We have original short fiction from Erica Ruppert (“The Golden Hour”) and R.L. Meza (“The First Year”). Our Horror Lab originals include a flash story (“Skins”) from Pedro Iniguez and a poem (“Said the Carrion to the Corvus”) from Woody Dismukes. Ally Wilkes brings us the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus we have author spotlights with our authors and a media review from Adam-Troy Castro.
In This Issue: Mar. 2022 (Issue 114)
Welcome to Nightmare’s 114th issue! Thank you for joining us in our uneasy corner of the world. Pull up a chair and rest yourself. I’m sure you’re tired. Aren’t we all tired these days? Maybe it’s the kind of tired that makes you lean against the wall in the afternoon, your legs like sacks of sand, heavy but formless, your spine pulled low by their weight. Maybe it’s the kind of tired that makes you wake in the night and find yourself breathless.
Thomas woke alone, and opened his sticky eyes to the dusty golden light filling the bedroom. He expected to see Benjamin in the other bed, beside him, as if they were still children together. The bed was filled with familiar shadows, but Benjamin wasn’t there. Instead, among their discarded toys, he found another boy’s body, again. His memory stuttered, caught on faces and places and angles of light, aromas and flavors that had long since faded to dust.
I’ve always thought that the illicit hunting of baby seals was a cruel and horrifying thing. Putting myself in their position, being out on the ice, vulnerable to humans, their weapons, and their ill intents made me think of this scenario. The story: What would happen if humans were to experience a similar fate?
When I’m watching a horror film, I always know something good is coming when we step off the beaten path. We might be campers who trudge through the snow to a nearby cabin, going to push the door only to find that it creaks open of its own accord, revealing bad taxidermy and dangling fetishes which look disturbingly like they’ve been made from human teeth. We might be a team called in to investigate signs of distress at a remote outpost.
When you were inside me, I knew you were mine. Now, I’m not so sure. Cradled in my arms, you are an assemblage of parts I recognize: Noah’s cleft chin and narrow ears, my heart-shaped lips and upturned nose. But your eyes are something else. I angle you this way and that, your milk-drunk mouth smearing saliva across my hospital gown while I search your slumbering face for the pull of attachment, waiting for the surge of affection.
Recently, it’s been hard not to feel consumed by outside forces. There’s always someone coming to take something from you. The taxman, the debt collector, familial relations, whomever. This poem is for those who have given everything.
Adam-Troy Castro delves into the ghostly realm as he reviews the haunted space novel Dead Silence, by S.A. Barnes, and the haunted apartment film Last Night in Soho. Want to get your ghost on? Find out if these works are for you!