We have original short fiction from Ally Wilkes (“Where Things Fall From The Sky”) and B. Narr (“Cadaver Dogs”). Our Horror Lab originals include a flash story (“Now Will You Listen”) from Osahon Ize-Iyamu and a creative nonfiction essay (“Forensic Analysis of a Body, Still Warm”) from P. L. Watts. We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a feature interview with Zin Rocklyn.
In This Issue: Aug. 2021 (Issue 107)
To be alive is to be constantly confronted by loss, and a large measure of who we are stems from our responses to it. When you’ve lost something you care about, how do you respond? How do you keep loss from hollowing you into a shell? Do you let it make you mean? Do you turn hard, or do you crumble and find yourself adrift? Do you count your scars, and if you do, do you revel in them or do you gently massage vitamin E into their silvery tissues? This month’s issue features four very different snapshots of loss and human response to it.
Spitzbergen, 1881. The whaling station stinks, metallic and rank, even though it’s slap-you-in-the-face cold. David Grace—born and raised in the Welsh valleys—had thought he’d known cold. A thin layer of ice on milk left out overnight, his sisters tracing patterns in the frost on the bedroom windows. But the last few weeks in the Arctic seas have taken him somewhere entirely different. Up here, the cold gets into a man’s bones. He looks at the huts huddled around the small bay.
Growing up in Nigeria, I heard a lot of superstitious stories—from the rumors that the highest floor of our primary school building was cursed, to the tales that the mythical Lady Koi Koi was stalking some parts of our secondary school during the Inter-House Sports week. This story is inspired by the complex feelings of both wanting to see the supernatural yet feeling cautious about the stories you were told.
The urgency that pushed many of us into quarantine last March has dissipated considerably. Still, it’s not hard to recall the surge of panic we felt at the unprecedented panic buying and orders to shelter in place. “It’s like the plot of Contagion,” our friends on social media exclaimed. And indeed, despite the spring of 2020 unfolding like nothing any of us had ever experienced, there was something about the start of the pandemic that felt eerily familiar.
They didn’t find anything but the teeth. I heard somewhere that’s what pigs do, eat everything but the teeth. Except there were no pigs here. Just bloody molars strewn across the forest floor like a shattered pearl necklace. The parents of Mill Creek had already buried seven almost-empty coffins that summer. It was about to be eight. Me and Taylor and Easton and the rest weren’t supposed to be playing outside when we found them. By that time, our parents had gone from strict before-dark curfews to full on house arrest.
I’d classify a lot of personal writing about extreme hardship as either “trauma porn”—stories meant to titillate readers with gory details—or Hero’s Journeys from survival to thriving. Both stories serve an important purpose—the first to shock comfortable people out of complacency, the second to provide the suffering with hope—but I started writing the collection this […]
Zin E. Rocklyn is a contributor to Bram Stoker-nominated and This is Horror Award-winning Nox Pareidolia, KaijuRising II: Reign of Monsters, Brigands: A Blackguards Anthology, and Forever Vacancy anthologies and Weird Luck Tales No. 7 zine. Their story “Summer Skin” in the Bram Stoker-nominated anthology Sycorax’s Daughters received an honorable mention for Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten. Zin contributed the nonfiction essay […]