A Beautiful Flower

by Lionel Ray Green

Lily grabs Dexter’s groping right hand and twists it back until his wrist snaps like a dry twig.

“I am a lady, and I will be treated as one,” Lily says over Dexter’s stunned scream.
With tears streaming down his face, Dexter drops to his knees, gingerly holding the broken wrist to his chest.

“Lily … fl-fl-flower,” Dexter stutters through sobbing lips.

Lily wraps her hand around Dexter’s neck, picks him up under the chin, and tosses him over the couch where he smashes into a wall and drops facedown to the floor.

A framed black and white photograph of a naked woman in chains falls off an end table and lands on top of him.

Dexter tries to shake the cobwebs from his brain as the pain of his wrist sears through his cortex.

Lily stands over him.

“I am a lady, and I will be treated as one,” Lily repeats.

“Lily …beautiful … fl-flower,” Dexter mumbles again as he awkwardly pushes himself to his knees.

Lily punches Dexter square in the face, shattering the bridge of his nose and upper lip in an explosion of blood and mucus. He swallows at least one tooth.

Dexter crawls like a turtle with three legs toward the jacket hanging on the chair at his computer desk. He likes to play rough, but this is insane.

“Please,” Dexter begs.

Lily calmly steps toward Dexter.

“Lily is a beautiful flower,” Dexter blurts the barely comprehensible words through swollen and bloody lips.

Lily pauses and tilts her head to the right as if processing Dexter’s words. A wisp of smoke escapes from her left ear and dissipates in the air above her head.

“Thank you for your business,” Lily says.

Lily then walks to the front door, opens it, and exits without another word.

Dexter rolls on his back and thanks his god that the safe phrase worked.

Dexter reaches for the smartphone in his jacket pocket and slowly taps numbers after the vocal recognition application fails to discern his blubbering like Lily did.

The phone on the other end rings once before a friendly female voice answers.

“Robomance Escorts. How may I help you?”

Dexter spits out a tooth and says, “I want a refund.”

Lionel Ray Green is a horror and fantasy writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. His work has appeared in eleven anthologies and two magazines, including Alabama’s Emerging Writers; The Heart of a Devil; and In Creeps the Night. His short story “Scarecrow Road” won the WriterWriter 2018 International Halloween Themed Writing Competition All Hallows’ Prose. Visit lionelraygreen.com to check out his blog.


by Alexander Olson

I knew you’d come crawling back, bloodied, scabbed, torn skin peeling away from your fingernails. You’re a horror victim in reverse; instead of being dragged away, nails digging grooves into hardwood, you’re clawing your way back, leaving gashes in everything like some lovelorn Wolverine.

I cut you out of my life for a reason. You were so clingy, always grabbing, groping, gripping. Moving things without being told. Flipping light switches, locking doors, snapping your fingers together in rhythm to keep count… one-two, one-two. Once, you reached down and began pulling leg hairs out of me, because you saw an uneven number. I can’t wear shorts.

You taped over all the electrical outlets because you read about lightning sending sparks out of them.

Even when I started cutting with that cheap saw with the loose blade, you couldn’t stop. Counting cuts, begging me to make sure it was an even number. Seven cuts to remove a hand was unbearable, eight or ten perfectly okay.

I stopped at seven and broke it off, yet you crawl towards me across dirty linoleum, fingers twitching and writhing like those facehugger aliens. I can’t fight you off, but listen:

Seven is a prime number.

Alexander Olson is from Port Huron, MI. He writes horror and sci-fi about poor people trying to pay the bills. His first novel, “Erosion” is due out this spring. You can find more of his writing on squidthroatonline.com