We have original fiction from Carlie St. George (“Some Kind of Blood-Soaked Future”) and Rich Larson (“Growing and Growing”), along with reprints by Nathan Ballingrud (“The Maw”) and Gemma Files (“Grave Goods”). Benjamin Percy brings us the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word.” Plus we have author spotlights with our authors and a book review from Adam-Troy Castro.
Oct. 2019 (Issue 85)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a run-down of this month’s shiver-worthy content and to keep up with all our exploits.
Mix was about ready to ditch the weird old bastard already. Too slow, too clumsy, too loud. Not even a block into Hollow City and already they’d captured the attention of one of the wagoneers, and in her experience you could almost clap your hands in front of their faces and they wouldn’t know it. Experience, though; that was the key word. She had it and he didn’t, and it was probably going to get him killed. But she’d be goddamned if she’d let it get her killed too.
Here’s the thing about surviving a slumber party massacre: no one really wants you around anymore. All your friends are dead, and your mom is dead, and you get shuffled off to live with your miserable Aunt Katherine, who blames you for getting her sister killed because she’s an awful human being like that. And you try to move on, but you don’t know how because your nightmares are constant and therapy is hard, especially when a new killer arrives and murders your therapist with his own pencil.
When John Carpenter and Debra Hill began to sketch out their ideas for Halloween, they dreamed up a list of scares. The creepiest images, the most unsettling scenes they could imagine. A clown with a knife. A gravestone in a bedroom. A pale face emerging slowly from the shadows. A person pinned to a wall by a blade. Or—how about this one?—a woman gets into a car and finds the windshield fogged up. The wipers kick on with no effect.
Put the pieces back together, fit them against each other chip by chip and line by line, and they start to sing. There’s a sort of tone a skeleton gives off; Aretha Howson can feel it more than hear it, like it’s tuned to some frequency she can’t quite register. It resonates through her in layers: skin, muscle, cartilage, bone. It whispers in her ear at night, secret, liquid. Like blood through a shell. The site they’re working on is probably Early Archaic—6,500 B.P. or so, going strictly by contents
After half a barrel of foaming sour pulque, Ignacio and Hector start the long stumble home. The night is cold but they’re still warm, still cocooned, and they talk in circles about the business, the vermiculture that will turn Oaxaca’s gardens into jungles and fill their pockets besides. Their families’ futures in a tub of worms. If the shadows on the street are deeper than usual, if the barking of the dogs is more desperate, if the waning moon is unnaturally sharp, a shard of bone from a desecrated grave, they do not notice.
This month, Adam-Troy Castro reviews the film adaptation of the classic children’s horror anthology: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Does he think it’s fit fair for adult horror fans? You’ll have to read the column to find out!