Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

Fiction

A Moonlit Savagery

My eyes snap open at night. I float out of the tunnel under the concrete wall and settle on the roof of the abandoned hostel. The starry chaos of Yaowarat stretches before me like rows of crowded teeth. It’s tourist season, and my belly aches with hunger at the sight of all the farangs: slurping shark fin soup in restaurants, being measured for crocodile skin suits in tailor shops, ducking into tuk-tuks with their sunburnt arms around a local girl or two.

Fiction

Surrogate

Emmons found the body by the riverbank. He spotted it by the color of the coat, a dark green against the white and gray of the snow and ice. There was warmth buried somewhere deep below the skin. He lifted the body, untangled its foot from the barbs of a rusted fence, and carried it over his shoulder, trudging back through his old bootprints. Inside, he set the body upright against the tree that had grown inside his home. The tree was dead now. Emmons tried to make the body speak again but it would not.

Fiction

See You on a Dark Night

W— went to the vampire club a couple of nights after E—’s death. It was on M— Street, in an oddly-shaped bar. When W— gazed at it from the outside, when he stared through the dirty windows and advertisements, the old stools and tables looked like the rotten teeth in a giant’s mouth. The bar was struggling. W— hadn’t seen more than two or three people in it for months. In an attempt to bring people in, the owner had begun to organise events.

Fiction

There and Back Again

My mother used to love the corpse reviver. She called it the perfect cocktail. “The thing that sends you away, brings you back,” she’d say as she laid out the ingredients on the dining room table before she went out for the evening. “There is only one door,” she clarified once, when I looked at her in confusion. “You can go out and you can come in, but you always have to pass through the same door to get there.”

Fiction

Flashlight Man

The legend of Flashlight Man began in the upper Midwestern United States, grounded in rural areas. A variation on mirror summoning, it went like this: you lie on your back in bed, your face turned toward the nearest wall, then shut your eyes and whisper, “Flashlight Man, Flashlight Man, comes with a click, see me if you can.” Repeat three times. Then you fall asleep. The tricky part in verifying who encounters Flashlight Man is that it happens during dream cycles, so you’re on your honor to accurately report how long you last.

Fiction

Kim

She looked like she wandered away from a Mennonite farm, like she belonged to those women who gave bags of hand-me-downs to my mom. Her gingham dress hung to her ankles. It was a sly blue color, like a robin’s egg in which a baby vulture slept. No prayer covering weighed down her hair, which swirled around her face in jagged wisps. Unlike those well-meaning Mennonite ladies, she held no bag filled with castoffs for needy black kids.

Fiction

A Study in Shadows

One of Dr. Harrow’s survey groups included a church known as The Dawn Triumphant. The congregation believes we are living in a time of punishing darkness. Half of them were told to sit in a bright room for an hour and speak to their gods. The other half were told to sit in a dark room and do the same. After a month, every single member of the latter group reported hearing a voice. They called out to Him and received His word in return.

Fiction

No Exit

The landscape of western Kansas lends itself well to conspiracy theories and apocalyptic visions. The plains, vast and windswept, bending imperceptibly to the horizon. The small towns, unmoored from the highway, like ships cast adrift on a fathomless sea of grain, with silos and brick church steeples their only masts. I saw a lot of it as my parents drove me back and forth after the divorce—my mom moved to Kansas City, my dad to a little town north of Boulder.

Fiction

Things Boys Do

The first man stands at the bedside of his sweating wife. He is watching their baby emerge from inside her. What he does not know is that he is watching their son destroy her insides, shredding, making sure there will be no others to follow. This man’s wife is screaming and screaming and the sound gives the man a headache, an electric thing like lightning, striking the middle of his forehead. He reaches to hold her hand, to remind her of his presence.

Fiction

Sweetgrass Blood

I blotted the blood from my braids with a hotel towel, making sure to keep the plaits in their intricate swirling pattern. The blood was viscous and sticky and it clung to my strands like a gruesome pomade. I worked by candle light, making sure to clean my hands and nails of red before sitting down to weave. It would not do to get smudges on the baskets. The crisp sweetgrass softened and gave under the pressure of my hand, releasing the scent of the sea at midnight.