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Darker Than Dark-Fiction by Mark Joseph Kevlock
What a Mess-Fiction by Miles Ryan Fisher
Flippimg the Frozen Finger Farewell-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
A Gift of Death-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Maggot-Fiction by Max Watt
Redemption for a Lowlife-Fiction by Angelo Gentile
A Night Out at Wrath's-Fiction by Jason Butkowski
The Pact-Fiction by Edward Francisco
Joey Brick-Fiction by Henry Simpson
Violators-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Trauma-Fiction by Robert Petyo
Fire-Fiction by Tom Barlow
The Bank Robbin' Deacon-Flash Fiction by Walter Giersbach
The Matrix of Love-Flash Fiction by J. Brooke
Huddled and Crying-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
The Mere Four-Flash Fiction by Henry G. Stanton
The Big Hunt-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Family Tree-Poem by Neil Ellman
A Line from Lynynrd Skynyrd-Poem by Mark Young
The End of the End-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Bones-Poem by Christopher Hivner
The Berserker Train-Poem by Christopher Hivner
Contemplating an Unknown-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Lifeless Space Rock-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Our Armored Oxygen Suits-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Like Broken Glass-Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Walk at Night-Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Terrible Animal-Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
I Am Borges-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
I Am Hesse-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
I Am Camus-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The House of Four Senses-Poem by John Grey
At the Complaint Department-Poem by John Grey
My Mighty Pen-Poem by John Grey
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 Noelle Richardson © 2019

Darker Than Dark


Mark Joseph Kevlock




          You can't hardly hear anything from inside here. I try anyway because there's really nothing else to do. I hear sort of a muffled sound like I had a pillow over my head. It's Momma's voice. I know it is because the muffle sounds so angry. Papa didn't get angry when he was alive. Momma didn't either until he died. I still can't understand how it was my fault. Momma says everything is my fault. My elbow gets a little cramped, but there's no room to stretch it out. The dark doesn't bother me, really. I like dark. But I wish I had a little more room. I guess I'm supposed to die. I wonder how long it will take. Momma will probably change her mind. She usually does. I used to have a watch that had a button you pressed and it would light up and show you the time. I wish I had it now. The TV is playing, loud. Game show songs. You can hear them through anything. Momma puts the game shows on every day. Then she calls the contestants stupid, even though she doesn't know the answers herself. I try to sit down, but there really isn't enough room. My knees bump one way and my butt gets stuck the other. Something smells not too good. I don't think about it, for now. It's a school day. I should be in school. Momma keeps me home from school when she needs someone to watch the baby. She has a lot of doctor's appointments. Like today. Except she didn't go to the doctor's. She went somewhere else. I'm starting to get cold and sweating at the same time. I hate to sweat under my arms. It's so unladylike. Momma says I have to be a lady to get the hell out of this town. She says she won't support me when I turn sixteen. Maybe she'll change her mind about that, too. I shouldn't have followed her, I know. I got curious, I guess. No, not that. I sort of knew what I'd see. I guess it was just time to see it. I went too far and I got punished. I try to remember that. I try to remember that I deserved it. I'm pretty sure my shoe is untied. There's that smell again. I think it's a rotten egg. If I start to panic, I'm going to pee my pants. But I'm getting too scared not to. It's the loudest game show in the world if I can hear it in here. Momma doesn't care how loud she plays the TV. She doesn't care about a lot of things. My nose is crying now and getting my lip all wet. I might have a tissue in my pants pocket. Why did I follow Momma like that? I knew she wasn't going to the doctor's. That man was ugly, like a weasel. I wouldn't let a weasel on top of me. And if I did, I wouldn't want anyone to see. That's really why she got mad. Because I watched for so long. Then I laughed, at the end, when they made those noises. Her and the weasel. Momma smacked me all the way home. I've been in here before. When Papa died in that cave-in. Momma dragged me out of school to tell me that it was my fault that the mine collapsed. I need that tissue pretty bad. I try to reach down, but my pants are all soaked. I did pee myself. This is awful. I need to get out. I don't hear the TV anymore. If Momma left, how can she let me out? I don't wanna die. There's still a shelf above me that she didn't tear out with the others. I can't even stand up straight. I might spill something. What's that noise? Someone's pounding at the kitchen door. I really can't breathe now. I don't blame Momma. She's had a hard life. I make it worse. No one's answering the pounding. Maybe I'll scream. I don't think I can. My whole body feels like ants. Maybe I am screaming. There's a loud crash from over by the door. I think someone broke in. I wish my pee could leak out to show them. But the seals are airtight. Spill-proof. I guess I'll pound, just in case somebody cares. I hear voices, but they're men. I knock my knees and elbows against the front and back. It's getting darker than dark. I don't think my eyes are open. I love you, Momma, even though I'm a burden. They're shouting now, just on the other side. I think Momma used a two-by-four, like she does, to wedge the doors shut. So far, I didn't even try to open it. My pants sure smell bad. Why does Momma like weasels? Am I supposed to like them, too? Everything's shaking like a washing machine. There's no air left. I didn't need it anyway. I'm afraid to die. I'm afraid. Help me. Please help me. God oh God oh God. Something cracks and the door flies open. All the light in the world blinds me and I fall forward out of the refrigerator. The men catch me, I think. They curse a lot like they're sad. I guess they're policemen. Policemen are always sad. Somebody drags Momma down from upstairs. She doesn't look at me as they take her away. I don't expect she would. I'm a pretty big disappointment.


Mark Joseph Kevlock (used to spell it: Kiewlak) has been a published author since 1990. In the past couple of decades, his work has appeared in Black Petals, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Plots with Guns, Thug Lit, The Bitter Oleander, Mysterical-E, and Shotgun Honey. Recently, he has had stories accepted in Havok, Surprising Stories, and Youth imagination. He has also written for DC Comics (FLASH 80-PAGE GIANT #2).

Noelle Richardson comes from a relatively large family and has been illustrating and painting for about twelve years. She writes a little on the side, plays a couple of instruments and dabbles in tattoo design.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2019