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Since we’re in hell’s kitchen...
a quick look at gluttony...
My Fill, By Abby Adams
I want to eat all the lollipops
in the world. I want to bite
into their tiny candy skulls,
swallowing red shards
of sugar glass. I want to drink all
the champagne in this hotel.
I want my blood bulging and electric,
my mouth filled up with coins,
and my hands dripping with honey.
I want a banquet of blondes
and a suckling pig between my thighs.
I want to be spun apart like a hurricane.
I mean taken by a hurricane.
Or taken by a pirate. He would take me
to the sea and the quiet sky. He would
point up to a bird, saying This is a Kingfisher.
It would hover, still as a held breath,
then plummet into the waves.
It would reemerge with a small sunfish
in its bill and rocket into the clouds.
I would hold the pirate’s hand and close my eyes,
gratitude filling me like cool water.
AUTHOR’S BIO: Abby Adams is a New York City grant writer who has a great fondness for outlines and bullet points and an overwhelming hatred for the word "sherbert." Her poetry has recently appeared in Breadcrumb Scabs.
Hell’s Rosary, By Catt C.
Each finger, a bead, I’m praying on
your sweet shape. A cherry, a peach-
sopping its remnants and
licking each prayer clean.
I’d eat your very core, if it wouldn't break-
what smiles at your failure or satisfies
my hunger, when you say contrition for
taking my communion away.
I absolved your search for pleasure, gluttony, and
exploration, until you couldn't free the hell’s circles-
you confusingly bridged between both our breasts.
EDITOR’S BIO: Catt has been published in an anthology by Outrider Press, numerous college journals, and has four books of ekphrastic poetry. When she's not clipping paper collages, and painting, she's tree-hugging and practicing her gun skills for the impending apocalypse (but not at the same time, that would be crazy). She has two more books on the way. Oh yea, and she's partial to this "baby" (well, it's her inferno and we aren't short on pride around here).
We’re sorry, our writers and artists have been very naughty...it’s a speedy drop to CIRCLE SEVEN, so grab a parachute...
The Sign, By Sweta Srivastava Vikram
She said: How come I don’t see you anymore?
He said: Because.
She said: Care to elaborate?
He said: I have been avoiding you.
She said: Are you trying to be funny because it’s April Fools Day?
He said: Who believes in stuff like that?
She said: I do.
He said: Then grow up.
She said: What were you doing inside?
He said: I didn’t think I would run into you at this hour.
She said: I live here remember? And that’s not the answer to my question.
He said: Well, Jay said you were in Thailand until next week.
She said: Jay? What were you doing talking to my stepbrother?
He said: I’ll tell you later. When did you get back?
She said: This afternoon. Why?
He said: I am sure we’ll find out.
She said: Whatever! What did that cheap rogue want from you?
He said: I work for him.
She said: No way! When did that happen?
He said: I started last morning.
She said: What will you do for him?
He said: Handle his clients and contracts.
She said: And that stingy jerk will pay you?
He said: Of course he will. It’s in the agreement.
She said: Huh! Hard to believe.
He said: What’s with the cynicism now?
She said: You trust a man who is as clueless as a newborn baby.
He said: In my line of work, words hold utmost importance.
She said: I hope he has offered you the going market rate at least.
He said: It all depends on how seamlessly I execute the orders.
She said: Well, let’s just pray you know what you are getting into.
He said: As a matter of fact, I do.
She said: I am curious. What kind of business does Jay have you involved with? Advertise His cue balls? Something new?
He said: In due time, you’ll find out.
She said: This cue ball business must be a front for some lame stuff. I mean, how many can anyone sell? I see him drink and gamble all day. Every now and then, he begs me for money. Frankly, I don’t understand Jay’s work or how he earns his lifestyle.
He said: Let’s hope we can keep it that way.
She said: God, you are such a weirdo!
He said: You think you know everything, don’t you?
She said: If you insist, I won’t argue.
He said: May I leave now?
She said: When do I see you next?
He said: Miss know-it-all, do I look like a fortuneteller to you?
She said: Geez! What are you so upset about?
He said: That you don’t get it.
She said: Get what?
He said: That you should stay away from all of this.
She said: Or what will happen, freak-show? Huh?
He said: I can’t answer that.
She said: C’mon, give me a reason.
He said: Because.
She said: How mature.
He said: Your pride will cost you someday.
She said: You can say what you want, but just so you know, I know.
He said: Wait. What do you mean?
She said: I know when we’ll get together next.
He said: Did someone say something to you?
She said: Why do you sound so edgy all of a sudden?
He said: What was your statement in reference to?
She said: First let go of my hand, you idiot! You can’t hold it for free.
He said: Only if you answer my question.
She said: Fine. All I said was, “I know.”
He said: But, how?
She said: What’s with the impatience?
He said: Can you be serious for just one moment?
She said: Fine, you angry fool, I have a magic cue ball. It tells the future.
He said: Very funny.
She said: I am serious.
He said: Where did you find it?
She said: Jay gave it to me and asked me to carry it to the Seven Sins Club.
He said: Of course he did.
She said: I don’t mind. It’s not like he asked me for my share of Dad’s wealth, again.
He said: Is anything written on it?
She said: Don’t know and don’t care. I am carrying it for his friend, Steven. That’s about it.
He said: Let me see it.
She said: Hell no! It’s gift-wrapped.
He said: Stop being such a child.
She said: Fine.Take the stupid ball, but don’t ever call me a child.
He said: You trust people easily and throw tantrums. What else do I call you?
She said: Go to hell!
He said: Wait. See, here it is.
She said: What, shreds of your brain?
He said: Just like I’d suspected.
She said: That would be?
He said: Your name and today’s date are inscribed on it.
She said: On the ball?
He said: Yes.
She said: Creepy. What does that mean?
He said: It’s my cue.
She said: For what?
He said: Shouldn’t your magic thing be telling you that?
She said: Shut up! You are the one with the psychic abilities. C’mom, tell me. How did you know?
He said: They are instructions.
She said: From whom?
He said: My employer.
She said: You mean Jay? Can you stop talking in riddles?
He said: He wants me to execute his orders with it.
She said: What orders?
He said: The cue ball was supposed to reveal the name of my client.
She said: Why would Jay get my name or date on it?
He said: Because I am a contract killer, and you are my first client.
AUTHOR'S BIO: Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com) is a Pushcart nominated-poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, blogger, wife, yoga-devotee, dancer, and oenophile whose musings have translated into four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, and a fiction novel (upcoming in April 2011); her scribbles have also appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications. A graduate of Columbia University, she lives and writes in New York City and reads & teaches creative writing workshops across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Follow her: On Twitter (@ssvik) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Words.By.Sweta).
Singing Lilly, By A. Nророк
Do you like Jazz? Since I returned home I sing it all the time. Funny how you can still remember the place where you first experienced something different. It had a shiny mahogany banister, freshly waxed. I can feel it to this day sliding under my tiny palms. Nine year olds are curious folks.
Instead of going to the bathroom like I said, I slipped into the neighbor’s room where I heard it playing on an old transistor radio. I sat down on the bed next to the long gray hair that I thought was a dog’s tail peeking from the downy warmth. Soon her milky, vein-laden hand was upon my tiny arm. She seemed to squeeze off my air supply from my limb, my first scream never escaped my airway. Lilly looked like a living corpse until she finally faded and was one. Her last words, “The devil’s dance” was all she left behind in the moth ball-scented room.
Her fingers never seemed to relax from their death-grip, and it finally pushed the scream straight out my throat. This time it was loud enough to reach the downstairs. The woman was hard to forget after that. I wondered for five years where she had been. Her husband almost hit me in his car a few years back. He was blasting his radio and singing. Some say he was coming back from dancing with his mistress. He just loved that music. His wife, on the other hand, always argued with him when he raised the radio volume on the porch, that his jazz was “the devil’s dance music.” Anyway, he didn’t notice me dropping my basketball in the middle of his driveway and swerved into the old oak tree. He killed his son playing under the fall leaves. When he got out of the hospital, he hung himself in the third floor stairwell.
She hated me. Cursed me every time I came near her. Always whistling the jazz tune she heard her husband playing while rocking on her chair. It’s in my head forever now. Eventually, I was sent away following the events after Lilly’ death.
Halloween was always a hard time. My friends loved to go on haunted hayrides and house tours. It’s not all the people dressed as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers that get me crazy, it’s the frightened mothers. They’re more afraid than their children and I guess because I’m closer to their height, they feel comfort in squeezing my arm. It usually sends me out the emergency exit, my friends, pointing and laughing at me on their way out the proper door.
“You’re the only person I know who gets scared of MILFS,” Brian sighed, “how disappointing.”
It was a great relief returning home to my old neighborhood and finding my friends have grown out of some of these customs. A new guy moved into the creepy house next door to my father’s house. Joe, was his name, and he decided to throw a party before his friends came from Boston and started remodeling the huge building. I had been dying to officially meet this guy. My friends all mentioned how delicious he was. It was even more curious when my best friend, Brian, had a tear in his eye when he found out the new guy was straight. This news, however, secretly made me happy.
They were just sitting around eating pumpkin donuts. Could you believe munching on pumpkin donuts and spiked lattes in his dining room whilst telling me the news?
“This place is haunted you know.”
“What? I don’t believe in ghosts,” I replied.
“You never heard of Singing Lilly?” Joe asked.
“Yes, she did. You’re such a liar. She's the creator of her,” Brian insisted.
“Don’t bother trying to scare her. She gets freaked out on real people.”
“Shut it, Sherri.”
“I thought it might be you, but I wanted to make sure,” Joe said, with a coy smile and then continued, “real people, huh?”
“She doesn’t like to be grabbed. Lilly grabbed her arm and made it bleed before she croaked. And since she doesn’t believe in ghosts, she thinks certain beings are some kind of “Creeper” things.”
“Creeper, you know? Creatures who forewarn you of death, like omens. Her cat grabbed her arm with its teeth and drew blood before the boy next door died, and her mother passed not long after Lilly did the same thing.”
“Ahh-but isn’t that still spiritual? You’re very confusing.”
“Good job talking me up, guys, thanks.”
“Super-confusing.” Brian said with that shit-eating grin on his face.
“Yea, whatever, you all have icing on your faces,” I said bitterly.
“Well, she’s still here ya know. That’s why I wanted to have this costume party. I heard her singing but I never went up to check it out. The guy in the bar down the street warned me about it before I moved in. ‘You only have five-seconds after it stops to run past her towards the servant’s staircase,’ he also mentioned he knew this because, ‘his worker friend took a heart attack on the stairwell and Lilly finished him.’”
“Before what stops?” I asked.
“Lilly’s singing, of course,” he added, “I thought you made up this legend?”
“I didn’t make up the legend...just recanted the real events.”
Everyone couldn’t help to stare at the black-brown wood’s sleek infinity. Everyones’ costumed heads bobbed in the same direction. They crossed the ceiling to the unknown and completed their gaze to the descent of a smaller, less obvious staircase. Only the nub of a twin, also brown-black in color, peeked out behind the wainscoted wall.
“What happens after the singing, again?” I asked.
“The rotten egg has never lived to tell about it,” Sherri reminded me.
“This all bullshit. Everyone made that story up from hearing me tell them her last words. I’ve lived the real-life Lilly nightmare. I saw her go. It was in her bedroom, with her oldest relative, who took great care of her before she went. Why would she haunt anybody but me?”
Everyone was going. It seemed like a joke. We were all laughing, convinced that the singing was another electronic device playing the music on cue. It was Halloween but ghosts aren’t real.
“What if it’s real?”Sherri stuttered.
“Well, five-seconds is a long time to run halfway across a room you’re already standing dead center,” I replied, remembering the layout.
“You would think,” Joe added. He gave a creepy sneer.
“She already sang. So aren’t we going to really be in “dead” center?” Brian’s sarcasm was scaring us all.
“No, that’s the warm-up. In five minutes she’ll sing the whole chorus,” Joe said, and Sherri did what I hated the most. She grabbed my arm with her fingernails. Blood rose through the scratches.
She stood staring at my words in a gaze. Everyone seemed to pull out their cell phones. The time was always right on those things. No one wanted to believe what they were hearing, but they still didn’t want to chance it either. Just as a bunch of phones snapped shut and everyone smiled at possibly being fooled, a shadow moved in the farthest reaches of the third floor. Back and forth between the big column, it seemed to get closer at an unnatural speed. A woman in white, now clearly could be seen pacing across the ballroom, but with feet that never touched the ground. She was singing the jazz song as her husband did in life.
“The twitching! I can’t watch. I can’t.” Sherri cried. I held tight to Joe’s arm.
“It’ll be over soon,” he promised me.
Suddenly, the old tune came to a halt. Everyone pushed for the servant’s stairwell. Looking back to assure Lilly was still with her back turned.
“Go!” I screamed, but felt Joe’s hand grasp my left arm making it bleed.
“Let go! Let me go! You’re sick. This isn’t funny.”
“No, but mother thinks it is,” he whispered, blowing some hairs by my ear. He grabbed my left arm tighter. Lilly grabbed the right one...again.
“You’re both dead. You can’t be back.” I shut me eyes in disbelief.
“I knew I could change your mind about the afterworld,” he breathed into my ear.
“My friends will tell everyone what happened...like the construction worker did.” I said, thinking I was so sure of myself.
“Made that urban legend up, sweetie, sorry.”
A few loud thuds came from the stairwell. A dark shadow with a noose around its neck was crawling on the ceiling. It was a dead creeper (never saw one of those before). It stopped above me and the rope end brushed the top of my head. Joe said calmly, “Hello, father, I’ve finally found my dance partner,” before the last thud echoed in the black abyss.
Author's Bio: A.N. is obsessed with zombies and vanilla cupcakes (sometimes zombies on vanilla cupcakes). Besides her delicious baked-goods, she's created short fiction for a few horror journals, and is currently working on self-publishing her collection of flash horror. She promises to submit more and keep our readers posted on the release date.
Fat Heat's works still concentrates on the two basic elements of graffiti writing, such as, the alphabet and extraordinary characters. He feels like these two elements are enough to communicate any given message, mood, or feeling. He loves natural dirt, textures, weird proportions fatcap tags, good flows, and the dark side.
He exhibited in a couple group shows with the Colored Effects in London, Budapest, Eger, Lublin and had one solo show in Budapest Carharrt gallery.
ARTIST'S BIO: Brielle J. Wilson is a color pencil artist specializing in portraiture for people and animals. A fresh, out-of-school illustrator, she has "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" tendencies being interested in both cutesy, children's books and heroic, horror-themed Art.
BIO: Since graduating from the Joe Kubert School of Art, Ken Haeser has maintained a considerable work load on a number of different comics such as the Jersey Devil, The Eyes of Asia, and currently, The Living Corpse (which is also currently in production as a CG animated feature film). The Living Corpse comic was released by Zenescope Ent but has recently been picked up by Dynamite Ent to be released in the summer. Ken also works freelance for Dynamic Forces as a sketch cover artist (as well as for many other art projects).
Please visit Ken at:
Predator was originally a creation of Jim and John Thomas.
Dante Alighieri has inspired me in so many ways, that the Italian poet in me wants to keep filling his hell for other fans of other worlds. Seems silly with all the creative settings and backgrounds of comic books, that their villains should be placed in an ancient hell. I figure if you can put someone like Helen of Troy in there, or a pope, then why not Lois Lane? (Oh, come on she lusts for men in tights, she’s no angel) At least for me, it makes the first installment of The Divine Comedy take on a whole new outlook.
It may be an easy call to dump everyone into circle seven with the violent, like my beloved Predator. If you're a true fan of even a handful of characters; you know the deeper inner makings of the anti-hero. It's pride that can dump a few heros in The Inferno as well. Matter of fact, Limbo is filled with those who predate Jesus Christ, so that lands Superman in with the Virtuous pagans (I’m pretty sure it took him a few lightyears to get here). Hmmmm-I like where this is going. How about we throw Batman or Spiderman in there, so they can create some interesting arguments (hey, they're big on vengeance and Superman needs a few pals like Socrates).
You can argue with me about my circles, I'll most definitely listen. I know there are probably comic book issues, movies, and cartoons that can move a character closer or away from Dis (and then there's that eternal argument if those like Dr. Manhattan can even die). It's something I've played with, and you (if you feel so inclined), can also. I'd love to hear from you...maybe see a sketch of your own Inferno. You don't even want to imagine my Celebrity Inferno...Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian beware! Send me your “Diagram Hell” along with your argument, today.
Credits for Characters’ Creators and First Appearances:
J. JONAH JAMESON FIRST APPEARED IN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 1 (1963)
CREATED BY STAN LEE AND STEVE DITKO
THE SAINT OF KILLERS FIRST APPEARED IN PREACHER #1 (1995)
CREATED BY GARTH ENNIS AND STEVE DILLON
SCOTT PILGRIM FIRST APPEARED IN SCOTT PILGRIM’S PRECIOUS LITTLE LIFE (2004)
CREATED BY BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY
CEREBUS FIRST APPEARED IN CEREBUS #1 (1977)
CREATED BY DAVE SIM
VENOM FIRST APPEARED IN THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #299 (1988)
CREATED BY DAVID MICHELINIE AND TODD MCFARLANE
THE PUNISHER FIRST APPEARED IN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #129 (1974)
CREATED BY GERRY CONWAY, ROSS ANDRU, JOHN ROMITA SR
RORSCHACH FIRST APPEARED IN WATCHMEN #1 (1986)
CREATED BY ALAN MOORE AND DAVE GIBBONS
HULK FIRST APPEARED IN THE INCREDIBLE HULK #1 (1962)
CREATED BY STAN LEE AND JACK KIRBY
MAGNETO FIRST APPEARED IN X-MEN #1 (1963)
CREATED BY STAN LEE AND JACK KIRBY
JOKER FIRST APPEARED IN BATMAN # 1 (1940)
CREATED BY BILL FINGER AND JERRY ROBINSON
THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN FIRST APPEARED IN AMAZING FANTASY #15 (1962)
CREATED BY STAN LEE AND STEVE DITKO
WOLVERINE FIRST APPEARED IN HULK #181 (1974)
CREATED BY LEN WEIN, JOHN ROMITA SR
CONSTANTINE FIRST APPEARED IN SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #37 (1985)
CREATED BY ALAN MOORE, JOHN TOTLEBEN AND STEVE BISSETTE
BATMAN FIRST APPEARED IN DETECTIVE COMICS #27 (1939)
CREATED BY BOB KANE AND BILL FINGER
SUPERMAN FIRST APPEARED IN ACTION COMICS # 1, 1938
CREATED BY JEROME SIEGEL AND JOE SHUSTER
Got something for another circle of hell not seen in this issue? Submit today. Read our site header for guidelines. Hope to hear from you soon...
“Our Hell is Always Open”