Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

Fiction

The Dirty American

In a nation founded by Puritans, you’re hard-pressed to find someone who will talk about sex or mention their unmentionables. We can’t even handle squat toilets, afraid we might see our own shit falling between our knees. Perfumes made in this country inevitably come out smelling like candy, detergent, or Barkeeper’s Friend. If you’re lucky, you’ll get musty potpourri. Sweet, clean, and one-dimensional. Americans have an awful penchant for orange blossom.

Fiction

The Hunt for the Leather Apron

On August 4th, 2014, a researcher at the British National Archives came across a sealed envelope entitled “The Leather Apron.” It had not been opened in over 125 years. The envelope contained many elements of a closed investigation into the famous Jack the Ripper case. Among the items was the written testimony of the twenty-one-year-old son of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, the woman considered by many to be the first official victim of Jack the Ripper.

Fiction

The Rest is Noise

When Andrew opened his eyes, he was surprised to find himself lying on the worn Oriental rug in the living room of his cramped Manhattan apartment. He tried to pick himself up off the floor, but his arms and legs barely contained the strength to move. Inside his ears, something wet and sticky sloshed. The faint smell of copper came to him. On the rug beside his hand, his smartphone was still on, still talking to him. The outgoing message of the number he’d called—had he dialed a number?—was malfunctioning, stuck in a warped, maddening loop.

Fiction

Fossil Heart

Nan Walker doesn’t mean to fall asleep. She never does. But tonight the creak of the ceiling fan lulls her. Evie curls warm against her side, one long leg thrown over hers. Nan’s eyes sag, her fingers relax, and her worn paperback slides onto the bed. Sleep strokes gentle hands across her eyes. The nightmare waits, constant, unchanging: muddy water, stale wet air. The car shudders in the torrent as the flood rushes past outside.

Fiction

Anthony’s Vampire

Anthony was nine years old the first time he saw the vampire. She was clinging to one of the top branches of the tree outside his window—that was what got his attention in the first place, since seeing a girl in a long black dress suddenly appear in the tree was a lot more interesting than his comic book. She scrambled for a better grip every time the wind shook the branches, shooting terrified glances at the ground. Fascinated, Anthony moved to the window, pushed it open, and leaned out onto the windowsill. “Are you going to fall?” he asked, not bothering to hide his curiosity.

Fiction

Whose Drowned Face Sleeps

When she comes into the loft, she glares at me with the bright-eyed, serpentine resentment of the dead. In the dry attic, water drips from her hair and pools at her feet. Her lips pull back. I’d forgotten that I used to grimace like that—teeth bared like an animal’s. I’m not her and she isn’t me. When I say “I,” I might mean either one of us, but that’s not precise. I have no past, so I took her memories. I have no name, so I took her name. I had no body, but I have hers now.

Fiction

Der Kommissar’s In Town

Charlotte did not materialize in the middle of the encampment, though to Mickey it seemed like she had. Six feet tall, not counting the afro, long limbs, wide shoulders, the confident stride of someone who knows she’s untouchable, she just somehow passed through the border from Ptown to what the maps called Franklin Plaza, and the protestors called the Paris Commune. Charlotte had weaved through the all-hours drum circle; right past the power station of stationary bicycles, solar cells, and car batteries.

Fiction

Red House

This is the story you remember. The girl lost in the woods. How they find her after eight days, the mud smeared on her arms and legs, clumped in her hair and under her nails. Through the rain she sees the policeman running, lifting her up in his thick brown jacket, driving her back down the jagged lumber road towards the highway in his truck. She won’t answer his questions, won’t untangle her thin ten-year-old limbs. She runs her tongue along her broken tooth and the cop hits the sirens to run the stoplights, the world flying by in a haze of streets and rain.

Fiction

Ruminations

Running late to catch the bus, Luisa kicked a raised part of the sidewalk toes first. “Mierda!” She winced but managed to keep her balance. She stopped, raised her leg, and massaged her big toe through her canvas work shoes. Relieved to feel no broken bones, she lowered her foot, ignored the pain, and hurried to the bus stop. She shouldn’t have tripped, but that’s what happens when you’re not paying attention.

Fiction

The Finest, Fullest Flowering

A sour note shrieked from the limousine’s speakers, making Milston’s fingers curl in his lap. He took a moment to compose himself before rapping precisely, and with a now steady hand, on the glass separating him from the driver. The tone had droned into a hum that tunelessly dreamt of someday becoming hypnotic. “What is this we are listening to, and is there any way to turn it off?” “Down, sir, but not off, I’m afraid.”