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An Accidental Suicide-Fiction by Pamela Ebel
Dead Revival-Fiction by Vinnie Hansen
Deep-Fiction by Jon Park
Four Slugs-Fiction by C. A. Rowland
Note to Self-Fiction by Peter W. J. Hayes
Fool's Paradise-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
One-Armed and Dangerous-Fiction by Zakariah Johnson
Ray's Mistake-Fiction by Elena E.Smith
Shoplifting Lessons-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Little Jimmy's Special Days-Fiction by Tom Barker
Lorraine's Recipe-Fiction by Alison Kaiser
The Italian Job-Fiction by Joe Surkiewicz
The Gas Man-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Deep Cuts at the Inner Groove-Fiction by Jeff Esterholm
No Reason-Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
The Tourist-Flash Fiction by Max Thrax
The Rebound-Flash Fiction by Kathleen Bryson
Caveman-Flash Fiction by Ben Newell
This is Nothing. This is Nowhere. September, 2008-Poem by John Doyle
What I Expected-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Thank You-Poem by Meg Baird
She Sings the Rum Song to Me-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Whiskey at the Horseman-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Conversing With Dark Passions-Poem by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Floof-Poem by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Beyond Our Cities-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Rose-Colored Clouds-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Questioning-Poem by Scott Cumming
Running Until We Run Out-Poem by Scott Cumming
Lost Without Knowing It-Poem by Richard LeDue
Unwell-Poem by Richard LeDue
What Are You Waiting For?-Poem by Richard LeDue
All I Ask-Poem by John Grey
Gigolette-Poem by John Grey
The Grave-Robbers in the Distance-Poem by John Grey
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 Michael D. Davis 2021



by Jon Park


Mavis Brown knew her young neighbours’ marriage would not last.  Call it feminine intuition. She had never warmed to her neighbour Carol with her short skirts, high heels and hydraulic chest.   When Mavis’s husband Charlie had passed, three years ago, the hussy had turned up at his funeral wearing a skirt so short if she’d sneezed you could have checked her tonsils. No respect, Mavis had been mortified.

Carol’s husband Sam, however, was a lovely man. He reminded Mavis of Charlie, quiet and considerate. A gentle giant with puppy dog eyes.  Mavis adored him.  When Charlie passed, Sam had helped her sell his car and regularly checked in to make sure she was okay. Every Friday, he would drive Mavis to Morrison’s in Jarrow so she could do her weekly shop. Insisted on it, saying it was their date night. Mavis looked forward to the couple of hours they spent together, enjoying his company. She didn’t feel so alone in the world knowing Sam was just next door. The man was a saint who lived with a sinner.

Only last Sunday, Sam had been good enough to run her down to the local garden centre to buy some plants to finish off her borders. Carol had answered the door, made up to the nines as usual, wine glass in hand and sarcastically called to him. “Sam your mothers here.”

Sam had been embarrassed and had apologised profusely for the comment. Grabbed his car keys and pushed past his drunk wife and helped Mavis into the car.

Carol was well known down in the village.  Especially their local pub, the Dog and Parrot.  When Charlie was alive, they would call into the pub every Saturday night to play bingo.  Carol and Sam would already be in the pub.  Carol would be two sheets to the wind, sucking away provocatively at the straw in her drink, flirting with any bloke who happened to be in her vicinity, while Sam would be sitting drinking his pint with a face like thunder.

Charlie was even under her spell. “Why don’t you just leave her be,” he would say, “She’s just having a bit of fun, woman.”

Having fun, Mavis thought, she was like a cheap whore looking to turn her next trick.

So, it came as no surprise, just days after their trip to the garden centre, Sam called round. His eyes puffy and red, sobbing his little heart out.

Mavis had ushered him inside, “What’s happened?” she asked, ensuring he removed his muddy shoes before guiding him into the kitchen.

“She’s gone, Mrs Brown. I don’t know what to do.”

“Who? Whose gone my lovely?” Mavis asked.

“Carol. Gone, left me. Told me she’s met someone else, and they are planning to move to New Zealand. Said she’s had it planned for weeks.” Sam rubbed his massive hands through his hair. Mavis noticed the deep scratch on the side of his neck and a blood stain on the collar of his shirt.  He let out a cry like a wounded animal, deep from his soul. “Oh, what have I done. I loved her, really loved her. What should I do, Mrs Brown?”

It took all of Mavis’s resolve not to say, “You’re better off without the little whore, son.” Instead, she gave him a hug. She had heard them arguing the night they came back from the garden centre. The shouting had gone on for some time.  When Carol began to scream, Mavis had turned the television up.

After an hour or so, Sam rose from the table. “I better be getting back home, Mrs Brown. Carol will be….” and he stopped himself.  His eyes filled with tears. Mavis hugged him. Looked into his dark eyes and said, “You listen to me Sam, you’ll get through this. You need to keep busy, keep your mind occupied.  You know where I am if you need me.  It will all work itself out, you hear?”

He had nodded, “I know what I need to do”, and he had left.  

Early the following morning, Mavis was woken by a noise outside. She checked her watch, it was 5:48am, the sun was just beginning to rise.  She got out of bed and crossed to the window. It was Sam, down at the bottom of his garden. Mavis pulled on her house coat and went down to the kitchen. She made two cups of tea, checked he was still out there and made her way down to where he was stood.  The Blow Flies hit her before the smell did.

“Morning Sam,” she said, trying to brush the flies away. “I’ve brought a cuppa for you, love.”

Sam just stood, in a trance, staring off into the fields that surrounded their properties.  Flies crawled across his wet cheeks, but he paid them no attention, more covered the dark stains on his t-shirt.

Mavis placed the cups down on the lawn, brushed at the flies that were now feasting on her bare legs.  

“I didn’t mean for it to happen,” Sam said. “She just wouldn’t stop. When I close my eyes, I can see her face. I can’t erase the memory of it all.”

Mavis touched his arm and spoke gently to him, “Course you didn’t, son. But sometimes we must bury those memories so deep we can begin to forget them. Or at least deep enough so’s the flies can’t get to them.” Mavis took the spade from Sam, pulled her house coat up so it covered her nose and began to dig. Deeper.

Jon Park lives in the North East of England and loves to write.  His story “Too Tough to Die,” appeared in Gabba Gabba Hey, an anthology of fiction inspired by the music of the Ramones published by Fahrenheit Press in 2021.


He loves loud music and plays guitar badly. If you meet him, you will need to shout. 

If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021