Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

Fiction

Nesters

They killed the last calf that morning. Ma wanted to hold off, give the poor thing a chance, but Pa said it were cruel to let a body live like that. He cracked the hammer on its head—a sick, sad sound. Later he slit the calf open and showed Sally the animal’s stomach, choked with dust. “Suffocated from the inside,” he said. Sally cried, or would have cried, but her face was too caked with dirt. The Vaseline in her nostrils couldn’t keep it out.

Fiction

Methods of Ascension

It wasn’t unusual for my brother to send me strange videos he found on the internet. If I’d had enough to drink, sometimes I’d even watch. They were all about pain, in one way or another, and often made me feel as though someone had poured concrete down my throat. There are afterimages burned into my memory that cannot be removed; grainy flashes of a woman swallowed up by an escalator, handing her child to a stranger before being pulled under; black and white street fight footage that ends with a neck snapped back.

Fiction

The Secret Life of the Unclaimed

It starts with something as simple as a toothache. I’m home on vacation before final session at Ecclesia Boys, so Momsie is the one I run to. She’s seated in bed with her glasses on, her hair untamed, the gray streaks standing clear. She has her back on the headboard and her feet buried in documents. “My teeth, they’re painful,” I tell her. “I’m dreaming every night that people are chasing me.” She flicks her eyes at me then back to her documents, so I return to my room and curl up like a fetus to absorb the pain.

Fiction

The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)

The teeth in the neck gambit obviously starts all of this. Don’t think I’ll forget that. Don’t expect for one moment you’re going to get off too easily. You might not be the only one to blame, but you’re still mostly to blame. For how you come to me when I’m by myself, a lonely girl in a goblin market where some treasures are best left undiscovered. Tonight, my mother’s hosting another soirée, all in my honor, a way to find me the perfect husband. She doesn’t care what I have to say about it.

Fiction

With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfsbane Seeds

“It’s Halloween,” Mary told Cook, while Cook boiled caramel and dipped apples and laid them on the table to dry, buttery and glistening in their new candy shells. Cook smiled indulgently and gave Mary a ball of caramel to play between her fingers, and shooed her out of the kitchen. “It’s Halloween,” Mary told Mr. Evans the gardener, while he stuffed old clothes with hay and sticks and raised his new-formed scarecrows onto their stands, propping them around the grounds like watchful sentinels.

Fiction

Dollhouse

There is a man locked in the dollhouse. He is not a doll-sized man. He is a full-sized man. The structure is designed for miniatures, and he is trapped inside it, knees up against his chest, head scraping the ceiling. He only fits because the architects of the little house equipped it with a palatial foyer, the kind that, in real houses, is designed to make visitors gape at the sheer magnificence of the space. The effect is lost on the full-sized man. To him, it’s more like a cabinet.

Fiction

Growing and Growing

After half a barrel of foaming sour pulque, Ignacio and Hector start the long stumble home. The night is cold but they’re still warm, still cocooned, and they talk in circles about the business, the vermiculture that will turn Oaxaca’s gardens into jungles and fill their pockets besides. Their families’ futures in a tub of worms. If the shadows on the street are deeper than usual, if the barking of the dogs is more desperate, if the waning moon is unnaturally sharp, a shard of bone from a desecrated grave, they do not notice.

Fiction

Grave Goods

Put the pieces back together, fit them against each other chip by chip and line by line, and they start to sing. There’s a sort of tone a skeleton gives off; Aretha Howson can feel it more than hear it, like it’s tuned to some frequency she can’t quite register. It resonates through her in layers: skin, muscle, cartilage, bone. It whispers in her ear at night, secret, liquid. Like blood through a shell. The site they’re working on is probably Early Archaic—6,500 B.P. or so, going strictly by contents

Fiction

Some Kind of Blood-Soaked Future

Here’s the thing about surviving a slumber party massacre: no one really wants you around anymore. All your friends are dead, and your mom is dead, and you get shuffled off to live with your miserable Aunt Katherine, who blames you for getting her sister killed because she’s an awful human being like that. And you try to move on, but you don’t know how because your nightmares are constant and therapy is hard, especially when a new killer arrives and murders your therapist with his own pencil.

Fiction

The Maw

Mix was about ready to ditch the weird old bastard already. Too slow, too clumsy, too loud. Not even a block into Hollow City and already they’d captured the attention of one of the wagoneers, and in her experience you could almost clap your hands in front of their faces and they wouldn’t know it. Experience, though; that was the key word. She had it and he didn’t, and it was probably going to get him killed. But she’d be goddamned if she’d let it get her killed too.