Important Announcement from Sudden Denouement Publishing

 

Nicole Lyons’ stunning books, I Am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl and Blossom and Bone are currently on sale at Amazon for $9.99 each.  Once Amazon’s stock of these books has been sold, these titles will NOT be available again. Don’t miss your chance to own these amazing books!

Sudden Denouement Publishing will also stop publishing Christine E. Ray’s first book of poetry and prose, Composition of a Woman, on March 1st. Composition of a Woman will be available through AmazonBarnes and Nobel OnlineBook DepositoryIndigo, and other major online book retailers through February 28th.

Queenie- Lois Linkens

White slip of night at the shore,

And the fox-eyed pebbles wink at

The cold pearl moon. The freshwater stream,

Like silver silk

Heralds the flush of the waves, the bubbling spits

Of the shallows, stones like eyes, stones like saucers,

Like griddle cakes. There comes a woman,

Without a coat, silver-wax shoulders studded

With gooseflesh. She walks,

Toward the black water and the night-worms

Hear her singing, overhead her socked feet damp

And bottoms gritty,

A soft knitted invasion.

There is a country, far beyond the stars

 

Her red hat

Like a herring on a line sways with her

Narrow peg shoulders

And the sea

Is tar on her woollen toes.

 

 

Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.

Lost and Found

by David Lohrey

I am not interested in any poem that begins,

“I found myself.”

I found myself in a den of thieves.

I found myself a Hershey bar.

I found myself some leftover apple pie.

I found a dead mouse in the kitchen.

I found myself in bed with my mother.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

Forget it. I am not about finding myself.

I’m lost.

I am lost to this world.

I am lost to myself.

I am lost somewhere between 5th and York.

I am lost in my sorrows.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

I hate all lies and the liars who tell them.

I am a self-hating Jew.

I hate what we’ve become.

I hate my neighbors for coming and going.

I hate my wife for leaving.

I hate the Department of Energy.

I hate my Adam’s Apple.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

You can say that again.

You can put that down to luck.

You can go to hell.

You can give me $3 worth on Pump #6.

You can put that where the sun don’t shine.

You can shut your mouth.

You can give me a kiss.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

Won’t I ever see you again?

Won’t you please be quiet?

Won’t you be applying to Princeton?

Won’t your parents find out?

Won’t you live to regret it?

Won’t you please get down from there?

Why?

Why not?

Because all my cares be taken away.



David Lohrey’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at the RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals located in the UK, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo. You can read more of his writing at Writing, Musing, Poetry

Amoebas, Locusts, Fog

by Jonathan O’Farrell

How can I describe this left hemispheric madness?

Well try this,

first came delicate filigree amoeba,

followed by blue green algae?

But less blue, more green

with a hint of burnt umber?

It remained so for sometime.

I hoped to bode it farewell.

I bade my time, waited.

As per usual you wake up one morning and it’s,

it’s gone! Oh, what was that?

But no, it came at me again,

bloodged, bludgeoned itself into my conciousness;

thicker, inkier and then locusts

as if from afar,

covering from horizon to horizon,

up and down,

above and below.

Locusts, swarms of them

doing what swallows do,

only not so prettily.

They stir up in their wake indeterminate fog

and it banks and it swirls

and it impinges.

And so I rest upon my one, good, in inverted commas,

right eye and it works harder

and I work harder,

maintaining slices of routine.

Maintaining fronts,

amidst all those banks of fog.

Morningtide, I pray, eveningtide, I pray.

I think for now, that’s all I can do

and hope, the good hope.

Listen to spoken word reading of this poem

“I guess you might describe me as a semi-nomad, at the moment . . . and in the moment, I might change. I am transitioning into a creative life, blogging, photography and, significantly, the publication of my first two photographically illustrated poetry anthologies, this year.”

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter, with writing, photography, healing garden project updates and travel journals:

https://misterkakiwriter.substack.com/


I, mind

s

by Erich Michaels


I spend so much time in my head that when I come out I am itchy and strained

Cold, dry air tightens my cerebrospinal fluid soaked skin

The conversations carried out in this alien world are clunky and forced

The ones in my head ran like quicksilver and you’d laughed at every jest

Pouring my heart out didn’t ring saccharine and your eyes mirrored intent

In my head I didn’t carry uncertainty like a leaden blanket, ending sentences in…?

In return you punctuated every sentence with

I love you .


Erich Michaels describes himself as  “just trying to share the human experience.”  He has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, but find himself writing SOPs (lather, rinse, repeat) in order to make a living, which can be detrimental to the creative process.  You can find him on the road to recovery at Erich Michaels. Every journey begins with a single step, right?

Heavy Petting – Mitch Green

 

heavy petting b & w

Shallow are the hands –
black in boiling fire.

The voyeur.
The purgatory.
The amateur.

It is on the brow of overcast.
A blip of blue and yellow swelling.
A fever; summer gold.

The adolescent.
The animal.
The drifter.

Small talk by clumsy voices,
wading the quiver. A crystal
girl clouding glass.

The chimera.
The beggar.
The river.

Shallow are the fields –
purging purgatory to the voyeur, while
the amateur and the beggar drown
the drifter in the river.

The pleasure
The sour lotus.
The bloom.

The adolescent animal eats the chimera.
Her boiling black hands; summer gold.

-fin


Mitch Green founded Rad Press Publishing in September of 2016. He is an avid artist in visual design and literature. Published in various literary journals and magazines: The Literary Yard. The Penmen Review. Vimfire Magazine – Mitch aims to seize the narrow line between all artistic mediums.

A few of his known poetic titles are: “Flesh Phoenix” “Monsters” “The Wolves Howled”.

Offering his hand in graphic direction – his book design portfolio can be found here.
Follow Mitch and Rad Press Publishing on Instagram.

 

And The Winners Are. . .

6713f143cf5ae03a837b7e76a85c9a92

In November of 2018, the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective announced its first Short Story Contest centered around the theme ‘Things Would Never Be The Same.’  We received 129 submissions from around the globe with incredibly diverse interpretations of the theme.

We took these submissions very seriously, going through not one, not two, but three rounds of judging that included publishing our 11 finalists on Sudden Denouement.  We thank everyone who read, liked, commented, shared, and voted on these fine pieces of writing.

We are pleased to announce our winners!

1st place:

Basilike Pappa – No More Than You Can Salt

2nd place: Wes Trexler – All Caps, No Spaces

3rd place: Stephanie Clark – The Chasm &

C.G. Thompson – Lies

Honourable Mentions:

Allister Nelson – Unholy Communion &
Riley Mayes – Las Luchadoras

Upon This Hill – Christine E. Ray

upon this hill 2

From Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble online, and other major online book retailers

the pages of
the calendar
remain unchanged
old
outdated
too much effort
required
to remove it
from the wall
I no longer wear
a watch upon my
pale wrist
no need to measure
minutes
hours
by the passing
of a hand
before my face
hourglass sand
trickles grain by grain from
fractured glass bulb
onto the copper table
I write my name
upon the surface
a eulogy
time has gained
a boneless quality
become a black sea
I no longer swim in
a twilight land
where stunted sunflowers
dwarf versions
of their former selves
strain on anxious stalks
reach for stingy rays
of an indifferent sun
their petiolate leaves
grab hungrily
at my bare feet
calves
anchor me in place
I stand frozen
for an eternity
before I sink slowly
silently
into cool loam
my pockets
lined with pain
stuffed with
memory shards
fragments of dreams
the fragrance
of crushed rosemary
lemon balm
weigh me down
I am so tired
so very tired
it is so lovely here
I surrender
to the stillness
the peace
this moment offers
and I. . .
let go
my blood will
water these flowers
the calcium of my bones
will nourish this soil
tender new shoots
will wrap around the
trellis of my ribs
new life will
flourish here
butterflies
luna moths
adorn this burial mound


You can find Christine lurking about Brave and Reckless and Indie Blu(e) Publishing.  She is the author of Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood.

Wonderstance – Basilike Pappa

Winter in radio frequencies

his mad orchestra

the pale state of heaven

Sluggish days / cemeteries  

for pencils – broken  

Are you upset? Walk often

Until communication returns

sleep wake attack escape

social shadowplay

Feed yourself:

the kitchen knife

gleam of the underworld

Windows are reflection / also inspection

But if I fly through them – broken

(as long as they’re not open)

Anathema to insect screens:

instead of sticky tape,

with nails to the frames are attached

See?

Afterlife does nothing on a whim –

follows protocols

Resurrect somebody or make a replica – do it fast

When I repair myself

in the green and gallant spring

when birds do sing

the pine-wood grows alive with wings

face rentals suffer much

my scarves

my boots

my coats

my gloves

will go through

a mild case

of wonderstance

 


Borrowed Lines

In the green and gallant spring: In the Green and Gallant Spring by Robert Louis Stevenson

When birds do sing: It was a lover and his lass by William Shakespeare

The pine-wood grows alive with wings: Spring in the South by Henry Van Dyke


Basilike Pappa is a bookmonger and a wordcubine. She believes that in poetry an image must montage the mind with false cognates, and that god is sun on a copper coffee pot. Her prose has appeared in Life & Art Magazine, Intrinsick and Timeless Tales, and her poetry in Rat’s Ass Review, Surreal Poetics, Bones – Journal for Contemporary Haiku and in Nicholas Gagnier’s anthology All the Lonely People. Most of the time she can be found reading near a window in Greece. You can see more of her work on her blog Silent Hour.

SD Short Story Contest Finalist: Empirical Miracles – James Ph. Kotsybar

Empiracal Miracle

The magician on the television invited his audience to discern how he worked his prestidigitation. Lying on his stomach in front of the screen, Little Timmy propped himself higher on his elbows. He was eager to learn.

The magician said, ”Belief is the key.”

So Timmy sat up and drew close to watch belief. The magician had already told him that the hand was quicker than the eyes, so Timmy took this as a clue and decided to pay attention to eyes of the magician. He knew magic happened quickly and he had seen close-up magic before and never learned anything about how the trick was done by watching the hands of a prestidigitator.

This time, however, he learned the vital secret, he thought, to the performance of magic. By watching the magicians face and eyes, Timmy realized what this performer was actually doing. He was acting! All his dramatic gestures were actually just helping him to get into the role he was playing. Showmanship, he realized was just convincing yourself that what you were doing was real. The magician was just a kind of actor who claimed to possess abilities, until he believed it, even if, at first, it was a lie. He could hypnotize his assistant into floating in midair, and he could hypnotize himself into making things appear and disappear.

Timmy began to practice belief, hypnotizing himself into a strong state of pretend. Then he originated his own flamboyant gestures for revealing the results. He thought that this probably helped the audience believe the lie as well. If everyone watching also expected magic to happen then it would. He was like a lightning rod that then channeled all their belief into a result.

The first step was to hypnotize himself into a strong state of pretend. Then he found that his dramatic gestures actually made things happen.

The first time Timmy attempted the trick, he found that he could restore something torn. He practiced for polish, to make it slick, to stand up to potential sibling scorn.

Although he and his brother got on well, he and his sister were at constant war. To “show her,” it would have to be, “real swell,” but this was magic that she couldn’t ignore, or so he thought, but when he went to her with his magic, she wouldn’t even look, until he tore the candy-bar wrapper.

Then, all she asked about was if he took the candy from Mom’s special hiding place and warned he’d be in trouble and disgrace.

And then she ran off to tattle on him.

He should have known this was what Donna would do, that his chance of impressing her was slim, but there was something, right now, that he knew was going to happen unless he could get rid of the candy-bar confetti. Donna would make sure he’d “get punished good.” Theft from Mom’s hiding place was not petty.

He closed his eyes and focused his belief that he could make the pieces disappear, then sprinkled them like a crushed autumn leaf. They fell from one hand to … no longer here. Though Timmy couldn’t say where they had gone, it was a lifesaving phenomenon!

He lied, of course, and said she’d made it up. Since Mom could find no evidence, he won; but Donna was entirely fed-up and vowed revenge upon him “for this one.”

“It’s your fault for being a tattletale,” he told her, “and you missed the magic trick.”

But Donna insisted she wouldn’t fail to make him suffer, if it made her sick.

Timmy took his magic act on the road to his brother’s room where he thought there’d be at least a less dramatic episode if not a better audience to see all the tricks that he was learning to do and this wisdom he’d begun to accrue. Though busy with term papers, Don agreed to watch a few minutes of Timmy’s tricks. Don loved Timmy and knew how he could plead and how relentlessly he could transfix. His experience with Timmy taught him, if he gave-in quickly, work resumed. Besides he needed the break, so he thought, and this would be amusing, he assumed.

So little Timmy, unaided by props or magical apparatus, performed a magic act that took out all the stops and left his older brother quite transformed.

“I don’t believe my sanity is gone; the kid’s performing real magic,” thought Don.

A thousand thoughts at once inside his head made him feel both euphoric and dizzy. He recalled what their Dad had always said:
“When you feel overwhelmed, just get busy.”

First, he’d have to think through priorities, and calming down was his first choice and then maybe he should call the authorities. But, might Timmy be made a specimen? This, assuming anyone believed him – either crazy or a comedian is what they’d prob’ly think. No, it looked grim, unless his brother could do it again. That’s it! He’d have to gather evidence before he’d get anyone’s confidence.

He’d need another witness, and why not drag Sally into this, since she possessed the video equipment he did not. Besides, she was his “Damsel-Never-Stressed.” If anyone could calmly reason out a situation this bizarre, surreal, it would be Sally without any doubt. There wasn’t a thing he couldn’t reveal to her. She’d always react calmly and rationally and in perfect control – all of her emotions kept well in hand.

“Who am I trying to fool with this rigmarole?” he thought. “When she hears, she’ll scream, suspect alcohol, or worse. Even she’s not that calm a soul.”

More immediately, what should he say to the six-year-old wizard before him? He decided it best to gain delay from this blue-eyed, towheaded cherub grim, who’d suddenly grown burdensome, but was still his brother. He also knew he wouldn’t want to see the heart attack this would give their mother, if sprung upon her as surprisingly.

“Timmy, can I make a few suggestions? Your tricks are great, but your routine could be worked on. I want to get this on camera, with an interview. Can I ask you a few questions about what you can do and how, maybe? And would you mind waiting before you play magician for anyone else today?”

With promises that Timmy was to star in a video of his magic act, Don got agreement and dashed to his car, but Timmy had missed the spirit of their pact. He’d agreed there’d be no demonstration, but not that he wouldn’t continue to practice and indulge his exploration of his special talents and what he could do.

Because of her revenging persistence, Donna gave him the opportunity to use his powers with impunity – that is to say, it was in self-defense.

She tried to mount one of her sneak attacks, and Timmy simply froze her in her tracks.

“Hypothermia,” the doctor called it, “I’m glad we could successfully revive her, but I quite frankly have to admit that she’s very lucky to be alive.
“The cold source with which she came in contact was so quick that no ice crystals were formed; all her internal organs are intact. Don’t ask me how this could have been performed.

“And though we’d like to keep her overnight, just thank God,” continued Dr. Brady, “she should suffer only minor frostbite. Your daughter’s a determined young lady, and should heal very quickly without scar, but I’ve never had a case this bizarre.”

By the time that Don and Sally arrived, everyone at home had already left. Mom phoned to tell him Donna had survived.

Of senses, voice and wit Don felt bereft. “O.K., Mom, I’ll see you when you get home,” was the only response he could muster; his faculties went somewhere out to roam, his mouth was dry and his eyes went lackluster.

Sally shook him to tell her what occurred.

Don tried to accommodate her demand, but his breath was short and his vision blurred, and he found himself unable to stand. Although he had never fainted before, he next was being picked-up off the floor.

***

The social workers interviewed the clan and found no indications of abuse. Donna couldn’t recall how it began, and how she quick-froze no one could deduce. Though there was gossip in the neighborhood, it died out quickly since it made no sense – vague suppositions no one understood, outside the realm of their experience.

Since Sally hadn’t really seen a thing, and Don didn’t insist that it was real, she let it go — no point in worrying — just term-paper stress she thought, no big deal.

Don spoke about responsibility to Timmy on his new ability:
“I don’t think you realize what’s at stake, Timmy; this was more than just a scandal. I mean, what if Donna had died? For God’s sake, is that something you think you could handle?”

Don was new to this sort of tutelage. He’d learned this “scared straight” tactic from their Dad, but he didn’t consider Timmy’s age.

Timmy knew that what he had done was bad, and his tendency was to misconstrue. In all earnestness to Don, he forswore: “Until I grow up and get smart like you, I wish I can’t do magic any more.”

And as surely as if he had cast a magic spell, his paranormal powers bid farewell.

***

Faced with the bright blaze of birthday candles, Tim focused on his wish and, for its sake, took a deep breath, so that he could handle the
conflagration on his birthday cake. Twenty-one today, college undergrad, well-balanced, focused, mature for his age, he had worked hard for all that he now had, even his humor — fun-loving but sage.

Though he wouldn’t reveal what he’d wished for (since that’s part of what makes a wish come true), if his guests had guessed, Tim’s wish was far more than any would dare guess that he could do.

Past wonders he’d performed would soon seem tame. Tim knew that things would never be the same.

And from somewhere (or when), confetti fell – small bits of candy-wrapper, strewn pell-mell.


Chosen for special recognition by NASA, James Ph. Kotsybar is the first poet to be published to another planet. His haiku currently orbits Mars aboard the MAVEN spacecraft, appears in the mission log of The Hubble Space Telescope, and was featured at NASA’s Centaur Art Challenge at IngenuityFest, Ohio. He was featured speaker at the 2018 EuroScience Open Forum in France and invited to return to the next ESOF2020 in Italy.

Most recently he has had poems published in The Bubble, Askew, The Society of Classical Poets, LUMMOX Press, Sixfold, Mason’s Road, Encore and Scifaikuest, and has received honors from The State Poetry Society of Michigan and the Balticon 48 Poetry Competition. He especially enjoys science poetry, because of its extended shelf-life.

SD Short Story Contest Finalist: Unholy Communion – Allister Nelson

Unholy Communion 6

Sister Philadelphia lit the candles in the vestibule and inhaled the rich incense wafting from the church.  The pews were empty, and darkness yawned across the altar, its maw stretching up to the crucifix where an impaled Savior grinned arcanely at his dismemberment.   The flames drew out the stained glass window and outside, an early snow.  Sister Philadelphia heard a crow caw in the dripping pine, and she gathered her habit and red shawl around her shoulders as she fared the evening twilight and flakes of ice in the withering sky out to her small cell.  Her sisters were fast asleep, tired out from worship, and she had had the evening shift on All Soul’s Eve.  Sister Philadelphia gave a happenstance glance at the graveyard, full of weeping angels, and she imagined them singing alleluias in weeping Christ’s passion.  How crucifixes and the crutches of Saint Lazarus and wounds of Mary Magdalene, though only of the heart, were strange soliloquies on temptation.  It was said Christ harrowed Hell, and Sister Philadelphia was always afraid of the darkness, but so she braved the closing shift, shut the doors of the church, and entered the convent.  Just a few footfalls walk to the end of the hall, her boots crunching snow, until she drew out a skeleton key and opened her cell.  Inside, a small bed, a tiny nightstand with a Bible, and a candlestick.

A chill passed over the room as her boots, thoroughly soaked through and clinging with orange leaves, were taken off.  The vents let in the warm air from the fire in the main hall and she arrayed them so they directed their heat at her bed.  Shivering, she gathered herself and turned to the Gospels, her candle drawing out a facsimile of a smile from the cross on her wall.  She tucked herself into her blankets and read over John miming the verses and parables on her memorized tongue.  It was her favorite.  She had always been an outcast in her small Rostock village for so loving study, in a time when women shouldn’t read and were expected to suckle babes then turn dirt in an early grave, half-sick from motherhood and needlework and butter churning.  No, she chose the sisterhood, if only to learn to read.  The rest of the trappings, from Christ to the Masses, she wasn’t too sure about.

Suddenly, a knock at the door, only she was dressed in her linen night shift.  She gathered her skirts, smoothed her dark hair, and peered out the lock with eyes like amber bezels.

Darkness, writhing darkness, and beneath that, boiling red.  Wicked heat came from the door’s entrance, like the furnace of a hellmouth.

Sister Philadelphia opened the door to find herself face to face with a man of red skin, ram horns, fineries she had never seen yet plain in the dress like some respectable nobleman, dripping gold from his pointed ears, and curled black locks oiled to shine boot polish bright.

He grinned like a cat arching its back.  “Sister, I’m cold, would you but let me warm myself in your blankets?”

His eyes were infernos.  All yellow heat and slit iris.

She would have screamed, but it died in her throat, and the Devil takes no prisoners, only the willing.

She saw the chance to test what the priests and sisters taught her.  A devilish chance, as it were, but scripture nonetheless.

“If I read, will you listen, oh Dark One?”

The Devil laughed.  “I’m a man of the book, Sister.  A traveler too.  Gypsy or not, I’m afraid I’m a rambler, and I always fancy a word with pretty girls.  To hear the gospel from your lips would be celestial temptation most frightful.”

“Then come in.”

Sister Philadelphia was never much of one for God, more for he who taught humanity knowledge and to quote scripture in their sin.  To have the Devil at her doorstep, why, on All Soul’s Eve?  It was meant to be a test.

And he was a might handsome, as handsome as sin.

She locked the door shut behind them.

“In the Beginning was the Word…”

He draped a blanket around him like a cape, then examined the cross.  “Grapes from the vine, yes.  To be made into the vintage of wrath or mercy is simply up to the maker of the wine.”

The room was like a dragon’s womb, enchantingly hot, all radiating from the Devil.

He looked at her with obsidian and vice.

“Tell me, you were there.  Is it truly as they say?  God created the universe in seven days?”

“More like He gave a sneeze and we were all shat out on accident.  You must admit, this Book is a bit lacking.  Where’s the bit about where bellybuttons come from, their purpose, really?  I invented them.  I also invented opposable thumbs.  And the pearly seat of womanly pleasure.  That was my greatest one.”

The Devil examined his claws.  “It’s all trite bullshit in the end, this Book.  Now I would have written it differently: In the Beginning was a Woman, and she lusted after a Star.”

Sister Philadelphia’s eyes grew wide, curiosity after first succulent bite.  The candle stubbed out, but he glowed like coals in the dark.  “Eve, yes.  I have always loved her, though Father Philip says she is Sin.  I gave everything I had for Knowledge, for the Word.”

“In that, inquisitive Sister, we are joined.  Woman is born hungry.  Hungry for words.  A last rib made of ink.”  The Devil took the cross down from the wall and respectfully placed it in the nightstand drawer, if only so his Father did not witness corruption.  The Devil is a gentleman, after all.  “Tell me, Sister, was it worth it?  Giving up life for this back country parish?  All so you could be a learned woman?”

“We feed the poor.  We tend the sick.  In those duties, I rejoice.  But to read, why, I would have become lame and dumb in order to understand language on the page.  Someday, I will write my own books. Like Teresa or Hildegard or Catherine.  I have it in my bones.”

“I’ve written many books in my time, sweet Sister.  Would you like to taste a Star?  It is the drink of poetry.  The flesh of God is the Sun.  He used to nurse us from His light.”  And with that, the Devil pulled a silver pear from his breast pocket.  Sister Philadelphia gasped at its succulent scent and without hesitation bit in.  Its flesh was blood red but tasted like sugary providence.  Fire warmed her belly, and the Devil cradled her head in his hands as she devoured it.

“Kiss me, I have never tasted a man’s lips, and what passes between a Bride and Darkness is best left to the day souls walk the Earth.  It shall be our secret.”

“What is your name, sister dangerous?”

“Philadelphia.  Just Filly.”

“So Filly, will you give me a prayer each night for my soul in exchange for a kiss?  No one has yet to pray for me.  I do so grow lonely down below.  If you appeal to your God, perhaps Father shall grant me some mercy.  You are supposedly a holy woman, after all,and your nightgown smells of frankincense and myrrh.  I do so love holy things.”

“I will pray for you until you die, if you promise me you will tell me the truth: will I find what I am looking for here?”

“Never.”

“Than it was all worth nothing.”

“I can make it all worth it.  Now be quiet, and know the Morning Star for who he is.”

They kissed like fire and oil, combustion embodied, and suddenly Filly found herself full of light, of burning, and she probed her tongue into his lush red lips and tasted damnation.  It was like the chocolate she had once had at a Christmas market in the Black Forest as a child, one she had stolen when her poor parents weren’t looking and the vendor was closing up for the night.  He smelled like cloves and oranges and ash.  Grasping hands, soft hands, hard talons, cupping her breasts, skimming her back, and soon they were falling into each other’s arms and his broken halo cut her brow like shrapnel and there was blood at her mouth from her forehead.  He lapped at the wound with a cat rough tongue, then eased her out of her night shift and was soon working her sex with that same forked tongue like a melody.  She came like rain as he used his fingers in a come hither motion then lapped at her pearl like a wild thing.

His mouth wet with her, he suckled at her breasts, and she fisted handfuls of his curling black hair into knots as she apexed beneath him.  Soon, his hot, eager member against her belly, wet with precum, and like swans flying north they joined in unholy communion, a sinuous movement bespeaking an ocean of sin.  He was hot inside her, pumping and pleasing and caressing and teasing.  She cried out as softly as she could so as not to wake the other sisters up.

“Filly, you are sweet,” he growled, taking his fangs and pressing them deep into her neck until he was drinking her lifeblood.  “So sweet I could… fall… yet again.”

Words escaped her as their black covenant wrote a whole nother gospel on what not to do on a holy day.  She heard the cross shatter as the drawer fell open and God turned away from her blaspheming.

Good riddance.

The Devil came inside her in searing spurts, and she felt it pulse upwards to her womb, blinding her belly with serpent seed.  He licked her wound shut with his saw paper tongue and then gave a sweet sigh, if the Devil could be said to ever be sweet.

“Come with me away from here, Filly.  I will teach you witchcraft, the oath of the Witchfather.  Let us travel Germania as Samiel and Brunhilde.  The Black Huntsman and his Valkyrie.  You are not a meek lamb of God.  No, you are a lioness.”

She stroked his back, where his wings of plush leather joined his shoulder blades.  “Yes, I think I would like that, Samiel.”

And so they left a train of ghosts behind them, bones rolled in their graves, and the Devil and Filly were ne’er to be seen in Rostock again (at least, not in daylight).


I am a PhD student and professor in Communication and have previously published several professional short stories and poems in venues ranging from Apex Magazine to FunDead Publications’ Gothic Anthology. Writing is my lifeblood.