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Sibling Rivalry in a Zombie Apocalypse: Fiction by Jon Park
Dead is Dead: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Rooms: Fiction by Harris Coverley
Do You Know the Pizza Man?: Fiction by Beverle Graves Myers
Testing the Waters: Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Unclaimed Property!: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
The Causeway: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
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The White Nothing: Flash Fiction by Phil Temples
Carmelita: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Horror of Hidden Pond: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Kim Philby: Flash Fiction by Henry Simpson
Fear: Flash Fiction by Cheryl Snell
Homecoming: Flash Fiction by Kurt Hohmann
Castle: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Head: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Something Wicked This Way Thumbs: Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
The Charcoal Man: Flash Fiction by Fred Zackel
Tarot Tara: Flash Fiction by Steve Cartwright
Mr. Bunny and $88.01: Flash Fiction by William Kitcher
Don't Think Twice: Flash Fiction by Elizabeth Zelvin
Teasing in the Light: Flash Fiction by Bradford Middleton
Spider: Flash Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Infirmities: Poem by David Galef
Dreaming a Little: Poem by Juan Mobili
The Dead Mingle with the Living: Poem by John Tustin
The Flower in Your Lapel: Poem by John Tustin
May Day: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Procession: Poem by Partha Sarkar
At the Funeral Lunch: Poem by Joan Leotta
Dreaming My Way Home: Poem by Joan Leotta
The Silence: Poem by John Grey
Pacing: Poem by John Grey
Elementary Classes: Poem by John C. Mannone
Rage: Poem by John C. Mannone
Comfort Zone: Poem by John C. Mannone
Serpentine Line: Poem by Charles Weld
William Calley's Apology: Poem by Charles Weld
Steve J: Poem by Charles Weld
Thief: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Sweet Pleasure: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Courtship: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Again, A Bike Left: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Short Cuts to Madness: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Ingrid Leaves Vegas: Poem by Rp Verlaine
A Necessary Poem: Poem by Rob Plath
Last Gesture: Poem by Rob Plath
Carpe Sanguinem: Poem by Rob Plath
The Antitesis: Poem by Rob Plath
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Cheryl Snell: Fear

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Art by Bernice Holtzman 2023

Fear

by Cheryl Snell

 

My little brother was afraid of the house on the corner, the one with the round attic window that followed him like an eye. Neighborhood kids stopped to heckle the house every day on their way to school.
-They say it’s haunted, my brother told me.
-Why?
-Because nobody seems to live there. We ring the doorbell, and nothing happens. And sometimes lights go on in the empty rooms. We can see them turning off and on through the windows.
-Aren’t the kids scared?  Why don’t they run away?
-Nobody wants to be a chicken, he said. They’d rather be bullies.

One day he came home shaking.
-What is it? 
-The guys were throwing soda cans and dirt at the house, trying to smoke out who or what’s in there with firecrackers. Burns and dents and stains all over the place.
-Better remind them that kids get arrested for stuff like that these days.

A few days later he came in so upset he could hardly get his words out.
-The ivy outside the house climbed up overnight, all the way to the attic. Now it’s covering nearly half the front of the house. 

There had to be a logical explanation for the speedy growth. No living mass could swallow a whole house so fast.

Then I thought of how quickly a cut brings its edges together. Not the same, not the same, I whispered.

My brother had to pass the house to get to school, so I looked for other routes for him to take. There weren’t any. I expected the other kids would lose their false bravado, admit they were afraid, and stop over-compensating. Stay away. Any sane person would, right?

-I’ll walk with you to school tomorrow, I said that night. I was the elder, and before our parents left us, they had taught me to be responsible enough to protect my baby brother.

My brother and I walked to the school together the next morning; my idea was to ignore the haunted house, not give it a glance. But my little brother suddenly stood stock still in front of it and, tugging my hand, gestured at the house. I looked and saw what he saw: a face in the round attic window, someone waving. I let go of his hand and started to run in the other direction, stranding him on the sidewalk with his fear.

Of course I turned back, but by then I knew I too was capable of abandonment.

 

Cheryl Snell’s books include several poetry collections and the novels of her Bombay Trilogy. Her latest series is called Intricate Things in their Fringed Peripheries. Most recently her writing has appeared in Gone Lawn, Sleet Magazine, Necessary Fiction, Pure Slush, and other journals. A classical pianist, she lives in Maryland with her husband, a mathematical engineer.

Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023