We have original fiction from Carlie St. George (“Spider Season, Fire Season”) and Adam R. Shannon (“We Came Home From Hunting Mushrooms”), along with reprints by Joe R. Lansdale (“The Folding Man”) and Ama Patterson (“Hussy Strutt”). Brian Evenson brings us the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word.” Plus we have author spotlights with our authors and a book review from Adam-Troy Castro. For our ebook readers, we have a special treat: an excerpt from Keith Rosson’s new novel, Road Seven.
In This Issue: Jul. 2020 (Issue 94)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a run-down of this month’s terrific content, plus all our news and updates.
The house is haunted, of course. That’s why the rent is so cheap. It doesn’t matter that it’s only April, that ghosts dream quietly when the world is in full bloom. Nearly any haunting will be small: flickering lights, a mysterious lullaby, an intrusive thought chasing the living from room to room. Fatalities are incredibly rare, though most people, even the disbelievers, fail to find that reassuring. December is not most people, not when it comes to the dead, but she promised herself twenty years ago: when I’m grown up, when I can choose, I’ll never live with a ghost again.
They had come from a Halloween party, having long shed the masks they’d worn. No one but Harold had been drinking, and he wasn’t driving, and he wasn’t so drunk he was blind. Just drunk enough he couldn’t sit up straight and was lying on the back seat, trying, for some unknown reason, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which he didn’t accurately recall. He was mixing in verses from “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Boy Scout oath, which he vaguely remembered from his time in the organization before they drove him out for setting fires.
But did I really want to teach a horror class at a time like this? Did my students, who were being abruptly forced to leave campus and move back home, really want to continue to think about Horror as a genre? They would have all sorts of real-life horrors on their mind. Some of them would get sick, some would lose friends and family members. Why study Horror in the face of disaster?
On Saturday afternoon we piled into Ben’s old Civic, the five of us and two dogs, and as we drove out to the edge of the state forest to hunt mushrooms, we all kept a hand on each other, in case someone vanished. Ben was driving as usual, and instead of me up front sat Hunter, his new girlfriend. They’d been together almost a year, but as a far as I was concerned, Hunter would always be Ben’s new girlfriend. It was me, Mara, and Andre in the backseat, holding each other’s hands. | Copyright 2020 by Adam R. Shannon.
“Hussy Strutt a cold-blooded bitch, wouldn’t pee on you if your heart was on fire. She love to fight, an’ rage taste better in her mouth than food. She big, too. Hussy Strutt use the East River for a bathtub and be mad ’cos it don’t cover her butt.” Ayo giggles in spite of herself, and things seem a little closer to natural, at least by sound: Zinger weaving another tale, embroidered by Ayo’s laughter. Zinger’s been at it all night, picking up a new thread when hour upon hour of darkness pulled tighter than their bonds.
Adam-Troy Castro reviews The Living Dead, a zombie novel written by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus, and a new short story collection (Why Visit America) by Matthew Baker.