We have original fiction from Claire Wrenwood (“Dead Girls Have No Names”) and Vajra Chandrasekera (“Redder”), along with reprints by Adam-Troy Castro (“The Hour in Between”) and Livia Llewellyn (“Yours Is the Right to Begin”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, and a feature interview with John Langan.
In This Issue: Aug. 2020 (Issue 95)
Be sure to check out the editorial, where you’ll find a rundown of this month’s content and all our exciting news and updates.
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.
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.
When I was in first grade—we’re talking 1970 here—I was excited to discover that the high school drama club was going to put on a play called The Ghoul Friend. I was already a dyed-in-the-wool horror geek by this time, and I pestered my parents until they agreed to let me go. I don’t remember much about the plot after all these years, but I remember there were lots of cool monsters . . . and at the end the actors took off their masks to reveal they were all humans in disguise.
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.
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.
John Langan’s newest book is a collection, Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies. He lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with his wife, younger son, and a room full of books—so, so many books.