Death Knell – Sarah Doughty

“Then, like a death knell, you arrived.
My monster. In the flesh.”

It was the thump, thump, thumping of your uneven steps, as you made your way in my direction. I knew those footfalls like they were alarm bells going off during a fire drill. They pierced my eardrums like thunder. There was nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. And there I was, helpless to do anything about it. So I did the only thing I could.

I counted the steps — thump, thump, thump — each one growing louder. Closer. By the time I counted to ten, the night seemed darker. As if the stars closed their eyes and refused to shine. Twenty. With every beat, my heart pounded, pumping battery acid through my veins faster and faster — thump, thump, thump — until the last step. Thirty.

Then, like a death knell, you arrived. Thump. My monster. In the flesh. Darkening my doorway. It was then that my torment would begin.

© Sarah Doughty


 

[Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.]

‘A BRIMFUL OF GRIM’ – Collaborative – A.G. Diedericks & Kindra M. Austin

I walk the streets, brimful of grim

a former empath, deformed

with a Stephen Hawking-sized

black hole in my chest

 

At night I chisel the cemetery of us

blurred visions leave my veins with an incision

I siphon the blood back into our old skeletons

reprieve my solitude

 

The moon is a phantasm—

a projection of you

Your cold white face casts shadows

of me against these cobblestone streets

and up the sides of Tudor buildings—

I am a colossus,

brimful of grim   

 

In an L.A. riot, I lie quiet

under a monochrome sun,

and listen to the unison of us—the way we were, uncanny

The earth vibrates underneath me; defibrillator, ascertain my heartbeat

 

Ever since you left, every woman I meet plays her part in a ménage

á trois with your mirage

Cosplay lovers;

I think you would love the homage

 

The sun’s beams envelope me,

a yellow shroud melting

Saturate my winter soul—

memories of you coagulate

in my arteries, thick cholesterol

You are my heart disease

I crave the taste   

 

Insatiable, the revenant of you

I climb into your climate

A masochist, unable to resist—tie me up, let me hang,

suspended in the mist of you


 

A.G. Diedericks is a cinephile in the midst of being gentrified into a bibliophile.. Colonized by mediocrity; He moonlights as a clandestine writer. You’ll find him in a dark alley over at the cuckoo’s nest; where he often lays to rest in Cape Town, SA. ]

&&&

Kindra M. Austin is an author (information on her book can be found here), artist, and a Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan—Go Detroit Red Wings! She likes her drinks corpse stiff, music loud as fuck, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.]

Shell Beach – S.K. Nicholas

In the boot of your car, there are several bottles of wine and a shovel of which we use to bury our secrets with because the world has no place for the likes of us. In your pocket, there are filters to block out the voices of those we once resembled, filters your childhood self would be shocked and alarmed to see. Much the same as how my younger self would be shocked and alarmed in coming face to face with the abstraction of what I’ve since become. In a field away from prying eyes, I place the blanket on a spot of flush grass and together we admire the unspoilt view of miles and miles of nowhere and everywhere with an ocean of blue sky above us that leads to an ocean of water as my hand slides beneath your top caressing your waist. And then it’s your breasts and then it’s my mouth and teeth on your neck and then you push me down upon the blanket and we roll and rock in ways none of them will ever be able to measure. In the distance, a city rumbles like a belly full of booze and not much else. In the hidden soil, all that we have ever lost is regained with each kiss. This globe is a tiny one, and yet we do what we do as if we weren’t mere humans but entities, like those on the moor up north, y’know, the one where Heathcliff and Cathy play? We taste these kicks and dig our fingers in pretending it’s not how it is but it’s exactly that which is why we’re here, kissing without the need for anyone else to ruin our vision. Your lips are cherry, and the way your hair catches the breeze, it’s a memory of London, and it’s a memory of paint on canvas and the quietness of my life before you made yourself known. We were always meant to find each other, and we were always meant to come undone in each other’s embrace. There was no other way. As my fingers touch yours and you whisper those words into my ear, I tell you to close your eyes and picture us stood at the end of a pier throwing stones into the sea. It’s a place we can go where they’ll never come looking. Where our love will remain as pure as the night when everything else crumbles. We discovered it almost by chance, and when it gets too much and we lose sight of things, all we have to do is go back, and our souls align themselves once more.


 

[ S. K. Nicholas is the creator of  My Red Abyss and author of A Journal for Damned Lovershis first novel. He is a brilliant writer and a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. To learn more about S.K. and A Journal for Damned Lovers read Jasper Kerkau’s interview with S.K. and his review of A Journal for Damned Lovers. ]

Introducing Kindra M. Austin:

THE ARCHER AND THE SCORPION

I found a photo of us, eight years old, stored in my ‘sent messages.’ We’re sat at Tokyo smoking a cigarillo, looking utterly chuffed with ourselves. I thought I had destroyed all evidence of the Archer and the Scorpion union. Goddamn, darling, we made a fucking stunning couple when we stepped out dressed in gangster black, and with a dirty day drink buzz-on. But we were stunninger in the dark, when you worshipped at Church of Me; your platform bed served well as altar. 2 a.m. moon soaked Liturgy, my sweet heathen, you were no atheist sheathed in my silk.

 


 

[Kindra M. Austin is an author (information on her book can be found here), artist, and contributing editor and writer for The Bridge Magazine, as well as a fucking valkyrie Sagittarius. She can be found filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.]

Us – S.K. Nicholas

There’s junk food in my belly and a book on Ian Brady in my hand. Blinking my eyes, the pages are stained with sweat and splashed with spit. Remember when I would take you from behind and how I’d lean over and tell you to turn your face and look me in the eyes? How I’d get you to open your mouth so I could let a stream of saliva drip onto your tongue? You don’t? Well, shame on you. Somewhere in my mind, the smell of stale beer drifts to me across playing fields. It’s autumn, and the leaves are crisp and crumble in my hands before falling to the floor like confetti. There’s a chill kick in the breeze that pains my face whenever I shave. There are bus journeys and newsagents that sell sweets and magazines with free toys attached to their covers. There are coffee shops and pet stores and underpasses where children from nearby schools paint pictures of the world they live in. After a drunken night out in town with friends, I walked home alone and took a leak in that underpass, and as my yellow stream of piss splashed the colourful buildings they had painted, I laughed until my stomach hurt. That book on Ian Brady, I keep it in my bag and read it in the shade of trees and weeds far from the presence of others. His voice is one of existence, and as such, it reminds me that I exist. In silence is where I grow, and yet in your arms is where I’m alive more than ever. I’m not sure how that works, and that’s part of the problem. There’s a cigarette to ease my troubles and to make my head spin. There’s a song that connects us even though so many days have been and gone in between our last kiss. For some, the meaning of words is a thankless one, but for me, God is in every letter. This poetry. This sense of glory. There is nothing that comes close save for the image of you leaving footprints on fresh snow, or the taste of your neck as we do our thing while trying so hard to resist the breaking of dawn. And to think of all those buildings where our ghosts dance in silence, and to think of those fields where I would carry you because it was too muddy and you didn’t want to get your shoes dirty. Those dead cigarettes of mine, they are still there somewhere, along with those empty bottles of wine I would fling into the mouth of the quarry. And that hairclip you lost- that too is there. Everywhere we go and have been, there are artefacts that hold so much meaning the rest will never be able to fathom. What’s gone is not lost, and what’s not lost is with us every step of the way.


[S. K. Nicholas is creator of  myredabyss.com and author of A Journal for Damned Lovershis first novel. He is a brilliant writer and a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. To learn more about S.K. and A Journal for Damned Lovers read Jasper Kerkau’s interview with S.K. and his review of A Journal for Damned Lovers.]

Shoreline – Howl Davies

We stand like stones
beside the throes of the ocean,
beneath the gaze of
the holiest of crows
floating above the bones
and wreckage of those lost
at sea, you let your
pride swell and you sank with
an anchor at your feet,
cursing the moon
to let the water just recede,
pleading with every angry
memory,
to allow yourself to
swim out in decline,
the commotion of being
born of immaculate design,
you stand alone inside the mountain,
shouting that you want to call god
on a burner
to hide your trail,
to scorn him, to convince yourself
that you aren’t yearning for something
more, learning that there’s
no one there
to stop the drone. What are you
holding to? Solitude
asks nothing of us, and you
shouldn’t be ashamed. Scared,
maybe, but bring that to the
light and up it goes in flames,
four hours wandering
the skin of the sea,
the shoreline adores
you,
and your subtle step.


[Howl Davies is the creator of The Sounds Inside.]

let’s be strangers in new orleans – samantha lucero

next-day sore, fabled romance memories we’ll never have again hang themselves over the morgue of my shoulders. they sling there on the murderess hews of my collarbones like a noose. over the rubble of me like a shapeless dress, they cling. my sadness is a one-size fits all.

there’s a bad mystery of stitched up, prayer-words smothered & held hostage underneath the humid crucifix game of your nails. maybe we could be in love. your calloused hand, my beating throat. memories are ghosts that can physically embrace me; embrace us.

like  dirt-sweat in a ghost-tour day of that hot mouth street in New Orleans, where the grinning specter-folks wanna stay like pasted gaslight posts in booze-colored hurricane beads. where there’s oiled-up candles in the balmy night lining decatur & quivering tarot cards in a sweaty palm telling me i’m meant for greatness. hail the votives for a virgin or a saint-chief, & watch palpitations at every pop-up table. my black boots on powdered sugar all over the concrete long after sleep should’ve gently tapped, hold the the dust of cemetery reflections & the 24/7 menu of the cafe du monde.

meet me for smoke, insomnia, primordial love.

you don’t need the blonde smiling photograph of her burned onto the back of your eyelids when things go wrong for us.

i don’t need the memory of him sewn to my back like a corset scar, like an unhealed secret.

we can make our own memories now. let’s erase them.

let’s erase it all & grow old

in the sweet, warm arms of new orleans where desperate, spilling souls belong. 


[Samantha Lucero is an unseelie that has a nursery of shadows at sixredseeds.]