Horror & Dark Fantasy

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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?

Fiction

Tea with the Earl of Twilight

For the first week, she thought he belonged to the power plant; after that she knew better. She had read the obituaries. She saw him first as a silhouette, one more line of the industrial geometries overhanging the boardwalk of Broad Canal. It had been a wet, dispiriting winter full of gusts and mists, but with January the water had finally hardened into a thick pane of cormorant-black ice.

Fiction

Outside of Omaha

You would have hated your funeral reception. Potato-nosed husbands clomping around our parlor in their cheap suits, stinking of naphtha and condolences. Wives with sweat-streaked powder caked in the creases of their necks, like flour-sacks brought to life by a pair of magic dentures. That’s what I kept staring at: dentures, bridges loose over gray gums, gold-mottled molars gleaming in the wells of mouths.

Fiction

Redder

I chew the leaf and spit out my red days. They splatter. You chew the leaf and spit out your hours of mad redder. They splatter. They chew the leaf and spit out the reddest moments they have ever seen. They splatter. This is a scene of crime, chalk me, morn me, eve me. My red life drying on my chin. Your red history a bitter powder crust. Their thin red lines, their spun red webs, their red praxis and deceit.

Fiction

Dead Girls Have No Names

Our bones are cold. It is the type of cold that comes only after death, and it will never leave us now. We mourn what must have come before: hands holding ours. Sunlight warming the tops of our heads. Cats on our laps and nightclubs where we danced out of our minds and Pop-Tarts straight from the toaster. Life, pulsing hot and fat beneath our fingers. Mother keeps us in a chest freezer.