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A Love for Chocolate: Fiction by Kevin Hopson
Ban the Box: Fiction by David Hagerty
Different Paths: Fiction by K. A. Williams
Night Sight: Fiction by C. A. Rowland
Encounter on the Lane: Fiction by Anthony Lukas
Moving South: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Just a Small-Town Boy: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Loneliness of a Reseller: Fiction by Brandon Doughty
Food Chain: Fiction by Phil Temples
Final Notice: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Stunning Redheads are Trouble: Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Point Made: Flash Fiction by Martin Zeigler
The Secret Ingredient: Flash Fiction by Cecilia Kennedy
Stand in Line: Flash Fiction by Lucinda Kempe
My Special Garden: Flash Fiction by Gay Degani
Revenge of the Inanimate: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
The Abductee: Poem by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
De-Icing Fate: Poem by Tom Fillion
Description of Death: Poem by Meg Baird
Basking in Sunlight: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Found Floating Above: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Beer-Craving Zombie: Poem by Bradford Middleton
They All Hate My Hero: Poem by Bradford Middleton
In Search of Ghosts: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Seven Hanging Trees: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Persistent Daylight: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Rebirth: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Bundy: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Calais: Poem by Peter Mladinic
The Room: Poem by Peter Mladinic
People with Dysentery: Poem by Partha Sarkar
There Has Been No Cooperative System: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Goes Back Toward the Talisman-the Future: Poem by Partha Sarkar
The Broken Seashore and the Fishermen: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

M. L. Fortier: Revenge of the Inanimate

Art by Michael D. Davis 2023

Revenge of the Inanimate


by M. L. Fortier



          “I’ve lost my glasses again,” Dad grumbles. “It’s almost as if they have a mind of their own.”

          Suppressing a groan, I peer around the cramped apartment, and find the glasses a few inches from their normal perch, on a desk.

          I’ve seldom minded letting my white-haired parent move in with me. Still, he’s yelled more than I would if he stumbled on rugs or leaped away from a cave-in of books. An author, I do own too many novels.

          Dad does provide needed help to loosen twisties or jars, though he swears at their stubbornness. Jam jars especially seem to clamp themselves against his efforts.

          Constantly my father crabs about creaks from the unit above us, in the dead of night. I too wake up, prop pillows on my sofa bed, and try to read myself back into dreams. Yet, I worry: sure sounds like something is restless up there . . . Can’t be my neighbor, who’s quiet and goes to bed early.

     I listen but hear nothing more. Wind has fallen ominously silent. Why, at mealtimes, has my neighbor started to drop kitchenware, in a clatter of spoons and knives? Wide awake, I huddle in blankets, barricaded against the malevolence of things that do not speak.

          In shifting moonlight, I muse: Inanimate objects of the world must be tired of being treated like objects. They’re sick of discourtesy, discomfort, being placed in aggravating stances. Nearly clean saucers get tossed with dirty dishes in the sink and can’t move till morning. No one praises or rewards them for long service.

          Next breakfast, I try to be more careful with glassware, pans. Still, a plastic cup cracks after I pour hot coffee, and Dad yelps.

          Upset over the mess, not to mention burns, he demands that we stroll around the complex. But a heavy rain has fallen, leaving patches of mud. “Watch out.” My hand flies out to secure Dad as he slips. From a rank puddle, I can almost see dark fingers gripping my parent’s legs.

          Has Gravity formed a conspiracy with other nonliving creatures, I wonder, as Dad and I struggle back home. I can’t talk to them or reason with them. Looking down, I shrug helplessly. Our welcome mat has skidded and lies curled on steps up to the landing.

          In the living room, I turn on the news for Dad, but tune out and brood. The constant malice of most unbreathing beings (man-made or natural) penetrates my brain. Even our radio crackles with hostile static, drowning out the weather report.

          Yet, days are getting shorter, dimmer. The anchors report on grim stories: stones rolling downhill, crushing workers. Gravity seems to be taking advantage of any slight imbalance or recklessness. But how could innocent-looking objects cause blood and trouble in the world? They seem (could it be?) capable of a grip or release.



          In December, icicles grab onto our eaves, hover dangerously, then let themselves melt. They fall, nearly spearing Dad.

          Still, he fights to maintain his habits of youth. He insists on walks around the parking lot. As we skirt around a slick area, I feel a pressure against my ankle. Something seems to push me toward a fall. Something human―yet not human. Deaf, dumb, peering with unseeing eyes. An underworld monster, hard as clay, begrudges anyone who can live on the ground or fly above it.



          Next day, we try exercising again, though morning sky hangs gloomy and frozen. At the far end of the lot, Dad teeters. Flailing to right him, I notice shadowy hands grabbing his feet from the icy ground. Time stops as a deaf, dumb hulk peers at me with unseeing eyes. Dad crashes―I stand numb. No words come out of me, or my father, or the unmoving earth.

          911. Ambulance. Out cold. Broken hip. Nursing home. Death.

          At home, I hide indoors. Sleep brings release in brief naps on the couch. Gravity is jealous. I know this now. It works night and day, lies in wait―for all of us.


M. L. Fortier has 25 stories in print: mainstream and genre. Black Petals has published a number of her horror stories. An award-winning author, she has also taught writing at various Chicagoland colleges.

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 2023