. He didn’t do his chores.”

“What’d he find?”

“Red liquid and a massacred gift.”

 “I’m screaming for Mommy in five, four—”

No. No, wait. They were tomatoes from his grandmother.”

“Phew. What about good kids?”

“The ones who do their homework, go to bed after their first bedtime story, and study hard to make perfect grades?”

“Yep. What do we get?”

“He blesses good children with one more year of luck.”


“Did I hear an echo?”

“You mean not a thing?”

“When I was a child, a blessed year of luck was a huge deal.”

“This isn’t the ’80s anymore, Dad.”

“Thanks for the reminder. Go to bed.”

“Okay, I love you—Samurai Santa.”


“C’mon, Dad. You’ve got that long katana sword in your study and you love anime. The character is you. This was a trick to get me to be good for another year.”

“A coincidence. We’re both avid sword enthusiasts. Besides, he’s a go-go-ghost. Now go-go-go to bed, or Samurai Santa will slice away your gifts.”

“Merry Christmas, Dad.”

“A ho, ho, ho, and a stab, stab, stab to you, Kiddo.”




Bertram Allan Mullin aka BAM's noir story, “Crimson,” can also be found in Yellow Mama. His works are with various journals, magazines, and anthologies such as HellBound Books’ Shopping List and MacKenzie Publications Two Eyes Open Anthology. Website: bamwrites.com

Darren Blanch, Aussie creator of visions which tell you a tale long after first glimpses have teased your peepers. With early influence from America's Norman Rockwell to show life as life, Blanch has branched out mere art form to impact multi-dimensions of color and connotation. People as people, emotions speaking their greater glory. Visual illusions expanding the ways and means of any story.

Digital arts mastery provides what Darren wishes a reader or viewer to take away in how their own minds are moved. His evocative stylistics are an ongoing process which sync intrinsically to the expression of the nearby written or implied word he has been called upon to render.

View the vivid energy of IVSMA (Darren Blanch) works at: www.facebook.com/ivsma3Dart, YELLOW MAMA, Sympatico Studio - www.facebook.com/SympaticoStudio, DeviantArt - www.deviantart.com/ivsma and launching in 2019, as Art Director for suspense author / intrigue promoter Kate Pilarcik's line of books and publishing promotion - SeaHaven Intrigue Publishing-Promotion.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018