Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Fiction

Fiction

Dress Circle

The musty smell of old carpet filled the corridor, hot with the press of the crowd. In the half darkness, Laura fingered the pair of tickets in her bag. She felt defiant to be here alone. They had been a gift for Markus, for the two of them to use together. The line jostled forward.

Fiction

This is the Way I Die

I want to be broken, to be shattered, then reshaped into something new. Something with bulletproof skin, eyes that can see in the dark, lungs that can breathe in water as well as air, and an impenetrable heart. I want to be made monstrous, beautiful, frightening.

Fiction

Magdala Amygdala

“So how are you feeling?” Dr. Shapiro’s pencil hovers over the CDC risk evaluation form clamped to her clipboard. “Pretty good.” When I talk, I make sure my tongue stays tucked out of sight. I smile at her in a way that I hope looks friendly, and not like I’m baring my teeth.

Fiction

It Was Never the Fire

He was the kid who looked at the sun too long. He hunted for lighters like sharks hunted for blood. Christ intrigued him for all the wrong reasons. He only ate smoke.

Fiction

Nimitseahpah

If you ask me for a story on a night like this, when the wind howls through the canyons like a live thing, there’s only one I can tell. I know well that when I’ve gone up to bed, some of you will whisper that I’m just an old and crazy widow who should, by rights, be dead by now. How well I understand that there are truths too frightening to believe. But truths these are.

Fiction

Sleep Paralysis

I am subject to dreams, especially one of a curious type in which I wake on my back, unable to move, my arms pinned to my side, my legs straight. My paralysis is complete, and a thick darkness pervades my bedchamber, a darkness of an almost viscous weight, so that I can feel it pressing upon my face and bearing down against the bedclothes. And there is something else, as well: a sense of obscure doom falls upon me.

Fiction

Bones

There is nothing more absurdly incongruous—ironic perhaps—than the burning fear found in the hearts of all men: the fear of death. Ironic, I say, for it is only those who have known death’s euphoric touch who find their eyes opened to the truer horror of waking life.

Fiction

Sunbleached

“We’re God’s beautiful creatures,” the vampire said, something like joy leaking into its voice for the first time since it had crawled under this house four days ago. “We’re the pinnacle of his art. If you believe in that kind of thing, anyway.”

Fiction

A Dweller in Amenty

The Pernille’s housekeeper shows me into the music room, where they’ve shoved the piano to the wall to make room for the coffin and the table and my seat. You can always tell serious clients. They lower the lights.

Fiction

I Am Coming to Live in Your Mouth

It happened the first time during the four a.m. feeding, and Kagome believed she was dreaming. This was not unusual; she almost never slept anymore, and most of her life felt like dreaming, now. She’d already flushed out Joe’s catheter, sponged gently at the pus that dripped incessantly from the tumor that had devoured his upper lip, and replaced the nutrient bag on the IV stand.