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Black Lantern Publishing, Volume III

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."
- Henry David Thoreau




Allen Kopp, Seascape

Craig Wallwork, The Girl in the Balloon

Chris Deal, Pursuit

Elle Pryor, An Angel Aquarium

Peter McMillan, Carpe Diem

William Cryer, Variation on Memory and Desire 

Jeffrey Carl Jefferis, Weirdness of Foot 

Stephen Jarrell Williams
Seeing Through It  

Rachel Lieberman, The Doll

Robert John Miller, A Metamorphosis 

Richard Bell, Pillar on the Isle 

Ben Ellentuck, They've Been Taking Things Apart

Fariel Shafee
Being and Nothingness
The Prussian Flower
That Day    

Rebecca Huggins
A Weekend Home
The Loneliest Boy in the Middle of the Ocean

Chris G. Vaillancourt, Crying at the Window, I See You There  

Chris Castle 

Donal Mahoney
Prior to Conception

Mike Berger, The Thing 

Jill Okpalugo-Nwajiaku
Eating Pepper Soup
The Wristwatch  

Ann Cro
The Motel 
The Painting

Conan Young, The More Things Stay the Same

Kenneth Radu, Earthbound

Michael C. Keith, A Once a Year Ride in the Desert 

M.J. Neary
My Salieri Complex 
Mocking the Fires
Lady In Yellow Chiffon

Dena Daw, Breakable

Amanda Paul, To Do  

Beaulah Pragg, The Jacket with Wings

Bruce Memblatt, An Impression of a Life

Jack Frey, Bread 

Judith Stanley, Running Boy  


Zimeleea, Magia Gandului

Marisabel Munoz
, Sky Dragons

Natasha N. Sova
A Wise Old Owl
An Incantation

Bianca Lucchesi
That Old Frog Story
Bubble Pop Electric

Laura Tolton, Jungle Crossing

Jenny Li, Lifeglass

Alex Pelayo, Iguales

Jeremiah Morelli
Ocean Cave
The Ladder

Romina Pallota
I Want to be a Giant

Pebbles, The Trees are Calling  

Anna Majboroda
Please Take the Orchard

Marissa Smith
Boatswain's Call
And We'll Be Like Brothers  

Berk Ozturk, The Puppet Master 

When Dreams Are Given Away
Dying from Inside 

Julia Maranto
The Red Balloon
Bird People 

Chris Young
The Puppet Man 

Jim Fuess

Anita Olsen
Keeper of Scrolls
I've Been Waiting

Anna  Tkacheva 
White Birds     

Walker Huggins
Wood Witch   

Do Not Go to the Woods Tonight
Mother Nature 

Miki Sato, Wish to Meet You Soon 

Zuzanna Roszkowska
Liquid Slavery 
Know the Difference


by Allen Kopp
Blanca Longworth and her husband checked in on a brilliant, sun-infused day in early May. They had a delightful room on the fourth floor with a little balcony overlooking the ocean that from that distance was like a mirror reflecting the sunlight. Feeling tired from the long journey, Blanca lay down on the enormous bed to rest her eyes and soon she was asleep. 

When she awoke, she knew from the way the sun slanted into the room that it was very much later than it had been. She arose and went into the bathroom and fixed herself up and then changed her clothes and waited for her husband to come back—back from wherever it was he had gone—to take her downstairs to dinner.
She waited for twenty or thirty minutes and, when her husband still hadn’t returned, she made up her mind to go and have dinner alone. She hadn’t eaten all day and was feeling faint from hunger. She was sure he would understand and would be able to get something for himself later from room service.


by Chris Deal
T hat first day I woke at dawn, put the pot for the coffee over the fire and rolled a cigarette in a cornhusk while I waited for it to boil away the water’s impurities.  My world was still cold, despite the proximity to the flame. With the Springfield in my arms and the furs over my back, I went to the forest and looked for sign.  When the sun neared the top of its arc, I came into the clearing, ground stained red and black, a man motionless in the center.  Saul, I said. What have you done? The man’s chest was open to the world, his meat, heart taken. Soot fell from the heavens, mixing with the snow. The trail went to the town and I followed.  Saul was going north, they said, pointing towards the wastes. I tracked him from Iqaluit, northwest to Arctic Bay. Found his scent in Grise Ford. You notice strangers there, and they told me he passed through early one morning three days earlier.  Saul had the lead on me, heading northeast.  I found a caribou exposed to the stars. I said a prayer and asked permission to take one of my own.  I thanked the animal for its sacrifice and I promised payment in kind.  A week later I was under the Cordilleras. My breath came out damn near solid. There was a hint of smoke two days to toward the water, and coming down onto the ice, I saw him there, waiting.  He didn’t fight the blade, but asked forgiveness for what he had done. The only warmth in the world came from his blood. David, he said, his lips frothing red.  I laid a hand to his heart, and the flames came over him, melting through the ice.  I asked forgiveness as the sea took him as its own.  I walked south and waited for vengeance to come, to overtake me as it had for Saul.

© 2010 Chris Deal.  All rights reserved. 

Chris Deal writes from Huntersville, North Carolina.  He has published over 50 poems and short stories.  His debut collection, Cienfuegos, will be published in early 2010, and a story of his will be in the forthcoming anthology Eternal Night, published by Living Dead Press, and he writes many pieces for Troubadour 21.

The Girl in the Balloon

by Craig Wallwork

Ester Cartridge never knew her father, but on her eighth birthday, the present she received was his final breath. “This is all that remains of your father”, said Ester’s mother handing her a pale pink balloon. Over time, the balloon’s skin had shriveled in patches causing large dents to appear, which reminded Ester of an old person’s head if it had been clobbered with a mallet. Ester could make out a faded print on the balloon that read: Happy 1st Birthday. Ester took the balloon from her mother and carefully walked it to her bedroom. There she opened the window and sat down wondering what her father’s final breath smelt like. With great care, she fumbled and pinched at the knot until it opened and held it to her face. Slowly she prized the two ends apart, forcing her nose into the gap. But she could not smell anything. She then pushed her nose into the balloon, and then her mouth, until her head was inside. The smell there reminded her of lint and tobacco. Looking through the balloon’s skin, her room turned a lovely pink colour and the sky beyond the window was cerise. It was so nice seeing the world and smelling her father’s breath that she didn’t want to leave that balloon, so she pulled it down over her shoulders, and down her arms, all the way to her feet. Ester then pulled the ends inward and tied a big knot so no air could escape. Life was beautiful in the balloon, and she wondered if she could live in there forever, where everything is pink and smells of old tobacco. She also wondered what the world outside looked like from inside the balloon. Ester bounced up to the window ledge and with one big jump cleared the window. A gracious wind lifted the balloon over the maple tree in her garden and high above her house. She saw her mother in the yard pinning out the washing, and the neighbor's dog chasing its tail. She saw her school and her friend’s house and all the tiny little cars traveling down windy roads. And as Ester neared that big pink sun, her heart swelled with happiness and she prayed aloud that no bird passed with a sharp beak. 

© 2010 Craig Wallwork. All rights reserved. _________________________________________ 

Craig Wallwork lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and baby daughter. He has be published in various print and online magazines including: Gold Dust Magazine (winning Best Prose), Sideshow Fables, Troubadour 21, Cherry Bleeds, Colored Chalk Magazine, Laura Hird's official website, Beat the Dust, Nefarious Muse and The Beat. This is his first flash fiction piece, which was heavily influenced by the Israeli writer, Etgar Keret.

Pursuit of Happiness

by A. N. Hegde
 In India, where Hari grew up, everyone said one had to get a degree with “scope,” meaning one with good job prospects, like a medical or an engineering degree. All the inspirational books that Hari found in the second-hand book shop said “go forth and get an education to broaden the mind.” Hari thought he might as well be practical while expanding his horizon, so he got a B.A. in economics, which only made for poor job prospects. His father said that government jobs meant respect. His friend Vishwa, who spoke in choppy bursts, said, “In private sector, good pay but lot of work. They make you toil like a donkey and kick your ass if you slack off. In public sector, low pay but no work. Once you get in, you’re set for life, no? All you have to do is move paper from one desk to another and maintain status quo."

Hari didn’t want to be a low-level bureaucrat; he wanted to make something of himself. He wanted to join the Indian Administrative Service, a top government agency. Everyone warned him that the only way to survive as an IAS officer was to be corrupt. Otherwise, politicians got you transferred to a town with a constant water shortage. 

Hari was on his way to the post office to mail his application for the IAS entrance exam with the requisite fee when he saw a beggar in tattered, mud-coated clothes. The man was beating his tummy with a stick-like hand and yowling, “Give me something, please. I am dying of hunger here. Please take pity and give me something so that I can fill this empty tummy.”

An Angel Aquarium

by Elle Pryor

Icy autumn air exposed the crowd’s breath as they congregated outside the main entrance to the gallery. The pale, lemon sun shone dimly in the cloudless sky offering no heat. A shorn carpet of grass flecked with frost lay before a huge tan building like a giant’s welcome mat.

Dying, vanilla leaves on the skeletal trees seemed to brush small crests of cream waves onto the dull, dirty waters of the river behind them. Tug boats grunted downstream scratching lines of surf in their wake.

A clown unicyclist peddled around his audience. Dressed in a blue and white striped sweater he held out an upside down purple beret for donations, his arm swaying as he cycled. His nose was false and made of crimson rubber and his lips were enlarged with burgundy lipstick.

People pulled their hands out of woolen gloves and searched inside their pockets for money. Coins were thrown his way and he saluted solemnly like a soldier at the people who donated.

Lorenzo said that he could ride a unicycle but Claudia raised her eyebrows in disbelief. He smirked and lit up a cigarette, dense smoke floated into the crisp air.

“It is cold,” he muttered.