Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Fiction

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

The Night Has No Eyes

They came at night. And brought with them the trauma and fear of all the babies ripped from their mothers’ arms, beings made less than human in the face of violence and humiliation, brightness turned to darkness and hurt. They came as the embodiment of all that unspent pain, and refused to die, made invincible by the same willful instinct that makes a dying man kick his feet in a last death rattle.

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

Yours Is the Right to Begin

Tick, tick, tick at the end of the chain swings the watch, and back against your fireside bed of needles and furs you collapse and drift away, sweet sister Mina, your thoughts unmoored by the doctor’s trick twitch of his mesmerizing wrist, your mind free to wander the wild woods, gleaning the lingering scent of your captive beloved, reporting back to that fierce, relentless Helsing demon all the secrets hidden within our master’s untamed kingdom of night.

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

The Hour In Between

Oscar crept up on his sleeping wife and shattered her skull with five blows from a claw hammer. The years might have robbed much of the strength from his legs and obliged him to do most of his walking these days with a cane, but his right arm was still almost as powerful as it had ever been. The first thundering impact struck Deanna with a crunch he could feel at the base of his spine.

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.

Fiction

Hussy Strutt

“Hussy Strutt a cold-blooded bitch, wouldn’t pee on you if your heart was on fire. She love to fight, an’ rage taste better in her mouth than food. She big, too. Hussy Strutt use the East River for a bathtub and be mad ’cos it don’t cover her butt.” Ayo giggles in spite of herself, and things seem a little closer to natural, at least by sound: Zinger weaving another tale, embroidered by Ayo’s laughter. Zinger’s been at it all night, picking up a new thread when hour upon hour of darkness pulled tighter than their bonds.

Fiction

We Came Home from Hunting Mushrooms

On Saturday afternoon we piled into Ben’s old Civic, the five of us and two dogs, and as we drove out to the edge of the state forest to hunt mushrooms, we all kept a hand on each other, in case someone vanished. Ben was driving as usual, and instead of me up front sat Hunter, his new girlfriend. They’d been together almost a year, but as a far as I was concerned, Hunter would always be Ben’s new girlfriend. It was me, Mara, and Andre in the backseat, holding each other’s hands. | Copyright 2020 by Adam R. Shannon.

Fiction

The Folding Man

They had come from a Halloween party, having long shed the masks they’d worn. No one but Harold had been drinking, and he wasn’t driving, and he wasn’t so drunk he was blind. Just drunk enough he couldn’t sit up straight and was lying on the back seat, trying, for some unknown reason, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which he didn’t accurately recall. He was mixing in verses from “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Boy Scout oath, which he vaguely remembered from his time in the organization before they drove him out for setting fires.