Black Petals Issue #108, Summer, 2024

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Editor's Page
BP Artist's Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Tension Economy: Fiction by Adam Parker
Body Canvas: Fiction by James McIntire
Emergence: Fiction by M. W. Lockwood
Gibbous Moon over Manderson: Fiction by Daniel Snethen
Morning Rush: Fiction by Mark Mitchell
The APP: Fiction by J. Elliott
The Fanbase: Fiction by Gabriel White
The Pocket: Fiction by Randall Avilez
Laughter and the Devil: Fiction by Nemo Arator
Bed Bugs: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
Not a Pebble: Flash Fiction by K. J. Watson
Sleepless: Flash Fiction by David Barber
The Abyss' Embrace: Flash Fiction by Daniel Lenois
The Dispossession: Flash Fiction by Alan Watkins
Unfinished Business: Flash Fiction by Charles C. Cole
Do Not Touch: Flash Fiction by Samantha Brooke
Ghost: Poem by Michael Pendragon
Dark Mistress: Poem by Michael Pendragon
A Pocket of Time: Poem by Joseph Danoski
Nothing in the Night: Poem by Joseph Danoski
The Last Tenant in a House out of Time: Poem by Joseph Danoski
Disassembly: Mine: Poem by Anthony Berstein
The Dream House of Abominations: Poem by Anthony Bernstein
4 Untitled Haiku: Haiku by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Time Eaters and 2 Untitled Haiku: Poems by Christopher Hivner
Mary and Polidori: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Slither Away: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Hotel LaNeau: Poem by Sandy DeLuca
The Girl from Providence: Poem by Sandy DeLuca
Returning Home: Poem by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
The Good Stepmother: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Airtime: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Gloria: Poem by Peter Mladinic
There Was a Father: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Toll Booth: Poem by Leyla Guirand
This Hour: Poem by Leyla Guirand
Urban: Poem by Simon MacCulloch


Summer, 2024-Chris Friend

Art by Chris Friend 2024

In German fairy lore there are the wood-wives who haunt old forests and sacred groves. They appear as beautiful creatures but with terrible claws. They are often accompanied by violent whirl-winds. So connected to the woods are they, that if a twig is broken off a tree the wood wife will die. Hunters are the mortals most at risk of causing the wood-wives’ anger and revenge. The hunter must offer part of their kill to the wood-wife to escape their anger. Like most fairies the wood-wife can also be kind and generous.

One tale has a hunter fixing the wheel barrow of a wood-wife and wood chips left behind became chunks of gold. The ringing of church bells can chase the wood-wife back to the forest. All types of human racket can disturb the wood-wife. Wood-wives detest caraway seeds and become outraged if bread is offered with the dreaded caraway seed. It was advised to bake a loaf of bread without caraway seeds as an offering to these forest fairies.

One time a farmer made the mistake of offering the bread with the caraway seeds instead of the plain loaf. The outraged wood-wife ruined his home and blasted his crops. St. John's wort was often used to ward off the wood-wife and they dislike iron. The wood-wife hates technology and with its growth forces them further and further into the wilderness.

Art by Chris Friend 2024

The Vodyanoi is a Russian species of fairy who appears as a little old man with a green beard and is sometimes covered in muck or covered in scales. He prefers fresh water environments such as mill ponds. Some depictions suggest a mer-man-like quality with him being half-man and half-fish. He is described as having the tail of a fish, but his preference is fresh water. He stays close to his home beside a dam or mill wheel. He won't think twice about drowning someone who comes too close to his watery lair. He tends to murder people except the miller and a few fishermen. This friendship between the miller and the Vodyanoi is not without problems since it creates suspicion that the miller has made a Faustian deal with this contrary water spirit. Sometimes the Vodyanoi invites the miller down to his palace deep under the water for a lavish feast. The reason this evil fairy drowns innocent people is a likely relic of human sacrifices being offered. The discovery of so many bog people are possible evidence of this nasty practice. Fishermen frequently made offers of bread, salt, tobacco, and of course, vodka in order to pacify this angry water spirit. When pacified, the spirit is likely to help the fishermen in their endeavors. If angered the Vodyanoi will tear up or tangle their nets.

Chris Friend,, writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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