Horror & Dark Fantasy

THECONDUCTORS

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Podcasts

Produced by Skyboat Media, and under the direction of Grammy and Audie award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki, our podcast features audiobook-style recordings of two of the four stories we publish each month in Nightmare, released more or less on a weekly basis. To subscribe (free!) to the podcast, you'll either need our podcast RSS feed and put that into your favorite podcast client, or you can just subscribe via iTunes.

 

 

Fiction

Hairy Legs and All

Like the time you put the shoes on you hadn’t worn for maybe two years but you just saw there in the corner of the closet and you wondered why you’d stopped wearing them since you kind of liked who you were that summer or at least you remember that summer favorably, and these shoes were definitely part of it, so, trying to maybe live a little bit of that time again, you hauled them out, stepped both feet into them, right first then left, like always, only what you didn’t realize but should have considered was that maybe a dark forgotten shoe-cave like that in the way back of the closet might be the perfect cool musty place for a tarantula to sleep one off for a month or two…

Fiction

We, the Girls Who Did Not Make It

We are not where we are buried. We are where they kept us. We float now, and see the low building in the woods from above, the long plates of rusted metal, the desiccated grass bundling against the sides like a pyre, the orb spider poised over a corroded edge. But when we were alive, we only knew the inside of the basement, where we had all the usual things girls have when they are being held and killed. There are thirteen of us girls. You might be thinking, oh, but can you really call yourselves girls?

Fiction

I Let You Out

I watch the closet door. I watch around them as they pray above me, their eyes closed and their hands clasped in ecstasy. Their voices drown out all other sounds—like, for instance, the creak of a slowly opening door. So I can’t close my eyes, though my head is aching. I have to watch the door. Their prayers rise and fall and bleed into one other, a nonsense incantation of sacred gibberish. They’re crying and sweating. There is no air conditioning in the old farmhouse, and the humid bedroom is fragrant with their body odors.

Fiction

How to Break into a Hotel Room

Javi is short for Javier. Javier is short for Has the Perfect Scam. He hasn’t told anybody about it yet. Especially not the hotels. It’s not the kind of thing you get rich with—one fancy watch or a pair of earrings doesn’t exactly pay the rent—but it is the kind of thing that’s good enough for a smile at three in the morning.

Fiction

The Wrong Girl

“The problem is,” she says as she spears a piece of crispy bacon skilfully enough that it doesn’t shatter, “you’ve got a revolving door for a heart.” He doesn’t like hearing things like this, mostly because she’s generally right. Ilsa’s clear-eyed about him. and that makes their friendship remarkably unfraught (apart from these moments). Unlike his other relationships. She sees him for who he is, but doesn’t stop talking to him, doesn’t judge him, not really, or if she does, she’s still friends with him. His father used to say he was his own worst enemy.

Fiction

The Book of Drowned Sisters

They lived on the last street that had been constructed before investor money ran out, and behind their row of seven houses was a long unfenced field marked KEEP OUT, within it a little hill and little retaining pond, and a row of three streetlights along an unpaved road that stopped abruptly at the foot of the hill. Trees rimmed the field, and the streetlights still lit up, so there was a touch of Narnia in every evening. Even in the brilliant summer sun, the trees were thick enough to give the woods an inviting fairy tale darkness. | Copyright 2020 by Caspian Gray.

Fiction

Introduction to the Horror Story, Day 1

Welcome to Introduction to the Horror Story. This is an upper level course with extensive reading and writing assignments as well as a practical component. It has no prerequisites other than existence and consciousness, which I believe all of you possess, though I may be wrong.

Fiction

Tiger’s Feast

Every day after school, Emmy feeds the tiger with her sin. Deep in the park’s brush, past poison ivy and a rotting lawn chair and dented beer cans, the tiger dens under a dead tree. No matter what time Emmy arrives at the park, it’s always late afternoon in the tiger’s grove, tired light decaying to dusk. Under the tree gapes a great black mouth riddled with grubs. Yellow eyes gleam in the darkness. They would gobble Emmy up if she let them.

Fiction

The Monkey Trap

Amber needed a book. It was The Estates of Sarah Holliday, a delicate comedy of manners following a young woman’s trials and tribulations in 1870s New England, and it was the most obscure novel by one Charlotte Winsborough, a fussy and now almost completely forgotten nineteenth-century author Amber had chosen for her dissertation. Winsborough had enjoyed three decades of critical and commercial success in her own time, and was by about 1900 lionized as a female Twain.

Fiction

Not Us

When he comes home that evening, he wants to talk. He tells her about his day, about an argument with his boss, about the new contract. He relates a funny story narrated by a colleague. He wants her to react. She has difficulty feigning the correct demeanour, or even recalling what it should be. What does sympathetic annoyance look like on her face? How do her features register amused interest?