Black Petals Issue #99, Spring, 2022

Editor's Page
Artist's Page
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

Eddie D. Moore: New Mail

Art by KJ Hannah Greenberg 2022

New Mail

By Eddie D. Moore

Ignoring the preacher, Roger let his eyelids close and rested his eyes. Everyone else at the funeral would just assume he was grieving or praying. The sunlight seemed bright even through the stained-glass windows. Who in their right mind schedules a eulogy at nine in the morning in February? Saying goodbye to a friend with a late-night poker game seemed like a great idea until the alarm went off at the crack of dawn. He remembered dreaming about drowning his ex-girlfriend’s Chihuahua in the commode and trying to hide the body just before having to slap the snooze button. The preacher raised his voice, and Roger decided that he better lift his head and let the man at least think he was paying attention.

The glance tossed Roger’s direction between points almost made him laugh out loud. To hide the smile that touched his lips, he turned his head and rubbed his earlobe. Lloyd wouldn’t have been pleased by the garish gold finishes on the casket. There was no way that he picked that out. His wife must have selected an upgrade during the arrangements. Her choice of red seemed appropriate after two marrow transplants. Life just wasn’t fair. The man survived cancer just to die from an offshoot of a stupid virus.

Roger’s phone vibrated, so he tapped his email icon. Concealing the phone between his legs, he deleted a notification about a purported epic sale from his favorite store and one about a new episode in a series that he really didn’t want to miss. There was nothing of any paramount importance, but he went through them anyway out of habit and boredom. How much longer could this preacher last? He had to boil it all down to a single point sometime.

A new message appeared in his inbox, and Roger blinked twice. A lump formed in his throat when he saw that the email was from Lloyd. He glanced at the casket and back to his phone. Was Lloyd’s widow using his email address? Why would she be sending emails during the eulogy? Curious, Roger tapped the screen to open the email. The skin between Roger’s eyebrows wrinkled as he mouthed the three words in the message, “I’m behind you.”

Roger turned to see if anyone was sitting behind him and jumped to his feet as he shouted, “Oh, holy hell!” The preacher stopped mid-sentence and every eye turned Roger’s direction. For a split second Roger was sure Lloyd was actually sitting behind him, but a single blink later, he was gone. Half a dozen emotions flashed through Roger at once. Who’s ever heard of seeing a ghost in broad daylight?

Roger’s face blushed with embarrassment when he realized that everyone was watching him. The preacher raised an eyebrow and wasn’t even trying to hide his annoyance at the interruption. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Roger mumbled an apology and left the sanctuary with three quick steps. He locked himself in the restroom, splashed some cold water on his face, and tried to control his breathing. After three or four long slow breaths, Roger felt the pounding in his chest slow, but his chest felt tight. His hand shook as he fumbled in his jacket pocket for his antacid.

Roger’s phone chimed with a new email. Fatigue washed over him when he saw that it was another email from the deceased. Time seemed too slow as he stared at the email: Don’t worry, Roger. It’ll all be over soon. You won’t believe the people I’ve invited to your first card game here.

         A pain in Roger’s chest caused him to drop the phone, and a moment later, he felt himself falling. He wondered if the lights were dimming and he felt something rattle as he breathed out in a gasp. The screen on Roger’s phone lit up and it vibrated with a call from an unknown number, but Roger didn’t give it a second thought as he walked down a long corridor toward the warmest and most inviting light that he’d ever experienced.

When Eddie D. Moore isn’t playing with his grandchildren, he is driving and visiting strange new worlds via audiobooks, or he is lost in his imagination writing his own tales. Pick up a copy of Poe-ish Tales Forevermore today! You’ll be glad you did if you can sleep tonight.

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