Featured Author: Maureen Mancini Amaturo

Welcome to the third year anniversary celebration, where we present three of our favorite Halloween stories. First up is WHEN DR. JEKYLL AND HIS WIFE, SYBIL, VISITED A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR by the ever-talented Maureen Mancini Amaturo. This story is a comedy that uses the Jekyll story in a new way. To start the celebration, we kick off with an interesting story that sure to make you laugh!


It wasn’t her moods that confounded him. It was her impermanence. Even with his scientific background, Dr. Henry Jekyll could not deduce exactly what was the issue with his wife, Sybil, but he knew, surely, it was more than hormones. Henry and Sybil would make plans, make promises, make love, but more times than not, neither would recall any of it. He guarded his own secret that explained his side of the issue, but he was at a loss wondering, what is it with her?

Almost a full year of marriage now, and things were not getting better with time. One grey, biting, winter day, Henry and Sybil Jekyll agreed to seek professional help. They phoned a marriage counselor and made an appointment for the following week. At Henry’s insistence, they wrote down what they had agreed on. He feared neither of them would recall they had made this pact since Henry Jekyll often found himself with long intervals of blank memory, as did his wife. Using this note and lucid moments, they committed to their agreement until the appointment day arrived.

 “Doctor and Mrs. Jekyll?” A woman—starched and stiff-lipped, her black hair wrenched back to a taut, small bun, her nose like the blade of an ax—entered the waiting room. Henry and Sybil stood. “Come with me, please.” The couple followed her down the hall to a door that read Lawrence Talbot, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Talbot greeted both of them with a nod and indicated they should sit. Dr. Jekyll rested his top hat on his lap. Sybil clutched her purse to her chest and kept her head down. She melted into her chair, shoulders curled forward, knees together. She barely whispered, “How do you do?”

Talbot opened a notebook atop his desk and raised his pen. “I never take appointments this late in the day. I always leave the office before dusk. But when you called, Dr. Jekyll, you sounded so troubled that I agreed to meet this afternoon.” Lawrence Talbot checked his watch. “We should get started.” He turned to Mrs. Jekyll. “Sybil, please tell me–”

“My name is Victoria. Address me properly, s’il vous plait.” Sybil’s posture straightened and her neck elongated. She adjusted her purse and brushed an invisible speck of lint from her forearm. She stared directly at Talbot.

Talbot turned to Henry Jekyll. “Victoria?”

Henry shrugged.  

Sybil shifted in her seat. “I, personally, did not feel the need for this, but all the others were in agreement.”

“The others?” Talbot asked.

She shrugged in resignation.

Talbot assumed she was referring to her husband. “And you, Dr. Jekyll, are you willing to participate with a face of patience and honesty? If not, I’m afraid we won’t accomplish much.”

Sybil began to giggle. “As for what face he participates with, well, that’s anybody’s guess.” She crossed her legs, pulled her skirt above her knees, and pushed the chair to her left a few inches.

“Victoria, what exactly do you mean by that?”

“I’m Peggy Lou. Get it straight, Talbot.” She punched the arm of her chair.

“You said you were Victoria.”

“Not anymore. Victoria split. She’s not the type to talk about personal stuff like this. She didn’t even want us to come. This is all just too uncouth for a dame like her.”

“Peggy Lou, is it? Why don’t you use your given name, Sybil?”

“Because that’s not my name. And Sybil is a weakling.”

“I see.” Lawrence Talbot did not see at all…

Continue reading this story:


Maureen Mancini Amaturo, New York based fashion/beauty writer with an MFA in Creative Writing, teaches writing, leads the Sound Shore Writers Group, which she founded in 2007, and produces literary and gallery events. Her fiction, essays, creative non-fiction, poetry, and comedy, are widely published appearing in: The Dark Sire, Every Day Fiction, Coffin Bell Journal, Drunken Pen, Flash Non-Fiction Food Anthology (Woodhall Press,) Things That Go Bump (Sez Publishing,) Film Noir Before It Was Cool and Attack of the Killer (Weasel Press), The Re-Written Anthology (Wingless Dreamer,) The Year Anthology (Crack The Spine,) Little Old Lady Comedy, and Points In Case. Maureen was nominated for The Bram Stoker Award in 2020 and the TDS Creative Fiction Award 2021 and 2022. She was awarded Honorable Mention and Certificate of Excellence in poetry from Havik Literary Journal in 2022. A handwriting analyst diagnosed her with an overdeveloped imagination. She’s working to live up to that.

What do you think of Maureen’s story? Let us know with a comment.

As always, if you’d like your gothic, horror, fantasy, or psychological realism work featured, be sure to Submit.


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