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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
Witchy: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
An Assembly of Assassins: Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
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
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Mark Jabaut: Spider

Art by Joseph Richkus 2023


by Mark Jabaut


          A small gray spider haltingly walked through Ben’s field of vision, and then was gone. He felt a small trill of panic as he wondered if it had crawled into his hair or down the back of his shirt, but there was something bigger, something more important that he was missing. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was.

          In front of him was a vista of bricks— rust-red rectangles intersected by rough, brown strips of mortar—that came all the way up to his face. Ben tried to blink but found that he couldn’t—his eyelids seemed to have stopped listening to his brain. Against one side of his face, he could feel the cold, hard bricks imprinting their texture into his skin; his right ear felt squashed between his head and the ground.

          He was lying on the ground, on a terrace of bricks. The realization meant little to him. 

          His thoughts were fuzzy, as if he had just awoken from a heavy sleep. He felt—nothing. He was numb from the shoulders down.  

          Ben attempted to make sense of his situation. He was lying, at least partially paralyzed, on a brick terrace. It was dusk, or dawn—a streetlight shown down upon him with orange sodium intent. He vaguely remembered some loud bangs, sounding like gunshots. He usually carried a gun—had he shot someone?

          Something else entered his field of sight. A black tendril of liquid made its slow way down a row of mortar until it reached a brick intersection, and then it branched out at right angles. It moved like heavy crude oil, deliberate and artless.

          Ben realized it was blood moments before the scent hit his nostrils, black in the orange light. Perhaps he had shot someone. Or perhaps it was Ben’s blood. He might need that, he thought. But there didn’t seem to be anything he could do about it. 

          Blood will flow, he thought, not sure where it came from.

          Ben felt his head and his body become amazingly light, as if he were made out of dandelion fluff. He felt as if he might blow away. And sleepy—he felt very sleepy.

          Was this dying, he wondered? Had he been shot and turned into dandelion fluff, and now he was dying? If so, it wasn’t so bad.

          He wondered again about the spider, about whether he would see it walk past his eyes again. He stopped feeling the bricks against his face.

          More blood now. And sleepy.

          Feeling warm.



Mark Jabaut was a playwright and author who lived in Webster NY with his wife Nancy. Mark’s play IN THE TERRITORIES, originally developed via Geva Theatre’s Regional Writers Workshop and Festival of New Theatre, premiered in May 2014 at The Sea Change Theatre in Beverly, MA. His 2015 Rochester Key Bank Fringe Festival entry, THE BRIDGE CLUB OF DEATH, went on to be featured at an End of Life Symposium at SUNY Broome County and is listed with the National Issues Forum for those who wish to host similar events.

Mark also had entries in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Fringe Festivals, THE HATCHET MAN, DAMAGED BEASTS and COLMA!. Mark authored several short plays performed by The Geriactors, a local troupe of older performers. Mark’s fiction has been published in a local Rochester magazine, POST, as well as The Ozone Park Journal, SmokeLong Quarterly, Spank the Carp and Defenestration. 

Mark Jabaut passed away on November 3, 2021.

Joseph Richkus is an enthusiastic illustrator, photographer, writer, and reader. He has been an essential oil perfumer for more than 20 years, and has worked as a history teacher, chemist, security guard, and circus canvasman. He bemoans the limits of time and regrets that he is not 10 people, one of whom would happily devote every waking hour to reading the Sunday New York Times. 

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023