Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black






Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Chill air rustled through the field, reviving Boo. She struggled against twine cutting into her wrists and wrested herself free of the post where the bullies had left her. As she fell to the ground, her overalls ripped. With a sigh, a golden haze fell like lint from the tear and disappeared into the nutrient-depleted earth. Boo scrambled to catch its threads, but they slipped through her fingers like youthful regret. She punched the earth where it disappeared and cursed. “Damn!”

As she examined the damage to the motley patchwork, a storm of anger flooded through her. She raised aching arms toward obscured stars, shaking a fist. She pulled her trembling hands through her straw-coarse hair, plotting. “Fools tied me to a post instead of setting me on a throne as I deserve.”

Clouds raced through the sky, revealing an amber moon sunk low on the horizon. A bonfire on the next hill sent sparks heaven-ward, giving her a beacon. She’d find people there, people who might know who did this to her, people crouching like Neanderthals as they shared roasted meats, mugs of warmed cider, and spine-tingling tales.

Her nostrils flared, and her stomach rumbled. She licked lips cracked from wind exposure and set off across the field of shorn maize. Dried husks crunched like autumn leaves as she made her way. She scooped up a discarded harvesting scythe. When rested upright, it stood taller than her, but its wood felt substantive as decision in her hands.

She checked that her change purse remained in her pocket. Moonlight reflected off of the silvered metals of needles and sharp scissors. She fingered a spool of crimson thread in the bottom of the bag. Necessary items to repair her oft-patched garments. A cold breeze stole the word, “perfect” from her lips.

Something warm and furry brushed against her legs, and she startled. A huge black tom cat bumped his head against her again, as though begging for attention. Boo greeted the feline. “Oh, aren’t you a beauty?”

He purred his approval. With tail held high, he scampered toward a fence, pausing to look over his shoulder and meow.

“Follow you? But my friend, I have a busy evening before me and must use night well.”

The cat yowled again, insistent.

Her laugh rustled the night breezes, causing the revelers atop the next hill to shiver. “Fine, for but a moment. I haven’t time to waste.”

Beneath a goat cart parked by the fence, a dozen cats, all black as pitch, huddled around a fallen nest. With noisy gulps, they feasted on two large crows. When Boo approached the birds, they reached their talons as though to ward her away. They opened their pointed beaks in fear, but the gloss in their beady eyes dulled as the cats tore into their meat. The cats lapped up the blood and purred at their work.

The tom worked a figure eight through Boo’s legs, pausing to swat at a stray bit of straw dragging from her hem. She stooped and scratched behind his ears. “You and your friends are a clever lot. I could use your help this evening, if you’re willing.”

Thirteen cats licked gore from their whiskers as she fashioned a loose harness about their chests and bellies. “You’ll have more to eat this evening, I promise. I’ll scare some more crows your way.” She grabbed the reaping sythe and stepped into the cart. The cats leapt over one another, eager for their feast.

The people at the bonfire atop the next hill laughed with the abandon only intoxicated people can manage. They clung to one another without regard for personal space, or perhaps because their own legs need assistance holding them upright.

When Boo entered the glow from the fire, the group blinked with slow-dawning dread. The praise leader pointed and screamed, “The devil’s come!” Her husband backed away into the cover of a stand of trees, abandoning his wife and the others as tactical war-remembrances flashed through his subconscious. Several people stumbled away from Boo and her strange conveyance team, but the farmer stepped forward, scratching his head. “Wait, you’re my scarecrow, aren’t you?”

A smile streched across her canvas face as she hoisted the scythe. “How nice of you to admit your guilt,” she said, swinging the blade into his flesh, relishing his look of slack-jawed incomprehension. “Should like to hang you on a post for a season. See how you like it.” Blood sizzled as it splashed into the fire. Boo licked a splattering that colored her cheek. She savored its metallic tang. Reaching into the farmer’s chest, Boo cut his soul free and formed it into a patch. She slipped the patch into her front pocket and stepped over the farmer’s corpse. “This will replace the one I lost. Let’s see what else I can collect.”

With another swing of the scythe, she freed the cats from their harness. They fell upon the farmer with gusto.

The farmer’s wife threw a bottle at Boo, but it missed. Boo stepped forward like a ballplayer and cut the woman’s soul free. The body slumped at her husband’s feet, a look of shock frozen upon her features.

Two young men leapt at her, sons hoping to avenge their parents, but with ease, the blade passed through them. Their intestines bloomed from their severed abdomens, spilling into the stone ring meant to contain the fire. Flames singed them, browning the intestines like a string of fresh sausages.

The parish praise leader trembled under an unblessed wooden cross. “Get behind me, Satan.”

Boo admired the tarnish that mottled the woman’s soul. To comply with the request, Boo stepped to the side and sliced her open along her spine.

The rest of the bonfire company fled, but Boo had collected enough souls.

She licked chunks of flesh from her fingers, enjoying every mouthful as she considered placement of her new acquisitions. She flattened her newest patch and decided on irony. She chose the back of the overalls near the base of her spine. “Get behind me, praise leader with the tarnished soul,” she chuckled. She threaded the needle, stripped off her garment, and sewed. When finished, she held the newly repaired overalls at arm’s length to admire her handiwork. “This will do nicely. Don’t see how any farmer could resist asking me to guard their field when I’m such a well-dressed Buback.”

She patted the cats fondly. “Thank you, my friends. We’ll do this again next year. After all, every harvest some fool unwittingly sets me free.”


Darkly Never After

The author's horror selfie.

Of all the anthologies in which I have published works, this is one of my favorites. All proceeds from Darkly Never After go to pediatric cancer research. I have two short stories and a scattering of poems included.

One story follows a home health care worker on a swampy assignment. The other looks into the dark influence of jealousy.

However, it is to go out of print soon, so if you want a copy for a good cause, head to:

or other outlets and snag a copy!


Tales From the Blue Gonk

These anthologies hold a smorgasbord of flash fiction, including ten of mine! Offered by Thirteen O’Clock Press, these little frights can be purchased through various retailers including, of course, Amazon.

AND, breaking news, I’ll have another 5 bites of flash fiction in the upcoming Blue Gonk anthology, to be released soon.

Bones III


A boy digs in his sandbox and makes an incriminating and improbable discovery in my story which is included in this fine anthology of creepy tales.

Available at Amazon:

Anything Goes Volume 2

In this anthology, I have a story called “Home for the Holidays” in which the hero survives a crash and a close encounter with a mythical being in a Pennsylvania wood when driving Home for the Holidays.

Anything Goes 2

The eclectic collection of tales is available at 

War Anthology

Published through 13 O’Clock Press, this book packs a punch. I have two shorts in this collection of war time stories. “Set for the Charge” and “Summoning War.” I hope you’ll check them out.


Butterfly Comfort

Butterfly Comfort

Written by Kerry E.B. Black based on Coastal Salish beliefs20160714_112231

Grandmother sat upon a woven blanket spread beside the sparkling waters. Sunlight set the silver in her long hair ablaze as though comets streaked through a midnight sky. Her voice rumbled like distant thunder, demanding attention from her granddaughter.

“Here you feel the earth, which gave you life. Set down roots, like these flowers, and you’ll always know your mother.”

The Granddaughter sniffed the blooms. Cornflower and cones smelled more like grasses than perfume. Butterflies skipped among their petals. The Granddaughter brushed aside tears, feeding their salt to the flowers’ hungry roots. “Why’d she have to die, Grandmother?” The vibrant summer colors blurred behind the veil of tears. “I miss her so much I ache.”

Grandmother rested a calloused hand on the Granddaughter’s head. “I know. In time, the ache will ease, and you’ll feel her. She’ll be the breath of spring brushing your skirts against your legs. She’ll be the warm embrace of your blankets on a cold night. In time.”

Anger set the Granddaughter’s cheeks aflame. She leapt to her feet, voice raised. “In time? I want her now!” Guilt warred with grief, knotting her stomach, and tears choked other words. She slid to her knees and sobbed. Waves of emotion washed over her, and she wailed until her tears dried up and her throat burned. Through hiccups, she confessed, “I didn’t tell her goodbye. I was at school when she left. What if she never knew how much I loved her?”

Grandmother sung a throaty prayer in their native language, the language of the plants and the beasts. Butterflies drifted in time to her entreaties. One, blue as the nearby water outlined with ebony as dark as her mother’s hair, alighted upon the Granddaughter. Its delicate legs tickled while they gathered up teardrops. The Granddaughter held her breath, afraid of scaring it away.

Quickly as it came, the butterfly fled. Its uneven flight led it beyond the trees.

Grandmother stood and brushed grasses and dirt from her skirt. “She’ll know.”

The Granddaughter sniffed. “How can you say that?”

Grandmother’s smile cracked across her weathered face. “Your friend the butterfly will deliver the message.”

As she watched the diminishing creature disappear into the cloud-laced sky, the Granddaughter knew her Grandmother was right.


Non-living Tribe


Non-Living Tribe

*A retelling of a Coastal Salish tale

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Everyone wondered why Little Annie married a dead man, but her tribe attended the ceremony and waved good bye to the girl none-the-less. Her brother Harry gave her a blanket woven with hummingbirds as a gift. “It might be cold where you’re going.”

After he kissed her goodbye, Harry’s stomach churned with worry. Every hummingbird reminded him of his Little Annie, a girl known for her quick efficiency and industrious ways.

“I’m going to visit her,” he told the winds. He walked toward the splendor of the setting sun until he reached the vast river between the land of light and the land of darkness. The waters lapped the rocks beneath his feet as stars peeped from overhead.

He cupped his hands and whistled. “Little Annie, it’s your brother. Please, I want to visit you.”

An owl hooted from a tree nearby, and unseen creatures scampered through the underbrush. Gentle winds brushed his hair from his face, and weariness weighted his limbs. As he waited, he wearied, and he yawned.

“Please, Annie.”

A dark-stained boat washed ashore. Despite a hole in the hull, it stayed afloat. In the bow, a pile of bones glowed ghostly white in the moon’s rays. “Ugh!” He kicked them into the water and prayed the boat would not sink as he paddled to the distant shore.

Little Annie waited with crossed arms and thumping foot. Her braids glistened like waterfalls over her shoulders. While she steadied him, she tutted. “So, Harry, why’d you try to drown my husband?”

Harry stiffened in her embrace. “I didn’t.”

Stars reflected in her dark eyes. “Things appear differently here when you don’t belong.” She thrust out her chin and led the way through a decrepit village to a shack. “This is my home. Welcome.” Hinges creaked as she pushed through the door. Dust and cobwebs rained into their hair. She pointed to a broken chair. “Sit. I’ll get a treat.”

His mouth fell open at the sight before his eyes. His beautiful sister lived in a hovel. He shuddered as he pushed a dog’s bones from the chair. They cracked as they hit the dirty floor, raising a cloud.

She rushed into the room and knelt to gather the bones to her chest. “Harry, you must be careful. You hurt my pet.”

Harry chewed his lip. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”

She stood and dusted her hands on her skirt. “I know you don’t. My dear, you don’t belong here.” She pulled him into an embrace. Her hair smelled of almond, and her tears cooled on his cheek. With a shaking hand she dried her eyes. She handed Harry a basket. “Don’t open this until you reach the land of the living. Do you understand?”

He shook his head.

“I miss you.”

“Me, too.”

They embraced.

“I love you. Tell all our relations I wish them the best. But Harry, please don’t forget. Do not open the basket.”

The boat swayed like a cradle as it conveyed Harry across the dark waterway. The rising sun stained the sky with springtime pinks and yellows. Harry’s stomach grumbled, and he licked his lips. Ripe fruits perfumed the air, and Harry peeked inside the basket, anticipating his sister’s treat.

A swarm of bees rushed the opening. Stings assaulted, burning as though he fell into a lodge fire. He leapt to his feet, swatting without effect as the buzzing reached a crescendo. He stumbled as the boat lurched, and he fell into frigid waters. His throat constricted with swelling, and no air entered his lungs. His skin felt lumpy and scorched, and darkness pulled him deeper into the water.

A man’s muscled arm grasped Harry and pulled him into a golden canoe. Harry sputtered, but his skin no longer burned.

“Brother,” the man in the boat said. “You did not listen to your sister. Now you must come home with me.”

Harry marveled at the beading on the man’s clothing.

The man smiled. “Your sister is very talented.” He led Harry through a well-appointed town to a cheerful lodge. Bright paintings graced the walls, and thick rugs covered spotless floors. A fire crackled, and home cooking wafted through the air.

A dog barked a greeting from a carved wood chair, and Little Annie shook her head, sending earrings clinking. Her voice sounded heavy, and tears glistened over her cheeks. “You opened the basket before you reached the land of the living.” She sighed and opened her arms, welcoming him into an embrace. “At least now you can see our home as it truly is now that you’re a part of this land.”

“You mean, I’m dead?”

The man who paddled the canoe kissed Annie atop her head and wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders.

Harry gulped. “You’re my sister’s husband?”

The man laughed. “Yes. And this is our home. Looks different when you’re a part of the non-living tribe, doesn’t it?”

Harry took in the opulent surroundings and nodded, acclimating to his new existence.

S is for Supernatural





S is for Supernatural

Reviewed by Kerry E.B. Black

An intriguing storyline, entertaining leading men, great support characters, and engaging villains. Chilling makeup and special effects, guest cameos, and a kicking soundtrack. “Supernatural” has it all. Described as modern-day cowboys riding in to save a town, kissing the girl, and then riding into the sunset, the Winchester brothers encounter an array of supernatural beings. The Winchesters wield an impressive array of specialized weapons and drive a 1967 black Impala called Baby.

Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) continue the family business of monster hunting, although both tried to leave the unseen world alone several times. Mixing mystery and humor with gruesome special effects, single-story episodes are woven into an overall Supernatural mythology that involves ghosts, demons, angels, gods, and monsters.

Helping them on their adventures are fellow hunters, a crotchety father figure, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), and an angelic buddy, Castiel (Misha Collins). In plot twists, they even team up with some demons along the way. Cameo star sightings include Robert Englund, Paris Hilton, James Marsters, and Snooki.

The leads’ first names were in honor of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” since the show is meant as a road-trip across the United States. Their last name, Winchester, is a nod to the Winchester Mystery House and a continuation of the western theme. Family dynamics and loyalty factor into most every episode.

Created by Eric Kripke and written by a formidable army of writers, “Supernatural” premiered on The WB in September, 2005 and continued to this day on The CW. (The network announced it signed for a twelfth season), making “Supernatural” the longest running sci-fi/supernatural series in America.) The series resulted in merchandising, comics, spin off series, and books.

Carry on My Wayward Son, by Kansas, will forever be linked in my mind with the series, and when I see a black 67  Chevy Impala, I can’t help but wonder if I should step into a circle of salt.


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