Black Pudding

by Taylor Mullins

It was all about blood, according to Blaithnaid Delaney’s testimony we had all read in that Sunday’s paper. When she’d asked Penelope Higgins what had gotten her so down those past few months, she told her it was the new boyfriend, the wee Fitzpatrick fella moved down from Cork. ‘What about him?’ Blaithnaid had asked. ‘He doesn’t talk to me nice,’ the Higgins girl had said. ‘What does he say?’ Blaithnaid had asked. ‘He says I’m nothing more than fuck meat,’ Penelope had said and Blaithnaid had laughed for thirty-six days.

For thirty-six days, Blaithnaid had laughed and laughed and laughed, and for thirty-six days, Penelope had bled from the wrong parts of her body. Her nose spluttered red into tissues she smeared on fresh pads, her belly swelling purple and green. Blaithnaid stopped laughing on day thirty-seven when Gardaí fished up parts of Penelope from the lobster pots on the docks.

Page eleven tells us that Cian Fitzpatrick was found in his ordinary bedroom in his ordinary rented flat with his roommates of ordinary social standing and was arrested at six o’clock last Friday morning but Blaithnaid tells us all it’s lies. ‘He was found with two dozen jars of Penny’s boiled blood hidden under his bed,’ she says when one of us asks round the chipper on Monday. ‘And her missing bottom half too! And if you were to ask me, I’d say that’s all he’d have wanted in the first place.’

Taylor Mullins is a queer, Irish writer and joint third-place winner of the Circuit Arts Festival’s 2021 Slam Poetry Competition. Their nonfiction work is available to read in The Outpost and their poetry work in Hecate Magazine. Currently, they are working on a fantasy novel about finding inner strength and fighting for the love that can be found in a healthy relationship, as well as studying in their second year of their Bachelor’s Degree with Creative Writing. Finally, they are living in Galway where they uphold the status of feminist public nuisance.