Aphelion Issue 253, Volume 24
August 2020
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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by Will H Blackwell, Jr.

Pharaoh’s got a headache!
But the royal surgeon
is skilled: Newly honed,
the curving bronze-awl
crescent-edges hard
shards of skull into lasting
corolla-relics, perhaps to be
found as artifacts
in some future
ancient tomb—but, for now,
excised primarily to relieve
suddenly intolerable
cranial-pressure. Such
minor corrective measures
are sometimes
necessary, you see,
even for the very
of human deities. In
any case,
the carefully scalloped
bone-flowers fall,
to the slave-smoothed
limestone floor,
after they strike
with the angry
echoes of so many
former foes, beasts
of night, and sundry
pesky demons
released, over time,
from above—by
his Exalted Highness—thus,
necessarily, further populating
an already crowded
Netherworld. Clearly,
these malcontents,
miscreants, and odious
antique actors
should never
have wished Pharaoh
ill. They should
have known
that Pharaoh
prevails—and that
they will never
be the mighty
man-God that
he is! Nonetheless,
some pretender deity
hiding in depths
of the inner
temple shadows—most likely
that little ‘dog-faced’
imp, Anubis!—must,
somehow, have slipped
past the palace-guards
and gotten up Pharaoh’s
tilted, regal nose
and into
his unmatched brain
to eat a mass
of grey-matter, leaving
a large
in its place—to inflict
this now increasingly
level of pain—And,
this dim
growing gem-flower
is nothing so pure
and gentle as the luminous
Lotus-plants floating
so easily along
the continuously folding
supple tissues
of the Nile—I mean,
this obviously planted
internal accretion
be the cause
of Pharaoh’s intense
suffering. Because,
no true
human-God—that is
to say, no less than
the earthly son of
the Sun (Ra himself)—could
possibly have a frigging
blooming Glioma
[‘cancer blossom,’ it was called]
inside his expanded
imperial cranium,
the loyal
royal surgeon
most logically
and quite persuasively,
to the very end,

Eternity Statement:
By these sacred rites and administering of precious preserving-oils, your worshiping attendants hereby assure your safe passage through the extended night to come and your reawakening to the certainty of daily light and bountiful life in your next rule, as prophesied. And may it so repeat, on through eternity. By our secret methods, your magnificent heart (as is known to all, the site of deepest thought) has been kept perfectly intact, within your kingly body, to generate for you a yet more monumental brain—radiating its magisterial potency in a new, and even greater, reign.

2019 Will H Blackwell, Jr.

Will H. Blackwell, Jr. is a retired professor, botany, Miami University, Ohio, presently living in Tuscaloosa, AL. He has poems in Black Petals, Disturbed Digest, Illumen, Outposts of Beyond, Slant, and Star*Line.

Find more by Will H Blackwell, Jr. in the Author Index.

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