Black Petals Issue #102, Winter, 2023

Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Betterment Day: Fiction by Malik Mandeville
Bridget Magnus: Fiction by Dean Patrick
Cemetery Road: Fiction by Richard Brown
I Quit: Fiction by Michael Stoll
Ivory Tower: Fiction by Aron Reinhold
Letter from a Poison Pen Pal: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Neck of the Woods: Fiction by Harris Coverley
No Angels: Fiction by Kilmo
It's A Dry Heat: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Requited Love: Fiction by Travis Mushanski
Stuck in Transit: Fiction by Michael Woods
Cold Yearning: Flash Fiction by Kat Sandefer
I Married a Zombie: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Snack Time: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Boy Who Loved Bolt: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
The Cutting Room: Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
Dirty Blue Bandana: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Bidee Bodee, Bidee Beaux: Poem by Thomas Fischer
Blood of Whitechapel: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Rotten to the Core: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Seque into Shadows: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Sensitivity to Light: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Boo Hag: Poem by Richard Stevenson
Paranormal Parasites: Poem by Richard Stevenson
Huggin Molly: Poem by Richard Stevenson
In the Morgue of Memory: Poem by Hillary Lyon
Unexpected Culinary Opportunity: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
OI (Oo-ee): Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Plant Eater Gone Carnivorous: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
They Shouldn't Be There: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
The Needle Spins: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Cold: Poem by Rp Verlaine
The Sleepwalker: Poem by Rp Verlaine

Karen Schauber: The Cutting Room

Art by Bernice Holtzman 2023

The Cutting Room

Karen Schauber


Maudine can’t leave good enough alone. She picks at the wound until a generous mixture of blood and pus oozes out. The perimeter has enlarged two-fold and is now festering something awful, a putrid mustard stink. 

As she works meticulously to peel back the inflamed skin flap, her lips purse tight keeping the screams locked inside. The excruciating pain does not tear her away. Increasingly light-headed, she takes pause every few seconds to catch her breath, and to savour the accompanying relief. Soon she feels nothing at all.

Maudine detaches from her surroundings. She is unaware of the passing of time, the passing of her young life. Hovering out of body, she is oblivious to the approaching footsteps outside the bedroom. Jerome bent on confrontation, his engorged tatts pulsating through a soiled, buff, tank, lurks around the corner. He bursts into the room yelling at her to cut it out, threatening that he’ll tie her hands down if she cannot control herself. Maudine cowers. ‘He’s a miserable shit. Doesn’t know when to mind his own business.' Her gut clenches in a vice grip holding back vomit and rage. She swallows it whole. 

Ignoring a faint reminder of life that once held promise, she follows the dark voice inside that pulls her beneath the surface. Maudine burrows deeper into the gaping hole until her nails hit bone. The pain is acute and arresting, a welcome distraction from her pathetic life. 


“The Cutting Room” by Karen Schauber originally appeared in Blood Puddles: Night Terrors and Daymares, Volume 1, published in May 2018 by Scribbler’s Press.



Karen Schauber's flash fiction appears in seventy-five international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies. including Bending Genres, Cabinet of Heed, Cease Cows, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, New World Writing, Spelk; with three “Best Microfiction” nominations. She is editor of the award-winning flash fiction anthology “The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings” (Heritage House, 2019). Schauber curates Vancouver Flash Fiction, an online resource hub, and Miramichi Flash, a monthly literary column. In her spare time, she is a seasoned family therapist.