Yellow Mama Archives

Denis Bushtalov
Adhikari, Sudeep
Ahern, Edward
Aldrich, Janet M.
Allan, T. N.
Allen, M. G.
Ammonds, Phillip J.
Anderson, Peter
Andreopoulos, Elliott
Arab, Bint
Augustyn, P. K.
Aymar, E. A.
Babbs, James
Baber, Bill
Bagwell, Dennis
Bailey, Ashley
Baird, Meg
Bakala, Brendan
Baker, Nathan
Balaz, Joe
Barber, Shannon
Barker, Tom
Barlow, Tom
Bates, Jack
Bayly, Karen
Baugh, Darlene
Bauman, Michael
Baumgartner, Jessica Marie
Beale, Jonathan
Beck, George
Beckman, Paul
Benet, Esme
Bennett, Brett
Bennett, Charlie
Berg, Carly
Berman, Daniel
Bernardara, Will Jr.
Berriozabal, Luis
Beveridge, Robert
Bickerstaff, Russ
Bigney, Tyler
Bladon, Henry
Blake, Steven
Bohem, Charlie Keys and Les
Booth, Brenton
Bougger, Jason
Boyd, A. V.
Boyd, Morgan
Bracey, DG
Brewka-Clark, Nancy
Britt, Alan
Brooke, j
Brown, R. Thomas
Brown, Sam
Burton, Michael
Bushtalov, Denis
Butkowski, Jason
Butler, Simon Hardy
Cameron, W. B.
Campbell, J. J.
Campbell, Jack Jr.
Cano, Valentina
Cardinale, Samuel
Carlton, Bob
Cartwright, Steve
Carver, Marc
Castle, Chris
Catlin, Alan
Chesler, Adam
Clausen, Daniel
Clevenger, Victor
Clifton, Gary
Coffey, James
Colasuonno, Alfonso
Conley, Jen
Connor, Tod
Cooper, Malcolm Graham
Coral, Jay
Cosby, S. A.
Costello, Bruce
Crandall, Rob
Criscuolo, Carla
Crist, Kenneth
Crouch & Woods
D., Jack
Dallett, Cassandra
Danoski, Joseph V.
Daly, Sean
Davis, Christopher
Davis, Michael D.
Day, Holly
de Bruler, Connor
Degani, Gay
De France, Steve
De La Garza, Lela Marie
Deming, Ruth Z.
Demmer, Calvin
De Neve, M. A.
Dennehy, John W.
DeVeau, Spencer
Di Chellis, Peter
Dick, Earl
Dick, Paul "Deadeye"
DiLorenzo, Ciro
Dionne, Ron
Domenichini, John
Dominelli, Rob
Doran, Phil
Doreski, William
Dorman, Roy
Doherty, Rachel
Dosser, Jeff
Doyle, John
Draime, Doug
Drake, Lena Judith
Dromey, John H.
Dubal, Paul Michael
Duke, Jason
Duncan, Gary
Dunham, T. Fox
Duschesneau, Pauline
Dunn, Robin Wyatt
Duxbury, Karen
Duy, Michelle
Elliott, Garnett
Ellman, Neil
England, Kristina
Erianne, John
Espinosa, Maria
Esterholm, Jeff
Fallow, Jeff
Farren, Jim
Fenster, Timothy
Ferraro, Diana
Filas, Cameron
Fillion, Tom
Fisher, Miles Ryan
Flanagan, Daniel N.
Flanagan, Ryan Quinn
Francisco, Edward
Funk, Matthew C.
Gann, Alan
Gardner, Cheryl Ann
Garvey, Kevin Z.
Gentile, Angelo
Genz, Brian
Giersbach, Walter
Gladeview, Lawrence
Glass, Donald
Goddard, L. B.
Godwin, Richard
Goff, Christopher
Goss, Christopher
Gradowski, Janel
Graham, Sam
Grant, Christopher
Grant, Stewart
Greenberg, K.J. Hannah
Greenberg, Paul
Grey, John
Gunn, Johnny
Gurney, Kenneth P.
Haglund, Tobias
Halleck, Robert
Hamlin, Mason
Hanson, Christopher Kenneth
Hanson, Kip
Harrington, Jim
Harris, Bruce
Hart, GJ
Hartman, Michelle
Haskins, Chad
Hawley, Doug
Haycock, Brian
Hayes, A. J.
Hayes, John
Hayes, Peter W. J.
Heatley, Paul
Heimler, Heidi
Helmsley, Fiona
Hendry, Mark
Heslop, Karen
Heyns, Heather
Hilary, Sarah
Hill, Richard
Hivner, Christopher
Hockey, Matthew J.
Hogan, Andrew J.
Holderfield, Culley
Holton, Dave
Howells, Ann
Hoy, J. L.
Huchu, Tendai
Hudson, Rick
Huffman, A. J.
Huguenin, Timothy G.
Huskey, Jason L.
Irascible, Dr. I. M.
Jaggers, J. David
James, Christopher
Johnson, Beau
Johnson, Moctezuma
Johnson, Zakariah
Jones, D. S.
Jones, Erin J.
Jones, Mark
Kabel, Dana
Kaplan, Barry Jay
Kay, S.
Keaton, David James
Kempka, Hal
Kerins, Mike
Keshigian, Michael
Kevlock, Mark Joseph
King, Michelle Ann
Kirk, D.
Knott, Anthony
Koenig, Michael
Korpon, Nik
Kovacs, Norbert
Kovacs, Sandor
Kowalcyzk, Alec
Krafft, E. K.
Lacks, Lee Todd
Lang, Preston
Larkham, Jack
La Rosa, F. Michael
Leasure, Colt
Leatherwood, Roger
Lees, Arlette
Lees, Lonni
Leins, Tom
Lemieux, Michael
Lemming, Jennifer
Lerner, Steven M
Lewis, Cynthia Ruth
Lewis, LuAnn
Lifshin, Lyn
Liskey, Tom Darin
Lodge, Oliver
Lopez, Aurelio Rico III
Lorca, Aurelia
Lovisi, Gary
Lucas, Gregory E.
Lukas, Anthony
Lynch, Nulty
Lyon, Hillary
Lyons, Matthew
Mac, David
MacArthur, Jodi
Malone, Joe
Mann, Aiki
Manzolillo, Nicholas
Marcius, Cal
Marrotti, Michael
Mason, Wayne
Mattila, Matt
McAdams, Liz
McCartney, Chris
McDaris, Catfish
McFarlane, Adam Beau
McGinley, Chris
McGinley, Jerry
McElhiney, Sean
McKim, Marci
McMannus, Jack
McQuiston, Rick
Mellon, Mark
Memi, Samantha
Miles, Marietta
Miller, Max
Minihan, Jeremiah
Monson, Mike
Mooney, Christopher P.
Morgan, Bill W.
Moss, David Harry
Mullins, Ian
Mulvihill, Michael
Muslim, Kristine Ong
Nardolilli, Ben
Nelson, Trevor
Nessly, Ray
Nester, Steven
Neuda, M. C.
Newell, Ben
Newman, Paul
Nielsen, Ayaz
Ogurek, Douglas J.
O'Keefe, Sean
Ortiz, Sergio
Pagel, Briane
Park, Jon
Parr, Rodger
Parrish, Rhonda
Partin-Nielsen, Judith
Peralez, R.
Perez, Juan M.
Perez, Robert Aguon
Peterson, Ross
Petroziello, Brian
Pettie, Jack
Petyo, Robert
Phillips, Matt
Picher, Gabrielle
Pierce, Rob
Pietrzykowski, Marc
Plath, Rob
Pointer, David
Post, John
Powell, David
Power, Jed
Powers, M. P.
Praseth, Ram
Prusky, Steve
Pruitt, Eryk
Purfield, M. E.
Purkis, Gordon
Quinlan, Joseph R.
Quinn, Frank
Rabas, Kevin
Ram, Sri
Rapth, Sam
Ravindra, Rudy
Renney, Mark
reutter, g emil
Rhatigan, Chris
Richardson, Travis
Richey, John Lunar
Ridgeway, Kevin
Ritchie, Salvadore
Robinson, John D.
Robinson, Kent
Rodgers, K. M.
Roger, Frank
Rose, Mandi
Rose, Mick
Rosenberger, Brian
Rosenblum, Mark
Rosmus, Cindy
Ruhlman, Walter
Rutherford, Scotch
Sanders, Isabelle
Sanders, Sebnem
Santo, Heather
Savage, Jack
Sayles, Betty J.
Schauber, Karen
Schneeweiss, Jonathan
Schraeder, E. F.
Schumejda, Rebecca
See, Tom
Sethi, Sanjeev
Sexton, Rex
Seymour, J. E.
Shaikh, Aftab Yusuf
Sheagren, Gerald E.
Shepherd, Robert
Shirey, D. L.
Short, John
Sim, Anton
Simmler, T. Maxim
Simpson, Henry
Sinisi, J. J.
Sixsmith, JD
Slagle, Cutter
Slaviero, Susan
Sloan, Frank
Small, Alan Edward
Smith, Brian J.
Smith, Ben
Smith, C.R.J.
Smith, Copper
Smith, Greg
Smith, Paul
Smith, Stephanie
Smith, Willie
Smuts, Carolyn
Snethen, Daniel G.
Snoody, Elmore
Sojka, Carol
Solender, Michael J.
Sortwell, Pete
Sparling, George
Spicer, David
Squirrell, William
Stanton, Henry G.
Stewart, Michael S.
Stickel, Anne
Stolec, Trina
Stryker, Joseph H.
Stucchio, Chris
Succre, Ray
Sullivan, Thomas
Swanson, Peter
Swartz, Justin A.
Sweet, John
Tarbard, Grant
Taylor, J. M.
Thompson, John L.
Thompson, Phillip
Tillman, Stephen
Titus, Lori
Tivey, Lauren
Tobin, Tim
Tu, Andy
Ullerich, Eric
Valent, Raymond A.
Valvis, James
Vilhotti, Jerry
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Walsh, Patricia
Walters, Luke
Ward, Emma
Washburn, Joseph
Watt, Max
Weber, R.O.
Weil, Lester L.
White, Judy Friedman
White, Robb
White, Terry
Wilsky, Jim
Wilson, Robley
Wilson, Tabitha
Woodland, Francis
Young, Mark
Yuan, Changming
Zackel, Fred
Zafiro, Frank
Zapata, Angel
Zee, Carly
Zimmerman, Thomas

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017

...'till I wake up


by Denis Bushlatov



Alice is dreaming. The dream is vivid and at the same time it is grey like the endless sea which surrounds her.

As it usually happens, while dreaming, she does not feel the need to understand what is going on. There is just Here and Now - all other constants have been deleted.

Alice finds herself in an old boat. Once painted sky-blue, but now blotchy-grey, it is creaking like old bones. There are a short paddle and a wineglass on a wooden stem. This wineglass evokes a feeling of aversion, even disgust with a bit of terror. She does not understand her feelings, but she is trying to keep her distance.

Wherever she looks, she is seeing a shoreless green sea in grey hues. Here and there, the crests of waves are curling up with dirty-yellow foam. Looking into the water for a long time makes nausea creep up her throat, because it seems like the boat is moving, dragged by the waves, and at the same time standing still, rocking on the dunes of the watery desert. When she squints, she understands, that the sea is liquid.....what else could it, surely, be? But when she unfocuses her eyes, the picture changes—now it seems she is stuck in a wide openness of slow-cooking tar-thick lard.

Once she dreamed, she saw a sea-gull. She would take interest, if it was real. The sea-gulls nest on land, don't they? But it was a dream, just a dream. She followed  the flight of the fat awkward bird indifferently. Who cares about sea-gulls, besides, this one was obviously ill. It was flying erratically, now gliding over blubbery waves, now almost touching them with absurdly short wings. Once the bird cried out and its cry was also ill, miserable. Then everything got hidden by thick swabs of a humid fog, and for a while Alice was floating alone in yellowing darkness. There was an acidic, chemical smell which was rising off the water. She kept looking over to the other side of the boat. There, semi-visible in the deep fog, was a rolling wineglass on a wooden stem. It was wetly tapping the rotten wood.

Soon the fog dispersed.

There is almost no wind now. Heavy clouds, painted gray, hang low over the weakly rising boundless sea, so low, that if she lifts up her hand she will touch its muculent pregnant belly.

Her dream is becoming more realistic. Now Alice is feeling a persistent itch in the palm of her left hand. Without looking, she opens up her palm and reaches it with the fingers of her right hand. Her nails barely feel any resistance of something soft like long-decayed suet and then they slip into a cold, gooey hole.

Without any interest, Alice is looking at her hand and for a moment she is sure that her palm has bitten off her fingers. She even wiggles her fingers to convince herself otherwise and with slipping curiosity and with just the same slipping revulsion she understands, that her fingers are in place. They have stuck up to the middle phalanges in the huge, bloodless wound in the center of her palm.

Alice pulls her fingers out and stares at them, looking them over carefully, studying... They are covered in pus-yellow slime, which smells of the same strong chemical odour. Not giving it another thought, she lifts her fingers up to her mouth and licks off a wad of springy substance.

There is the wound again. She sees it framed with petals of purple, swollen flesh, it looks like a crater of a dormant volcano. Inside the hole, the meat has almost lost its colour. The skin edge of the wound is speckled with light-blue shades of dead water lilies. 

Alice is distracted for a moment, she is shivering - her skin is crawling over with goose bumps and for the first time in her dreams she is feeling the cold, chilling to the bone and at the same time stifling, suffocating coldness. She hugs herself, but remembering  her wound, she lets her left hand drop down to her knees. This movement was enough to nudge the boat and that damn wineglass on a wooden stem begins to knock about again. Tap, tip-tap. Splash. Wet, viscous sound.

The wineglass should go overboard. She is glancing at the water by the boat and is seeing some marine inhabitants through a translucent, rainbow film. Not large - no more than half a meter in size, they look like thick, slick torpedoes - can't make out heads or tails. They are swimming quickly, not like snakes, but more like pieces of plastic, gently touching the boat from time to time, squishing as they do so. Alice is watching their weird, clumsy dance. Now, one of the creatures stops and its fat body is shaking with a spasm. It is starting to inflate - now Alice can see a twisted network of purple capillaries in unexpectedly delicate skin.  It is continuing to balloon... and now there is a sphere in front of her, inside of which, she swears, are tiny fish scurrying around, looking almost like goldfish, except instead of tails they have...

Alice groans and forces herself to close her eyes, hard. Now she is seeing darkness, speckled by twinkling stars.

Same old irritating itch in her hand.

She is looking down at her palm carefully, scrupulously and she realizes with fading disgust, that the wound is harbouring inside a translucent writhing worm. Without any hesitation, she grabs it and pulls. The worm does not give, it stretches and eventually slips out.

With a newfound fury, Alice lifts her hand up to her mouth and sinks her teeth into the slippery flesh of the worm. Rips it out and... leaves the writhing half in her mouth. She spits it out automatically. Puts her fingers in the wound again, but the worm is too short now and she can't grasp it. Alice is just observing, stupefied, as it voraciously gnaws the colorless meat at the depth of the wound. She does not feel any pain, only an insatiable itch. With difficulty, she does not allow herself to sink her nails into rotten raw flesh and scratch, scratch, scratch...

The worm is almost out of sight. If it doesn't stop, it will chew through the hand and fall out onto the bottom of the boat and crawl to the wineglass with the wooden stem and then.... No, no, it mustn't happen!

Still, Alice is not afraid, but much to her surprise, she discovers that she is surprised. Strange, paralyzing stupor is receding, much like a local anesthetic and with each passing second Alice is feeling more and more persistent involvement of the surrounding reality. Cold air is covering her naked body with wet flakes. Occasional waves are crashing on the sideboard and are splashing her with droplets, which stick to her skin like an instant glue. Fat, plastic creatures under the water are showing much more interest in her—they are hitting the boat on all sides, making the wineglass roll from one side to another, from board to board.

Alice is looking to her damaged hand leveling it at her eyes. Now, in the center of an endless fatty disturbed vale, there appears a stinging hole. Seems like the worm is almost finished and, in a moment, she will see right through her palm.

Why is she still unafraid? Surely, it can get scary in a dream, can't it? There could be nightmares, stifling like a pillow over face. There could be visions so horrible, that even memory of them could torment the dreamer, making the heart beat amiss.

You could even happen to die in your sleep for no reason.

She puts down her hand and stares into the unending, unstable expanse. There, beyond horizon, the sky taps the sea, forming a single black and broken line. Maybe, she is being carried onto far and unknown rocks?

Something is touching her leg softly, passively. Alice looks down and barely stops from screaming.

There is the wineglass on the wooden stem at her feet. Its tapping is soft, but demanding.

Without thinking, as it often happens in dreams, Alice reaches out and grabs the wineglass hard. She leans down and scoops up some gelatinous water - eyeless creatures are staring back from below.

...She is sipping it. The liquid is spreading over her mouth cavity like petroleum and is leaving a coating on mucous membrane.

She is taking another sip.

She is looking at the ever-distant broken line, a scar which is holding together the sky and the sea.

Alice is drinking the rigid flesh of the ocean and is awaiting.

Awaiting for the dream to be over.

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017

Denis Bushlatov is a Ukrainian horror writer. At the moment, he has published two short story selections: Devolution and The Gift, which are sold worldwide in more or less every bookstore featuring Russian literature.  He has recently published his first novel: The Keeper of Void and rumors say that the second one is on the way.

Unfortunately, up till now few of his works has been translated into English. 

Denis Bushlatov currently lives in Odessa, Ukraine with his wife, his 12-year old son and full-of-nuisance cat, Richard.

In Association with Fossil Publications