We have original fiction from Mari Ness (“The Girl and the House”) and Dennis E. Staples (“The One You Feed”), along with reprints by Priya Sharma (“The Ballad of Boomtown”) and Stephen Gallagher (“Shepherd’s Business”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a media review from Adam-Troy Castro.
Apr. 2019 (Issue 79)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a run-down of this month’s nightmarish content, plus news and updates.
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.
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.
I like visceral, bone-chilling horror as much as the next psycho. I relish the intensity of Silence of the Lambs or The Shining, or nail-biters like Halloween or Dean Koontz’s Watchers. But one of my favorite scenes in any suspense movie comes from Pulp Fiction; John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson with a young kid hostage in the back seat of their car. Travolta and Jackson are arguing about something utterly inane, and Travolta turns around, forgetting he has a loaded gun in his hand. He asks the kid for his opinion . . . and accidentally blows his head off. Shocking, completely unexpected, and unspeakably hilarious.
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.
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.
This month, Adam-Troy Castro reviews Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor of Dreams, a new documentary about a horror legend.