Black Petals Issue #101 Autumn, 2022

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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

Cindy Rosmus: The Cookie Crumbles

bp_101_cookiecrumbles_amr.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2022

THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

 

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

          A gift? Nah, it’s more like a curse. And different people get different type signs.

Like Mrs. Hinckley, my old neighbor, used to see rain in front of your face. Yeah, rain. If you were the one, she’d see streams of water coming down, so she could hardly make out your features. And real soon, you’d be. . . .

Some people smell flowers, like at a funeral. Lilies, I guess.

But me . . . I don’t know anybody else who smells what I do.

Years back, it started, when I was a freshman in high school. The week before my brother was supposed to graduate.

You know, Vinnie. Who was more like a sister than a brother. Always whining, and depressed about stuff. This time it was graduation.

It was this unusually hot, humid June night.

I’d sniffed the air. “Hey Mom . . .” I said. “Are you baking? In this heat?” We had no a/c, back then.

“Baking?” Mom laughed, hoarsely. “You crazy? I’m doing my hair. It’s Saturday night.” A whoosh of hairspray, but I couldn’t smell that.

Cookies, I smelled. Mmmmmm . . . Chocolate chip, or . . . oatmeal? They smelled so good. . . .

At least, in my head.

I’d checked the oven, and it was cold.

Oversized cookies, with burnt edges, I pictured. But inside them, maggots squirmed.

I gagged. Hunger had turned to nausea, fast.

Where had that come from?

“Mom . . .” I said.

Please don’t go out, I thought. It’s raining. Roads are slick.

“What?” she said, through a Virginia Slim. Those long, skinny cigarettes she loved more than Vinnie and me.

“Nothing.”

Cancer, I feared. Tonight, more than ever. What was it about this night? Why couldn’t I shake this feeling?

The smell of cookies was stronger, now. Like they’d come fresh out of that cold, dead oven.

It took Mom forever to get ready. Finally, she grabbed her purse and keys. “Sandy,” she said. “Where’s your brother?”

He’d been gone since supper. In the kitchen, he’d split up his chicken salad with the fork but hadn’t taken one bite. That glazed look was in his eyes, like he saw far beyond what most kids saw.

 Vinnie.

In my mind, I saw him, upstairs: eyes bulging, stretched neck bloated and purple, swinging from a homemade noose.

“Mom!” I screamed.

Maybe she saw it, too. One look, and she raced upstairs, dropping her purse on the way. The can of hairspray fell out, clunked down the stairs.

I was frozen. She threw open Vinnie’s door and wailed. I sunk down to the floor.

And the smell of cookies finally went away.

It came back, naturally, when the cancer ate up Mom’s liver and brain. That one lung was just a midnight snack.

In college, I was caught off-guard. Winter nights, most of us hit the diner for hot cocoa and pastries. But on our floor, some chicks baked for the hell of it.

I smelled cookies long after our dorm burned down. . . .

And my husband was shot. I could go on.

Nah, enough of this. Thanks for the coffee. Next time, it’s on me.

We can share one of those rich, chocolately croissants.

No? Well, whatever they are, they smell really, really good.

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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