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Unreliable-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Dealing with Mr. Blue-Fiction by Michael Lemieux
iFriend-Fiction by Jeff Dosser
Till Human Voices Wake Us-Fiction by John Post
Tape-Fiction by Will Bernardara Jr.
Dead Drunk in Glasgow-Fiction by j brooke
The Spot-Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Wait Until the Ice Melts-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Tattooed Love Boys-Fiction by Greg Smith
The Losers-Fiction by John Short
Anger Serves a Greater Purpose-Fiction by Heather Santo
Odium Pentothal-Fiction by Steven M. Lerner
Finally Adopted-Flash Fiction by Tom Fillion
Boxing Day-Flash Fiction by K.J.Hannah Greenberg
Godmother-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
First Communion-Poem by Tom Fillion
Almost Gone-Poem by Henry Bladon
Foa Da Price of One-Poem by Joe Balaz
a few haunting memories-Poem by J. J. Campbell
Pressure Lines-Poem by Meg Baird
Work it out-Poem by Meg Baird
lily pads open-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
a melodious voice from the reeds-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
a cobblestone trail-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
A Beautiful Madness on Mallory Square-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Beautiful Death on Mallory Square-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Luminous Metamorphosis on Mallory Square-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
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 Hillary Lyon 2019





Cindy Rosmus



“A kid’s party?” I asked Lew. “For a christening? In the back room?”

“Wanna work it, or not?”

At Scratch’s, business was slow in May.

“Pizzas, they’re getting,” Lew said. “Baby’s mother’s Bettilynn. Friend of Snake’s.”

 Snake loved his bike, and Rottie, hated his wife and slut daughter. I bet Bettilynn was a good friend of his.

Yup, I realized, when I saw her at the party.

Arms covered with scary ink you only saw on guys. Even Snake didn’t have the half-eaten face. The purple tube dress looked painted on and clashed with her fruit punch-red hair. “Fireball,” Bettilynn ordered.

“Where’s the kid?” Lew asked.

She sucked down the shot, pointed behind her.

Two chicks, like six feet tall, held babies. The older one looked like time had shit on her face. The young one wore thick glasses. In the old chick’s arms was Bettilyn’s baby, in her white christening dress. Chubby and cute, sucking on a pizza crust. The young chick’s baby wasn’t eating.

‘Cos she was a doll.

“My sister, Lori,” Bettilynn said. “Her daughter, Martha.”

Lew smiled at Bettilynn’s tits. “What’s your baby’s name?”

“Joni.” Martha’s bug eyes looked through us.

“Gisella,” Bettilynn said. “Her baby is Joni.” With Martha just inches behind her, Bettilynn added, “She’s not wrapped too tight.”

“You fuck . . .” Lori said.

“She’s not.” Third shot in hand, Bettilynn swung around. “Big chick with a five-year-old brain.”

“Lay off,” Lori told Bettilynn, who sighed. “She is the godmother.”

Martha cradled her doll. “Joni,” she said, “Wanna slice?”

Trashed grownups and screeching kids. Metal so loud, my brain cried. When they weren’t popping balloons, kids raced, all over. Behind them ran Martha, the Giant Kid, with her giant footsteps. The bar shook, as she ran past it.

Then, they were behind it. One jostled my arm, and the vodka went flying.

“Hey!” Lew said. “Get out from there!” He meant Martha more than the kids.

“Big Retard,” he muttered. Then he was gone.

So were half the grown-ups. “They’re out back,” Martha tattled. “Smoking.”

Weed, I realized. “Where’s your baby?”

Giggling, she gulped from somebody’s glass.

“Whose drink is that?”


“Gimme . . .” But she bounded away.

All the kids were drinking. Parents getting high out back, there were plenty drinks on the bar.

In minutes, Martha was back. “Oh,” I said, “you found your baby.”

When the doll cooed, I gasped. “That’s Gisella! Your aunt’s baby.”

“Mine now,” she said.

I turned to make a drink. When I looked back, they were gone.

“Not bad.” Lew brought up empties. “Some kids’ parties suck. No drinkers. But these fucks . . .”

“Who you calling ‘fucks?’ ” Finally, Snake was there.

Suddenly, there was yelling, and crying, with people rushing all around.

Bettilynn ran up to Snake. “Walter!” She pawed him. “Gisella’s gone!”

The way Snake shot up and ran with her meant one thing.

“Knew it,” Lew said, smugly. “Baby’s a dead ringer.”

“Where’s Martha?” people asked. They’d sobered up, fast. One kid cried, but his mom was busy texting.

“9-1-1,” Lew said. “Great.”

“The baby’s missing!”

And the Retard Godmother,” he said.

By the time the cops came, Snake was crying with Bettilynn and Lori.

“Where the fuck,” Bettilynn sobbed, “are they?”

“If you were a retard godmother . . .” Lew whispered.

Godmother, I thought. God . . . mother. God . . .

“The christening . . .” I said.

Like he’d read my mind, Lew yelled, “Hey! Which church?”

St. Stephen’s.

In the back row was a pleased Martha. “We played baptism,” she said. In the font, she’d held her live doll underwater till she stopped breathing.

But the EMTs worked on Gisella till her pulse came back. 

It made the news. “I will never,” Bettilynn sobbed, “miss Mass again! Or drink. Or curse.” On camera, she was, still in that tight purple dress. With Snake holding her close.

We watched it on TV. “Wifey knows, now,” Lew said. I nodded.

But Martha . . . I felt bad for. With her bug eyes, and big, sad feet. A full-grown chick who’d always be a kid. . .

And the “Godmother from Hell.”




Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, Dark Dossier, and Twisted Sister. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights activist.

Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/                                             

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019