Black Petals Issue #92, Summer, 2020

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
BP Artist's Page
Mars-Chris Friend
Misty Page-A Game of Chess
Sean M. Carey-Chilled Bones Under Lovely Skin
Roy Dorman-Death in the Round Room, Part IV
Lael Braday-Magical Perspective
Matt Spangler-Master Smasher
Lena Abou-Khalil-The Nowhere Man
Grace Sielinski-'Port
Gavin McGarvey-The Black Petals
Marc Dickerson-Theater is Dead
C. S. Harbold-The Whispering
Dean Patrick-Vincent's Warning
Doug Park-We Get Him Together
Joseph Hurtgen-Worlds to Conquer
Mickie Bolling-Burke-The Bringer of Darkness
Aaron Hicks-The Last Days
Cindy Rosmus-Out of Juice
Matthew Wilson-Endless Men's Hate
Michael Steven-Hell Rift
Sean Goulding-Hypnagogic
David C. Kopaska-Merkel-In the Land of Giants
Loris John Fazio-The Thing in the Woods
Loris John Fazio-The Beggar Knows
Richard Stevenson-Peg Leg
Richard Stevenson-The Alkali Lake Monster
Richard Stevenson-The Green Man





Hi there, Earthlings! Like everyone else I’m stuck at home in an attempt to avoid the Coronavirus. It’s like a science fiction horror film with abandoned streets and people hiding away from the “monster”.


One of my favorite books has to be Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and I especially like the darker stuff. A certain type borders on being true horror. The story is usually about a farmer or a shepherd who fashions a musical instrument from bone that sings a tune which identifies a murder victim and/or murderer.

In one version, simply known as “The Singing Bone,” the king of a mythical kingdom offers up his daughter’s hand to anyone who can kill a wild boar that is terrorizing the land. Two brothers set out to kill the boar, knowing that whoever gets to it first wins the princess’ hand. When one of the brothers kills the raging boar, the other becomes so jealous that he murders his sibling. He takes the carcass of the boar to the king and gains the hand of the daughter. Years later a young shepherd is trying to catch a lamb and wanders into the forest. He trips on a bone sticking out of a shallow grave. He takes the bone and fashions it into a flute, which, when played, sings about the young man’s murder. The shepherd takes the flute to the king, thus revealing his son-in-law as the killer, who is then executed, and the hand of the princess given to the shepherd as a reward.

Another version is the familiar tale of “The Juniper Tree.” This definitely is a fairy tale that is a horror story as well. In this case it involves the remains of a murdered child buried under a juniper tree. A small bird rises up out of the grave to sing of the murderer’s guilt. This gets back to the king, who has the murderer executed for his crime. Another variation is a jealous sister who murders her sibling, only to be revealed as guilty by the Singing Bone.


As a big fan of Tim Burton I would love to see him direct a version of “Something Wicked this Way Comes.” Now I realize that Disney did a version with Johnathan Pryce in the original. But consider a stop-motion version with Johnny Depp doing the voice of the carnival barker (who may also be the very the devil himself), filmed in expressionistic black and white, splashed with red-orange. Think of the imaginative visuals that Tim Burton could come up with...

Ah, summertime on Mars—happy, joyous revelry!

Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va , who wrote BP #91 Poems, “Land of Big Teeth” & “Possessed” (+ BP’s fall 2018 poems, “Demons Play Flutes” & “Purdy Picture”; BP #84’s poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of Mithra”; the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft, “Beauty’s Sleep,” & “Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].


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