Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Sep. 2022 (Issue 120)

We have original short fiction from Clara Madrigano (“The Gold Coin”) and Kiera Lesley (“To Whom It May Concern”). Our Horror Lab originals include a flash story (“A Girl of Nails and Teeth”) from Hannah Yang and a poem (“much to be mourned”) from Corey Niles.  We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors. Reviewer Adam-Troy Castro also has a movie and an anthology recommendation.

In This Issue: Sep. 2022 (Issue 120)

Editorial

Editorial: September 2022

This issue is devoted to the feeling of discovering a slug in one’s bed, or stepping barefooted on a small tarantula, or emptying the cereal box only to discover a pantry moth larva creeping over the last bran flake. It’s the “Unpleasant Discoveries” issue, and every story has something nasty in store for you. If you’re ready to be horrified, revolted, and generally miserable, our writers have you covered!

Fiction

The Gold Coin

She remembered the day Sophie’s grandmother told her about the gold coin. The gold coin existed only if you were paying attention. It existed only during certain times of the day. Above all, it existed only in Mrs. Meecham’s living room, next to the sofa covered with quilts, near the stairs that would lead you to the rooms above. On one of the walls in the living room, there was a small stained-glass window forming the image of a benevolent lady sitting by a garden.

Author Spotlight

Fiction

A Girl of Nails and Teeth

One thing I find fascinating about parenthood is the fact that protecting your children too tightly from the monsters in the world can sometimes become, in itself, a monstrous act. I wanted to write a story with this kind of double vision, where viewed through one lens, the mother is protecting her daughter, but viewed through another lens, the mother is hurting her daughter, and it’s hard to say for certain which version is true.

Nonfiction

The H Word: Hand-Me-Down Horror

“You have to give it back to me tomorrow because I have to drive an hour south again to return it, and I don’t want to pay a late fee.” He handed me the VHS tape, secure in its clunky plastic rental case. My nerves tingled as I read the title on the spine: Dawn of the Dead. The year was 2001. I was a freshman in high school when a junior on the track team learned that I loved horror movies but had never seen Romero’s magnum opus.

Fiction

Concerning the Upstairs Bathroom

Congratulations on the purchase of your new home! I’m sorry to inform you I was not very upfront with the terms of sale and would feel guilty if I didn’t leave at least this letter in forewarning. You might have wondered why it was listed so cheaply or why, beyond a lawyer’s details, there wasn’t a name on the seller’s side of the contract. You might have dismissed these anomalies because the patio is so nice (the jasmine over the pergola smells lovely in spring).

Author Spotlight

Poetry

much to be mourned

While jogging in the woods, I was thinking about a past relationship, attempting to locate the first warning sign that it wasn’t going to end well. I came across a lake, and looking at the water, this awful memory resurfaced. I wrote the poem on the trail, expecting to heavily revise it, but something about the memory, without any exaggerations or literary illusions, seemed more unsettling.

Nonfiction

Media Review: September 2022

If you’re looking for a movie, Adam-Troy Castro recommends the SFnal body horror of Crimes of the Future (the latest from director David Cronenberg). He’s also excited about the fantastic new anthology Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology, edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason.