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



Richard Stevenson


Hailing from South Africa,

the Tokoloshe may be only

a foot tall, but he’s a nasty, evil

critter just the same, and loves

to catch you after you’ve

finished a full-sheep countdown,

are snoring away in the land of Nod.


That’s why it’s important to

elevate your bed by a few feet.

Park it on a stack of bricks

or put the four legs on inverted

four-gallon buckets and don’t

give him any loose blankets to grab.

He’ll climb up and bite your throat.


No preliminaries for this ‘lil beast.

He’ll start chewin’ on your dainty bits

as soon as yer dispatched and he’s

quaffed his fill of your flowing blood.

You might think you’re in a dream,

give a little yelp, maybe turn yer head,

reach up and find yer fingers wet.


Too late then.  You’ll slip from unconsciousness

right into death.  Be a husk of yourself

before morning – and he don’t suck

you dry like some well-dressed vampire.

Give you a second chance as a new recruit.

No, he’ll get at your giblets too, leave you

lookin’ like a dog’s breakfast of scraps.


The critter’s got razor sharp teeth –

a full grill full.  Will make such

short work of you, your mattress

will look like a big red cushion

or swollen elephant-size teabag

after its removed from some steeping pot.

Your belly like an empty spilled bowl.

You can climb this little ladder

to get into bed.  I’ll tuck you in

and take the ladder away.  Keep

This machete under your pillow just in case.

They’re about as bright as a five-watt bulb

when it comes to problem-solving: will

give up quickly if it can’t climb aboard.


I like to use a slippery bed cover

or keep a foot-sensitive alarm on my chest.

The slightest weight of a foot and it will

scream blue murder at the transfixed beast,

give you time to swing that machete

at the Tokoloshe’s scrawny neck if

per chance he manages to climb aboard.


I’ve sharpened the blade, so his head

should tumble off your bed to the floor.

You can just toss it in the extra bucket

I’ve left beside your bed for this purpose.

His teeth might chatter a bit before

you fall back asleep.  Don’t worry though.

He’s dead; that’s his nerves firing involuntarily.

Richard Stevenson is a retired college English and Creative Writing instructor. Taught for thirty years at Lethbridge College in southern Alberta and recently moved to Nanaimo, B.C. Has the usual pedigree: MFA in Creative Writing, thirty-five published books and a CD to his credit, including four forthcoming volumes in his Cryptid critter, ET, and Fortean lore series.

He says: That's the boring academic stuff. More interested to me is my good fortune in being able to transition from adult free verse of the lit quarterly variety to sci fi, fantasy, and horror! The new titles might give a sense of the fun I've been having, even in these Covid-19 times: _Cryptid Shindig_ (a trilogy including the volumes _If a Dolphin Had Digits_, _Nightcrawlers_, and _Radioactive Frogs_) and a stand-alone collection, _An Abominable Swamp Slob Named Bob_. :-)

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