Image Credit: Chakrit Yenti/

This carousel makes you ride forever. It takes you somewhere else. It’s a portal, don’t you see? To a world of infinite games, infinite fun, infinite youth. That’s the sales pitch, anyway.

Parents who don’t want their children bring them here, if they have heard the stories. They pretend it is for the fun of their offspring, but it’s not that. The children are tiresome, bothersome, a drain on life, on liberty, on finances. A mistake – an idea that seemed good at first, a little family, until they saw the reality.

As my uncle Malcolm once said: “Raising a child costs as much as a high class sports car, or more. To be honest, I’d rather the car.”

Not long after that my nephew disappeared. Went for a ride, no doubt.

And so they come, on a whisper, not even allowing themselves to full believe, for in ignorance and doubt lies plausible deniability. How could they know they’d lose the children? Surely it was not possible? So how could they be blamed?

All a con, really, given so many left the fun fair childless and free. Eventually you’d have to say they knew. If they were honest.

But then, how honest is a parent likely to be that brings their child here? How would honesty matter to them if the child did not?

No-one knows where the children go. It may be to a better place. They would hardly be leaving an idyllic home if their parents brought them here I suppose. So it could be for their good, for the good of all.

But like most things we never know enough to wisely balance the pros and cons. I can see the benefit to the selfish parents – though I begrudge them any happiness in the act. I can’t see for the children, because the only way to do that would be to follow them. To get on the carousel and ride.

And my friends, curiosity be damned. There is no way in hell I am ever going to do that.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018


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Image Credit: che’ supajit/

I’ve got a secret
Shall I tell?
You think you’re in heaven
Welcome to hell

See me winking
Hear how I laugh?
I am the lord here
You’re the fatted calf

You think you matter
You think they might care
Your little birthday
No one is there

No-one but me
Holding your hand
Making sure you see this
That you understand

Parents indifferent
Worlds just for show
You think you see clearly
Only I know

I’ve got a secret
Shall I tell?
You think you’re in heaven
Welcome to hell

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Hallowed Grounds


Image credit: Garry Quinn/

They would come to worship in the depths of night, to these hallowed grounds.

The forest marked the edges of humanity and the realm of the divine seemed but a heartbeat away, bleeding into their world through little candle lights.

In hushed tones they prayed, prostrate on stone cold floors, willing the angels to descend from heaven, drawing them down. But the angels never came, not to such anodyne offerings.

And so in time they came to believe that more must be offered than just spiritual belief and fealty. The ancients knew what was needed, and now the modern world had forgotten.

The gods crave blood, they started to say, and angels must imbibe in this holy offering to rise, to fight, to bring the new world so yearned for, so needed.

Once said, it could not be unsaid or forgotten. It frightened them at first, and they prayed ever more earnestly, hoping to be wrong. But the church was silent and empty but for them, resolute in its demands.

“These are hallowed grounds” they finally admitted. “And they must be appeased.”

That’s when the children started to go missing from the town. Chosen carefully one might assume, given few that disappeared had attentive or caring parents. Most weren’t even noticed, not really. Few even had photos on milk cartons. Still, they disappeared. I noticed.

But when it started I was just a child, so I kept my silence, not wanting to disappear too. My parents cared for me and weren’t involved. They travelled from town to town with work, so we left soon enough. And that might have been an end of it for me, but I remembered. One of the missing was a friend. My best friend. And you don’t forget that.

So I have returned, all these years later, to these hallowed grounds. Life has toughened me, taught me, and I have now – as they say in the movies – a very particular, special set of skills.

And I don’t believe in gods or angels. But I do believe in children. And I do believe in truth.

And I know a time for reckoning has come.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image Credit: TeodorLazarev/

I am living entropy dissolving
Into the uncaring sky
Surrounded by the cacophony of lives lived unseeing
Floating dissolution, dislocation
Piece by piece
I am my father’s child
Loveless and alone
Barren and old now
Fulfilling the genetic blueprint
Set far before I was born
Before the world even breathed it knew
Its end came as aspirin in water
Falling apart

Nothing material can withstand the gravity of time
We are made to be obsolete
To struggle with the blindness
Of stupid hope and the sense of eternity
That foolish egos indulge
Forgetting time existed before us and will prevail
As we are dust to dust
Spread on an indifferent wind
Across the endless sky

They’ve all gone before me
My little distant family
Left without a word forgetting
The aberrant child they never loved
So be it, I am used to separation
So this dissolving is expected, even welcomed
Even though there is pain
They will not return again
Not for me
And so my only sister, brother
Mother, father, family
Is entropy

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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The Journeyman


Image Credit: frankie’s/

Did you hear the story about the journeyman? They say he comes on the coldest of nights, walking only by the light of the moon, from the darkness into a small town, somewhere, in the heartland, always the same.

He’s a harbinger of a changing world. He brings with him disease, or crime, or insanity. The last was always the worst. Whole towns, torn apart by the darkness within, coming out. That was worse than a plague, or calculated crime. Madness cannot be cured, cannot be cajoled. When the journeyman brought that, there was literally no hope.

He stays a day or a week at most. Rents a room in a hotel, pulls all the blinds, and just stays within. But something in him seeps out, every time, playing his games. His infernal tricks.

Nothing he did ever touched him, of course. He was the carrier of the curse, not its victim.

Just an urban myth, some would say. A cautionary tale designed to create a lingering xenophobia. A political ploy.


If we fear the other, the stranger, enough, we’ll do anything to keep them at bay.

But I think he’s real – the journeyman. My blinded grandmother certainly thinks so, after he came to her town, all those years ago. He brought disease then, when she was but a child. A disease that took her parents and damn near took her too, leaving a shell, a blinded soul struggling for life. She said she saw him come, that lonely night, and that’s probably why she lost her sight.

She had no reason to lie, or tell me tall tales. She never sought to frighten me, only warn. So I take her seriously, and I take the journeyman seriously.

So every night I watch from my window to make sure I never see him, walking the lonely streets, invading this town. It’s my vigil my watch, even if it is to take my sight also.

Just in case, just in case seeing him soon enough might help. Maybe I could stop him, turn him away. Maybe I could kill him. It’s the only hope we’d have, but I’ll take a little hope, every time.

So I watch.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018


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This Blood I Have Shed


Image credit: breakermaximus/

This blood I have shed for you. To free you. To stop the pain.

He will not hurt you, touch you, make you his, ever again, ever again.

My sins overwhelm me constantly but I’m not alone.

All of those threatening hang ups on your telephone.

Are gone, gone, gone.


This life I would give for you, let them do as they may

I’ve nothing to offer them, the world, or anyone, anyway

Except what I shed for you, blood rich and cold

A comfort, a memory, for when you are old and

I’m gone, gone, gone


You made me a killer but it’s willingly done

I have to depart now, my world you must shun

Your purity, your innocence, your freedom is all

I’m Lucifer kissing his God at the fall

And he’s gone, gone, gone.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018


Posted in Horror Flash Fiction, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments



Image Credit: drasa/

I scream every day in purgatory. No-one hears.

I think there are others, standing close to me, but I’m never sure. No-one reaches out, no-one dares touch. We do not understand the potential consequences. No-one explains the rules to us at all.

So alone. In life I was a hermit, seeking the solace of solitude. Now it’s just horrific. Anything you cannot freely choose – no matter how you might have chosen it if choice was yours – anything imposed upon you without your will, and without any true understanding, is beyond words.

Maybe there isn’t anyone else, after all. Maybe it’s just me. I’m defective somehow, and all the others went to join the angels or the devils. Neither side chose me. Like some obscene playground sports day, I didn’t get on either team. Maybe.

I don’t know how long this lasts. I don’t know how long I’ve been here. Feels like I’ve been screaming for eons, but it might just be minutes. How would I know? I don’t even really have a throat, a voice, or even any sound. Just my imagination, the screaming, the pain, the loss.

What god would put me here? What devil? And does it ever end?

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018


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Light in the Dark


Image Credit: Mimadeo/

Just a little light
In the deepest dark
Just a little hope
The merest spark

It could be a ghost
Shining in the hall
It could be the end
The end of it all

It could be an angel
Weeping for the world
It could be victory
All our flags unfurled

It could be a lamp
Lighting a killer’s face
It could be heaven
Or hell in this place

Just a little light
In the deepest dark
Just a little hope
The merest spark

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Battery Hens


Image Credit: spflaum/

Back in the day I felt sorry for battery hens. Didn’t we all? Caged up, cooped up, there only to live then die then feed others. Feed us? Barely able to move, stuck in the seeming eternity of waiting until the real eternity of the end.

But like most of my sympathies, if I was honest, it was a thing apart from me. A musing or a faux outrage designed to virtue signal when I shared a meal with a friend I wanted to become more than a friend. Or a post on twitter, designed to gather likes and follows, costing me nothing but a few seconds of my time.

For hens were lesser beings. Inside, that is what I believed. We all believed that – let’s be honest. Even those who didn’t eat them, in their heart of hearts, saw them only as lesser forms they were protecting.

I didn’t know back then there were already other forms of entrapment, encagement, that weren’t designed just for hens. Back then, it was hidden, a delicacy known only by the ‘elite’. The menu, had we seen it, would have seemed an obscene joke – unable to be believed. What to make of adrenalized baby blood, heightened by trauma and fear, or the spinal fluid of young and vital ‘donors’? Or human flesh, prepared by the finest chefs?

It couldn’t be real, could it? No-one could consume that. No-one could become addicted to it. No-one could come to need it just to survive.

But they could, and in time we came to learn the harsher truth. It isn’t only between species that hierarchies exist. When they finally ‘came out of the closet’, the cannibals ruled. They’d spent centuries building their wealth and power, on the blackmail and blood of others. And they’d showed us all the time, in movies and stories, of their design.

They said that made it our fault. We were complicit. It ‘entertained’ us. It fed them. We were the true dissolute, enjoying it vicariously. And they – they the virtuous – only did it because it was necessary to live.

That proved – did it not – that they truly were the elite?

Now, we’ve been rounded up and live in tiny cells, squashed together, counting the days of our youth as markers of the final end. I’m not that young anymore. I’m not that fit. Eventually it is the abattoir for me I suppose.

And I will welcome it. For the freedom from captivity. For the end the pain. And for finally, finally, ceasing to be just another battery hen.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: Heartland Arts/

Tell us all you know
Sacred crow
We have brought you blood
All that is required
In the fire
Tell us what you know
Sacred crow

Darkness is an art
In our hearts
Power for the true
Comes through you
Psychpomp you fly
Through the sky
Darkness is an art
In our hearts

Speak now if you will
Guide us still
Flying on your wing
Hell may sing
Each and every day
We will pray
Speak now if you will
Guide us still

Tell us all you know
Ancient crow
Eons you have lived
None forgived
Judgement by your name
Fans the flame
Tell us all you know
Ancient crow

(c. ) Helen M Valentina 2018

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments