Horror & Dark Fantasy

Adaptive ad 3

Advertisement

Fiction

Fiction

Inspirations

She counts the days by the cuts on her arms. Her captors tell her the year when she asks them—one of the few questions they ever answer for her—but the numbers mean nothing. She remembers the birth of the Industrial Age, remembers men flying like Icarus flew (and falling, falling, so many of them falling, so many melting waxen wings) . . . but oh, even then, the numbers meant nothing. Who measures years by thousands? No empire stands two thousand years; no man measures such a span. Not even scars endure that long.

Fiction

No Other Men in Mitchell

If I’m gonna tell this story, I’m gonna have to start with the men. In Queensland—right in the middle of it, bum-fuck-nowhere is the word—there’s a town called Mitchell. It has two pubs and a mechanic who services the road trains that pass through, and its only claim to fame is birthing Australia’s shortest-serving Prime Minister ever. I got to know Mitchell’s mechanic while I was driving road trains over the Warrego Highway between South Australia and Queensland.

Fiction

There’s a Hole in the City

On the evening of the day after the towers fell, I was waiting by the barricades on Houston Street and LaGuardia Place for my friend Mags to come up from SoHo and have dinner with me. On the skyline, not two miles to the south, the pillars of smoke wavered slightly. But the creepily beautiful weather of September 11 still held and the wind blew in from the northeast. In Greenwich Village the air was crisp and clean with just a touch of fall about it.

Fiction

Vulcanization

Another black. A mere illusion, Leopold knew, but he flinched out of the half-naked nigger’s path anyway. Of course Marie Henriette noticed when he did so. The quick little taps of the queen’s high-heeled slippers echoed faster off the polished floor as she hastened to draw even with him. “My dearest—Sire—” Leopold stopped, forcing his entire retinue to stop with him. “What do you wish, my wife?”

Fiction

Down Here in the Garden

Daren Powell sits in The Forlorn Hope outside Truckee, California and warms his bare hands on the backs of his gloves. Despite the glowing embers in the granite fireplace, despite the crackling logs and spicy smoke, the chill has penetrated even the deepest layers of his thermal t-shirts, sweater, heavy jacket, and he finds himself wrapped in the icy embrace of the Sierra Nevadas. His drinking partner waits at the bar for another bottle of Jim Beam.

Fiction

Angel, Monster, Man

Tom wasn’t fiction. He was not a lie. He was a higher truth, something we invented to encapsulate a reality too horrific to communicate to anyone outside our plague-devastated circle. Maybe myth, but definitely not fiction. Myth helps us make sense of facts too messy to comprehend, and that’s what Tom Minniq was supposed to be. A fable to ponder, and then forget. We birthed Tom at one of Derrick’s Sunday coffee kvetches.

Fiction

Honey in the Wound

For the better part of my life, I have borne the circumstances of Avery Channing’s death in silence, at first because I wished to forget them, later because I doubted anyone would believe the truth, and later still because I feared I might suffer eternal damnation for my part in the whole terrible business. But time has worked a certain alchemy.

Fiction

The King of Ashland County

Uncle Reggie couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland to find a selkie wife, so instead he drove across the country to Carmel-by-the-Sea and came back with a selkie queer. I was fifteen then, and so ready to get out of Perrysville that California sounded like paradise.

Fiction

Reconstructing Amy

Sometimes life changes without letting anyone know. It’s said that a child becomes an adult when he or she recognises the fact of their inevitable death. And perhaps the process of death begins when the realisation that a partner is never, ever coming back first strikes home.

Fiction

The Judas Child

A kid in a baseball cap and a Ninja Turtles t-shirt is sitting on the park bench, swinging his legs. The boy stands off to the side until he’s sure there are no grown-ups nearby, and then he flops down on the bench, hiding his misshapen left hand while pretending to pick a scab from his knee with the other. Turtle leans forward, the hat’s brim turning his eyes to shadow. The boy guesses he’s eight, maybe, or close enough. Not too skinny either. The monster doesn’t like it when they’re skinny.