Black Petals Issue #106 Winter, 2023

BP Editorial Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
The Thing in the Yard: Fiction by Vincent Vurchio
A Forest Green: Fiction by Logan Williams
Clown Safe: Fiction by Taylor Hagood
Home Delivery: Fiction by Jon Adcock
Judith and Bobby Save the World: Fiction by Stephen Tillman
Many Wee Undead: Fiction by Marco Etheridge
Meat Pie: Fiction by Anna Koltes
Mexican Coffee and Burgers: Fiction by Fred Zackel
Leaving: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Ghost of the Perfect Hotdog: Fiction by Mark Miller
The Illustrated Woman: Fiction by Jen Myers
Thrice in One Sitting: Fiction by Justin Alcala
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning: Fiction by Gene Lass
AI Self-Mortification: Flash Fiction by Christopher Henckel
Correct Mistake: Flash Fiction by Eric Burbridge
A Moment of Inertia: Flash Fiction by Sean MacKendrick
Get Your Kicks on Route 666: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Let's Do Lunch: Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
"Three Wishes": Flash Fiction by Ronin Fox
Woodsman's Revenge: Flash Fiction by Jada Maze
To a Crow: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Estranged: Poem by Michael Keshigian
At the Terminal: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Angler's Nightmare: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Last Thirteen Steps: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Murderous Words: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
My Childhood Snapshot: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
With Vampires About: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Zombies are Loose: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Lil' Toe Dipper: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Scattered Pieces: Poem by Andrew Graber

Jada Maze: Woodsman's Revenge

Art by Kevin Duncan 2024




Jada Maze




He still remembered it. The day the axe came alive in his hands.




The little man wept on the floor of the dark throne room. His fine clothes were torn; his childlike voice choked with fear. "She still lives, Your Royal Majesty. The sister of your nemesis. Your... first victim."

The Queen, the Girl From Elsewhere, frowned on her emerald throne. "What form does she take? A woman in black, flying on a broomstick?"

"A tree, Your Majesty. A dark and moving thorn tree. It devours those who step too close." He sobbed once. "Like my daughter."

The Queen stood and looked among her gathered lords and warriors, all as strange of body as she was young and beautiful in her blue dress. She asked, "Which among you will end this horror?"

And the metal warrior, the heart of the kingdom, raised his hand.



"It is too dangerous to fight her alone," his oldest, wisest friend said.

"I walk alone," he replied, "but you are always with me. So is our Queen. And my axe will not fail."

His friend squeezed his hand with his own (so soft and boneless in their stitched gloves). The Queen kissed his forehead. Even her little dog, old and limping, touched him with one paw.

He set off clanking down the old path, the one he and his friends had walked to free the four nations.



The metal warrior needed no food nor drink nor rest; in several days he crossed the poppy fields and entered the deep, dark woods. He found the remains of his old cottage by the path, overgrown with moss and ferns.

The Hanged Man dangled from a tree nearby, smiling a nasty smile. His face was black and his tongue lolled. "Back so soon?" he asked. "Big mistake. She is returned from the shadowlands, and will use your corpse for a beehive after she takes your head."

The metal warrior ignored him. He looked at the cottage. Once, he'd loved a girl from the East. He built the cottage as a wedding gift. But her mistress was enraged by her servant trying to escape and enchanted his axe.

All four limbs. Then his body. Then his head. The axe was dull by the end.

"They said I was no longer human when I woke up on the tinsmith's table in his workshop," he told the Hanged Man. "That I felt nothing. But I still feel."

The Hanged Man leered. "Don't weep. I have no oil can."



He found the tree in the city of the little people. It had grown twisted and weblike, armored in black bark, branches studded with thorns. Looking up in the highest limbs he saw the little house the Queen had arrived in, the one that she'd used to kill her nemesis' sister.

The trunk was twisted into the face of an ugly old woman. She screamed silently as her branches lashed his body.

The thorns broke on him. The branches cracked. The old woman's face twisted in fear as he drew his monstrous axe.

"You took my flesh," he said. "But you never took my heart."

He swung.



Jada Maze has been writing ever since she was a kid, watching Tales From the Crypt on the little black-and-white TV in her bedroom and scribbling in a composition notebook. Meet her at