Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Fiction

Fiction

Cruel Sistah

“You and Neville goin out again?” “I think so. He asked could he call me Thursday after class.” Calliope looked down at her sister’s long, straight, silky hair. It fanned out over Calliope’s knees and fell almost to the floor, a black river drying up just short of its destined end. “Why don’t you let me wash this for you?” “It takes too long to dry. Just braid it up like you said, okay?” “Your head all fulla dandruff,” Calliope lied. “And ain’t you ever heard of a hair dryer? Mary Lockett lent me her portable.”

Fiction

A Diet of Worms

You’re not the kind of person who shows up late to work, but today was a piece of shit, so it’s seven thirty and your mom is finally dropping you off at the movie theater. It’s a weeknight, only one person in the box office selling tickets, so you shame-walk past a line of your fellow high school grads enjoying their last summer break before college. You hope you can sneak in without anyone noticing and grab some popcorn, because you missed dinner and you’re starving. Nope.

Fiction

Laal Andhi

On the 7th of July, 2005, while threading through heat-drowsed traffic near Bhatta Chowk, I nearly ran over a pedestrian dashing across the road. The man was tall, lanky, bearded. He wore a white prayer cap, dusky shalwar kameez, and a navy blue sweater bulging around his chest. He didn’t flinch when the wheels screeched and the bumper lurched to a halt inches from his torso; just cocked his head, as if listening to something distant, leaped across the manhole by the sidewalk, and disappeared in the crowd.

Fiction

Little Widow

I was fourteen and at a sleepover when the cult drank poison. The sleepover mom turned on the TV and said “Oh my lord, Mary, would you look at this? It’s the feds is what, and a bomb, right out there where you come from.” But it wasn’t the feds, and it wasn’t a bomb. It was us. We were destined to die. I watched it burn, and listened to the news call us a cult, which was not what we called ourselves. We called ourselves Heaven’s Avengers. I watched it for a while, and then I threw up hamburger casserole.

Fiction

Who Binds and Looses the World with Her Hands

On days when Selene locked me in the lighthouse, an old familiar darkness would well up within me, itching my skin like it had shrunk too tight to contain my anger any longer. I had grown accustomed to the rage’s ebb and flow, sometimes bubbling near the surface, sometimes dormant as a seed awaiting the right time to break open. But it always rose to high tide on my days of confinement. I knew better than to complain to Selene.

Fiction

Four Haunted Houses

This is your haunted house. The realtor was very perceptive the day you first came by, looking for a home that would provide more than mere shelter, a haven that would instead be an expression of your love of eccentricity and strangeness for its own sake, a place special and unique. She saw in the two of you young professionals a pair of people with the right proportion of rationality and imagination, the kind of folks who would be delighted by spooky old legends without being frightened off by them.

Fiction

The Dirty American

In a nation founded by Puritans, you’re hard-pressed to find someone who will talk about sex or mention their unmentionables. We can’t even handle squat toilets, afraid we might see our own shit falling between our knees. Perfumes made in this country inevitably come out smelling like candy, detergent, or Barkeeper’s Friend. If you’re lucky, you’ll get musty potpourri. Sweet, clean, and one-dimensional. Americans have an awful penchant for orange blossom.

Fiction

The Hunt for the Leather Apron

On August 4th, 2014, a researcher at the British National Archives came across a sealed envelope entitled “The Leather Apron.” It had not been opened in over 125 years. The envelope contained many elements of a closed investigation into the famous Jack the Ripper case. Among the items was the written testimony of the twenty-one-year-old son of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, the woman considered by many to be the first official victim of Jack the Ripper.

Fiction

The Rest is Noise

When Andrew opened his eyes, he was surprised to find himself lying on the worn Oriental rug in the living room of his cramped Manhattan apartment. He tried to pick himself up off the floor, but his arms and legs barely contained the strength to move. Inside his ears, something wet and sticky sloshed. The faint smell of copper came to him. On the rug beside his hand, his smartphone was still on, still talking to him. The outgoing message of the number he’d called—had he dialed a number?—was malfunctioning, stuck in a warped, maddening loop.

Fiction

Fossil Heart

Nan Walker doesn’t mean to fall asleep. She never does. But tonight the creak of the ceiling fan lulls her. Evie curls warm against her side, one long leg thrown over hers. Nan’s eyes sag, her fingers relax, and her worn paperback slides onto the bed. Sleep strokes gentle hands across her eyes. The nightmare waits, constant, unchanging: muddy water, stale wet air. The car shudders in the torrent as the flood rushes past outside.