We have original fiction from Adam-Troy Castro (“Dollhouse”) and Gwendolyn Kiste (“The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)”), along with reprints by Seanan McGuire (“With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds”) and Suyi Davies Okungbowa (“The Secret Life of the Unclaimed”). We also have Micah Dean Hicks writing the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a feature interview with Lois H. Gresh.
Nov. 2019 (Issue 86)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a rundown of this month’s content—and to get all our news and updates.
There is a man locked in the dollhouse. He is not a doll-sized man. He is a full-sized man. The structure is designed for miniatures, and he is trapped inside it, knees up against his chest, head scraping the ceiling. He only fits because the architects of the little house equipped it with a palatial foyer, the kind that, in real houses, is designed to make visitors gape at the sheer magnificence of the space. The effect is lost on the full-sized man. To him, it’s more like a cabinet.
“It’s Halloween,” Mary told Cook, while Cook boiled caramel and dipped apples and laid them on the table to dry, buttery and glistening in their new candy shells. Cook smiled indulgently and gave Mary a ball of caramel to play between her fingers, and shooed her out of the kitchen. “It’s Halloween,” Mary told Mr. Evans the gardener, while he stuffed old clothes with hay and sticks and raised his new-formed scarecrows onto their stands, propping them around the grounds like watchful sentinels.
Growing up, I was a shy, tenderhearted kid. School was not a good place for me, and I remember being astonished by my classmates’ naked viciousness. When a girl’s skirt rode up from the friction of her backpack, people pointed, nudged their friends, grinned at her without saying anything. Someone was sent home once for lice, and that would come to define her for years, a stain that she and every one of her sisters had to carry.
The teeth in the neck gambit obviously starts all of this. Don’t think I’ll forget that. Don’t expect for one moment you’re going to get off too easily. You might not be the only one to blame, but you’re still mostly to blame. For how you come to me when I’m by myself, a lonely girl in a goblin market where some treasures are best left undiscovered. Tonight, my mother’s hosting another soirée, all in my honor, a way to find me the perfect husband. She doesn’t care what I have to say about it.
It starts with something as simple as a toothache. I’m home on vacation before final session at Ecclesia Boys, so Momsie is the one I run to. She’s seated in bed with her glasses on, her hair untamed, the gray streaks standing clear. She has her back on the headboard and her feet buried in documents. “My teeth, they’re painful,” I tell her. “I’m dreaming every night that people are chasing me.” She flicks her eyes at me then back to her documents, so I return to my room and curl up like a fetus to absorb the pain.
“Renaissance woman” is a phrase we really don’t hear enough, and fortunately, talking about Lois H. Gresh gives us a perfect way to put it to use. Since her first short story (“Cafebabe,” from the science fiction anthology Infinite Loop) was published in 1993, she has written psychological horror, Lovecraftian fiction, weird fiction, thrillers, young adult novels, mystery tales, pop culture science books, and companion books to popular young adult series.