Horror & Dark Fantasy

Trouble Department

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May 2021 (Issue 104)

We have original short fiction from Tim Waggoner (“Negative Space”) and Maria Dong (“The Cabbit”). Our Horror Lab originals include a flash story (“Getting Control of Your Life in Five Easy Steps”) from P H Lee and a poem (“Julia, Forever”) from Eugie Foster. 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 two professors trying to organize the world’s largest horror archives. Our ebook readers will also enjoy an excerpt from Benjamin Percy’s The Ninth Metal.

In This Issue: May 2021 (Issue 104)

Editorial

Editorial: May 2021

Sometimes you need to feel bad. Really bad. Like, you just broke up with your significant other (who took your pets and the coffee maker), and now you have to put on The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and cry on your bedroom floor. Because sometimes the only way to feel better is to feel a whole lot worse. If you’ve ever been there—and I imagine most of us have—then you know what I mean.

Fiction

Negative Space

You’re sitting on a couch in a home that’s not yours. On the floor in front of you are three young children—two boys and a girl—playing with toys. In the corner of the room is a sparsely-decorated Christmas tree. On the wall to the left of the tree hangs a flatscreen television displaying images of the kids’ dead father. He looks at you, smiles, winks. No one else notices.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

Taking Control of Your Life in Five Easy Steps

“Taking Control of Your Life in Five Easy Steps” is inspired by and dedicated to all the people who have tried to sell me their quick and easy surefire fixes for my mental illness—PHL

Nonfiction

The H Word: A Man Walks Into

Those four words alone establish a tone and a structure. They are completely open ended but so familiar that even a deviation from the form would seem played out to you. We know that the next two words will name a place, whether it’s a bar or a saloon or a fishmonger, we know it’s […]

Fiction

The Cabbit

“It’s a cabbit.” He wiggles his fingers through the grille of the hard plastic kennel. He is John or Tim, or maybe Jim: some name that means random white guy at a Midwestern college. It’s not that I don’t care. I just can’t quite remember. Through one of the air holes, I glimpse something that swirls, dark and shining, like a galaxy. It speaks of hidden places—but when Jim pulls the furry body into the light, all I can think is soft and long. Soft, long ears. A curling cat’s tail.

Author Spotlight

Poetry

Julia, Forever

I’m very grateful to share this poem from Eugie Foster, and wish I could have worked with her in person. Thanks so much to Alex Hofelich for connecting Nightmare to this dark little treasure—WNW

Nonfiction

Interview: Benjamin Rubin and Adam Hart

There’s something big in the horror field going on in Pittsburgh that few fans of the genre are aware of, but should be: the University of Pittsburgh has set out to create the world’s largest special collection of material related to the genre. As overseen by librarian Benjamin Rubin and visiting researcher/film professor Adam Hart, the archive started with the acquisition of George A. Romero’s collection of materials related to his career; now, Ben and Adam hope to expand beyond Romero.