Horror & Dark Fantasy

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2015 Original Fiction

Fiction

Vulcanization

Another black. A mere illusion, Leopold knew, but he flinched out of the half-naked nigger’s path anyway. Of course Marie Henriette noticed when he did so. The quick little taps of the queen’s high-heeled slippers echoed faster off the polished floor as she hastened to draw even with him. “My dearest—Sire—” Leopold stopped, forcing his entire retinue to stop with him. “What do you wish, my wife?”

Fiction

Angel, Monster, Man

Tom wasn’t fiction. He was not a lie. He was a higher truth, something we invented to encapsulate a reality too horrific to communicate to anyone outside our plague-devastated circle. Maybe myth, but definitely not fiction. Myth helps us make sense of facts too messy to comprehend, and that’s what Tom Minniq was supposed to be. A fable to ponder, and then forget. We birthed Tom at one of Derrick’s Sunday coffee kvetches.

Fiction

The King of Ashland County

Uncle Reggie couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland to find a selkie wife, so instead he drove across the country to Carmel-by-the-Sea and came back with a selkie queer. I was fifteen then, and so ready to get out of Perrysville that California sounded like paradise.

Fiction

The Judas Child

A kid in a baseball cap and a Ninja Turtles t-shirt is sitting on the park bench, swinging his legs. The boy stands off to the side until he’s sure there are no grown-ups nearby, and then he flops down on the bench, hiding his misshapen left hand while pretending to pick a scab from his knee with the other. Turtle leans forward, the hat’s brim turning his eyes to shadow. The boy guesses he’s eight, maybe, or close enough. Not too skinny either. The monster doesn’t like it when they’re skinny.

Fiction

Demon in Aisle 6

I first saw the demon the Sunday after you died. It was 11:53 p.m. Just seven minutes until I would have grabbed my knapsack and biked home to Mom and bed and a life of sound sleep. That night the flurries were drifting down like nuclear ash.

Fiction

Lacrimosa

The woman is a mound of dirt and rags pushing a squeaky shopping cart; a lump that moves steadily, slowly forward as if dragged by an invisible tide. Her long, greasy hair hides her face but Ramon feels her staring at him. He looks ahead. The best thing to do with the homeless mob littering Vancouver is to ignore it. Give them a buck and the beggars cling to you like barnacles. “Have you seen my children?” the woman asks.

Fiction

Dispatches from a Hole in the World

I’m standing in the elevator. The elevator isn’t moving. Neither am I. It seems, for the moment, like simply staring at what’s in front of me is the simplest and therefore the best immediate project. Far simpler than the dissertation that’s supposed to start here. But I can’t avoid it forever. I’m not sure what I expected, but the place is small. It’s tucked into three floors of a generic office building a few blocks from the Library of Congress. From the outside it doesn’t look like much of anything; they probably wanted it like that.

Fiction

The Lord of Corrosion

Josh Hagee took a chair as the school counselor composed herself on the other side of the desk. He noted the dandelion yellow file folder, too thick for the average five-year old, and blanched internally when the woman reached out plump fingers to open the cover. Her lip twitched and her mouth set in a slight smile that was meant to project tolerance and patience. She gazed at him over the frames of her glasses, and then returned her attention to the file.

Fiction

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers

As my date—Harvey? Harvard?—brags about his alma mater and Manhattan penthouse, I take a bite of overpriced kale and watch his ugly thoughts swirl overhead. It’s hard to pay attention to him with my stomach growling and my body ajitter, for all he’s easy on the eyes. Harvey doesn’t look much older than I am, but his thoughts, covered in spines and centipede feet, glisten with ancient grudges and carry an entitled, Ivy League stink.

Fiction

Golden Hair, Red Lips

I’m not in the photograph. I was off to the side, picture of disinterest, smoking a cigarette, watching passers-by. That was how I passed my days in that part of the century, hovering on the street corner in sight of all those colours. I remember the photographer—button-down shirt, round glasses, mussed hair, the look of someone born away from this city. He was beautiful. The men were clenched around the window, where the sign had been taped.