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Phantom Pain-Fiction by Phillip Thompson
I'm a Fat Policeman-Fiction by William Kitcher
The Mass-Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Circle Quirk-Fiction by John J. Dillon
Every Night I Tell Him-Fiction by Bobby Mathews
Closure-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
All That Glitters-Fiction by Bruce Harris
Klepto-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Big Nasty-Fiction by J. B. Stevens
Pendelton Products, Inc.-Fiction by Michael Dority
The Apprentice Thug-Fiction by A. Kanach
The Invitation-Fiction by Michael Steven
Your Time is My Time-Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Charity Begins at Home-Fiction by David Hagerty
Stay on the Path-Flash Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
Killer's E-Mail-Flash Fiction by Andrew Ricchiuti
The Family Business-Flash Fiction by James Blakey
Weird Reasons to Be Grateful-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
The Disappearance of Snethen-Poem by Daniel Snethen
Boom FM-Poem by Mark Young
Dwindling Knight-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Landlord-Poem by Michael Keshigian
A Day-Poem by Marc Carver
Idiotka-Poem by Marc Carver
Kent Railway Station-Poem by John Doyle
Jennifer-Poem by John Doyle
The Door in the Old House in Bizarro County-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Season of the Apocalypse-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Boy in a Graveyard-Poem by John Grey
Poem by the ManWho was Shot by His Wife-Poem by John Grey
The House on Wellington Court-Poem by John Grey
Close Your Eyes-Christopher Hivner
Say My Name-Poem by Christopher Hivner
When the Sun Turns to Sorcery-Poem by Christopher Hivner
Fading Twilight Sky-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Landlocked in Dry Dock-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Like a Child's Drawing-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
As a Dark Shadow-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by W. Jack Savage 2021


by Daniel G. Snethen


          “You must never leave the path which leads to the apple tree and back. There is much danger waiting within the woods,” said the mother to her child.

          For four years, since he was three, the child would play along the path leading to the apple tree. Here he would pick the ripest red apple for his mother as she loved red apples and he loved his mother very much.

          One day he saw the largest, most beautiful, deepest red apple hanging barely out of reach. He jumped and jumped but could not reach it. He tried a running jump several times and barely missed the ripe apple each time. Then he picked up an apple branch lying beneath the tree. He ran and leaped and swung the apple branch and knocked the beautiful apple from the tree. He hit it with such force that it rolled off the path beneath a fig tree.

          Not wanting to lose the apple, the young boy left the path to retrieve the apple from beneath the fig tree. A tiny brown snake lurked in the dried fig leaves beneath where the red apple had rolled. When the young boy picked up the beautiful red apple for his mother, the brown serpent bit him on the hand.

          The boy ran home crying and clinging to the ripened red apple. As he ran, he cried so much that his tears flooded the bite on his hand, flushing and cleansing the wound, but the tear-fed poison moistened the outer skin of the apple and dried there, before the young man reached home.

          Not wanting to scare his mother and wanting her to be proud of her young boy, he offered her the apple without retelling her all that had happened.

When proffered the apple, his mother said, “Thank you my love, you are such a faithful and loving son. You please your mother plenty.”

And then, she ate of the apple and passed during the night, leaving her seven-year-old disobedient son an orphan, who soon starved to death, because he no longer had a mother to look after him.

          Daniel G. Snethen is the owner and publisher of Darkling Publications. He serves as vice-president of the South Dakota State Poetry Society. In May 2017, 10 pages of his poetry was anthologized in Resurrection of a Sunflower, a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh, curated by Catfish McDaris. Snethen's poetry has been published by Bear Creek Haiku; Cover of Darkness; Danse Macabre; Dark Gothic Resurrected; Haiku Journal; The Horror Zine; Miller's Pond; Pasque Petals: Thirteen Myna Birds, and several other publishers of poetry. Snethen also coaches oral interpretation of literature and Poetry Out Loud. He has qualified two high school students for the National Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington DC and has had the SD State Poetry Out Loud runner-up on two separate occasions. His favorite poet is William Blake, and his favorite poem is “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of eight books including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage (wjacksavage.com).  To date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories and over a thousand of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021