We have original fiction from Alison Littlewood (“Ways to Wake”) and Caspian Gray (“Kylie Land”), along with reprints by Ray Cluley (“Bones of Crow”) and Kelley Armstrong (“A Haunted House of Her Own”). In the latest installment of “The H Word,” Halli Villegas discusses the old-fashioned ghost story. We also have author spotlights with our authors, and a feature interview with horror poet and author Linda D. Addison.
In This Issue: July 2018 (Issue 70)
Be sure to check out the Editorial for all our latest updates and a rundown of this month’s chilling content.
I hear the sound before I open my eyes. Someone is eating, though I should be alone in my room, and it’s too loud, too close. When I look, I see the cat—the one we’re all supposed to adore, that’s meant to have us all therapeutically laughing, lowering our blood pressures by stroking its soft grey fur. I tried once, but it felt to me as soft as cobwebs, as dust, as decaying flesh. The cat is sitting on the shelf wheeled across the bottom of my bed. It’s eating my breakfast.
Maggie tapped her cigarette twice on the pack before putting the filter to her mouth, an affectation she’d picked up years ago when she first started smoking. She’d seen it in a movie; it packed the tobacco tighter or something. Whatever the reason, it was as much a part of her habit now as sneaking up to the roof to enjoy it. Her lighter was a cheap throwaway, but it did the job. She cupped the flame, brought it to her cigarette, and sucked in the day’s first glorious breath of nicotine. Pocketing the lighter, she took the cigarette from her lips and exhaled the smoke with a sigh.
After the real estate agent took my husband and myself on the grand tour of the 1870’s Italianate Revival house, I asked the owner, before inquiring about taxes, or pipes, or the age of the roof was: Is it haunted? The owner, a classic silver-haired little old lady type, familiar to anyone who has read a ghost story or two, said “Yes. Ruby’s still here.” Of course, we bought the house. Neither my husband nor I are particularly “sensitive,” so if our house was haunted, at first, we remained blissfully unaware, ascribing any bumps in the night to mice
Do not make friends was not actually an explicit Rule, but it was implied by some of the others: do not do anything to draw attention to yourself and do not bring anyone to the house and do not stop anywhere between home and school. As a little kid, Kyle had thought his dad was a psychic. It was middle school before he realized that basically half the teachers in the school were just spying on him. It was high school before he realized they were doing it with the best of intentions, rather than entering into a vast conspiracy.
Tanya couldn’t understand why realtors failed to recognize the commercial potential of haunted houses. This one, it seemed, was no different. “Now, these railings need work,” the woman said as she led Tanya and Nathan out onto one of the balconies. “But the floor is structurally sound, and that’s the main thing. I’m sure these would be an attractive selling point to your bed-and-breakfast guests.” Not as attractive as ghosts. “You’re sure the house doesn’t have a history?” Tanya prodded again. “I thought I heard something in town. . . .”
Linda D. Addison is one of the most honored speculative poets of all time. Over the course of more than 300 published poems, stories and articles, Addison has been awarded the Horror Writer Association’s Bram Stoker Award six times. In 2001, she became the first African-American to receive a Stoker for her superior achievement in poetry with the collection Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes. Most recently, she was honored with the HWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.