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.




Ask Grandma, her bones talk


Published in FormerCactus magazine 2017 and one of the winners of BR-Lit flash competition

by Donna L Greenwood

Lights out and the creeping starts.  She pulls the sheets over her head as the air begins to whisper its insanities.  From an unseen corner the wolf growls and she hears the clickety clack of its claws as it circles the room.   In the middle of the night its mouth can widen and swallow you up in one gulp.  Ask Grandma, her bones talk.  At the end of her bed, the goblins are yacking in a low dark tone.  Their bone white eyes shine in the murk as they look for her.  Their tongues loll with appetite.

She stills her breath, trying not to alert them to her presence.  Under the sheets, the witch sleeps beside her; crooked hands are entwined with the child’s hair and a hairy knee rests on her thigh.  The child lies as still as death but she is not afraid, for this child is a child of the times and she knows about monsters.  She closes her eyes and feels for her weapon, careful not to disturb the gnarly skin bag by her side.

Down her chimney climbs Blue with his sooty beard and bag full of bloody heads.  She knows he comes for her family tonight and her hands tighten around Mama’s scissors.  She must be brave; cry-babies die in the dark so she stifles her fear lest they smell it.  Familiar with fighting for her life, she acts quickly – snip snap – she cuts off the witch’s tongue, rendering her filthy spells useless.  Now she is just an old woman whom the child bucks off and pushes out of bed.

Next – stab stab – she pops out the goblins’ eyes; they writhe in pain and, like salted slugs, dissolve into muck.

Blue stands behind her.  She falls to the ground and tumbles backwards through his legs.  She has the advantage now.  When he turns, a sickening smile tearing through his skin, she holds the scissors steadily in her hands and points them towards his belly.  He raises his murderous axe ready to claim his prize but years of easy terrorising have made him fat. And slow.  The child is quicker; she lurches forward and stabs the scissors into the monster’s gut. Streams of intestines splatter to the ground and Blue follows them, a puzzled, cheated look fastened to his face.

A growl behind her and claws rake her back.  Even now she makes no noise though hot pain rips through her skin causing tears to erupt in her eyes.  She falls to the ground and the wolf pounces. Its breath is warm and salty on her face.  She brings the scissors up and through the jaws of the beast.  It falls and joins its blue-bearded cousin on the floor.

Lights on and Mama appears.

It’s late.  Go back to bed.

The child obeys.  The lights go out.

Mama and Papa are safe for one more night.  Beneath her sheets once more, the child licks her scissors like ice-cream.


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 sitting 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






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 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.


Hideous Treasure

There’s something unholy in the pond

“There’s something unholy in the pond,” he said, and then he grabbed me with his ancient claw, rolled his bone white eyes around his shrunken head and died.

He hadn’t been popular so few came to the funeral and even fewer stayed behind for the wake.  I drank cheap rum with his last three friends.

“He said there was something in the pond the last time I saw him,” said one.  They turned and looked at me.  I was the only remaining occupant of the house.  Had I seen anything in the pond?  I smiled and reassured them that the pond was cleaned every month and, as yet, there had been no discovery of any hidden treasures.

After they left, I unhooked my coat from behind the door and trudged down the garden path; curiosity had gotten the better of me.  Had he seen something?  He had been particularly agitated in his final weeks and he had been out there when he’d had his heart attack.

The pond was the size of a small pool and quite deep.  I bent over the side and gave the water a quick stir, shifting the water lilies to get a better view of the depths.  Beneath the green scum, on a ledge below the surface, just out of reach, I could see it.  It was a child’s hand.  The tattered skin around the bony fingers fluttered like white lace in the murky dark.  I looked around the sides of the pond and found a rock about the size of a baby’s head.  I dropped the rock into the pond. It quietly splashed through the dark water and fell as if through treacle upon the ledge.  I watched the tiny fingers delicately thrum a final tattoo before being pulled down to the bottomless-black of the pond by the gently settling stone.

We Are All Alone When The Dark Comes


By D.L. Greenwood

In the dark it clicked. She knew from the sound it wasn’t human.  There was something insect-like about the way it skittered across the floor.  Sometimes it came so close to her that she could smell it.  It smelled like the drains when her mother needed to get a man round to fix them.  Mostly it kept its distance and just scuttled around the blackest corners of the dark which surrounded her.  She couldn’t find her feet or her fingers but she was free to walk around, avoiding the corners, of course.  She wasn’t frightened because most of the time she could hear the people talking and that made her feel safe.

There was a chink of light in her dark world and this also brought her comfort. The thing in the corner hated the light and so the girl huddled within this small bar of brightness, listening to the voices, smiling when she heard laughter, crying when the mood turned sorrowful.

She missed her mother’s face and sometimes tears would fall.  This excited the creature in the shadows and it would move closer to her, hissing and clicking and clattering.  One time, when her tears fell more heavily than usual, it came up close and she felt its hot and rotten breath upon her face.  And then with one spiteful hiss, it sliced her cheek with something sharp – A claw?  A talon?  Her blood had fallen as quickly as her tears.

She was lying within her small patch of light when she heard the voices talking once more.  Her mother was crying.  Yes, she was sure it was her mother.  She was pleading with someone,

“No, no, please, we need more time, we need more time.”

The girl frowned.  She had never been able to discern the words before.  Then a voice, male and authoritative,

“I’m sorry, Mrs Geddes, but we have done all we can.  Mary has been brain dead for some time now.  It is only the machine that is keeping her alive.”

The girl recalled that her name was Mary.  In the darkness, she heard the creature begin to stir.  From a distant world that was no longer her own, the sound of weeping was merging with the sound of a machine bleeping.

“Mary, my Mary!” howled the woman who was her mother.

And then the bleeping and the weeping stopped.

‘Mummy?’ whispered the girl in the silence, a solitary tear falling from her lash.

The light blinked out.

Behind her the thing in the dark grew large; the girl screwed up her eyes tightly and her face grew hard.  She wiped away her tears and turned to face her foe.  The darkness was her territory now, and she would fight for it.


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.