Horror & Dark Fantasy

PRIMITIVES

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Fiction

Foul Weather

Some things you can’t figure out. Not even with a whole heap of scratch paper and a ribbon of data from a chattering teletype machine. Not before time runs out. And time is like progress—she’s not stopping for anybody. The answer is out there, though, in the weather.

Fiction

Chop Shop

If only she could find the right words to thank him. As he cuts into her thigh, she wants to say something, some small word of gratitude, but her tongue is gone and so she keeps quiet—utters not even a mumble as he continues his work. The scalpel shaves off small slivers of flesh and the sensation is electrifying, little jolts that flash through the drug-haze, and when it’s all over she stares down with dull curiosity at her legs, flayed to the bone. There is a detachment there in which she luxuriates.

Fiction

At Lorn Hall

Randolph hadn’t expected the map to misrepresent the route to the motorway quite so much. The roads were considerably straighter on the page. The high beams roused swarms of shadows in the hedges and glinted on elongated warnings of bends ahead, and then the light found a signpost. It pointed down a lane to somewhere called Lorn Hall.

Fiction

Construction Project

We begin in August, when the summer nights are ripe and voluptuous. Moths beat against the window, seeking solace from the darkness. August brings violent thunderstorms; cut power lines draw the darkness closer. We cup a flickering flame and make love that brings purple bruises.

Fiction

Afterlife

Mary Hogan wrote the word Afterlife in red chalk while the children whispered. There was an urgency to their words, like spoken prayers. “Now, now. Pay attention.” Mary’s prim voice bounced against the dusty attic walls. She was forty-five years old. The time was now. The place was her mother’s townhouse in Astoria, Queens, from which she’d soon be evicted. Magic lived here. So did monsters.

Fiction

Good Fences

He thinks at first the streetlight’s back on, but of course not. It’s been dark six weeks. There are already beer bottles piled on the sidewalk every morning from the dropout teenagers who surge in whenever there’s the littlest pool of darkness they can find, and then they smoke and drink and shout all night right under his window when he’s trying to sleep.

Fiction

Frontier Death Song

Night descended on Interstate-90 as I crossed over into the Badlands. Real raw weather for October. Snow dusted the asphalt and picnic tables of the deserted rest area. The scene was virginal as death.

Fiction

Property Condemned

The house was occupied, but no one lived there. That’s how Malcolm Crow thought about it. Houses like the Croft place were never really empty. Like most of the kids in Pine Deep, Crow knew that there were ghosts. Even the tourists knew about the ghosts. It was that kind of town.