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Oklahoma-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Claire's Disposable Distraction-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Doing the Trash-Fiction by Sean McElhiney
Kinks-Fiction by Don Stoll
Heads or Tails-Fiction by Ambrose McJunkin
Brother Smith-Fiction by Bruce Harris
Designated Driver-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Dr. Flytrap's Home for Women-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Bhopal 2-Fiction by Doug Hawley
There He is Again-Fiction by Thomas Bailey
Genital Pulp-Fiction by Matthew Licht
There is Nothing-Fiction by Rick McQuiston
La Mere Mauvaise-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
One Dark Quiet Night Disturbed-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Prankster-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Petal World-Flash Fiction by j. brooke
Reading Bukowski-Poem by Bob Kokan
Preparing the Children for Grandma's Visit-Poem by John Grey
Marble-Sized Raindrops-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Never Any Good at Magic-Poem by J. J. Campbell
Red-Poem by Meg Baird
Spigot-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Wrong-Poem by Ruth Ticktin
In the Backyard-Poem by Holly Day
Harry the Hippie-Poem by David Spicer
Michelangelo's Handshakes-Poem by David Spicer
Flaxen Hair-Poem by John Short
Once Every Four Years-Poem by John Short
A Recap of the Main Points-Poem by Mark Young
Morning Raga-Poem by Mark Young
Corona-Poem by Marc Carver
Pandemic-Poem by Marc Carver
The Secret-Poem by Maec Carver
Consideration-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
The Apartment-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
Holiday_Poem by Richard M. Prazych
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Darren Blanch © 2020

One cold and dark afternoon, I stumbled across a newspaper article from Paris, dated 18th March 1818. In collaboration with her daughter, a mother poisoned her husband and both her sons. Both women were condemned to death. What brought you here, mes copaines, I wondered. . . .


La Mère Mauvaise

by Dini Armstrong


Et voilà. It ends where it began, my child, not long now. If you stretch your head forward as far as you can, it will come off more easily; that’s what they say. Oh, stop your blubbering. We’ve kneeled before, haven’t we? At least it will hurt only on that end this time; the other end will be in peace, finally. It seems right, separating the head from the body. I wonder if my head will taste the iron of my blood as it works its way up from the throat.

Did you know, I was born on January 21st, 1793, the day of the execution of Louis XVI? And here we are, my girl, you and I, both getting royally fucked by that great equalizer, the guillotine.

Don’t cry now, girl; hush hush. It’s over soon.

They’ve taken my scarf to expose the neck. It carried our boy on my back for three months, didn’t it? Just as it carried you, my lovely girl. I miss the weight of you, your breath on my neck, your little chubby hands playing with my hair. The papers wrote that he was mine. They wouldn’t believe he was yours—an unmarried twelve-year-old, producing such an angel with her own brother? Well, we made him an angel now, didn’t we, my lovely? Thanks to you and me, he will never turn into his father. A beast of his own father's making, my husband; may he burn in hell. Do you remember how they writhed and twisted? I wished it had lasted longer.

The crowds have come in full number today. Seeing la mère mauvaise and her murderous daughter, the barbarous poisoners of Paris. I can smell them, roasting chestnuts. I am proud of us, my girl. When men fight back, they are celebrated. When women do the same, they are killed. Remember when we finally did it, and we sang the song all the way to the police station?

“Ah! Ça ira! Ça ira! Ça ira! 
Tous les violeurs à la lanterne!”

I remember when I was eleven, playing with my mother’s bread dough. The smell of yeast and burnt sugar. The softness, the innocence, the way the sunshine just flooded in through the window, as if there was no darkness. That’s when I met him, your father. He joined in with me, despite his age (he was already twenty-five), the smell of gin. At first, he shaped a flower, then he giggled and formed the shape of a man’s bits. He told me to touch it and asked me if I wanted a go at the real thing. That’s when my mum walked in, and we were married two weeks later. She was a great one at turning sin into virtue.

No, I don’t want my eyes blindfolded. No, don’t tie my hands. I will go freely with you, my liberator, mon ami, into the bliss of hellfire, purified, and cleansed — of all.


Dini Armstrong, now Scottish, has worked in journalism and psychology. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing and has published short stories and flash fiction. Her pithy style got her into trouble from age six, when, after writing a particularly seditious piece about a vengeful cat with explosives, she had to promise never to write again. She lied.

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 © 2020