Horror & Dark Fantasy

Claiming T-Mo

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Fiction

Fiction

The Deer Boy

I never had a place. A girl, and the oldest of five. Two brothers and two sisters with howling mouths. Mother sleepwalking from home to work and back. Father was nothing but a flat hand and restless, punishing eyes. They were all noise and need, all shit-kick the dog and eat the last oily handful of lunchmeat from the fridge. All bony-knuckled punch through wood paneling and stinging slap on my cheek.

Fiction

Malotibala Printing Press

I cannot understand why, but the young men of this generation have developed a new sport—to go and spend a night in a haunted house. Every three months or four, I receive a group of guests. It goes the same way each time. They arrive after sundown, bringing hurricane lamps, candles, sleeping mats, snacks and bottles of water lovingly packed from home. They come in groups of four or five, almost always the atheist, sceptical students of the Presidency College who remind me of my own youth. They sweep aside dirt and rabble from the floor, unfurl their mats, light a hurricane lamp at the centre of their circle, and settle down to tell ghost stories.

Fiction

Shepherds’ Business

Picture me on an island supply boat, one of the old Clyde Puffers seeking to deliver me to my new post. This was 1947, just a couple of years after the war, and I was a young doctor relatively new to General Practice. Picture also a choppy sea, a deck that rose and fell with every wave, and a cross-current fighting hard to turn us away from the isle. Back on the mainland I’d been advised that a hearty breakfast would be the best preventative for seasickness and now, having loaded up with one, I was doing my best to hang onto it.

Fiction

The One You Feed

There’s an old Indian saying. And I’m an Indian woman who’s worked at an Indian casino as a waitress for almost ten years. My first and only job, right after I turned eighteen. I’ve flirted with old Indian men to get tips and I’ve put on my most tactful, phone operator voice with old Indian women. The old men couldn’t resist hitting on me or smacking my ass and the old women called me a slut for it. So I don’t give a fuck what old Indians have to say.

Fiction

The Ballad of Boomtown

It’s estimated that in 2011 there were 2,881 semi or unoccupied housing developments in Ireland. There was a time when we put our faith in euros, shares and the sanctity of brick. A time when we bought our books from stores as big as barns and ate strawberries from Andalusia, when only a generation before, they’d been grown on farms up the road. The wide avenues of Boomtown were named for trees when there was grand optimism for growth. Now nothing booms in Boomtown. It’s bust and broken.

Fiction

The Girl and the House

She is a girl, coming to a house. Not just any house: a large, sprawling mansion, built up from the remains of a ruined abbey, or a shattered castle. One that stands on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the seas, or lost in fog-swept moors, or deep within a rugged forest. A house of secrets, a house of ghosts and haunts. She is alone, or nearly alone, or thinks she is alone. This is not quite as strange as it might sound. In her world, parents die young. Most of her remaining relatives are indifferent, or poor.

Fiction

Carry On

The line to check in snaked through the terminal like a single great beast, a centipede with a million legs, a thousand heads, and at least five hundred backpacks. Children tugged on their parents’ hands and whined about boredom. Young lovers kissed frantically, ignoring the glances—whether indulgent or disapproving—of the people around them. Air travel was expensive and invasive enough that no one wanted to say anything. That couple might go a year or more without seeing each other again.

Fiction

Example

Hector Ortiz sat on the edge of his cot, smoking a cigarette, because why not. For as long as he cared to remember, “why not?” had been the chief consideration on any of the few life decisions permitted to him, which did not extend much beyond personal habits like smoking. On Death Row, even if you’re not constitutionally partial to smoking, you almost certainly smoke anyway, in part because you have no reason not to, and in part because it is something to do with your hands.

Fiction

Bridge of Sighs

Terry needed a fresh ghost, so he dressed warmly and headed out, camera around his neck, syringes safely packed into the bag over his shoulder. There were many places to look. People committed suicide in surprising places sometimes, such as a change room in a large department store, or the car park at a primary school, or under the pier at the beach, but more often they jumped from the tops of buildings, from bridges, from dams.

Fiction

All the Hidden Places

“Can we stop?” asked Nikki, panting, her face tingling from the assault of the cold. Her fingers were numb, her nose running. Her lungs burned. “When we reach the trees,” her father said. He was a few feet in front of her, walking steadily against the wind. Ahead of them was an island of snow-capped pine trees. After hours of walking, the island—once just a small patch of green and white in the middle of the frozen lake—now loomed as an expanse of dense wilderness. The lake stretched behind them in every direction.