Horror & Dark Fantasy

THECONDUCTORS

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Fiction

Fiction

We, the Girls Who Did Not Make It

We are not where we are buried. We are where they kept us. We float now, and see the low building in the woods from above, the long plates of rusted metal, the desiccated grass bundling against the sides like a pyre, the orb spider poised over a corroded edge. But when we were alive, we only knew the inside of the basement, where we had all the usual things girls have when they are being held and killed. There are thirteen of us girls. You might be thinking, oh, but can you really call yourselves girls?

Fiction

I Let You Out

I watch the closet door. I watch around them as they pray above me, their eyes closed and their hands clasped in ecstasy. Their voices drown out all other sounds—like, for instance, the creak of a slowly opening door. So I can’t close my eyes, though my head is aching. I have to watch the door. Their prayers rise and fall and bleed into one other, a nonsense incantation of sacred gibberish. They’re crying and sweating. There is no air conditioning in the old farmhouse, and the humid bedroom is fragrant with their body odors.

Fiction

Darkness Metastatic

The land line rang. Its sound was invasive, all-consuming. A dying machine’s shriek. How had people lived like this for so long? And why the fuck did I still have a land line at all? But I knew why. Because Caleb had wanted one. And Caleb was long gone but the land line was still here, screaming me out of a sweet deep nap, the sound heavy with all the horrors that the call could bring. “Hello,” I said, four rings in. The thing would ring all night if we let it. My ex had hated voice mail, said he preferred “the hit-or-miss nature of pre-cell phone contact.” A man’s small voice asked: “Is Caleb there?”

Fiction

Last Stop on Route Nine

“I thought you said you wouldn’t get lost,” Kai said. Charlotte’s teeth tightened to match the pressure of her hands on the rented Toyota’s steering wheel. They were already a half-hour late to the luncheon after her grandmother’s funeral in Tallahassee, a drive her navigator said should have taken an hour and five minutes heading west on the I-10. She’d been doing fine until they got off of the freeway and passed the collection of quaint shops on Main Street in the throwback town, but the last few turns had plunged them more deeply into the swampy woods bordering each side of a two-lane road.

Fiction

How to Break into a Hotel Room

Javi is short for Javier. Javier is short for Has the Perfect Scam. He hasn’t told anybody about it yet. Especially not the hotels. It’s not the kind of thing you get rich with—one fancy watch or a pair of earrings doesn’t exactly pay the rent—but it is the kind of thing that’s good enough for a smile at three in the morning.

Fiction

Rotten Little Town: An Oral History (Abridged)

t’s been over twenty years since the last episode of Rotten Little Town, the smash hit occult western that ran for six seasons between 1993 and 1999, plus one two-hour reunion movie released in 2000 that wrapped up most of the dangling storylines in such dramatic fashion that it remains highly debated today. Completing its planned arc despite the untimely deaths of one creator and two lead actors, plus multiple other mishaps, the show is still fondly remembered as the compelling story of Sheriff Horace T. Booker and his efforts to clean up the frontier town of Sawblade, New Mexico, which is beset by supernatural forces, at the height of the wild west.

Fiction

The Obscure Bird

It was late. Gwen spent ten minutes helping Andrew tidy up the kitchen and then put her arms out for a hug and said she was going up to bed. “I won’t be long,” Andrew said as he released her with a kiss. Gwen smiled. “Of course not,” she said. It was a ritual. She knew it would be at least an hour, probably two, maybe more, before he joined her. Outside, an owl hooted. Andrew’s eyes were dark behind the round lenses of his glasses, unfathomable. He turned to the sink as she walked towards the door to the hall, where she stopped and looked back at him.

Fiction

The Wrong Girl

“The problem is,” she says as she spears a piece of crispy bacon skilfully enough that it doesn’t shatter, “you’ve got a revolving door for a heart.” He doesn’t like hearing things like this, mostly because she’s generally right. Ilsa’s clear-eyed about him. and that makes their friendship remarkably unfraught (apart from these moments). Unlike his other relationships. She sees him for who he is, but doesn’t stop talking to him, doesn’t judge him, not really, or if she does, she’s still friends with him. His father used to say he was his own worst enemy.

Fiction

The Ones Who Got Away

Later we would learn that the guy kept a machete close to his front door. That he kept it there specifically for people like us. For the chance of people like us. That he’d been waiting. I was fifteen. It was supposed to be a simple thing we were doing. In a way, I guess it was. Just not the way Mark had told us it would be. If you’re wondering, this is the story of why I’m not a criminal. And also why I pick my pizza up instead of having it delivered. It starts with us getting tighter and tighter with Mark, letting him spot us a bag here, a case there, a ride in-between.

Fiction

The Book of Drowned Sisters

They lived on the last street that had been constructed before investor money ran out, and behind their row of seven houses was a long unfenced field marked KEEP OUT, within it a little hill and little retaining pond, and a row of three streetlights along an unpaved road that stopped abruptly at the foot of the hill. Trees rimmed the field, and the streetlights still lit up, so there was a touch of Narnia in every evening. Even in the brilliant summer sun, the trees were thick enough to give the woods an inviting fairy tale darkness. | Copyright 2020 by Caspian Gray.