Black Petals Issue #94 Winter, 2021

Flora and Fauna
BP Artists and Illustrators
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary-Chris Friend
Basement Dweller-Fiction by Justin Swartz
The Beating of Their Wings-Fiction by Brian Maycock
Does the Bogeyman Live Downstairs?-Fiction by Clive Owen Barry
Dark Little Boxes-Fiction by C. M. Barnes
Death by Midnight-Fiction by Charlie Cancel
Forearmed-Fiction by Jan Cronos
Inconceivable-Fiction by Rich Rose
The Wolf's Den-Fiction by J. B. Polk
Treachery-Fiction by Ramon F. Irizarri
Tumour Wakes Up-Fiction by Alexis Gkantiragas
The Opal Ring-Fiction by Michael Dority
Flora and Fauna-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Gnaw-Flash Fiction by Tony Kidd
Mad Money-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Madonna of the Damned-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Special Teeth-Flash Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
The Death Set-4 Poems by Hillary Lyon
Five Haiku-Poems by C. D. Marcum
Misanthrope-Poem by Donna Dallas
The Wish Tree-3 poems by Christopher Hivner
Nebulous-3 poems by Juan Manuel Perez
The Sphinx at Night-5 Poems by Meg Smith
Nameless-Poem by David Barber

Art by Hillary Lyon 2021


By Roy Dorman


     “I don’t wanna try and explain it to ya over the phone like last time,” said Michael Conrad. “Just stop over when ya have a few minutes. Please.”

     Michael’s a retired tree trimmer and landscaper with too much time on his hands. He’d owned “Conrad’s Tree Trimming” for thirty-five years before he retired and sold the business to one of his employees.

     The employee, Ricardo Gonzalez, has gotten used to the phone calls from his former boss. He knows it must be tough to have run a business for your whole life and then just suddenly stop doing what you loved. 

     But the calls had recently begun to take on a weird quality.

     “Sure, Boss,” said Ricardo. “I can swing by after work today. About six o’clock?”

     “Thanks, Ricky. I’ll have some beers on ice. And it’s ‘Mike’ now, right? I’m not the boss anymore. You are.”


     “See it?” said Michael, pointing to the park across the street.

     “Yeah, I see it,” said Ricardo. “It’s a healthy red maple, looks to be about seventy to eighty feet tall. Maybe fifty, sixty years old, I’d say.”

     “But the thing is, Ricky, it wasn’t there last week. Swear to god, it wasn’t.”

     Ricardo stared at the tree from Michael’s front porch to avoid looking at Michael. Two weeks ago, Michael called him to tell him about a lilac bush that had appeared in Michael’s backyard overnight.

     He felt bad for the old man, but Ricardo was tree trimmer, not a psychiatrist. 

     “Boss…, Mike, this is kinda like that lilac bush you called me about last week. Is that bush still out in the back?”

     “Sure is,” said Michael. “Come on, take a look.”

     Ricardo and Michael stepped off the porch and walked around the house to the backyard.

     “See,” said Michael. “There it is.”

     Ricardo looked at a fifteen-foot lilac bush in the back of the yard situated where the white picket fence came to a corner.

    “And it just grew like that overnight?” he asked. “You know how that sounds, don’t you?”

     “It sounds crazy,” said Michael. “It sounds like I’m crazy. Am I goin’ crazy, Ricky?”

     “Maybe you just never noticed it before,” offered Ricardo. “Maybe —”

     “Helen and I bought this house twenty-five years ago,” said Michael, getting a little agitated. “I’m a landscaper.  Ya think I wouldn’t have noticed a lilac bush in my own backyard? Now who’s soundin’ crazy?”

     “Calm down, Mike,” said Ricardo. “Nobody’s crazy here. Look, you retired, Helen’s gone, and you haven’t really established a new routine yet. Maybe you should go to Paris, or London, or wherever you think would be fun. Helen would’ve wanted you to enjoy your retirement.”

     The two men walked back around to the front porch and their beers. Sitting again, they both looked over at the red maple in the park.

     “Those are some beautiful rosebushes circling that tree,” said Ricardo. “I didn’t notice them before.”

     “That’s because they weren’t there ten minutes ago,” said Michael. “But that’s crazy talk, isn’t it?”

     Sitting on wicker chairs with beers in their hands, the two men watched as three wolves trotted out from behind the maple and started loping across the street toward them. 

     Both stood up to run. Michael took a second to throw his beer bottle at the closest wolf and then fell under its leap. 

     The other two chased a screaming Ricardo down and the male of the pair tore out his throat.


     “What could have done this?’ asked Officer Charise Robinson. “It’s like they were attacked by wild animals.”

     “I don’t think there are any wild animals around here capable of killing two grown men,” said her partner, Bobby Smith. “I think we’ll have to wait for the forensics report on this one.”

     “Oh, look at those beautiful daffodils lining the sidewalk,” said Officer Robinson. “I didn’t notice them when we first walked up.”


Roy Dorman,, of Madison, WI, who wrote BP #90’s “The Return of the Ferryman” (+ BP #89’s “Orphans at the Dark Door”; BP #88’s “Blood on the Riviera”; BP #87’s “The Sepia Photograph”;  BP #86’s “New Orleans Take-Out” & “Not This Time”; BP #85’s “Door County Getaway” & “The Gift”; BP #84’s “Goodbye to Nowhere Land” & “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple St.”; BP #83’s “Door #2”; BP #82’s “A Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”; BP #81’s “Nowhere Man in Nowhere Land” & “The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s “Andrew’s War” & “Down at the Hardware Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” & “Get Some Shelter”; BP #78’s “All Is as It Should Be”; BP #77’s “Essence of Andrew”; BP #76’s “Flirting with the Alley”; BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…”; BP #74’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others”; BP #73’s “A Journey Starts with a Flower”; BP #72’s “The Beach House”; BP #71’s “The Big Apple Bites”; BP #70’s “Borrowing Some Love”; and BP #69’s “Back in Town” and “Finding Good Help…”), is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Birds Piled Loosely, Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows, Cheapjack Pulp, Crack The Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights, Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, The Creativity Webzine, Theme of Absence, The Screech Owl, The Story Shack, & Yellow Mama.

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