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

Cindy Rosmus: Bruja

Art by Bernice Holtzman 2022





Cindy Rosmus




          “Shhh,” Jessie said. “Someone might hear you, baby.”

          For spite, Hector rattled the keys louder. “I live here, don’t I?”

          Not for much longer, Jessie thought, smiling. Soon he’d be all hers. No more bruja wife, in their way. A pit stop here, to get all his shit, and they’d be off.

           His key didn’t work. “What the . . .” he said.

          Jessie got closer. “You don’t think . . .”

          “She changed the locks? Bitch knows better.”

          Jessie shivered, deliciously. What a temper! Hector was a bad boy who never grew up. Lean, and mean, with a dick that just never quit! Like, on their way over here…

          Shocked, Hector stared at the locked door.

          Suddenly he attacked it, fists pounding, like he’d break it down.

          “Hector!” Jessie said. But, as early as it was, no neighbors came out.

          The door opened by itself.

          He shook off her arm, pulled out his cell.

Inside the apartment, the phone rang once, twice. Six times, before voice mail picked up. Liliana, the bruja wife.

Jessie cringed. Hearing that voice—even on a machine—made her so jealous.

 “Liliana is a witch,” Hector had told Jessie. “With a witch’s cat. Bruja, its name is.” He shuddered. “My wife’s into weird shit. Claims she put a love spell on me.”

“Did she?”

“Fuck, no!” He seemed amused. “Hot as she is?”

Jessie really hated her, now.

“But she makes shit happen.” Hector actually looked scared. “Says she can send her . . . soul . . . all over.”

Jessie felt a chill.

“And that cat . . .” Hector shook his head. “Sometimes . . . she says they switch places.”

Right now, Jessie wasn’t thinking about cats, or spells. She wanted him inside, packing his stuff. His, and anything of that witchy wife’s worth hocking.

Instead, he was calling her. Sweat beaded on his face as he waited for an answer. “She should be at work.”

Jessie shoved the door open, and went inside. Hector lagged behind.

What a sty. Like someone had already ransacked it and walked off with the good stuff.  But . . . “It always looks this way,” he said.

On the wall was a framed photo . . . of them.

Jessie stiffened. Hector’s smirk said he wished he were with Jessie. But Liliana looked like she had Hector wrapped. A bottled blonde, she was, but beautiful, green-eyed. Sensual enough to keep the man she loved. Her smug half-smile said she had it all.

 Love spell, my ass, Jessie thought.

On the living room windowsill, the cat lounged.

“Stay away from her,” Hector warned, on his way into the bedroom.

“She might scratch?” Jessie said, but he didn’t hear her.

The cat was a gray and white, long-haired, with green eyes that held Jessie’s. Its mouth looked crooked, unlike your typical cat’s. Even from across the room, Bruja’s expression intrigued her.

Jessie had never been a cat-person. She didn’t even like kittens.  But there was something special about this one that made her creep closer. Despite Hector’s warning, Jessie was dying to pet it.

Timidly, she reached out.

They were face-to-face when she realized why Bruja was special. Bruja had Liliana’s smug half-smile.

But Bruja’s vanished.




Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife and talks like Anybodys from West Side Story. Her noir/horror/bizarro stories have been published in the coolest places, such as Shotgun Honey; Megazine; Dark Dossier; Horror, Sleaze, Trash; and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of Yellow Mama and the art director of Black Petals. Her seventh collection of short stories, Backwards: Growing Up Catholic, and Weird, in the 60s (Hekate Publishing), is out, now! Cindy is a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate. 

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