Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Once Upon A Witches Hour By John Patrick Robbins

When the veil between worlds was as thin as the deceit that exists within us all.
I captured a moment in turn, embracing a memory to erode with my sanity’s ever-waning coil.

Blood to rights and pleasure to seal the pact.
As I cannot speak for the feast, but the spread was ever so divine.

The wines stain the decay's stench.
Outside the circle is such a more fascinating place to play.

Hoof to soil bound by velvet restraints, as barbed wire's embrace is the constant of this earth.

Choking for pleasures untold in daylight’s conversation, not all bruises are cast in anger.
As the lies we embrace to protect the loss of purity of their own minds asylum.

The hour beckons, as so very much does the night.
I tend my thoughts with anticipation of the return of old truths and darkest understanding.

I am always ever so happy to extinguish the light.

John Patrick Robbins is the editor in chief of the Rye Whiskey Review and Off The Coast Magazine.
His work has been published at. Fixator Press, Impspired Magazine,  Lothlorian Journal Of Poetry, The Dope Fiend Dailey, San Pedro River Review, Red Fez, Horror Sleaze Trash and It Takes All Kinds Literary Zine.

His work is always unfiltered.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

murder, machete, machine gun by Tohm Bakelas

“my name is murder” he mumbled,
“i’m here to kill the haitians with 
my machete. i’m going to cut 
their fucking heads off.”
“okay” i said, “good thing
i’m greek.”
he laughed and asked if
i had a machine gun
“no i don’t” i said
“that’s too bad” 
he shook my hand and 
walked down toward the
other patients’ bedrooms,
blasting them with his 
invisible machine gun 
before disappearing into
his room and screaming 
i went back to my desk
and began to eat my lunch 

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He is the author of 19 chapbooks and several collections of poetry, including “No Destination” (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2021) and “The Ants Crawl In Circles” (Whiskey City Press, 2022). He runs Between Shadows Press. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Goodnight My Darling by John Patrick Robbins

The night was like all the rest.
Samantha was as distant as a stranger simply sharing a space.
Aside from the fact she was Eric's wife of nine years.

To say the magic had left the room was an understatement for the both of them.
But deep down Eric Scholtz always still held a glimmer of hope for the both of them.
They had been through hell and back and, although he may not have said it enough, he still loved Samantha. Even though Eric had a hard time showing it.

"Baby, I'm going head to bed a bit early, okay?"

Eric knew Samantha simply wanted more time with her sexting buddy from work.
He had long since put the app in her phone to read her texts, as the lawyer had suggested.

It was all so goddamned mechanical, Eric thought to himself. He was broken within and was beyond caring about the burden of proof.
All he wanted was not to feel anything at all.

And as he suspected, the moment he was alone the alerts went off it was all the usual shit.

"Baby, I can't stand it tonight, my body’s aching for you. Fuck, I need your dick so bad!"

Eric was beyond pissed; it was a perverse game and he had enough. He went and grabbed the thirty eight from his jacket.

Went to the kitchen and mixed a stiff drink, as upon mixing the second.
He mixed Samantha one as well and tried to calm his shaking hands.

Eric knew what he had to do and it didn't involve a long drawn out court case.
It was simple and real as a heart attack.

Everything felt different. Almost in slow motion as Eric made his way down that hallway towards his and Samantha's bedroom.

As she looked a bit startled as she realized Eric was standing two glasses in hand at the foot of the bed.

"Oh, you scared me baby. Is everything alright?"

Samantha asked.

"Have a drink with me, sugar. I want to talk to you, sweetheart?"

Samantha didn't question, she just nervously put her phone upon the nightstand.
Eric laid down beside her.

And despite the fact Eric had mentioned talking, he found far more was said in the silence.

Samantha took a sip of the drink, couching and grimacing.
"Is there a cola shortage I haven't heard about, baby?"

"A tad bit too strong for your taste, sweetheart? And here I thought you considered yourself a whiskey drinker."

"I am, but I think a distillery just lost half its supply in that one drink. As expensive as gas is these days, whatever I don't drink I will just pour the rest in the gas tank."

Eric laughed at his wife's reply. She could always crack him up no matter the situation. 
As he looked at her, questioning just what the fuck had happened between them to leave them so damn fractured?

They continued to make small talk; it was all as insignificant as how Eric felt about life these days.
He existed, nothing more, cohabitating with a woman who secretly loathed him yet maintained a facade to exist rent free, he supposed.

Samantha was a great actress, he thought to himself, as he fought his urge to simply rip into her.

"So, you want another, sugar?"

Samantha yawned.

"If I had another I would slip into a coma, baby. I'm fighting to stay awake as is.
What you put in that drink, a damn mickey or something?"

Samantha said, slightly laughing to herself.

"Actually, it was Rohypnol and probably way too much, but I'm far from one of your drugged out coworkers that swipes pills off the med cart, honey."

Samantha was beyond buzzed and feeling too good to realize, or maybe she just didn't give a fuck about her husband's snarky reply.

"You know like I told you long ago, baby, it's not rape if you yell surprise first."

"Yeah, I wonder does Sean find that joke as stupid as I did all those years back when you first told it to me?"

Samantha wasn't registering what Eric was saying, as he had put enough in the drink to drop an elephant, knowing his wife's tolerance for most pills in general.

"What the fuck are you talking about!"

"Please drop the act, Samantha, our last moments together should be many things. Dishonest is truly not one of them."

Samantha tried in vain to get up; the Rohypnol had already taken effect. She was but an onlooker to what she could only imagine was her demise.

She saw Eric pull the pistol from his robe, placing it upon his lap as he continued to rattle on as if nothing was out of the ordinary

Eric stroked his wife's hair, watching her slip in and out of consciousness.

"It's amazing how I feel nothing anymore, sweetheart. I'm not angry. I am not anything anymore. I am just existing here, is all."

Eric reached for his wife's phone, dialed 911, and just sat the phone back down as Samantha opened her eyes.


Eric simply kissed her lips, fighting back the tears. For no matter their current standing, there was always those glimmers of the woman he loved and who had all but become a living ghost, haunting and fueling his living nightmare’s torment.

As he placed the gun within her hands, wrapping his hands overtop her own, and putting the gun to his forehead, he quickly forced Samantha to pull the trigger.

The sound was deafening as Samantha was jolted from her coma to bear witness to Eric's body fall off the bed as unbeknownst to her, the cops were already on their way.

Eric never wanted to live his life without Samantha, but he also didn't want her to have a life of her own either.

He had enacted his vengeance in the coldest way possible she had broken his heart and now she would have to suffer the consequences of her vicious actions.

The cops would find Eric's body and see it as an open and shut case of another crime of passion.

Eric Scholtz always believed in the vows.
In death do us part.
And Samantha had no idea how deep those words resonated within him.

Samantha would be charged for the murder of her husband, and he was free of his burden of being trapped upon this plane of existence.

Revenge is as sweet as wine and always best served cold and Eric's blood was that of the serpent that waits to strike when you at least expect it.

Love’s always a gamble, and the best always know when it's time to leave the table.

John Patrick Robbins, is the editor in chief of the Rye Whiskey Review and Off The Coast Magazine.

His work has been featured here at the Dope Fiend Daily, Piker Press, Fearless Poetry Zine, Fixator Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Spill The Words, Lothlorien Journal Of Poetry.

He is also the co-author of The Mirror Masks Nothing along with Kevin M. Hibshman  from Whiskey City Press  available on Amazon.

His work is always unfiltered.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Night’s Corridors By Luis CuauhtĂ©moc Berriozabal 

Night’s corridors 
hide ghosts 
that will not
cross the light.
It is just the wind
really and worse
it is just mice.
They shun the 
spotlight and
nibble away.

Night’s corridors
call out
your name. It
is just a moan
from the ghost wind.
It is really
just a shriek 
from mice. They
talk this way
because they 
are not human.

Luis was born in Mexico, lives in California, and works in the mental health 
field in Los Angeles, CA. His poems have appeared in Ariel Chart, Beatnik Cowboy,
Dope Fiend Daily, Unlikely Stories, and Zygote In My Coffee.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

 Dark Waters So We Tread By John Patrick Robbins


Paul was beyond excited at the thought of the news he was about to share as he logged into the onion browser and began the descent into his true world of darkest understanding. 

The Sand Box was always packed; as what the silk road was for gun nuts and druggies, The Sand Box was for child predators and the true scum of this earth. And Paul Beasley was the kingpin in the kingdom of rats.
As the screen name Lynch entered the room, he was greeted like a rockstar by his eager subjects.

“Well, my darlings, the lamb is prime for the slaughter, so get your tickets. Should be a hell of a show.”

Paul had it down to a science. He added the file with pictures and a few shared texts between himself and thirteen-year-old Rebecca Gilmour.
He understood his market; give them just a tease and they would damn near pay any amount of money to view the stream.

The screen name ButcherInThaWoods posted: “Watch your six, brother. Damn pigs are everywhere. Looking forward to the show. She is  a fucking dime, man. Wish it was me with her tonight.”

Paul had to laugh at his fellow perv’s mock concern over his safety. In a normal person's case he would have fully understood. But Paul, Chief of Police for Princess Anne County, Virginia, understood the playing field better than all the rest…and maybe that’s what made it so damn alluring.

Either way, Paul logged off. He knew tonight's show would certainly be a new vacation for his unsuspecting wife and spoiled brat kids—whom he didn't even bother saying goodbye to as he headed out to his brand-new van. He took pleasure in knowing that, between his ever-growing, demented audience and Bitcoin supply, he could happily afford whatever his family wanted.

Paul broke out the cheap prepaid phone as he pulled out of the driveway.
“Honey, I hope you realize I’m a lot older than you. Still sure you really want to meet me?”

“Of course I do, silly! I’m nervous, but I just hope I won’t disappoint you, baby. I can’t wait to see you!” Rebecca replied, followed by the usual empty headed emojis teen girls had seemingly infected the world with, and females—along with empty headed cancel culture twats—embraced along with bathroom selfies and cat memes.

Paul only cared about the chase. The catch was usually a great disappointment, but as long as he got the footage and money, he didn’t give a shit. Then, he would cut and run, as always.

Never go to the well twice, no matter how fucking thirsty you were.

The drive to Creed’s Park was relaxing, and what made this little soiree even more devilishly sweeter was that the tiny little park was located right beside the police training facility. It was his ultimate fuck you to his supposed own kind.

Paul didn’t know how long he sat in that park waiting for Rebecca. All he knew, it was damn near sunset when at last she finally arrived. He sat in his usual spot, far in the back, almost completely invisible from the road or parking lot, nestled amongst the tall pines that littered the park.

No sooner had he stood up, Rebecca leapt into his arms, wrapping her legs around him as they embraced.

“Baby, I cannot believe you’re finally here!”

Paul quickly lost track of time as the usual mindless conversation ensued, and soon it was dark.

“You know, sweetheart, we should take this to my van. The seat lets down into a bed. I mean…unless you want to just be a tease, that is.”

“Baby, you know I’m just nervous, is all. You know it’s my first time and all.”

And now the true game was on. In that sense, they were all the same.
These mindless girls who were a paycheck and a quick release, and nothing more. But Paul was an elite hunter. He understood simple minds and fragile egos better than the rest, and laughed gleefully. Nothing could stand in the way of himself and his prey. And as he walked with his latest conquest in his arms, he relished the thought of his viewers witnessing yet another tight-bodied little bitch being deflowered for his Deep Web peanut gallery.

As they entered the parking lot, Paul noticed the group that was standing near his van.

“Baby, who are those people?”

It was at that precise moment that Paul questioned why the hell he hadn’t kept his service revolver on him. He could tell something wasn’t right about these individuals that loomed around his vehicle.


“Shhh!” Paul quickly replied to Rebecca. He could sense that her first instinct was to run and as he looked at the ragtag group. Honestly, he could not blame her. “Let me handle this, just be calm.”

“Hey! Can I help you guys?”

“I don't know…can you, Lynch?” A woman said as she emerged from behind two massive men who remained silent.

A chill shot through Paul’s body. He knew he attracted a certain type of audience, but never in a million years did he think they would find his true identity, let alone seek him out.

Paul knew from their looks that they certainly weren’t cops. He also knew that he had to do whatever it would take to get out of this situation—even if it meant throwing the young girl under the bus.

“Hey, look, you must have me confused with someone. I just want to get out of here, okay? We don’t want any trouble.”

“Oh, but we do, darling,” the woman quickly replied. 

Paul hit the button on his key to automatically open his van’s side door. As the side door slowly slid open, Rebecca let out a scream. A man in what appeared to be a gimp mask let out a muffled laugh while holding Paul’s camera.

Rebecca bolted.

“Hey, wait!” Paul called out. No sooner had he said it, he was doubled over in pain as he felt the wind knocked out of him from a punch to the gut. Quickly, he felt heavy boots upon him.

The beating continued for a while. All that Paul could hear was mad laughter as this pack of dogs leapt upon him. He was helpless as he felt himself being lifted with a bear-like strength. Then he was standing, with the two larger men holding him up.

As he stood there, the woman looked him dead in the eyes.

“Awww, sweetheart…it seems your little playdate got scared and ran away. Looks like you’re going to have to play with us instead. And I got to say, we are known to get a little rough. So, I hope you don’t mind if we tape your mouth shut? I mean, we wouldn’t want to disturb the peace or anything, Officer Beasley.”

Paul tried to speak, but was powerless to this group of whatever the hell they were. He felt the duct tape wrap around his head and knew damn well that, whoever these people were, they were out for blood.

The two men hauled him into the woods as if he were light as a feather while the strange, slightly hunched over man in the gimp mask simply filmed in odd silence. 

Once far back in the tree line, they dumped Paul like a sack of potatoes. Pain surged through his body, and Paul was almost certain that his ribs were broken. One of the men who had hauled Paul to this place stood over him. He looked down at Paul, placing his boot over his throat as he stepped down. Paul felt as if his windpipe was going to be crushed.

Then the woman leaped onto the man’s back, only intensifying Paul’s pain that much more.

“Look how blue he’s turning! Baby, be careful…we don’t want to kill him this quickly.”

“Yeah, we wouldn’t to want disappoint his audience. They wanted something far more exciting than this.”

“I say we light his ass up like the Fourth of July,” Paul heard the mountain of a man say as he slowly went unconscious. “Of course, we would have to remove the duct tape. Wouldn’t want to miss out on his screams as he cooks away. Now that would be fun.”

Paul thought he had died. But he awoke with his hands bound behind his back and, to his surprise, the duct tape removed from his mouth.

“Please! Look, I have money! Just let me go! I’m sorry about the girl…”

The large man smacked Paul, almost knocking him over as he held him by the throat.

“Look, Officer, here’s the truth. We don't care about your little playdates with children. In fact, we care about nothing but the fact that you seem to enjoy hunting upon our grounds. You see, you’ve tricked yourself into believing you’re a monster. But when you search the truest depths of the abyss, you will find there’s always something far more vicious and dark than yourself.”

“Tex, help our friend to his feet.”

Paul was silent as the one they called Tex pulled him to his feet.

“Paul, I know you’re a busy man. But let’s cut the shit. I know you want to get out of here, so I’m going to grant you your wish. You see that tree there? All you got to do is make it to that tree and we’re good.” 

Paul knew his cause was hopeless even as his hands were freed. There is a point when you abandon hope. Some call it shock; others, just the acceptance of death.

Either way, as Paul took his first step, he knew it was only a matter of time until the predator grew tired of its prey. And as he began to pass the man who seemed to be the unspoken leader, he felt the knife plunge into his stomach. It quickly ripped across his belly as he felt his intestines slowly begin to spill out of the wound.

Laughter erupted around him.

As if on autopilot, Paul remained standing and began to walk toward the tree that stood near the entrance of the park. His tormentors walked with him, but only the one who had disemboweled him spoke.

“You know, the Norse had a punishment called The Fatal Walk. It was reserved for the absolute worst, Paul. I really believe in the ways of the Old Gods. So do my Brothers.”

Paul was beyond the realm of pain as he tried to push his intestines back in. The blood was vast and thick.

The man referred to by his brothers as Bishop kept his voice calm as Paul struggled to keep standing. And, at last, when he reached the tree, Bishop pushed Paul’s back against it, looking into his eyes.

“You showed great strength for someone who will soon be suffering again for eternity. I respect that about you. But, my friend, upon this plain your hell is far from over. Brothers, let us give or guests the final part of this equation.”

With that said, the four individuals pulled Paul’s intestines out, wrapping them around the tree as his screams filled the night air. Although he prayed for death, he remained very much alive. He was unable to fall, being that he was bound to this tree by his own intestines.

As Bishop laughed the most sinister laugh, Paul begged for death. Leo kissed him, biting into his bottom lip, tearing off a chunk and spitting it to the ground as the odd, hunched over freak known as Tick filmed away.

“Well, Paul, I am afraid we must now depart. Seems we got to go find your little friend and tie up some loose ends. But don’t worry, we won’t be giving her this special treatment. No, she will just get the run of the mill, head-being-caved-in. I don't know what we will do.”

Paul could not respond. The pain was too vast. The pain would only allow him to scream.

“Well, Paulie, we would invite you to tag along, but I can see you’re all tied up at the moment. So don’t sweat it, we will see you in Hel sometime down the road.”

With that, the group left, speaking as casually as if they had just enjoyed a family picnic.

Paul Beasley stood for hours, dying a slow, agonizing death. He prayed to God for forgiveness, prayed for death’s embrace.

Paul had crossed paths with the hounds of hell themselves. Whenever we assume to know monsters, something truly evil raises its head to show us that The Devil is alive and well. And, unfortunately for Paul, there are always those who are far more fucked up, and willing to show us the true depths of madness.

Killing season had only just begun.


John Patrick Robbins, is the editor in chief of the Rye Whiskey Review & Black Shamrock Magazine.
His work has been published in Fearless Poetry Zine, Piker Press, Elephant,  The Dope Fiend Daily, The San Pedro River Review, Horror Sleaze Trash.
Medusa's Kitchen, Spill The Words Press.

He is also the author of Death Rattle & Roll from Whiskey City Press.

His work is always unfiltered.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

A STAR IS TORN By Michael N. Thompson

Everything’s a ceremony

in the arena of the damned

Beneath the glare and excess,

there’s a sadness knowing

beatitude’s nowhere to be found

Banality breeds the vanity blues

and death cults of personality

Drugstore cowboys

and reverse cowgirls

are automatic cliches 

There are more lives in transit

than a downtown bus station

but everybody takes a ride

on the Catherine Wheel

This is Nathanael west country 

where the sturm und drang of prestige

turns into sugar water

and the air strangles worse

than Ken Bianchi in 1977

Its less a city of angels

and more the gates to hell

The Marquis De Sade

would feel right at home

Michael N. Thompson likes bacon, cats and fantasy football. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals including Word Riot, Toronto Quarterly and San Pedro River Review. He is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent being A Murder Of Crows published by University of Hell Press.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Bone By John Riley


He has no need to pull up and search for the last bits of bone. There is little chance of finding any. The splinters may have tempted a fox, or flew away in the beak of the crow nested above the fig bush. Perhaps he should search closer to the well-house. His feet would leave deeper prints in the soft soil there. Why wonder? He has no cause to search for the bones that fell from the scaffold once erected in the oak's shadows. He can now go to the coast and watch his moments concentrate sunlight on the sea.

John Riley has published poetry and fiction in Smokelong Quarterly, The Ekphrastic Review, Better Than Starbucks, Banyan Review, Connotation Press, Bindweed, Fiction Daily, The Molotov Cocktail, Dead Mule, St. Anne's Review, and numerous other anthologies and journals both online and in print. EXOT Books will publish a volume of 100 of his 100-word prose poems in 2022. He worked in educational publishing for many years and has published over forty books of nonfiction for young readers.