Black Petals Issue #99, Spring, 2022

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Editor's Page
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Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Are You Full? Fiction by James Kompany
Bunker-Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Buy Here, Pay Here-Fiction by Kim Bonner
The Church of the Coyotes Who Would be Wolves-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Elm Mills-Fiction by Mack Severns
Hearts in the Gutter-Fiction by Lamont Turner
Midnight Espresso-Fiction by David Starobin
Spider Bite-Fiction by N. G. Leonetti
Test Tube Babies-Fiction by Kilmo
Witches' Jubilee-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Biter: A Love Story-Flash Fiction by Harris Coverley
New Mail-Flash Fiction by Eddie D. Moore
Reasons Not to Wake Up a Sleeping Beggar in the Morning-Flash Fiction by Marcelo Medone
While I was Frozen-Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
Woodshop for Werewolves-Flash Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Bruja-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
First Light-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Soul Music-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Stalker-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Zombies in Space-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Bleeding Senses-Poem by Jess Boaden
I'd Like to Speak to the Manager-Poem by Carl E. Reed
The Woods (Behind My House)-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Nocturnal Mode-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
When I Find You-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Ethereal-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Fall-Poem by Mike Edele
Death-Poem by Mike Edele
Where Will You Be-Poem by Mike Edele
Giant Cockroach-Poem by Richard Stevenson
The Allegewi-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Tokoloshe-Poem by Richard Stevenson
The Ghoul-Poem by Richard Stevenson

Harris Coverley: Biter: A Love Story

bp_99_biter_hlyon.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon 2022

Biter: A Love Story

 

by Harris Coverley

 

I came to leaning against the wall, the skin of my scalp digging into the Artex spikes and waves, leaving deep itchy grooves.

I lifted my head up and mumbled something like, “What the hell is this?”

I tried to sit up and move onto my backside, but I was far too weak. I shuffled my hands and found them bound behind me.

I looked down: I was naked, except for a nappy, my right knee lodged against the kickboard. I searched about the room: besides a simple wooden table with one chair, it was empty, fitted with thin, rough carpeting. There is a small, glazed over window which betrays some light, but whether it is the sun or a streetlamp (or even if the whole thing is just a bulb in a glass panel) is impossible to tell.

Directly opposite the window is a heavy black door, which as I first stared at it creaked open and let her in before it clanged shut.

“Martha!” I cried out. “What the, what is…”

But my questions petered out as I realised the state my wife was in: dressed in black lingerie, she had lost an incredible amount of weight since I had seen her last in our bed the night before…or was it by this point weeks ago? Her long hair had been trimmed military short. Her skin was just ashen tissue about deep veins—I cannot stress how emaciated she had become. Her face was grey and dark, and yet she was smiling, excited even.

“Martha!” I croaked out. “What’s happened to you?!”

She did not answer, but instead walked in stiletto heels over to me, placed her hands on the back of my shoulders, and bit down sharply and deeply into the flesh above my clavicle.

I screamed in surprise as much as agony—I tried to shift myself away, but I could not move. I myself was starved and weak, and yet Martha, my spouse of so many years, did not help but tortured me so.

For what seemed like hours, but was probably only a minute or two, Martha bit firmly, but did not take a full bite of me. The blood ran down my back and to the floor, and as she at last released me my cries came to a soft wailing.

Unable to wipe my tears, I asked her the why of everything, but she merely smeared my blood across her lips, and, leering, returned to the door, knocked three times, and an unseen person let her out.

So it has been for many days, weeks now. My wife comes in daily and bites about my shoulders, I sense not so much draining blood as feeding off the flesh itself and its vibrations.

I am somehow drugged and my nappy is changed. I am fed intravenously when I sleep—it must be, for how else could I survive? The recurrent needle marks on my arm tell the tale—oh Christ, how I wish I could scratch my skin!

Martha’s colour returns a little more day by day, a little more of her old voluptuousity coming back.

I flow from unease to unease, always feeling at death’s door, and yet my body, somehow, against all stresses, against all horrors, carries on, even as my muscles waste away.

And yet also, as my body is resilient, so is my mind—is there reason to any of this? Maybe not, but I can at least deduce some possible explanation: Martha, for some necessary purpose, needs this to happen, or else she will perish. And I am the one, of the two of us, to be the sacrifice.

And, as time passes, I think I can learn to live with that, perhaps even learn to enjoy the whole process…because that’s what a man does for love, right? He takes the heat…he takes the punishment…

I’ve lost a lot of blood today…

 

Harris Coverley has short fiction published or forthcoming in Curiosities, Hypnos, The Periodical, Forlorn, and Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, amongst many others. A member of the Weird Poets Society and a former Rhysling nominee, he also has verse in Polu Texni, California Quarterly, Star*Line, Spectral Realms, Tales from the Moonlit Path, Scifaikuest, Corvus Review, View From Atlantis, and elsewhere. He lives in Manchester, England.

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