Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

Fiction

Sharp Things, Killing Things

We saw the first billboard while driving along Lake Road. We’d driven the road a hundred times before, because it was the only road out of town that went anywhere worth going, and there was fuck-all to do in town except get drunk, get stoned, and get in trouble. Lake Road let us go ice fishing in the winter. Lake Road let us go camping in the summer. Lake Road let us drive and pretend like we would keep going, like one day we would get out for good.

Fiction

Concerning the Upstairs Bathroom

Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! I’m sorry to inform you I was not very upfront with the terms of sale and would feel guilty if I didn’t leave at least this letter in forewarning. You might have wondered why it was listed so cheaply or why, beyond a lawyer’s details, there wasn’t a name on the seller’s side of the contract. You might have dismissed these anomalies because the patio is so nice (the jasmine over the pergola smells lovely in spring).

Fiction

A Girl of Nails and Teeth

One thing I find fascinating about parenthood is the fact that protecting your children too tightly from the monsters in the world can sometimes become, in itself, a monstrous act. I wanted to write a story with this kind of double vision, where viewed through one lens, the mother is protecting her daughter, but viewed through another lens, the mother is hurting her daughter, and it’s hard to say for certain which version is true.

Fiction

The Gold Coin

She remembered the day Sophie’s grandmother told her about the gold coin. The gold coin existed only if you were paying attention. It existed only during certain times of the day. Above all, it existed only in Mrs. Meecham’s living room, next to the sofa covered with quilts, near the stairs that would lead you to the rooms above. On one of the walls in the living room, there was a small stained-glass window forming the image of a benevolent lady sitting by a garden.

Fiction

The Arm Ouroboros

I take the hammer in my right hand and raise it up over my head to bring down, screaming, against the left hand I have placed flat on the tabletop. My knuckles do not break. My skin does not tear. I do not scream in agony. Instead, my left hand flattens like soft rubber, the imprint of the hammer’s head clearly visible in what is supposed to be human flesh. The sight is worse than any pain could possibly be.

Fiction

Skitterdead

My short stories often grow from a fixation on a certain animal. I loved the idea of a “ghost” being a hyper-specific emotional state, something petty and small enough to possess a bug. At the same time, I wanted the centipede to show the tantruming ghost something beautiful, an experience that a human body or mind couldn’t offer on its own.

Fiction

Every Atom Belonging to Me as Good Belongs to You

We came down to Independence in the afternoon. The sky as we descended was white, gray, pink smeared on a dirty canvas. I had the sense—because that morning we had been very high, above 13,000 feet, and everything had been very still as we balanced on hard, flat, brown rocks—that we were walking through the sky, and that we might come down from the sky painted white, and gray, and pink, ourselves.

Fiction

What the Dead Birds Taught Me

The first time I saw him, I was crouched in a ditch by the highway, lancet poised, holding a crumbly-paged book open to the words to reanimate a dead owl. Anne leaned against our dad’s old car on the shoulder, just a few feet past the impromptu memorial some of Mom and Dad’s students had put up. The flowers were wilting and the photos were fading, just like our parents’ ghosts in the ditch where they’d died. I walked all up and down it, grasses itching at my legs despite my jeans.

Fiction

The Closet Game

You know the game, don’t you? All you need is a closet, and a book of matches—and a willing participant. Not much to it, considering. Jesse first heard about it at twelve from his older sister, after she came home drunk from a party and was trying hard to scare him. Sleepover shenanigans when you lacked a Ouija board, bullshit kid stuff, he knew that much. A game of pretend. Still, she managed to strike a nerve. You can open a door to another dimension, she whispered across the kitchen table.

Fiction

Dr. Wasp and Hornet Holmes

Dr. Wasp and Hornet Holmes were gathering nectar one day when Holmes made a startling observation. “The Queen has been behaving rather oddly in recent days,” she said. Dr. Wasp pulled her proboscis from the flower and regarded Holmes with surprise. “However do you mean?” she said. “Do you ever feel that not all is as it seems?” Holmes said. “That what we see is illusory, that dark forces move unseen behind the bright façade of the world?”