Horror & Dark Fantasy

IntheNightWood-Banner_Final_Lightspeed Oct 2018

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Fiction

Fiction

A Mother’s Love Never Ends

Mother would have never taken the bus. She had specific prejudices—the train yes, the bus no, taking The Lord’s name in vain, no, calling someone an asshole, yes. It was often hard to follow her dictates; the safest route was to just not say anything or do anything unless directed. Mother had no say in the matter now, and although Miriam wasn’t big on bus travel herself, it gave her an adventuresome frisson to be doing something in such bad taste.

Fiction

Ghost Jeep

We have a ’90s model Jeep Cherokee, green and dirty and banged up so bad only the driver’s side doors open. We don’t have a windshield no more, but we never needed it. We have piles of scratched CDs of pirated albums. We have a system in the back, big speakers booming up and down these cracked country roads like a low flying bomber. We have been sixteen and riding around the same small town since the night we died twenty years ago. There are three of us. We have each other, but every year we lose a little more, until we can’t remember our names.

Fiction

What’s Coming to You

Madeline had a plain, dull face that only a mother could love, even though hers hadn’t. She’d been a clever child, clever enough to realize early on that fairness was a fairy tale, and clever enough to realize that it wasn’t her mother, really, who was to blame, even if she couldn’t help but blame her. Whenever Madeline’s stepfather had told her to get out of his sight, her mother had repeated the phrase in a ghostly echo. When Madeline emancipated herself at sixteen, she figured that was the end of that, and she looked ahead to a future of possibilities.

Fiction

The Pike

Carpers further down the canal were using fishmeal and pellets to try to tempt the doubles, but Lostock wasn’t interested in them. Carp might fight for longer, but they weren’t as aggressive as pike. He didn’t like the look of them, those bloated and gormless mouth-breathers. They turned his stomach. He’d talked to bailiffs and other fishermen about the water. Some were happy to chat with him, others hunched over their gear like poker players protecting a good hand as he approached. They’d tell him what he already knew. They suggested he find another place to fish.

Fiction

True Crime

He cut off her arms and threw them on the side of the road. They wanted a boy. Her uncle taught her how to play the game. The last time anyone saw her she was dancing. She was drunk. She was flirting with everyone. She was wearing a short skirt. She had a lot of eyeliner on. She got into the car, which anyone knows is a stupid thing to do. She was stupid. Actually, she was very intelligent, but had no common sense. It wasn’t her fault. But what was she thinking?

Fiction

The Brink of Eternity

The knife is long and lethal yet light, both in weight and appearance; a thing precise and definite, which he admires for those reasons. It has not been designed for the task at hand, but it will suffice. The sound of a heart beating fills his ears, and he wonders if it is his heart or the other’s. He will soon know. The knife is raised, and then brought down in a swift movement. A moment of resistance, and then the flesh yields, and vivid spatters spread, staining the carpet of white, bright and beautiful. He brings the knife down again, and again.

Fiction

House of Small Spiders

Some houses never have a soul. It’s not their fault. It’s just the way it is. For a soul to be born to a house, almost too many things have to happen. Three or more families have to have lived there. Someone has to die in the house. Blood has to be spilled. And something, even if it’s just an idea, has to be born in the house. You can always tell when a house has a soul because of the small spiders. They’re everywhere, non-obtrusive, and ever watchful. The small spiders are the eyes of the house, watching those who live in it much like a great beast would observe its own fleas.

Fiction

Kill All Monsters

Two or three miles south of Sheffield, they pulled off the M1 motorway and into the badly lit car park of a grubby little HumChef roadside restaurant. Squat buildings huddled in the darkness, separated by narrow patches of overgrown wasteland. The road was narrow; the aged asphalt surface was cracked and blistered. The woman glanced at the clock on the dashboard; it was two-thirty a.m. The child was asleep in the back, snoring softly. The woman reached across and clasped the man’s hand on the steering wheel.

Fiction

Crook’s Landing, by Scaffold

My brother was hanged on a Monday and two days later I followed him. When the trapdoor opened for the short drop, the sharp stop never came: instead, my soul slithered loose from my body and I fell through darkness, landing with a crash atop a mountain of junk. Odd battered shoes, gimmicked dice and prosthetic notes—the cheat’s cast-offs, the swindler’s knick-knacks. It all reeked of piss. I pulled the sackcloth off my head. A square moon in a black sky shed some light, but not much. 

Fiction

Mariners’ Round

It started small, as these things do, with a cheap glass jewel pried from the rump of a genuine Charles Carmel merry-go-round horse at Sydney’s Luna Park one cool autumn evening in 1977. A blue glass jewel set into a gold-painted wooden harness, many faceted, the size of a king’s thumbnail, a queen’s ransom, big enough to be easily visible and look so precious to kids watching the carousel turn. Easy to pry off, too, in a small enough act of vandalism by one of three fourteen-year-old schoolboys on a cool, just past summer evening.