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Dick and Jane, Together Again-Fiction by Marcy Dilworth
Lay Down Sally-Fiction by Jack Coey
Cleaning Up After the Narc-Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Faith-Fiction by Don Stoll
Cigarettes-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
Blood Will Bloom Like a Watercolor Flower-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Toast, Jell-o, Tea-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The PLacebo Effect-Fiction by Paul Smith
Aftermath-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Just Like Fish-Fiction by Paul Lubaczewski
Waterworks-Fiction by Sue Cmileski
Saith Me-Fiction by Robert Ragan
The Return of the Ladykiller-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Fire Man-Fiction by Terry Butler
Lost in Greenwich Village-Fiction by Dr. Mel Waldman
Never, Ever Bring This Up Again-Flash Fiction by Ralph Benton
Hip-Hop Baby-Flash Fiction byJ. Brooke
Idylls of the Queen-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
Looking Cold-Flash Fiction by Stanton McCaffrey
Camera_Flash Fiction by Leyla Guirand
Ashes and Dust-Flash Fiction by Janet Hartwell
Family Man-Poem by Ann Marie Rhiel
Heads-Poem by John Grey
The Architect-Poem by Marc Carver
economy class-Poem by Meg Baird
She Knows-Poem by Bradford Middleton
Rain-Poem by Maddisyn Condora
Counter-Intuitive-Poem by Henry Bladon
An Eerie Journey Down the Invisible Staircase-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Sonnet for Elvira-Poem by Juan Perez
Unforeseen Endings-Poem by Michael Keshigian
When Her Kisses-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
In Your White Cadillac-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
Love in the Time of Wolves-Poem by Jennifer Lemming
I Do-Poem by Jennifer Lemming
a bite better-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
hot afternoon-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
registry-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Dirty Pink Lipstick-Poem by Ian Mullins
Wrestlin' Gal-Poem by Ian Mullins
Between Takes-Poem by Ian Mullins
Banjo Bob and Cassy-Poem by David Spicer
Neurotic-Poem by David Spicer
I Imagine It's Goodbye-Poem by David Spicer
A Date with Destiny-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Under Moonlight-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
2020 (The Heart and the Thorn)-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
She Loves You-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Cartoons by Cartwright
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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 2020

Saith Me


Robert Ragan


A man, in dark shades, leads a blonde by the hand; they sit down at a table in The Hideout, a local bar in the city. He reaches out and takes her hand again, this time she pulls away and looks over her shoulder. 

Another man waits outside in the parking lot in a black Impala with tinted windows. He watches Natalie walk in the bar with her side project, who is becoming more and more popular these days. 

It's one thing her wearing the necklace and earrings Lawrence bought her, but the black dress? He should have taken it back and burned it and made one of his whores wear it. Ever since Natalie changed that's all they are to him. 

She tells Steve, “The last time Lawrence and I were together, he told me that he knew there was someone else. He claimed that he would kill whoever it was and maybe even me. I’ve watched him load up a handgun and leave the house without saying a word.” 

“Lawrence also told me about how he had stabbed this flashy thief, said the guy stole from the wrong people, so they called him. So, I know what he's capable of,” Natalie says.

Slamming the rest of his beer, Steve says, “Everything will be okay. I've got a couple of buddies on the force. They will love to hear these stories.” 

The door opens and Natalie shudders, she feels relief when it's just a couple walking in. Laying her hand over Steve's, she leans forward, her blue eyes are wide with desperation. “No, fuck that!” she says, “Now you're really trying to get us killed.”

Steve takes a cigarette out of his pack and says, “I'm going out to smoke, I'll be back in a few.” 

Natalie watches the other couple, admiring the woman's red curls as well as her man's thick, full beard. She recalls having gone to bars with Lawrence and how he would always start a fight over her. She’s glad to have someone like Steve now.

Still sitting in the Impala, the man loads bullets into a Colt .45. He watches Steve smoke a cigarette as he scrolls through his phone. The door opens and Natalie walks out.

Natalie tells Steve, “Let’s get out of here.” 

As they make their way through the parking lot, the man gets out of his car. Natalie makes eye contact with Lawrence, who's smiling like a madman. She wants to run but can't even yell out the word to Steve. 

Holding the gun on both of them, Lawrence says, “Remember what I told you, bitch?” 

Holding his palms up, Steve says, “Come on now, you don’t really wanna do this.” 

Natalie says, “Come on, we can talk it over.” 

Lawrence says, “There’s nothing else to talk about,” and pulls the trigger firing multiple shots at them.

By now there's commotion everywhere. Lawrence notices Steve is still alive. Crawling over the blood he's just coughed up, Steve realizes Lawrence is close, and begins to beg. Turning over he says, “I just wanted to sleep with Natalie! Haven't you ever fucked another man's wife or something?” 

Lawrence looks off into space recalling some of his wild times. “Yeah,” he says, “I banged a few. It’s perfectly okay. But you fucked my woman!” 

Before Steve can plead any further, Lawrence buries a hollow point dead in his forehead. His eyes roll back. 

Sirens in the distance are growing near. Tucking the pistol in the waistband of his jeans. Lawrence hurries back to his car. Getting in, he peels out of the parking lot squealing tires. Within five minutes, cops pile into the parking lot. They have themselves one hell of a crime scene here. 

Going straight to one of his employers, Lawrence’s boss cusses him out and calls him stupid. This older man, maybe 55 with thinning gray hair, says, “You might as well hang it up and go turn yourself in. They'll know you're the jealous boyfriend and come after you first. 

Looking at the time on his gold wrist watch, the guy turns back to Lawrence and says, “We can cover for you when you do work for us. But you did your own thing so, it's out of our hands.”

Taking a drink of Scotch, he shakes his head and laughs at Lawrence, “Jesus Christ, did you have to kill ‘em? A real man would have fought him one on one with his hands.”

Lawrence stares out the second-story window and sees a patrol car passing by. Laughing, he says, “Fuck that bitch, I had to kill both of them because they fucked with my head.” He gets this wild look in his dark eyes and says, “Vengeance is mine saith me.”

The old man unbuttons his collar and loosens his tie. He warns Lawrence not to ever speak of their dealings. “You hear someone mention me...keep quiet and they'll get theirs.” 

With a brand-new evil born in his eyes, Lawrence says, “I’ll run as long as I can but when they finally catch me...oh boy, I've got something for ‘em.”

This bullshit boss from the upper echelon says, “Oh! You're going to shoot it out with the law?” 

Lawrence takes off his hat revealing a horrible attempt at a comb-over, he tells the old man, “The way I'm feeling right now, I'm ready to shoot it out with everyone.” As the man reaches for what is left of his bottle of Scotch, he hears Lawrence say, “You know you're getting it too, right?” 

Reacting quickly, he grabs the bottle to use it as a weapon. Only his eyes see it's too late. As the barrel of Lawrence's pistol raises before him. Those shocked eyes see the flash. Next the bullet drills its way through his throat, shredding his Adams-apple, before making its exit out the back of his neck. 

Old motherfucker had it coming for a long time! 

The spirit running Lawrence's nervous system says, “Tis the season to do Karma's dirty work.” Hell, Lawrence hasn’t even gotten started yet. 

With the law already after him for a double homicide, why not turn on his employer? Now the whole organization will be after him. After running the dead man's pockets and only finding plastic, Lawrence takes off his watch and ring. As soon as he finds the car keys he's going to take off. Definitely can't be rolling in the Impala. 

In his heart, Lawrence feels like he'll die soon. But whether it be the cops or his boss’ thugs, he has something for them all. 

Robert Ragan, from Lillington NC, lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror House Magazine. Alien Buddha Press had published his short story collection Mannequin Legs and Other Tales.

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 2020