Black Petals Issue #101 Autumn, 2022

Editor's Page
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
BP Artists and Illustrators
Dig Deep, the Therapist Said: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Dinner Club: Fiction by Mark Jabaut
God of the Winds: Fiction by Scáth Beorh
Head Pot: Fiction by Spencer Harrington
His Deadly Muse: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Patrick Hatrick: Fiction by Bruce Costello
Squawking Chimes: Fiction by Robert Pettus
The Courier: Fiction by Billie Owens
The Midnight Sonata: Fiction by David Hopewell
The Wolves are Coming: Fiction by Mauri Orr Stone
Abduction: Flash Fiction by Laura Nettles
I'm Your Garlic:Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Ho/Ma:i - (Ho-maaa-ee): Flash Fiction by Rani Jayakumar
Mona Wants to Die, but She Lets the Weather Decide:Flash Fiction by Riham Adly
The Cookie Crumbles: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Right Knife: Flash Fiction by David Barber
A Devilish Matter of Disinvitation: Poem by Carl E. Reed
Abhor the Light!: Poem by Carl E. Reed
Shadow House-A Writer's Retreat: Poem by Carl E. Reed
Accursed Personae: Three excerpted Poems by Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler
Remember When We Watched "Kill Bill" Together: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
I Die, You Die: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Northbound Train: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
The Haunted Liquor Cabinet: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
The Candlelight Killer: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Wooden Soldiers: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Curse of Verse: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
When a Star Dies: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker

Scáth Beorh: God of the Winds

Art by John Sowder © 2022

God of the Winds


Scáth Beorh





The world is a predator, yet some places prove friendlier than others. Ireland, for instance, with all of its bloodshed and sorrows, brings a comfort in its woesome gales that I have found the American West to never afford. The lords of the two lands do not know one another, both rising from the places they serve, and remaining constant in their arenas. The kings of Ireland (a green place of wet terror) are made cordial through humble service to the land and its people. The mesa lords of northern New Mexico rage fierce, and dry, and require an affronting ferocity to appease them —if such strength is available. I was in no way prepared for that which would unfold as these arid rulers took fresh lie of their mesas, discovered me, and set forth to challenge my white-man presence.

  I had temporarily relocated from my home in the Hollywood Hills to Mora, New Mexico, in an effort to escape a vampiric relationship where I had become the selfish aggressor —and to study the spiritual practices of the ‘Greasy Eye Cavities of the Skull’ clan of Hopi; the extinct Wikurswungwa. I arrived at my rented log house the day after Halloween. Snow had already come —intermittently, but heavy and wet when it fell.

  Mora is not particularly known better than any other place for Hopi shamanism. It is, however, one of the more silent places of the North American continent, where bloodshed cries out in its meek way still, but the whir and stir of humanity is altogether absent. This is the land of the ‘mesas verde’ —the great, green tables of land once mountains in times not remembered. An unparalleled climate for sustained academic research, and potential healing of the heart and mind.

  ‘Here today, gone to Mora,’ I said to no one as I popped the lock on the heavy front door of the house and entered the main room that smelled of cinnamon and pine. I laughed at myself, then said the phrase again as I rolled the ‘r,’ and adopted it as my motto. I soon had the hearth roaring and inviting, a cast iron pot of curried lentils bubbling away on the woodburning stove, a pan of biscuits in the oven, and a pot of coffee percolating away.



  After an adventurous couple of days exploring the surrounds and a restful third night’s sleep, I arose at dawn, dressed in warm clothing, and hiked the five miles to the abandoned monastery where the bravest of the Spanish monks had crucified themselves in the attempt to make the Hopi and other local natives understand their message of salvation via the ‘pouring out’ of Jesus on the Cross. During this épouvante, if you will, hundreds of Indians were baptized into the Faith. Because of such a response, it was thought that the monks were being effective in the sharing of their religion —until it was discovered, some years later, that the long-awaited Hopi savior, Bahana, comparable to the Aztec Ehécatl, was a crucified sun-god who had required no human sacrifice to him —and that many of the Indians believed the monks to be emissaries of their beloved god. Nevertheless, the Catholic authorities had the monks continue with their missionary work, heathen salvation not the actual goal of the Church by and large, but power through land and populace ownership —and of course the discovery and taking of gold. The natives made good, humble slaves in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. But who wins in the long run: humility or arrogance? Ask the turtle and the hare. 



  It began with the chimney swifts. I noticed them flocking in unusual numbers to the ranch. At the same time, blustery currents of air, warmer than the usual November temperatures of this area, commenced. I knew, though, that these chinooks were animated with something more than air currents.

  After the winds began in earnest, at night I would recline on a couch near the fireplace, done with my studies for the day, and listen to them howling down from the nearest mesa like feral creatures on the hunt. Too often I allowed myself to fall beneath their enchantment, and became so unnerved that warm sweet milk infused with valerian extract was all that would calm me.

  I began to find glassy-eyed bodies of the swifts, untouched by hawks and unmolested by beetles and other scavengers, their wings fully outstretched. There were dead swifts by the river, and scattered around the barn garret, behind the house near the generator, inside the outhouse, and, yes, in the chimney (when suddenly the flue wasn’t working properly). Each bird died in the shape of a cross, with a worm in its mouth —the international icon of the sun-god —the eagle with the serpent in its beak.

  One crisp morning, just after a new snow, I fueled up on ‘cowboy coffee’ and rock-hopped across the greenish-clear river to get a better look at an ancient juniper that clawed the sky like a severed hand. There is something about the way the piñon-juniper landscape smells after is has been moistened. It awakens —all the conifers and red earth brought to life by water. ‘Zesty’ might best describe it, like sea spray or sitting by a waterfall —a secret of the high desert only unlocked by a rain or wet snow.

  When I stepped from the river into the fresh snowfall, with no warning my legs turned to rubber, and breathing became difficult, as if the wind had been knocked out of me. The brisk, sunny day quickly became overcast as if gargantuan fingers covered the sky, and the Mesa Kings, who had previously come with their most forcible antics after dusk, began to roar down from the heights with such velocity that I was forced to lean into them to stay upright.

  As I fought for balance with my newborn legs, fallow earth that surrounded the ancient juniper began to rupture and push upward, shifting and swirling in little tornadoes that formed a maelstrom of stinging sand, snow, and natural debris. Then, from the loosened, flying dirt emerged carrion talons, and human digits, and undersea feelers, and waving insect antennae. Breaking the surface of the land, around and around the juniper as if swimming, or drowning, moved creatures dead and dying, and things of bone —all howling like starving felines as they swam. The lacerated heads of those that still wore flesh oozed, open and raw —and as they moved in a rapidly increasing diameter, they reached for my feet with their appendages.

  One gruesome humanoid, who smelled of rotten meat and trailed a matted, black mane behind him, leered at me with yellow lemur eyes as he passed. I was struck by his evil gaze as if by a heavy fist, crumbled, and went down. I was then yanked into the hideous multitude by a corvusian deathling that swam behind my evil-eye assailant.

  Fire and ice tore into my right kidney, and then my left, soon filling my flanks with molten agony. Feeling as if I were being torn asunder by the monsters that were now punctured children, now quivering hags in their death throes, now snapping giant reptiles, now humongous eels of some prehistoric swamp, I writhed and screamed and kicked, but my aggression only caused more of them to swarm toward me, grab me with claws and hands and mouths and pull me down into the cold, disturbed earth. My mouth filled up with sand, and with gore from some unknown source. I choked, then purged. The lemur-eyed thing mounted me then, gyrating like a Yahoo as we bathed in the whirling charnel. The undulating ground then opened utterly, and I plummeted with those odious ministers of horror into a dank pitch blackness.



  I awoke dazed. As I held my throbbing head, I saw that I lay alone in a room of indiscernible size, as the place was illuminated by one candle set in an earthenware dish three paces away. Panicking, I checked myself over to see how badly I had been clawed and bitten. My fingers pushed into a thick death-smelling seepage that I knew was not my own. I gagged. Relieved that my unwanted companions had deserted me, I pulled myself to my feet, stumbled, took up the candle, and began a slow exploration.

  I had not crept far into the gloom when I knew that I was, indeed, underground. Twisted tree roots pushing down from above decorated the walls like heathen serpentine icons. Water dripping from them formed intricate webbing designs as it trailed to the floor and away into the blackness. Was I in a kiva of some sort? Though not as cleanly designed as those I had witnessed before, soon enough I saw that the place was something akin to the kiva—the underground ceremonial room of the Hopi—for to my right I discovered a wooden table whereupon three kachina dolls had been displayed:  a Wiharu, a Soyoko, and a Nata-aska. Oddly enough, this display disturbed me as deeply as had my convulsions beneath the juniper, for these are the dreaded evil spirits of the Hopi.

  Taaqa!’ a deep male voice barked.

  I jumped backward, inadvertently dropping my candle. My spine iced over. I could see nothing —not even my hand which I brought up only centimeters from my eyes.


  The voice was addressing me in Hopi, as ‘man.’


  ‘I —I don’t speak —I—’


  ‘I don’t speak fluent Hopi —I maybe should, but I—’

  ‘Well you speak something, you filthy dog!’

  I clamored sideways, searching for where the root-covered wall to my left had been. It was not where I remembered. I fell, cracking my wrist on the solid clay floor. The pain was excruciating. I knew I had fractured my arm.

  Taaqa. Welcome to Flesh-House.’

  I froze, not knowing how to answer the voice. I patted the immediate area for my candle, but it was gone. I then felt something warm, and wet, and reached around me to see what I had fallen into. I didn’t know until I lifted my fingers to my face. The metallic scent of menstrual blood.

  I rolled away, only to thump against something solid, yet soft. Knowing intuitively what I had hit, I screamed, and as I did so, as if my voice were some kind of light switch, a yellow glow interrupted the darkness, and I saw my verbal assailant: a powerful man with the head of a coyote.

  I screeched like a child on a playground. Survival instinct alive and electric, I threw myself behind the dead body. No. Could it be? At first I saw it to be Maria, the woman I had left in Hollywood, her large violet eyes unmistakable. She was bloodless and dying, and beckoning to me with her full lips, yet no sound came from them. Then I saw the corpse to be a beautiful Indian girl who had been tortured by having her hands cut off. Or had they been gnawed away? I could not tell. I wretched my breakfast over her shoulder and long raven hair, wiped it away from her face, told her I was sorry, and collapsed, hanging over her waist, spent and laughing. I laughed so hard. I laughed, and then I wept, and then I laughed again. A voice from inside me said I was losing my mind, but I didn’t care. The scene was horribly hilarious; deliciously demented.

  Then my thoughts turned even further downward. Should I strip the girl and gloat upon her obvious loveliness? Should I penetrate her (with my abrupt, throbbing erection) and so give my soul fully to all that is debased in the world? Should I then eat her after our thanatophilia? Bite off her nipples? Chew at her pudendum filled with my salty gift? I didn’t know. It all seemed so wonderfully perverse —as if evil had always been a position of revelry and fun, but only for a select few, those chosen to be initiated into its delightful secrets. I climbed upon the girl and pushed on her solar plexus. She expectorated blood, which I kissed away from her before I roared horrified, a madman now. A lunatic. I lay there thrilled, and revolted, terrified and blissful. I felt my core temperature cooling, my body shaking. I was freezing to death. I was dying. In Hell.

  ‘Leave the girl, taaqa,’ the coyote-man said as he blinked sightless grey eyes. ‘Leave her, or do your desires, you foul thing. This is Flesh-House. Your will is your command.’

  My will is my command? What did he mean?

  ‘Frig the girl, flay the girl, or flee the girl.’ The monstrosity ambled over, took one of her stumps in his hands, pushed it between his lips, and sucked. ‘This is Flesh-House. Your will is your command. Get up. Stop being so indulgent, or you’ll die where you lay, taaqa.’

  Of a sudden I was sane again, or so I thought. I knew that I felt warm again. I stood, the coyote-man turned, and we walked together toward the source of the egg-yellow light.



  I awoke in my bed crying out for Maria, wet with sweat though the night outside had grown frigid.

  ‘God, what a nightmare!’

  All day long I was disturbed by the infernal vision that remained fresh in my memory. As before, valerian root in sweetened milk was the only thing I found to sufficiently calm me for sleep again that night.



  ‘You’ve returned, my fiend,’ greeted the coyote monster. ‘This is good. Let us continue our walk, will we?’

  I screamed, thrashed about in my bed, and clawed at my eyes, trying to gouge them out.

  ‘You silly little taaqa. Believing sightlessness to be a deterrent to your horror. Keep your eyesight. You are already damned. This is Flesh-House. Follow me.’

  I followed the beast, who moved as if sighted. As we walked, he somehow became the dead girl. I felt ashamed, and held back. She sought to gather me to her, to help me along, but her bleeding stumps could only grab me like kitchen tongs. I pulled away from her, mewing like a kitten, which only further shamed me. She held me tighter, yanking me toward her. She then kissed the corner of my mouth, her pretty upturned nose brushing mine, her black eyes wet and shining.

  ‘You are mortified by your base thoughts toward me?’

  ‘Yes, Maria,’ I replied, but I knew she wasn’t Maria.

  ‘Have power over your own mind. You are its chief. Ready yourself now. We enter the Hall of Pleasures.’

  We squeezed through a slimy stone passage allowing us only to turn sideways as we went, the girl ahead of me. I found that I had hold of the long braid she now wore —like Maria had worn. As I tugged, she moaned as if in great pleasure. Though I fought it, I again became aroused, and imagined her doing things to me with her stubs.

  ‘You have an iniquitous soul,’ she said as we pushed through the tight corridor. ‘You would sleep with your own mother and beg her to call you Daddy.’

  I said nothing in reply, but flushed with shame and went rigid with disgust and anger. I shut my eyes against the fresh knowledge of my deviant lechery. When I opened them again, we were in a room which reminded me of a hospital ward, but the beds were stone slabs carved with deep blood-catches and serpentine drains, like those found at Peruvian Wari sacrificial sites.

  ‘What is this place?’ I heard myself ask. The Indian girl pushed a bleeding limb to my lips and held it there until I vomited. As I wiped my mouth on my shirtsleeve, before us, on the dozen tables, there appeared apparitions of sacrifice victims. I turned to the girl, questioning this scene. I wish I had not, for behind her loomed a coven of translucent, hollow-eyed things.

  ‘Who—’ was all I could say. She turned.

  ‘Oh. Those are the Old Seers. Or, what your Irish ancestors called druids. They are the most potent humans on Earth. Or at least they were. Their abode is the Hall of Pleasures, and from here they move outward, to usurp energy from those unaware. Their time of gleaning is dusk. Only the grace-covered warrior can defeat them.’

  Forgetting—or not caring—that my guide was hideous with her hands torn off, or even that she was dead, I pulled close to her. Hot tears streamed down my face.

  ‘The Old Seers will not harm you while I am here,’ she soothed. ‘Look.’ She pointed a ragged wrist toward the row of slabs.

  I turned away from the looming druids or seers or whatever they were, and as I watched on, the vague shapes of sacrifice victims took on bone, and then flesh, and soon lay whole and shuddering in the cold of the evil hall, as it were.

  Then from plant roots that crawled down the walls slithered black vipers that, as they dropped to the floor, morphed into nude male priests who wielded obsidian knives. Nodding to me as if I were somehow part of their ceremony, each of them then climbed upon the slab and penetrated his prey with his engorged equine-sized phallus. I stood aghast, unable to turn away from the debauchery as the orgy reached a heightened frenzy. The moment each pair climaxed together, the priest plunged his knife into the abdomen of his prone partner, twisted it, and laid his mouth upon that of his victim —I assume in order to catch all of the escaping life essence.

  ‘Hide your face, you whore!’ the girl barked at me.

  I did as I was told. When I looked again, we were in a new place.

  ‘This is the Room of Idiots, taaqa. You should feel welcome here.’

  My face must have revealed my fury at her words.

  ‘Ah, I see.’ She walked to a low wooden bench and with her mouth lifted from it a cat-o’-nine-tails made of black leather and pieces of jagged stone. She then slid out of her bloody buckskin dress, spread her legs in a wide horse-stance, and pushed the long leather handle deep into her dewy genitals.

  ‘Don’t you want to pleasure me? Come here, big white man what studies our culture like a big hero but speaks no Hopi. Don’t you want to make me scream, big man? Don’t you want to eat me? You thought you wanted to eat me. You sucked my blood. Didn’t you like my taste? You disappoint me, big boy. I bet your tuber spurts good, yellow milk. Am I right? Why don’t you come over here and show me. Push your big tuber up inside my hot oven, hero-man. I bake it good for you.’

  I was on my knees, hiding my face in pure humiliation, every inch of me flaccid and trembling. The first sting of her whip was like ice, followed by fire. I bellowed, but could not move. I wondered how she was holding the lash whose fiery tails came down again, and again, and again. She had soon flayed my back to rags, and I knew that if I did not escape her, she would kill me. The scent of my visceral fluids wafted around the room.

  ‘Enough, wùuti,’ I heard a familiar voice say, and peering up through my own blood I saw the coyote-man enter the room. Removing his red phrygian cap and tossing it aside with an air of carelessness, he retrieved the whip from the girl, who had somehow tied it to her wrist. She dressed again in her gruesome clothes, walked over to me and, sliding her gory arms beneath mine, lifted me to my feet. I felt no more pain, and realized that I had not been hurt in the least. My torture had been some kind of cruel psychosomatic illusion.

  An arduous trek of a quarter mile or more through the blackness of yet another narrow passageway (with the terrible, coyote-thing following close behind me) led us to a gargantuan door that opened onto an ancient sports arena. As we stepped out into the night air, the winds with which I was now so familiar roared all around us, and seemingly through us.

  Dios de los Vientos,’ the blind creature explained. I quaked. ‘God of the Winds.’

  ‘He has come for you, taaqa,’ the wùuti said, wùuti meaning woman. ‘He does not like your spirit, and he has come to kill you. Es la Casa del Aire y tu no eres bienvenido.’

  ‘The —God of the Winds? I —am not welcome in his House of Air?’ I asked, my voice feeble, shaking. For an answer, I received from the coyote a cutting blow across my face.

  ‘Damn you!’ I screamed as blood and saliva filled my mouth.

  ‘Damn me? Oh, taaqa. You are so full of pride I fear you are lost forever. Damn me, he says, wùuti.’ He laughed. And the girl laughed with him, and coughed, and spat phlegm at me, and laughed again, her eyes widening in an insane glee, her tongue rolling and undulating in her once-pretty mouth.

  ‘Jesus Christ!’ I cried.

  ‘You think the Christ can save you now, taaqa? Yes, he could save you, if you knew him as you claim to. But you have no god save yourself, though your mind spins with delicious religious head knowledge. You are a lazy academic buffoon.’

  ‘How much —how many more of your insults do you think I will take?’ I asked, finding strength to step away from the sadistic duo, preparing to run.

  ‘Where will you run to, little man?’ the Indian girl asked me. ‘You cannot run from Bahana. Your first ancestors Adam and Eve tried to run from him; your Simon Peter tried to run from him; many have tried to run from Bahana. None is ever successful. None.’

  Bahana swept down into the outdoor arena where we stood with a ferocity causing his antics at the ranch to seem as if they had been light breezes. The skies above us revealed themselves to be a deep indigo each time lightning flashed and crackled. The coyote-man was gone. I was left with the handless girl, and for some reason, this frightened me to the core of my being. I fell where I stood, and was blown over to my side, my broken wrist pinned beneath me, making my arm explode with electric agony.

  The girl walked forward a pace, turned, and faced me. Blood dribbled from her lips. ‘I will always love you,’ she said. Maria’s last words to me.

  The God of the Winds then manifested himself in human form, and what little sanity I had left escaped me for a season.








Scáth Beorh is a writer and editor who helms the publishing endeavor Twelve House Books. He avoids the all-too-common venom of nihilism while telling stories permeated with themes of violence, brutality, anguish, punishment, fabulism, and blurred lines between this and the afterlife. Sometimes veiled and at times more overt sarcasm about Christian values and moral inconsistencies underline a calculated design behind his entertaining tales. More can be found via

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