Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

Fiction

The Lost

A week ago, I was a salesgirl at Filene’s Basement. It was seven a.m. on the morning of our semi-annual suit sale, and I was driving my twelve-year-old Saturn down Stewart Avenue. I was late for work because I’d stayed up drinking Wild Turkey in front of Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. It was a depressing good time for lonely hearts at the casa de Koszalin, punctuated by a screaming alarm at 6:30 a.m. and cheese doodles dried to the side of my face.

Fiction

Sawing

Clarissa watched from the wings as the Great Bertoldi sawed a woman in half. Down went the saw through the coffin-like box, then up, then down again. A cigarette burned at the side of his mouth, on the edge of his smile. The saw broke through the box. He put it down and slid metal plates between the two halves, then rolled the sections apart. The woman’s head poked out from the end of one of the sections, feet from the other.

Fiction

Twittering from the Circus of the Dead

What is Twitter? “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? . . . Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the Web.”

Fiction

The Old Horror Writer

He’s harder to find than most. I have the basis for comparison because I’ve gotten to all of them sooner or later, from the big names to the obscurities. There are some who give up so thoroughly, and disappear so completely, that it’s as if they never existed at all. This guy’s far from the worst. He’s an old man now, twenty years removed from his last novel and ten from his last short story; he’s no longer a member of HWA or SFWA, and the agency that used to handle his interests now has him in their estate file.

Fiction

The Grave

It was as if someone had suddenly wrapped a thick layer of cotton around her. Things that had been ordinary and familiar became muted and removed. If she hadn’t been so frightened, she might have even laughed at the feeling. Not that it was an entirely unpleasant sensation. She could still hear the birds singing in the thick, autumn-bright canopy above her and identify each sweet trill and warble, caw, churr, chirp and whistle. She could smell the moss and moisture from the stream as it gurgled through the shallows.

Fiction

The Girl Who Escaped From Hell

I thought when they handed over a kid there’d be some complex system of interlocking safeguards, like they use to transport a nuclear warhead across the country, but her mom just plopped the girl into my car. I asked if I needed to register her with someone, and my ex looked at me like I was crazy, so I hopped on I-80 and drove west, out into the desert. Abby was six years old, a mini-person, and she could talk in full sentences and everything.

Fiction

Death’s Door Café

Theo thought of the pain in his veins as the clawing of bats, the smell in his nose their guano, the rawness of his throat torn by their smoke. It was this, the pain in breathing, that made him climb out of his car at last and walk a block to the Dusseldorf Café. The large purple door had a suburban brass knocker and a spy hole. A plaque beside the door read The Soldier. In larger text: b1922 d1946.
Up close, he could see dark stains in the wood.

Fiction

Reaper’s Rose

Unpleasant? No, I wouldn’t say that. In fact, quite the opposite. You know the smell of pot? Well of course you do, you’re a policeman . . . No, I didn’t mean anything by that. It’s just that in your line of work you’re bound to have come across it, that’s all. What I’m trying to say is that this smells a bit like pot but without that horrible sweatiness; you know, it has a sort of oily, herbal smell, less acrid and a lot more floral and, well, nicer than pot. Sorry, I know I’m doing a terrible job of describing this.

Fiction

When All the Children Call My Name

Poe asked the question: Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? No. But I wish it was. And in the meantime, in the waiting . . . another drink, another cigarette—one follows the other like sip and swallow as I look out over the porch to the fence, and the gate. In darkness. In memories. It used to be, this time of year, a season of excitement for me, when my skin tingled and my blood sped its youth—when you knew how much better it felt to go from cold to warm than hot to cool.

Fiction

The Modern Ladies’ Letter-Writer

Dear Susie: There are customary ways to begin a letter and end it, to address the envelope and set it to post. We have delivered to you (while you slept so prettily, your pale face a serene oval in the moonlight) this polite and improving manual of letters for the Fair Sex. We know you will be grateful. Do be aware that some correspondences may involve vows of fealty, freshly spilled blood, supernatural appeals to divine beings, and sacrifices of unusual scope. A modern lady avoids squeamishness about such matters.