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An Education-Flash Fiction by Jon Park
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Sasha Takes Another Shot-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Bloody Daydream-Poem by Wayne Jermin
9173, 1803, 0094-Poem by John Doyle
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The Head-Poem by John Grey
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

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Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2021

Sasha Takes Another Shot

 

by Hillary Lyon

 

 

“If you don’t think about it, then it didn’t happen.” Sasha reached for the full shot glass on the coffee table in front of her. “That’s what Sister Katherine told me to do.”

Katie picked up her own shot glass but stopped short of her lips. “Sister Katherine? You went to see that old witch? Please tell me you didn’t.”

Sasha threw her head back, downing the tequila in one gulp. “It’s not bad advice. Listen, I slept better last night, and woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning.”

“It’s just denial! It’s childish and self-destructive. How much did her ‘advice’ cost you?” Katie reached for the bottle and refilled their glasses.

“Fifty bucks.” Sasha giggled.

“Fifty? I could have given you that ‘advice,’ for half the price.” Katie couldn’t help but join her friend in the giggles, before catching herself and regaining her composure. One of them had to be serious here. “Did Sister Katherine even give you a talisman to rub between your fingers when you’re stressed? Did that wizened old crone make you a wearable little medicine bag, stuffed with herbs and crystal shards, to protect you? Did she at least hand-write, in cursive, a short incantation of anonymity on old parchment, for you to swallow?”

Sasha raised her glass, to her friend’s consternation, and took a ladylike sip of her tequila. “No, no, and no.” She swallowed her drink and put the empty glass on the coffee table. Then she pointed to it.

Katie again filled their glasses, shaking her head. “Pretending it didn’t happen is not going to change the reality of your situation, which is dire.” Katie pushed Sasha’s shot glass across the coffee table towards her, sloshing a bit of tequila on the glass top as she did. “Not one little bit.”

“I mean,” Katie continued after she chugged her own shot, “The police are looking for you.”

“I know,” Sasha mumbled as she rummaged through her hobo purse. She pulled a bloodied handkerchief from its depths and spread it out on the coffee table before her. She meticulously smoothed out the wrinkles.

Katie went on. “They found the body.” She reached for the half-empty bottle.

“Yeah, they did,” Sasha agreed. She dug out several metal somethings that clinked together in her loose fist. She held her hand over the open handkerchief, and dropped onto the center of the bloodied cloth, three spent shells from her Glock, one at a time. Sasha then nodded towards her empty glass.

“In your bedroom,” Katie pointed out, as she refilled their glasses.

“Uh huh,” Sasha concurred, still searching through her oversized bag. “Ah, there you are!” she stage-whispered to her find. She then gingerly placed a man’s simple gold wedding band on top of the heaped shells.

“In your bed,” Katie said, with a catch in her voice and tears in her eyes. Damn tequila; it was making her sappy.

Sasha tied her project up in a tidy little bundle, lifted it up before her friend, and gently dropped it into her hobo bag. She sucked down her tequila, then with the empty glass between her fingers, spun it like a top on the coffee table, flinging drops out in a messy, circular-splatter pattern.

Katie reached over and stopped the spin; it was making her a wee bit nauseous. “What are you going to do?”

“Do?” Sasha shrugged. “I'm going to go see Madame Devereaux.”

Another witch?” Katie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Why? What can she do for you?”

“Well, for one thing, she can—” Sasha began, but Katie interrupted.

“Can she reverse the flow of time, to prevent this horror show from happening?” Katie stood up, pacing now. She was on a roll. “Can she send you back to stop yourself from murdering your married lover?” She threw her hands up in despair. “And if she could, would you even listen to yourself?”

“Don’t be absurd,” Sasha said as she grabbed her last tequila shot. She raised it toward her friend and winked. “I know Madame Devereaux can’t manipulate time.” Sasha downed her final shot, coughed once, and wiped her mouth. She stood up, slung her hobo bag over her shoulder, and headed for the door.

“Then what can she do for you?” Katie queried before finishing her own last shot. She slammed the empty glass down on the table.

Sasha looked her old friend in the eye. “What she can do for me,” she said with an impish grin, “is raise the dead.”

 

 

 

With an MA in English Literature from SMU, Hillary Lyon founded and for 20 years acted as senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. Her speculative, horror, and sci-fi stories have appeared in numerous print and online publications such as Night to Dawn, Tales from the Moonlit Path, Sirens Call, and Theme of Absence, as well as in multiple anthologies. She is also an illustrator for horror/sci-fi, and pulp fiction sites.

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Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2021

Cynthia Fawcett has been writing for fun or money since she was able to hold a pen. A Jersey Girl at heart, she got her journalism degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee and now writes mostly technical articles about hydraulics and an occasional short story or poem on any other subject.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021