Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Fiction

Fiction

Animal

Here’s everything that happened just before the thud in the basement: Kendra took a snort of blow off the counter and said: “Did you guys know that pet store workers have the highest rate of drug use in the retail industry?” “That’s such a load of horseshit,” Telly said.

Fiction

Old Friends

David told himself there was nothing to be afraid of, nothing at all. It was, of course, only the delicious sense of anticipation he was feeling and not the fear that he could be mistaken. No. After all these years, all that pain, all that twisting of what he thought he knew . . . mistaken.

Fiction

Singing With All My Skin and Bone

I’m telling you this so you know: I don’t remember when I started eating myself. You should remember something like that. It should be a moment, one of those that you carry around forever, a line that you cut across your life to mark before, when everything was one way, and after, when everything was different. I don’t remember discovering it like a secret formula or an equation that explained the universe.

Fiction

Out of Touch

I grew up in the suburbs, in a small bungalow house identical to every other bungalow house on my block. Row after row of these houses, all in straight lines, filled the streets as far as my bicycle would take me. That was why the house across from my own never struck me as strange or out-of-the-ordinary, not in all the years I shared the street with it.

Fiction

Upon the Body

The sin-eater arrived in Zonia Province two days before the death of the great gun fighter, Arryo Salazar. He was a small man, the sin-eater, thin and wiry, a rusting coil. At sixty-four, he had left the tautness of youth behind, and his skin, wrinkled, but importantly still unmarked, sagged and folded when he spoke.

Fiction

The Kiss

The angel’s heart was torn from its chest. The stained-glass box that once held it was smashed; ruby tears scattered around the fountain. The ruins of the valentine lay amidst splinters of red glass and oak leaves mottled with rot

Fiction

Dear Owner of This 1972 Ford Crew Cab Pickup

It’s me again. Remember me? In the beginning I left a note stuck to your windshield. You are parked outside my bedroom window, it said. Please stop revving your truck at 3 a.m., or find somewhere else to park.

Fiction

The Misfit Child Grows Fat on Despair

Fate arrives disguised as choice. As if you could actually say, Screw this, I’m out of here, or just get down on your knees like everybody else. But John’s got to shrug and go, “Hmmm.”

Fiction

Death and Death Again

That evening, she kills him again. This time, she works slowly, exquisitely slowly, taking frequent stops for food, for wine, for blood. Once or twice she even excuses herself to go to the bathroom, apologizing for leaving him alone.

Fiction

Talking in the Dark

In the damp bedroom Victor Ripon sat hunched over his desk, making last-minute corrections on the ninth or tenth draft, he couldn’t remember which, of a letter to the one person in the world who might be able to help. Outside, puppies with the voices of children struggled against their leashes for a chance to be let in from the cold. He ignored them and bore down.