Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Apr. 2013 (Issue 7)

This month, we have original fiction by Marc Laidlaw (“Bonfires”) and Weston Ochse (“Gravitas”), along with reprints by Elizabeth Hand (“The Bacchae”) and Angela Slatter (“The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with all of our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with bestselling horror writer Sarah Langan.

In This Issue: Apr. 2013 (Issue 7)

Editorial

Editorial, April 2013

Welcome to issue number seven of Nightmare! We’ve got another great issue for you this month; read the editorial to see what we’ve got on tap.

Fiction

The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter

The door is a rich red wood, heavily carved with improving scenes from the trials of Job. An angel’s head, cast in brass, serves as the knocker and when I let it go to rest back in its groove, the eyes fly open, indignant, and watch me with suspicion. Behind me is the tangle of garden—cataracts of flowering vines, lovers’ nooks, secluded reading benches—that gives this house its affluent privacy.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Angela Slatter

The time period is a kind of fugue—when I created this world (for the Sourdough and Other Stories collection) I had a mix of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Victorian era, all jammed together, bringing the ideas and superstitions of their own times into the one place. When I wrote “The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter,” I was using the Sourdough world, but this story had a much more Victorian feel to it. As with all my writing, I’m a bower bird, picking over superstitions from a range of places and remaking them into something new.

Fiction

Bonfires

The shore was dark when we showed up, but it would soon be blazing, and that thought was all I needed to warm me while we built the bonfires. The waves slopped in and sucked out again like black tar, and I went along the waterline with the others, pulling broken boards and snags of swollen wood out of the bubbling froth and foam, hauling it across the sand and up to the gravel where the road edge ran.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Marc Laidlaw

I was listening to the local live hip hop show one Sunday night on the car radio, and a guy came on talking about how he had been inspired to write a tune about going to the beach and hanging out by a bonfire and kicking around a ball . . . I thought, “That’s not very punk!” They were talking about this song as if it was edgy and “street” or whatever, and I became increasingly annoyed, because I couldn’t think of anything less relevant as a topic for music I associate with social commentary and attitude.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Bringing the Horror Home

Forget the blood stains on the floor of the second bedroom—those were just a myth invented by my sadistic uncle to torture my sister and me with sleepless nights. No one had ever died in that bedroom, no matter what he said. No, the real haunting was rooted deeper in its history, a real history that reached back to 1912, the date etched into the elaborate iron knocker on the front door.

Fiction

The Bacchae

She got into the elevator with him, the young woman from down the hall, the one he’d last seen at the annual Coop Meeting a week before. Around her shoulders hung something soft that brushed his cheek as Gordon moved aside to let her in: a fur cape, or pelt, or no, something else. The flayed skin of an animal, an animal that when she shouldered past him to the corner of the elevator proved to be her Rottweiler, Leopold.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Hand

I wrote “The Bacchae” heavily under the influence of J.G. Ballard, I think in particular his novel High Rise, which I’d just read. I’ve always been aware of how close our world is to the precipice, but I’d always projected the tipping point to be at some indeterminate moment in the future. With High Rise, I saw how the tipping point was right now. So I played with that notion, of the world devolving into a rather effete savagery.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Steven Meyer-Rassow

Most of my work is quite conceptual in the way that I usually have a pretty good idea of what the final image should look like before shooting relevant elements. While shooting my elements, I do always keep processing options in the back of my mind, so realistically photography and manipulation/processing are not only of equal importance to me, but definitely help define one another.

Fiction

Gravitas

He stared bleary-eyed at the broken glass studding the land. This was his crop, seeded over the span of four weeks, irrigated from the residue of Napa Valley grapes, sun-kissed until it glistened like dew. It was the bounty of his desperation, and now was the time to harvest.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Weston Ochse

I intentionally named the antagonist after Lamont Cranston [the pulp hero, The Shadow]. One reason is that he has been a shadow to the protagonist’s existence throughout his life. He’s always been there and often was able to change the course of events. He also represents humanity. So while the protagonist struggles between two worlds, it is Cranston who resides firmly in the inexorable.

Nonfiction

Interview: Sarah Langan

Buildings, and lives, are shaped by their authors. I love the idea of an architect creating a building without Euclidian geometry, where balls always roll into odd places, and floors creak, and when you look at the structure from outside, you have no idea how it stands. A Gaudi without the beauty or respect for nature. For me, that’s a metaphor for a life shaped by uncertainty, like our hero, Audrey Lucas’ life. She’s drawn to The Breviary because it’s familiar. Once inside, she’s shaped by it. Like a plant inside a small, glass cage where light comes from only one direction, she grows crooked.