Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

Fiction

The H8TE

I give the chain attached to the radiator in her bedroom another tug. There’s enough slack for her to move about the room but not enough for her to get out. Her breath stinks like spoiled milk, so I inhale through my mouth. I try my best not to look directly at her face because if I do I won’t be able to go through with it. There are two thick layers of aluminum foil and garbage bags covering her bedroom windows. To secure the layers tight, I nail the quilt from off my bed to the wall. This has to work. Tomorrow I go back to school.

Fiction

Loneliness Is in Your Blood

This is how you live forever. You cup your fingers under your chin, dig your nails into the soft meat and peel your skin away. First up and over your head, letting it fall on your back like a hood, and then sliding your fingers beneath the skin on your clavicle and slipping the lifted layers of tissue over the curve of your shoulders. You squirm and shimmy and writhe, curling your skin away from the sticky braids of muscle on your arms, your ribs, your stomach, your hips, your thighs. You let the wet membrane fall in a heap, stepping out of it like clothes.

Fiction

The Opera Singer

The cold had blown in early on Sunday morning, too early for the fall. People shivered in their purple-and-black sweatshirts; so did Circe. She had taken to pushing her wheelchair, as a form of unofficial rehabilitation. She had managed to get it to the music school’s practice buildings this time. “You can’t practice here,” the security guard said, after Circe’s wheelchair had gotten stuck in the door. “You’re not a student.” Circe first stood up and got the chair out of the door jam. She then placed her fists on her hips.

Fiction

The Low, Dark Edge of Life

Translator’s note: these are the only extant, unburned, and legible (for the most part) pages retrieved from what was apparently the diary of one Lilianett van Hamal, an American girl who apparently lodged at the Grand Béguinage shortly before the Great Summoning of 1878 that left much of the city of Leuven in ruins. No other items from before that event have been recovered from what is now the Leuven Exclusion Zone, which as of this date remains permanently off-limits to the outside world.

Fiction

The Blood Drip

They had stumbled upon a town and tried to approach it, but had been driven off with stones. Or Karsten had. Nils had stayed there, at the base of the wall, pleading, and had been struck, and then struck again. When Karsten had shouted to him to come away, Nils had turned and then been struck yet again, in the head this time, and had fallen. There was blood leaking out of his head when he fell, and in the brief flash he caught of him on the way down, Karsten thought he had seen bone.

Fiction

I Was a Teenage Werewolf

Before Miss Ferguson found Maude Lewis’ body in the school gym, none of us believed in the teenage werewolf. There had been rumors, of course. There always are. But many of us viewed Miss Ferguson’s discovery as confirmation of our worst fears. Not everyone shared our certainty. There had been only a fingernail paring of moon that late February night, and a small but vocal minority of us argued that this precluded the possibility that Maude’s killer had been a lycanthrope.

Fiction

Fool’s Fire

The “going away together” part of the plan to save their marriage had gotten off to a bad start, and the probabilities of success continually ticked downward in Will’s mental calculations. Dori, who normally felt more comfortable in control, had gotten so tired of driving these tree-crowded country roads that she’d ceded the wheel to Will once night fell. Now she was navigating—“nag-ivating,” they used to jokingly call it, back when they’d joked—and displaying remarkably little patience with his requests for clarification.

Fiction

When You Work for the Old Ones

The first rule is that the company has no name. It has no website or social media presence. It does not pay taxes or Social Security. In a crowded bar near the Providence train station, you drink a beer with the guy who recruited you and neither of you refer to your employer. The Old Ones listen to everything, and their torture racks are hungry for victims. Remember Rodriguez? Raise your glass but don’t say his name. The second rule is that the company will not pay in checks or direct deposit. A stranger will slip a moldy envelope of cash into your pocket when you’re walking in a crowd.

Fiction

The Horror on the 33

Of those grim events I find it difficult, even at this late date, to write. Strictly speaking, they did not even involve me, but Knavle, my dear friend, from whose voluminous correspondence alone I know of them. But we are close in soul, Knavle and I, and through his accounts, hellishly circumstantial as they were, I can say that I too, in a manner, lived those moments of horror with him. When that first dread encounter befell him, Knavle had been a wino for almost exactly a year.

Fiction

Migration

Jazmine woke beside her fiancé, Cal, and nearly vomited from his smell. The nausea began with the scents she knew—garlic from the prawns he’d sautéed for dinner, salty-sour underarm musk, oil from his hair follicles. She tried turning away from him in her bed, but she couldn’t escape the newer smells, the ones she couldn’t name. Was she pregnant? That thought made her sit up and gasp aloud, but she talked down her panic. She’d been on the patch since college, and it would not have failed her.