We have original fiction from Simon Strantzas (“Antripuu”) and Isabel Cañas (“No Other Life”), along with reprints by Seanan McGuire (“Threnody for Little Girl, with Tuna, at the End of the World”) and Cody Goodfellow (“At the Riding School”). In the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” Kaaron Warren looks into ghost photography. We also have author spotlights with our authors, and a book review from Adam-Troy Castro.
July 2019 (Issue 82)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a run-down of this month’s nightmarish content, and to keep up-to-date with all our news.
The doorbell rang, and I knew that Matthew was dead. It wasn’t a remarkable sort of knowing, although maybe it should have been. It was too quiet for that, too sad, creeping out of nowhere and filling me from toe to tip with the knowledge that the world was different now than it had been a few moments ago. If I turned on the news, someone would be talking about it. That should have been a comfort, knowing that I wasn’t going to mourn alone. All it did was make me tired. I stood, leaving my computer to compile its code, ticking down the seconds of my working day.
There are four of us left huddled in the cabin: me, Jerry, Carina, and Kyle. And we’re terrified the door won’t hold. Carina shivers so uncontrollably, her teeth sound like stones rattling down a metal chute. Kyle begs her to quiet down. But her teeth aren’t making enough noise to matter. Not compared to the howling storm. It comes in gusts that build in slow waves, rhythmically increasing in both volume and strength until a gale overtakes the cabin, pelting the windows with hard rain. A cold draught pushes past us while we tremble on the floor, wishing we were anyplace else.
We’ve been fascinated by ghost photography since the 1860s, when Victorian-era photographers began to find evidence (of spirits or of double-exposure) in their work. At the time there was also a fascination with death photography, those utterly heart-breaking and deeply disturbing photographs of dead loved ones propped up for one last picture. Were the bereaved hoping to catch a glimpse of the soul in those photographs? Then, as now, people were looking for proof that ghosts exist. Because if ghosts exist, then the soul does.
Cities like her make men leave their hearts on their shores. “Seeing you,” the men say, “I want no other life.” Each night, as the diadem of the Bosporus drifts into slumber, violet shadows drape the narrow streets of Eminönü. I watch the window, thinking of you moving through the sleeping city, your footfall silent as the breathing of dreamers. I imagine you slipping velvet mist over your shoulders, sweeping past mosque and meyhane, sleeping beasts and sleeping houses. Full houses. Empty houses. I was born in this city, raised on a tongue of land embraced by swift straits and glittering seas.
“Come quick,” she said, in a voice so leaden, each word took a year off my life. “Bring the black bag . . . There’s been an accident.” The call woke me up, and I knocked over a water bottle getting out of bed. For an instant, the glimmer of my ex-husband’s terrified countenance flashed through my murky thoughts. Shaking his horrible visage off, I realized that the cabin was freezing, then I began to worry about what really mattered: getting to Madame fast enough . . .
This month, Adam-Troy Castro reviews Cardinal Black, a new novel by Robert McCammon, and Sefira and Other Betrayals, a new collection of short fiction from John Langan.