Black Petals Issue #100 Summer, 2022

Editor's Page
Mars-Chris Friend
BP Artists and Illustrators
Baby, You're the Best: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Darkest Day:Fiction by Richard Brown
They Feed on Light:Fiction by Kilmo
Step Eight: Fiction by Paul Lubaczewski
Reunion:Fiction by Gene Lass
Highwayman's Trousers:Fiction by Michael W. Clark
The Dutiful Hit:Fiction by Jay Flynn
Flight of Fantasy: Fiction by Martin Taulbut
He Asked Me to Do It: Fiction by R. A. Cathcart
Lagniappe: Fiction by Michael Stoll
No Spark, No Flame: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Bathroom Light: Fiction by Craig Shay
Dave Jenkins, Flayed: Flash Fiction by Brian Barnett
Beauty Sleep: Flash Fiction by Simeon Care
Head Games: Flash Fiction by Philip Perry
Hurry Home: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
You'll See, She Said: Flash Fiction by Robb White
Captain Yeah-Way: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Attic Notes: Poem by Michael S. Love
Exit Strategy: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
You Can Pretend: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Gold Star: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Conflict of Interest: Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Recording: Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Litha: Poem by Christopher Friend
Sleeping Beauty: Poem by Christopher Friend
It Began with Violence: Poem by Donna Dallas
Rocking Zebra Déjà vu: Poem by Donna Dallas
Circle: Poem by Donna Dallas
Love is a Ghost: Poem by Donna Dallas
Together: Poem by A. N. Rose
Silence: Poem by A. N. Rose
Dead at 21: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
House Centipede: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen

Philip Perry: Head Games

Art by Michael D. Davis © 2022

Head Games


Philip Perry


          Elizabeth was the first cyborg to survive a head transplantation on my workbench. And of course, she was mute, a damn atrocity. I tried creating a companion the old fashion way, but a jigsaw corpse wasn’t to my liking. Instead, I kept her simple—a decaying bust displayed on my kitchen counter.

          A series of power couplings circled her corroded neck like a BDSM collar and connected to an optical fiber which ran up her hollowed-out jugular cavity and into the brain. I didn’t have a power source strong enough to keep her neurons firing so I plugged her into my smart-home’s motherboard CPU. It was quite ingenious, really—she learned to communicate through the Ethernet.

          We talked to no end—me asking questions and her dimming the lights in response. When I made her mad, the lights would flicker or turn completely off. Sometimes, she changed the channels on the television to reflect her mood. It was like having a best friend—something I’d never had before.

          Though she kept me great company, I couldn’t get over her eyes, her lifeless, clouded eyes which drooped past her eye-sockets—following me everywhere. When I went about the house, I could hear her neck cracking like a glow stick as she tracked my every move. Even when I went out into the garden, there she was festering in the window—her head turned 180 degrees to view me. When I tried to sleep at night, her deadpan face was always there, branded into my mind.

          One morning, I couldn’t take it anymore and I made her wear sunglasses. She didn’t mind though, it allowed her to experience fashion again. The lenses covered her eyes well but not her deteriorating flesh. When I created her, I thought she would stop decomposing, but I was wrong. It wasn’t long before I had to drape a towel over her head to mask the rotting stench. The towel only made her angry.

          She terrorized me during the night with the garbage disposal turning on and off. I thought it was just a temper tantrum, but she took it much farther than that. She tried scalding me in the shower and when that wasn’t enough, she turned off all the water in the house completely. I tried to leave but she had control over the electric padlock—keeping me imprisoned in my own home. With the heat all the way up and my body aching for fluids, I grabbed the meat cleaver from the knife block and went to her. With one heavy swing, I chopped through her wiring. It gave me a nasty shock, sending me to the ground. It must have shocked Elizabeth as well because her head rolled off the counter and landed splat on the tile.

          The central heat clicked off and the padlock on the front door beeped open. I didn’t have to look to know Elizabeth had the same lifeless look as she did before.


Philip is an MFA fiction candidate at New Mexico State University and hosts the Nelson Boswell Reading Series. He has been published in the Straylight Literary Magazine, Inwood Indiana Press, and the Peaceful Dumpling.

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