Blood Match

By Donna L Greenwood

She knows that I love the blood

All I see is blood. It spills upon me tender but fulsome, splattering eyelids, cheeks and mouth. I taste it and I know her.  I feel it slick between my hands, between my legs and I feel her. I breathe her in and drink up her incarnadine love and I regret nothing.

The first time I saw her she was behind bars.  I was the special guest at the opening of ‘The Spirit of the Panther’ compound at Bowland Zoological Gardens.  I was the person who cut the ribbon and then smiled graciously before making a quick getaway.  However, before I left, I saw her, skulking behind the freshly planted foliage of her enclosure.  After a fleeting glimpse of her black sinews twisting in the dying sunlight, I was bewitched.  Money can buy you anything you desire.  And I desired her.

After I’d paid out a ridiculous amount of cash to various people, both official and unofficial, she was mine.  I could provide her with more than the zoo ever could.  My house is surrounded by more than 10 000 acres of forest and, with an electric fence here and security camera there, I could give her the full run of the place.

I paid people to keep her happy, to clean her bedding, to keep her living areas filled with exotic greenery, to check her teeth and claws, but I was the one who fed her.  I was the one who watched her tear apart the fresh carcasses and snuffle in the ribcages of her food.  I smiled to see the blood run down her black fur, to see her lick away the little morsels of flesh stuck in between her incisors. After she had eaten, she would lie down under the shade of a large oak tree and sleep.  Whilst she was sleeping, I liked to open the gate of the enclosing fence and walk towards her.  Each day I got closer to her until one night, after I’d watched her for three long hours, she rolled over so that her back was facing me.  I crept towards her.  I knelt down quietly and lay beside her.  Not quite touching her, but facing her back.  I admired her strong limbs as they stretched out into the night.   I knew then that I loved her.  And I knew in my old heart what it was I most desired.

It would take some planning.  Not many people would understand my desire, let alone enable it, so this was something that I needed to do alone.  I set my plan in motion.  First, I began to talk to her as I fed her.  I wanted her to get used to the sound of my voice.  I wanted her to associate my voice with pleasure.  Secondly, I changed her food. The shoulders of goat and legs of lamb had been sufficient to keep her from being hungry, but I wanted her to enjoy her food.  I wanted her to remember what it was like to draw blood and feel its fresh warmth spurt into her mouth.

The first time I watched her bring down a young goat and rip open its throat, I felt myself salivate.  I could almost taste the tender, bloody flesh.  As she tore the kid to pieces, I spoke to her, ‘That’s right, my love, rip it up, tear it up, feel its life gush down your throat.’   After her first live meal she looked up at me, her green eyes flashing a secret message of gratitude as she licked her lips.

The next meal was a calf.  It was more difficult for her this time, she had to run faster and work harder.  The calf kicked and did not go down easily, but go down it did.  This time I moved out of my observation post and moved into her enclosure.  I got as near as I dared, so near I could hear her teeth tearing into the muscles of the still moaning calf.  My heart was racing, I moved a little closer. She picked up the calf by its neck and shook the remaining life out of it.  I was splattered with its blood.  I licked my lips and tasted the salty redness that splashed there.  In all my sixty five years, I had never experienced a purer moment of bliss.


It has been over four weeks now and she knows me well enough to let me sit by her whilst she feasts.  She knows that I love the blood, so she is especially vigorous when shaking her prey.  Most nights I go home drenched in gore.  Tonight will be different; tonight is the night when I will finally fulfil my desire. I take a look in the mirror in my bedroom.  I look well for a man in his sixties and there is a special light in my eyes.  I am naked but when I walk out of my expensive home, I know the servants will look the other way.  I know that nobody will stop me because I am a wealthy and powerful man.

Tonight I will enter her enclosure and I will walk towards her with my arms open wide.  I will kneel before her, close my eyes in supplication and I will wait for the blood to come.

For tonight my beautiful creature will have a much richer dish to feast upon.



The Chattering

By Donna L Greenwood

Very honoured to have this short listed in the ‘Close But No Cigar’ category for Molotov Cocktail Magazine’s Shadow Award 2018.


The Chattering

As the blissful unknowing rest weary, and sleep,

Dreaming of pointless and meaningless things,

From the edges of darkness, the Chattering creeps.


Shadowed and shapeless, it snickers and sneaks.

Into the minds of babies, it chatters and sings,

As the blissful unknowing rest weary, and sleep.


Its emptiness yawns, and milk-wet mothers weep

As their dreams unravel with the horrors it brings.

From the edges of darkness, the Chattering creeps.


It enters the innocent to sow what they’ll reap;

Nattering its promises of madness and sin,

As the blissful unknowing rest weary, and sleep.


The universe is pitiless; its secret it keeps,

But the abyss is opening; the end bell rings,

From the edges of darkness, the Chattering creeps.


The dark hallelujah of nothingness seeps

Into the splayed-out souls of the faithful and weak.

As the blissful unknowing rest weary, and sleep,

From the edges of darkness, the Chattering creeps.


The Bone Queen by Donna L Greenwood


vintage_bride_queen_mum_by_mementomori_stock-d5oiax1 (2)As published by ‘Occulum’ magazine and long-listed in the InkTears competition 2017

Dust and rot fill her mouth as she eats.  The food is cloying.  It does not sit well.  She is alone but for the sycophantic phantasmata who surround her, constantly back-combing her nerves.

In her palace of filthy black, her bony fingers strain the muck, searching for someone who will not cower when she smiles.  Her hands bring back nothing but detritus and her heart remains parched and un-whole.

“It has to be a prince,” she tells the fades as they clown and cartwheel around her.

And so they go in search of a prince who will break the spell.  Their mistress is all bone and cannot weep for lack of wet.  Her need is their greed so they hunt with teeth and lungs that scream down the night.

They find a lowly man sitting in an ordinary place, weeping over some poem.  He cannot understand the noise that the wind makes as it blows through his mouth and his mind but he knows that he must search for her.

He reaches her palace, dreaming of madness and art, and he begins to weep again, for the ground is hard and the air spikes his throat.

As she smells his tears, her shrunken heart rejoices.  Her skeletal hands lift her robes and she clicks and clacks through the murk, searching for his light.  Her body quickens, for a thousand years of dust have made her desire unfathomable.

He sees her through the gloom; her eyes are the sea and he sails and he sails.  He takes her bones and he holds them and he sings her flesh back and he sings her heart full.


The Innocent by Donna L Greenwood

People spoke of the witch in hurried whispers as though their words were spies all too willing to betray them.  Snatches of their gossip were woven into the wind and carelessly dropped by her ears. Of course, she paid them no heed because, but for want of a friend, the witch was happy.   The years had yawned a hole in her memory and she was no longer sure who she was but she knew that her cat’s name was Hecate and she remembered to water and feed her tomatoes most days.  Best of all, she still had one good eye with which to watch the rising of the sun each day.  She felt blessed and so the hard words of her neighbours did not take root in the softness of her heart.

One day, as often happens in these tales, a brave child walked past this garden that grew wild with tomatoes.  They looked so juicy and so ripe that the child could not help himself; he hopped over the fence and plucked one from its vine.

The witch was sat on her porch when she spied the small child with her one working eye.  As quick as a snip-snap, she ran across her garden and yelled – for her ears were not what they used to be – Don’t eat the ones by the roadside, come and take one of the juicier ones further in.

Now this child had heard the tales carried by the wind and one look at this crooked crone with her sawn-up eye sent him running, all mouth and tears, to a neighbour’s house.  And the adults knew by his screams that there were far worse enemies of innocence than witches.

That night they came for her.  No mercy was shown.


By Donna L Greenwood

First published by Anti-Heroin Chic 2017phone pics 3 293


I awaken


The night falls

Downward and spills onto

White flesh lying

On pillowed slab.

I sit up – bleak and unblinking




hOpe feathers

And shreds intO

White paper

Skin on wrOng bones.

The mOnstrous sky

Holes my mind and

Rips out a shrill lucidity

The terrible brightness of which

Sears my heart and

Shrieks it into flames

And tears apart the

Child InnOcence

And sucks out her sanity

And devOurs legs and eyes and lungs.

My mOuth twists into




But I

CannOt scream down

The spectacular hOrror

Of nOthing – rioting through

The night and gObbling up

The last remains






Phantasmagoria by Donna L Greenwood

Winner of February’s Zero Flash Competition

Art by Andrew Howell @Realmonstieur

The Walrus is snuffling in my ear and I am freaking out.  I need to get out of here. I want to lift my prone body off the bed and make like a tree and leave. Except the goddamned cobwebs are twisting spinny-like around my ankles, and my arms appear to have turned into mangos.  No, not mangos – I’m not insane – pineapples.  The Walrus is trying to speak to me; its words are fluttering in the air around my head. I lift my pineapple arm and grasp one. With a quick snip-snap, I gobble it up and then instantly regret my foolish spontaneity.  It was a lie and lies taste like metal and shit.  Why would the Walrus lie to me? I vomit up the lie and it slithers under the bed.

The Walrus looks suitably ashamed and pulls a string of shiny truths from its gaping maw.  The brightness of these little truth jewels blinds me for a moment.  And then I see. The jewels are angels and they fly around, luminous in this liminal world of bedtime talk.  But these angels of the Walrus have teeth and they fly into my face and nibble at my eyes and ears.  Their teeth are small but they draw blood.  I flap them away with my clunky fruits which are useless against the angels’ sprite-like agility.  Their gnawing is unbearable and I plead with the Walrus to stop.  It relents and the bedroom darkens as it eats up its sheeny-shiny angels one by one.

I turn my back on the Walrus and reach under the bed.  I grab the lie and swallow it whole. It doesn’t taste too bad second time around.

The Groom

No one can stop him tonight – not on his wedding night.

By Donna L Greenwood

The bride runs down the street, her wedding train glistening under the mad glare of the moon.  She stumbles forward, trying not to fall or cut her feet on the hard, cold stones.   Her mouth and eyes are wide with terror but another emotion is fastened to her face – anger.  The bride knows she will find no sanctuary in this place – though curtains twitch and candles flicker – nobody will open their doors for her tonight.

He glides behind her – all polish and poise.  His pale and delicate hands gesticulate in the night, conducting an orchestra only he can see.  The Groom does not hurry for he knows his bride has nowhere to hide.  He waves royally at the dark windows and smiles when huddled figures duck out of sight.  No one can stop him tonight – not on his wedding night – it is his right to pursue what has been bound to him by the laws of God and man.

“Please!” screams the bride at the faceless houses, “For God’s sake, somebody help me!”  A soft and distant echo of her own despair is the only answer to her plea.

Finally her strength bleeds out and she falls down defeated in the street.  The Groom is upon her like lichen.  He presses his face close to hers and he gulps down her breath and he licks off her skin and he drinks in her sweat and tears.  He burrows inside her and he devours and devours until there is nothing left but bones and a blood-wet wedding dress.

As the early morning sun laces its insipid yellow fingers around the street, the townsfolk find a single red rose lying in the gutter where the bride’s body had been.

It isn’t long before some foolish girl, with dreams of romance in her heart, skips by and claims the red rose for her very own.

36 X 9

She heard a final wet exhalation as her husband died

By Donna L Greenwood

First published by The Fiction Pool November 2017

There was an awful lot of blood; that surprised her, as did the fulsome noise that was erupting from the flapping mouth of her husband – a sort of panting dog crossed with cow in labour.  The red jets had stopped firing quite so furiously and the blood was now doing a slow pump from the jagged hole in his throat.  Josephine looked at the splatters on the wall and ceiling.  That would take some cleaning.  The duvet would have to be thrown out, and the mattress too – the coagulating redness had soaked right through.

He was lying on his side – his hand stretched out towards her – pleading.  She watched his mouth open and close like a landed fish.  She frowned as a question formed in her mind.  What is thirty-six multiplied by nine?

She was sat on the chair beside her dressing table.   She had carefully placed the knife by her feet.  Lying crumpled and defeated on the carpet were her husband’s over-starched shirts.  By the sleeve of one of his shirts was a black boot.  She knew that boot well.  It had crushed small bones beneath it.

Eventually the gurgling moans began to quieten and her husband’s arm flopped wetly onto the bed.  Little pink bubbles continued to froth around his mouth and his breath began to rattle.  It sounded like the guttural purring of a cat and was strangely soothing.

What is thirty six multiplied by nine?  She’d never been very good at mathematics and the answer was eluding her.  She could do thirty six by ten, that was easy, but that wasn’t the answer she was looking for.  She looked down at the white sleeve of her jersey top; it had tiny red splotches on it.  For her wedding bouquet, she had wanted white lilies tied up with little red bows.  The florist had been horrified.  Apparently, lilies symbolised death – and red and white flowers should never, ever be placed together.  They reminded people of blood and bandages, the florist had said. So Josephine had agreed to a sensible bouquet of blue peonies.  Bloodied bandages would have been more fitting.

She looked at her hand and removed the ring that had been there for fifteen years.  She slowly turned around so that she could see her reflection in the mirror. She silently mouthed her question.  What is thirty six multiplied by nine?   Josephine looked deeply into her own eyes and the answer came to her – three hundred and twenty four.  She smiled and admired the way her cheekbones now had angular shadows sweeping across them.  She had always been a little bit fat, but not anymore. Nine months at the gym had taken away her softness and so far, at thirty-six pounds per month, it had cost her three hundred and twenty four pounds.  From behind her, she heard a final wet exhalation as her husband died.  She nodded at her reflection. As it turned out, despite her initial misgivings, it had been money well spent.



And then he went for the teeth.

By Donna  L Greenwood

When Mavis Cutler died, Gregory felt a little kick of excitement in his heart.  She’d died on his shift and that meant that he would be responsible for clearing away her belongings.  He licked his lips. He’d noticed her puckered lips when she had been admitted.  She was 74 years old so it was almost a certainty but he hadn’t been sure until he’d seen them nestled in a glass of water on her bedside table – sweet, white enamel encased in jellyfish pink.  He couldn’t wait to get his hands on Mavis Cutler’s teeth.

“Gregory, can you deal with Mavis’s things, love?” asked the staff nurse.

“Of course, Yvonne,” he said, flicking his tongue over his own teeth.

He closed the curtain around the bed.  Mavis Cutler’s teeth were still in the glass of water.  He left them until last.  He placed her underwear, her nightie and all of her other raggedy remnants into clear plastic bags and labelled them carefully for her relatives.  And then he went for the teeth.  He emptied the water from the glass and then tipped the teeth onto his hands.  He squeezed them hard and felt them bite into his skin. The strange flush of pleasure that he felt trill through his flesh was unlike the horror that used to flood through his body when that mean, old bastard bit him.  When he died, his father’s teeth had been the first in his collection.

He pressed the teeth deeper into his skin, hoping for blood but getting none.