We have original short fiction from Ian Muneshwar (“Dick Pig”) and Kiyomi Appleton Gain (“The Elements of Her Self”). Our Horror Lab originals include a poem (“If the Ghosts Haunt You, Bind Them in Ink”) from Susan Calvillo and a flash story (“New Meat”) from Jordan Shiveley. We also have Brazilian writer Dante Luiz penning the latest installment of “The H Word,” plus we have author spotlights with our authors, and an interview with Eric LaRocca.
Jan. 2022 (Issue 112)
Welcome to Nightmare’s 112th issue! And welcome to the new year. We have no idea what 2022 will be like, but if it follows the trend of the last seven or eight years, it will probably be totally and completely f*cked up. And without further ado, that’s the theme of this month’s issue. I know, […]
Ass o’clock in the morning and it’s black out. Black black, the kind of black you only get in these miserable, middle-of-nowhere places. No, “middle-of-nowhere” is too generous; this is past that, right at the line where nowhere becomes miles of uncharted forest thick with months of snow and screaming with wolves and whatever other ungodly feral things make noise when everything decent in the world is asleep.
I first began writing these journal entries to hide a secret inside of them. Jadeera, a character in my novel Within Sight, was confronted with this unsolvable mystery. Giant sea monsters started washing ashore with strange markings on their bellies—some dead, others half-dead and furious, wreaking havoc on her village. I created an artifact, the leather-bound leaflet in which these entries are penned.
Years ago, during a holiday trip to the cerrado, my wife—a horror writer—and I—a horror reader—discussed and listed what we personally perceived as Brazilian fears. Our curiosity stemmed from the fact that our country doesn’t have a huge tradition in horror, at least not with the intent of producing a unique set of the genre. It exists, sure, but almost always in a strange limbo between creepy folk tales and Anglo pastiche.
She remembered the scent of rain and bamboo. The squish of her shoes in the soft loam as she followed her father through the forest. He with his axe over one shoulder, and she carrying a lunch her mother had packed for them. She had always thought him a giant of a man, so powerful and strong. But she remembered following along behind him and noticing the delicate curve of his back.
“New Meat” was inspired by my fascination with mouths and the act of devouring both in the feral nature of it and the cultural taboo of being seen to do it or at least to revel in doing it. Can the envie de manger for something you haven’t ever eaten in the first place be communicated like a fever? Can the idea of eating something, the phantom mouthwatering of seeing a meal or being told of it consume you?
Up and coming author Eric LaRocca (he/they) is the author of the runaway hit novella Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales.