Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Fiction

Fiction

The Narrow Escape of Zipper-Girl

It was her zipper that drew me to her. She was beautiful enough, according to what most people seemed to consider beauty. She had a black buzz cut, the kind of body that gives the impression of lankiness even on someone petite, a complexion pale as milk, and an overbite that made sure that a sliver of teeth was always visible even when her bee-sting lips were mostly shut. Everything about her face seemed tentative, as if placed there by a designer who knew just how much any given feature needed before it gained enough prominence to overpower the others.

Fiction

Wendigo

Dinner was special. The candles were miraculous, emanating a light that went oozing into pores, piercing into strands of hair, that found its way inside the thin glass of the champagne flutes, the rough, quartzy crystal of the punch bowl. Nothing glittered, nothing sparkled, nothing shone. Everything glowed, everything throbbed. The other guests did not smile, but they radiated pulses of tender heat in her direction, until her cheeks were mottled red. Each course in the banquet had an aura that hung heavily over the platter, like steam weighed down with rich globules of grease, thick particles of oily light.

Fiction

Secret Keeper

You know how this story goes: the girl was kissed in the womb by the devil. When she emerged into the too-bright world, she was missing half her face where his teeth tore it off. The doctors did their best; they grafted skin over the left side, added collagen in her cheeks. “Smile,” they said, tickling her feet. But she could not smile, and so no one smiled at her. A girl is supposed to be beautiful. A girl is supposed to have rosy red cheeks and a laugh that makes men wilt to think of her bright future. A beautiful girl will have a beautiful life.

Fiction

The Vault of Heaven

It will be of little surprise to those who know me well that, as a boy, I was possessed by frequent night terrors. I do not like to speak of them now. It embarrasses me—even as it embarrassed my father once. I was a child: I saw as a child and I spoke as a child but my fears were not those of a child. There was a small window set into the north wall of my bedroom, and from this I would gaze out upon the constellations of lights that burst through the gloom: stories my father told me of heroes and monsters, there a dragon, there Hercules. To him these were figments, glimmering signs of a bygone age, but to me? I saw something more.

Fiction

The Sound of

Diego packs more insulation into the walls. The work’s itchy as hell and the insulation isn’t enough to cut out the whine of the Sound, not entirely, but he likes to think it helps. Behind him, he can hear Liv move about the apartment, rummaging through the totes they’ve never fully unpacked. A year later and they still live like they might have to flee. “I thought we agreed that the comics would go next,” he says, the Sound like a drill boring into his temples, pushing his voice near to yelling. Not that he wants to remind her what to sell on eBay, but the old X-Men comics might be worth something.

Fiction

Pearls

I sat in the park watching a couple who were, like all lovers, only intent on one another. The girl was a beauty ripe for harvest, her hair a golden sheaf. The boy’s desire was visible in the way he kissed her. I felt a pang. I, too, had been lovely once and loved. My hair made jealous noises in sympathy. A man walked by, and I could hear the furious beat that was piped straight into his ears. His curious gaze slid over my sunglasses and cap, then the sketches on my pad. I loved the park. It had appeared in my work many times.

Fiction

Kiss of the Mouthless Girl

If you see the mouthless girl rise from your bed sheets you must never look her in the eyes or she will kiss you. “Is that some sort of urban legend?” I ask. The bloke with the eye-patch grins. He’s been stalking me for some time before coming to the bar and offering me a pint. I had been peering at the busty brunette two stools down when I became aware of his eyes—or rather, of his one eye. I got the impression he was like a human hound, sniffing out some secret scent I didn’t know I had on me. When he walked up to my stool, he leaned over and in a deep voice said he had a story for me.

Fiction

But Only Because I Love You

The sky above is impossibly blue, striped with bright bands of clouds tinged pink and orange with the coming sunrise. There are a few stars still sparkling in the heavens, and the moon, bigger than it looks beyond the borders of this land, hangs low and near. The pack of spotted jackals is also near. Their baying is a goad. If we do not find some shelter, some escape, we are done for. The wind whips our scent into their long noses, maddening them. They will tear us to pieces if they catch us. I am not worried. I have no reason to be. Not yet.

Fiction

Figs, Detached

I ate the child and fell in love with the mother; I didn’t want to, but I didn’t know, I was new to town. The placenta tasted like raw ahi fed only on honey and dandelion. Inside it was pomegranate, was roe, was blood orange, was lymph. If I could regurgitate his love (my love, our love?) I would, but I can’t. Lacticifer sold his children at the Tenhen farmers market. I was hungry from moving into the house on the hill and rode down on my bike, the brake pads worn thin and worthless. He was short and wore mismatched socks, clogs, and Carhartt overalls.

Fiction

The Adventurer’s Wife

It was not till after the adventurer had been interred that we learned that the man had been married. My editor, Cheltenwick, did not even let the graveyard mud dry decently on his boots before he dispatched me to the widow’s house with instructions for a full interview, which I had no doubt he would embellish even more than his wont. “Delicate sighs, Greene,” he said, hurrying me into a cab and pushing a fresh notebook into my hands. “A crystal-like droplet that rolls down her wan face. I want that, and a most particular description of the house, and don’t botch it up!”