Black Petals Issue #92, Summer, 2020

Hell Rift

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

Hell Rift


Michael Steven

How it came to be in my

possession I am uncertain. The

origins lie beyond my memory. A

scripture held by hooded men that

chant ancient lines under open

skies lit with burning stars.

I will do as requested; I will

fulfil the needs of the black script. Ancient

tombs and broken stones lay

scattered in their eternal slumber. It is

here on the moor I will harvest and

construct the instrument of eternal nightmares.


A mound of skin and bone, bonded

through bloodline lie askew

at my feet, plucked from the

earth they slept. I sit before them

on bended knee, listening for the

secrets that they keep. They rattle

on my wooden floors, wishing

again for a chance to speak.




The black script passed from

hand to hand is now partially

translated from ancient text to

a form of broken English that seems

easy enough to navigate. It begs

me to wonder if it has been

passed about from scholar to

beggar and back again.


“Could other constructs exist?” and if so

“where and what has become of them?”

the thought comes with a chill.


The neck of the relic is

that of a spine belonging to

a devoted father while the

body of the musical instrument

consists of a small child, strung

together by the hairs of

a loving mother. The teeth and joints

act as fasteners to prevent it from

coming undone. A ghastly image

now stood before me, it

glows bone white in the darkest

of rooms it was conceived.


I gather it up in my

arms unsure of what to

make of it. My hands glide

up and down the spine

unannounced to myself they

find rhythm. My fingers form

chords and work down

the neck, the sound was indescribable.

I can only say it felt wrong

and held no place in this world.


The bone casts light

that shines on the wall

ahead of me. My hands

pick up frantic speed as

they dance along the spine. They

are no longer my own but

instead a vessel for the instrument

to speak. Fragments of macob images

flicker in and out. Ice pours from

my brow and tingles my backside. I calm

my nerves and slow my

hands until the picture regains

focus and becomes clear.


An empty throne sits surrounded

by steaming caves of fire, the more

I looked the more I saw. Panic stricken

men run, grasping at burnt earth

as beast made of man and animal

snap and pull at helpless limbs

forcing them in groups of

screaming meat. Worms crawl from

every crevice and fissure, vibrating

with every scream and act of hate.

It was pure unchecked violence.


“I could never imagine in all my life being witness to such cruelty!”


My eyes lay fixed and smoky

as the images begin to change and

dance before my very eyes. What I

saw bends and warps

the soul, such things could

not be, images so beyond the mind’s

comprehension, a blurred reality of

what could be but never

could possibly become. Empty

deserts of sand and decaying

bodies, civilizations that stood tall

now lay in dust and ruin. A

curse brought unto our own, a virus

spreading from man, woman and

child, decaying loved ones

helpless to the plague. Men speaking

to the stars asking for guidance

only to be returned with

silence, an unforgiving destiny

we walk unknowingly.


“How could I ever dream a dream so pure knowing what I know now!”


I have seen what lies beyond the

shadows of man, true selfish

greed, a hate that cannot be seen

but felt in crowds when survival

of one’s self is beyond that of others.





“Can such a thing be true?”


Are we beyond repair, are we

forever destined to walk the

line of fate that is to be human, to

burn in pits so deep simply

due to survival? What makes us so

different than beast? Do we protect

one’s own or perish to the

hands of our own kind?


“Hell is not buried deep in

The pits of the earth but exists

on the plain of man”

if so, heaven must reside among us.



Michael Steven is new to the world of writing, who has written “The Mirror” which was accepted in Feb 2020 by BP and awaiting print. As a reader Michael enjoys the occult and the strange which in turn creeps its way into his writing. He does not know where writing will take him but intends to enjoy the ride even if the road is full of potholes.

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