One-Minute Fiction: Black Hole

Hello, friends! You may recall my recent post about Weird Tales Magazine‘s very cool One-Minute Flash Fiction that they’ve been posting to their website and to YouTube. Well, I thought it was so cool that I was inspired to write my own one-minute weird tale and turn it into a fun bit of multimedia. The music was created quite a few years ago by a couple of cohorts and myself in an 8th grade composing class (and I have to point out the amazing title we gave it: “Ahh! The Monster”).

Watch/read “Black Hole” by Joanna Parypinski below!




© Joanna Parypinski

The procession snakes down the street,
tip-toeing on cloven feet.

Bulbous unblinking eyes track
the lemmings, the hearse. The black

river carves away the shadows. There
used to be darkness in the still gray air,

but now, like an open wound, it has all bled
away. The Devil is dead.

Tearless eyes in pairs stare
as the funeral plods across the square.

They watch the cruel bumper sneer,
the angry headlight-eyes, the austere

shine of the gleaming skin drawn
over metal skeleton. The hearse slouches on.

God didn’t show; he’s probably running late,
stuck in traffic. The world doesn’t wait

for an audience. As the parade snakes away
the people go about their day,

brew a pot of coffee, read the funnies, take
the dog for a walk. And if they shake

their heads and sigh, it’s because He never showed,
and they gaze down the now-empty road

and think, as the sun slides from the east,
of the great indifference of the beast.

White Sepulcher


© Joanna Parypinski

Here’s a flutter of snowflakes:
the sky hisses a shuddering
breath and heaves—
blows away the autumn leaves,
so down may drift a sea of white
on a frozen sepulcher

hardly hidden in the grass;
all desiccated, withered feelers
slither over rocky earth,
and ghostly echoes
coo against the bright
and glacial air

where snowflakes, soft and fair,
shimmer, weave a sheet
of frosted glass;
coldness settles, silent,
slumbering while the midnight
moonlight wanes—

beneath the ice-dust sprinkled
on the crumbling dirt
lie catacombs,
an ant-maze whispering secrets
to the worms that slouch
through caves of bone;

though deep within you fester,
still the clouds disgorge
anew, and breathy wisps
of cotton build a layer,
fresh and pure
and wet like morning dew,

but decay fathers fools,
veiled beneath the shiny sheen
now lacing bone white tomb.
In spring, there seeds will sow,
while you wait for children’s play
and angels made of snow.

The Cat


© Joanna Parypinski

It was a mangy, gray cat with dark markings around its eyes and tail; with one mustard yellow eye like a lamp in the darkness and one empty, shriveled socket; with a long, jagged scar running down its face to the mouth, raising it in a permanent sneer and revealing several razor-sharp, spit-glistening teeth; with a limp that favored its back left leg, which was twisted out of shape like a gnarled tree branch; with matted tufts of fur that were clumped and missing in patches. This cat owned the graveyard.

Any sign of the cat outside the cemetery was bad news. It had been spotted once or twice, wandering the long dirt road that led into town, like a phantom, skirting the edges of the woods, watching people through their windows with its one lamp-like yellow eye. Some people thought it was bad luck to let a black cat cross your path. The people in Black Creek had a different superstition: seeing the cat meant bad luck. Seeing the cat meant death.

Stories ran rampant, like they do in small towns.

Jeremy arrived in town about two weeks ago, out of the blue. One day the postman was just making his rounds and he looked down the street to see this kid standing in the middle, all alone. Way the story goes, the postman called out to the kid—couldn’t have been older than five—to see if he was lost. But the boy just stared at him from about fifteen yards away, watching him. So the postman, what else is he gonna do, he goes over to see if the little boy needs help. Up close he notices the kid’s got fluffy jet-black hair, fair skin, and these wide blue eyes. The kid smiles at him, and that’s it, the postman’s done in. It’s just about the darned cutest kid he’s ever laid eyes on, that’s a fact.

Nobody could figure out where the kid came from; no one in town had ever seen him before, so he was handed to the local police, who sought out missing kid posters but found nothing. It was like the kid had just dropped onto the earth with the mind of an infant, five years into the life he never should have had. He didn’t speak to anyone, just stared with those wide blue eyes and smiled that heart-crushingly adorable smile.

Well, Jeremy—that’s what everyone decided to call him—he got nowhere to go, so he’s staying with the Carvers, who are just delighted and already have one autistic daughter and are thinking maybe Jeremy’s got some sort of disability as well, on account of the fact that he hasn’t said a word since he dropped into town like a bird whose wings have been clipped midflight.

About a week after Jeremy showed up I knew I was going to die. Continue reading

The Playground

The Playground

© Joanna Parypinski

Underneath the snow, the playground sleeps, iced over. The wind sighs; the skies grow gray; a deathly chill sweeps the trees, that sway and quickly still. But the hibernating playground takes no notice of the season. Time freezes here.

Rusty metal chains, thick and sharply cold, hang motionless from a green frame, dangling black plastic diapers in the air. Within them sit the white corpses of babies long grown old—or maybe just the snow. Across from these lie the big kid swings, nothing but a curved strap between the chains. They hang uneven, some high, some low: the chains are wrapped once, twice around the horizontal pole. Only by a forceful push can they be righted, but the breeze is feather-soft, and the swings remain inert. Continue reading


© Joanna Parypinski

Polished rocks like skulls on the shore,
watch the hull of our dark ship
on watery dreams,

and I, Captain of Sorrows,
follow the current, watch the curved
moon, sharp
like a scythe slicing
through sea-black.

This is what nightmares eat:
blood of a gutted traveler
gliding nightward,

and I am steering starbound,
waiting for the moon to fillet me,

sailing on the tide,
wailing with the sirens in the gardens
of smoke.
The broken wind-chime voices
of the crashing waves
bear us home, sandlocked
on our island,

we sing with the sirens,
until the pink sun breaks
the horizon,

we sing
until our throats sting with salt,
we sing
until our drowned thoughts

El Vampiro de Moca

© Joanna Parypinski

In fields dry-roasted by the baking sun
that blazes on the lavender flowers
of the Moca tree sprawl four flaccid sheep;
they are not asleep, their glassy eyes gaze
into infinity, and tiny puncture
wounds pierce through flesh and fleece,
now pale, now drained.
There, on the field of dead
yellow grass, slump nine deflated goats
and thirty turkeys bled bone dry. Ay,
Díos mío, ¿qué permitiste pasar?

In the night the Chupacabra slinks
through the shadowland:
reptilian scales on green-gray skin
and spines like knives on its back;
it hops like a kangaroo, with a dog face,
a panther nose, shark-like fangs
and blood-red eyes and bat wings.
Oh, hiss and screech if you will,
go slouching through the city streets
on alien feet, and see who smells
the sulfur rotting on your snakelike tongue.
¿De dónde es el extranjero?
Area 51 was not so ripe.

In Maine, by the side of a well-paved road
lolled the limp and lifeless carcass, roadkill
plowed down by monster truck tires
and a sneering steel front bumper
with flies in its teeth. Nobody could
identify the rodent-like animal
with razor fangs, and by time they saw
it anyway, the vultures had picked it
clean. No tema lo que no existe.
…¡que exista todo! Oh, mauler of
livestock, legend notorious, where were
you when they said el Vampiro de Moca
was a pack of rogue crocodiles?


© Joanna Parypinski

When winter drops whitely,
the neighbor-children build igloos:

hunched snow-hills
sag under
the weight of the sky.

A pair of mint-blue mittens packs the skull,
tunnels out the mouth;
a frosted dome, cozy
as a mausoleum.

They like to pretend
this is where they sleep,
in the Sierra Nevada—
iced mountains peaked white like cresting waves
block the way to California,
golden land—

and they live in an igloo.
The cold bites their fingers
so they chop them off.

The wind shivers

with the Donners.
A boy lies still, eyelashes crusted with snow,
and they swarm like crows
to feast
on corpse-meat, and
they dine on their friend’s fat thighs,
store the scraps in the makeshift meatfreezer

to save for a snack, and pick fingernails
out of their teeth.

The cannibalized boy’s blue hat skips away.

A mother calls lunchtime,
reality breaks—
they scamper off in whirls of white dust

and a laughing echo.
The dead boy
still coated in snow

climbs out of the igloo;
mittens shake free the flakes, which flurry
to the ground.

The stooped igloo broods,
The hat lies flat and


half-buried by the snow.