Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Fiction

Fiction

10/31: Bloody Mary

The boy isn’t very large. The way things are these days, he figures that’s a plus. He is less of a target at night, and for this reason he has come to trust the darkness. Strange to trust darkness in a world overrun with nightmares . . . but that’s the way it is.

Fiction

A Short Guide to the City

The viaduct killer, named for the location where his victims’ bodies have been discovered, is still at large. There have been six victims to date, found by children, people exercising their dogs, lovers, or—in one instance—by policemen. The bodies lay sprawled, their throats slashed, partially sheltered by one or another of the massive concrete supports at the top of the slope beneath the great bridge.

Fiction

The Nest

“Come in, come in!” the man said, sitting like a god in the middle of the room, grinning at me through broken teeth. He levered himself out of his chair, breathing heavily, and then tottered over to the wall and pressed hard against it. Under his hand, ants scurried frantically through their tunnels. “It’s quite safe. Two solid sheets of Perspex, each over an inch thick, layered over the original house’s walls. They’ve got a gap of about four inches between them, for the dirt, but the whole thing is completely sealed. There’s no chance of them escaping.”

Fiction

Alone, Together

She was dressed like a private detective from a low-budget TV show—a pair of slacks, modest high heels, and the most ridiculous trench coat I’d ever seen, one of the shorter ones, that hung just above the knees. I couldn’t help but laugh, and it was obvious my reaction annoyed her, but she did her best to hide her feelings as she pressed a finger to my lips, quieting me, and gently nudged me back inside my apartment.

Fiction

Halfway Home

“Those diagrams are terribly optimistic,” the woman in the seat beside me said, eyeing the brochure as our plane climbed away from Manila. She spoke masterful English, clipped with a Filipino accent. “Let’s hope we never have to test that theory.”

Fiction

Lost Souls

Everything the blind woman had told Harry she’d seen was undeniably real. Whatever inner eye Norma Paine possessed—that extraordinary skill that allowed her to scan the island of Manhattan from the Broadway Bridge to Battery Park and yet not move an inch from her tiny room on Seventy-fifth—that eye was as sharp as any knife juggler’s.

Fiction

All My Princes Are Gone

When the world was young, it was filled with monsters.

Fiction

Nightcrawlers

“Hard rain coming down,” Cheryl said, and I nodded in agreement. Through the diner’s plate-glass windows, a dense curtain of rain flapped across the Gulf gas pumps and continued across the parking lot. It hit Big Bob’s with a force that made the glass rattle like uneasy bones.

Fiction

How Far to Englishman’s Bay

Max had made the decision that April morning to close up the bookshop and go away for once and for all, but he hadn’t told anyone yet, and he needed somebody to take the cat, so it was a good thing Jeffrey showed up an hour before closing.

Fiction

The Companion

When Stone reached the fairground, having been misdirected twice, he thought it looked more like a gigantic amusement arcade. A couple of paper cups tumbled and rattled on the shore beneath the promenade, and the cold insinuating October wind scooped the Mersey across the slabs of red rock that formed the beach, across the broken bottles and abandoned tyres.