Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Nov. 2016 (Issue 50)

We have original fiction from Tananarive Due (“Migration”) and Sandra McDonald (“When You Work for the Old Ones”), along with reprints by Michael Shea (“The Horror on the 33”) and Tim Pratt (“Fool’s Fire”). 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 Jack Ketchum.

In This Issue: Nov. 2016 (Issue 50)

Editorial

Editorial, November 2016

Be sure to check out the Editorial for a run-down of this month’s nightmarish content and to get all our news and updates.

Fiction

Migration

Jazmine woke beside her fiancé, Cal, and nearly vomited from his smell. The nausea began with the scents she knew—garlic from the prawns he’d sautéed for dinner, salty-sour underarm musk, oil from his hair follicles. She tried turning away from him in her bed, but she couldn’t escape the newer smells, the ones she couldn’t name. Was she pregnant? That thought made her sit up and gasp aloud, but she talked down her panic. She’d been on the patch since college, and it would not have failed her.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

The Horror on the 33

Of those grim events I find it difficult, even at this late date, to write. Strictly speaking, they did not even involve me, but Knavle, my dear friend, from whose voluminous correspondence alone I know of them. But we are close in soul, Knavle and I, and through his accounts, hellishly circumstantial as they were, I can say that I too, in a manner, lived those moments of horror with him. When that first dread encounter befell him, Knavle had been a wino for almost exactly a year.

Nonfiction

The H Word: The Empty Bed

One of the most disturbing moments in any horror film I can think of is in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, a movie everyone hates but me (the Cannes audience booed it at its premiere, but what do they know about anything). Taken by itself, it’s not just an overlooked gem about the final tragic days of a young woman, but one of the most terrifying films of the 1990s. Stripped of the series’ quirky fun, it’s a straight shot down nightmare alley, where every facet of Smalltown America wholesomeness is rotten and festering with darkness.

Fiction

When You Work for the Old Ones

The first rule is that the company has no name. It has no website or social media presence. It does not pay taxes or Social Security. In a crowded bar near the Providence train station, you drink a beer with the guy who recruited you and neither of you refer to your employer. The Old Ones listen to everything, and their torture racks are hungry for victims. Remember Rodriguez? Raise your glass but don’t say his name. The second rule is that the company will not pay in checks or direct deposit. A stranger will slip a moldy envelope of cash into your pocket when you’re walking in a crowd.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Fool’s Fire

The “going away together” part of the plan to save their marriage had gotten off to a bad start, and the probabilities of success continually ticked downward in Will’s mental calculations. Dori, who normally felt more comfortable in control, had gotten so tired of driving these tree-crowded country roads that she’d ceded the wheel to Will once night fell. Now she was navigating—“nag-ivating,” they used to jokingly call it, back when they’d joked—and displaying remarkably little patience with his requests for clarification.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Jack Ketchum

There’s a famous quote about Jack Ketchum that goes like this: “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.” The author of that quote? Just some guy named Stephen King. Ketchum—who, in person, is amiable and personable enough to have once been a successful literary agent (he managed the career of literary icon Henry Miller, among others)—has always walked a unique line between mass market author and cult object. His first novel, Off Season, was released by Ballantine Books in 1980; in his introduction to a later reprint, Douglas Winter called the tale of a group of cave-dwelling and cannibalistic savages who prey on vacationing New Yorkers “raw and risky.”