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Forgiveness: Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
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The Monster in the Mirror: Poem by Bernice Holtzman
The Folly of the Filly: Poem by Becky Parker
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Karen Schauber: Forgiveness

Art by Noelle Richardson 2022



by Karen Schauber


The iron cell door slams shut; its deafening clang reverberates along the stone-cold hallway for the last time. Charles, face pale as wax, hair swept up and over, not hiding the crudely etched swastika in the middle of his forehead, waits. He is not sure for how long he must wait.

They seat him at a low Formica table. His last meal arrives just like he asked. – He wanted a Bud too. They refused. What can you expect from those fuckers. They don’t really mean “anything you want.”

Working the meat into little bits, not wanting to swallow, he lets fluid accumulate around his tongue, prolonging this last indulgence, like the tasty hooker he’s never gonna have again. The stench of urine and fecal matter from the adjacent holding cells, a god-damn distraction.

They come for him. Four sets of burly arms hold him aloft. He shuffles, dragging heavy weighted shackles, a trail of slime follows the fetid slug moving along death row; its narrow passage a claustrophobic nightmare. Banging, pounding, muffled shouts of good riddance erupt as he slithers passed, a mutant creature from an abandoned evolutionary line, onlookers eager to flush out the organic waste.

The priest standing along the route does not clutch rosary or Bible. He carries the hood. His starched, white, collar, stiff, face dour, confirms Charles’ suspicion. “No forgiveness for you, my son.” Spitting out his last “fuck you,” the miscreant laughs maniacally as the death knell tolls.



“Forgiveness” by Karen Schauber originally appeared in Blood Puddles: Night Terrors and Daymares, Volume 1, published in May 2018 by Scribbler’s Press.



Karen Schauber's flash fiction appears in seventy-five international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies. including Bending Genres, Cabinet of Heed, Cease Cows, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, New World Writing, Spelk; with three “Best Microfiction” nominations. She is editor of the award-winning flash fiction anthology “The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings” (Heritage House, 2019). Schauber curates Vancouver Flash Fiction, an online resource hub, and Miramichi Flash, a monthly literary column. In her spare time, she is a seasoned family therapist.

Noelle Richardson comes from a relatively large family and has been illustrating and painting for about twelve years. She writes a little on the side, plays a couple of instruments and dabbles in tattoo design.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022