Horror & Dark Fantasy



Short Stories


Today’s Question of the Day in Waverly, Ohio

For today’s question, we visited this small town of about 1700 people. As per our practice of the last six decades, they perceived us as a television news crew, and were compelled to speak truthfully, without artifice, self-consciousness, or concern for the regard of their friends and family. All the interviews took place at the same instant, and all were immediately wiped from memory an instant later, returning the participants to their daily routines.


Alligator Point

When the Grand Prix stopped kicking up rooster tails of red dust at every junction Helen announced they had left Georgia behind and were officially on their first vacation. Following beat-up signs and billboards, the rest of the drive would take them further south to the Gulf Coast of Florida. In the back seat, Helen’s twin daughters Julie and Debbie had been arguing for the last forty miles. The girls were out of Planter’s Peanuts and Pepsi-Cola, bored with playing “I Spy,” and sick of variations on Barbie and Francie ensembles.


Elo Havel

It is good of you to write, and I thank you for it: I am glad at last to hear from another of my kind—and, above all, to have another of my kind acknowledge me. I have indeed, since my return, heard many voices, seen many faces, but the individuals to whom they belong neither hear nor see me in return. I shake them, shout in their ears, but they do not respond. It is as if, for them, I do not exist. But why then, I wonder, would I exist for you? What is different about you? To put it bluntly, what is wrong with you?


The Floor of the Basement Is the Roof of Hell

The contractor’s name was Terry. He hadn’t been on Candy and Jason’s initial shortlist, but she’d seen his company truck the next block over, at the Martindales’, and copied the number down. Now here they were at dinner, which Terry insisted on paying for since he could business-expense it. Before getting into the particulars of their situation, he introduced himself and his business via a story from his childhood, about dropped nails on his father’s construction projects.


Familiar Face

Your camera thinks it spotted a familiar face. “Cameras don’t think,” Annie said, looking down at her phone. “Who taught this thing to identify specific faces? Who thought that was a good idea?” “Ok, neuromantic,” Jonah scoffed at her, looking over. “Not everything is a part of the panopticon. Calm your tits.” “It’s just weird that it thinks,” Annie continued, loading more Diet Cokes into the communal fridge. “And why does that make me a new romantic?”


The Myth of You

You like myths, don’t you? Sure you do. They’re stories. Special kinds of stories. And stories, even if they don’t consist of bare facts or figures or polynomial equations, are containers for your sustenance, your lifeblood: information. See, stories wrap up their informational nutrients in a fat slice of possibility, and possibility glistens with a complex palate of flavors. So many meanings simultaneously hitting your tongue—if you have a tongue, that is. So many morsels of data, all converging at once.


Dead Worms, Dangling

When Milo got to the river’s edge, where the log fern gave way to a rough bank, Buck was already there. Shirt tied around his waist, his lean thirteen-year-old’s torso glossed with sweat, bent over with his hands on his knees. There was something in his face Milo didn’t like.  “Drop something?” Buck startled and turned. “Nothing important. What took you so long?” Milo swatted away flies that had found a perch on his glasses.



They killed the last calf that morning. Ma wanted to hold off, give the poor thing a chance, but Pa said it were cruel to let a body live like that. He cracked the hammer on its head—a sick, sad sound. Later he slit the calf open and showed Sally the animal’s stomach, choked with dust. “Suffocated from the inside,” he said. Sally cried, or would have cried, but her face was too caked with dirt. The Vaseline in her nostrils couldn’t keep it out.


Methods of Ascension

It wasn’t unusual for my brother to send me strange videos he found on the internet. If I’d had enough to drink, sometimes I’d even watch. They were all about pain, in one way or another, and often made me feel as though someone had poured concrete down my throat. There are afterimages burned into my memory that cannot be removed; grainy flashes of a woman swallowed up by an escalator, handing her child to a stranger before being pulled under; black and white street fight footage that ends with a neck snapped back.


The Secret Life of the Unclaimed

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.