Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Podcasts

Produced by Skyboat Media, and under the direction of Grammy and Audie award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki, our podcast features audiobook-style recordings of two of the four stories we publish each month in Nightmare, released more or less on a weekly basis. To subscribe (free!) to the podcast, you'll either need our podcast RSS feed and put that into your favorite podcast client, or you can just subscribe via iTunes.

 

 

Fiction

Break the Skin If You Have To

The base of my skull buzzes as I pick up some bleach and a new scouring pad from the market. I’ve been away from my house for too long. When I get back, I must remember to clean the oven, clean the stovetop, clean the sink. In the checkout queue, I drop my basket onto the counter, and then I see her again. The new girl. So many have come and gone through the years that I barely remember them. Their polite gazes always slip off of me when I come through their checkouts.

Fiction

Only When You Laugh

Twenty-four hours to go. The Ultus Theater was all lit up, the marquee emblazoned with his name, glowing in the haze of the heavy rain. Laffing Farm Final Show: Mitch Williams! He chuckled to himself. Mitch, Mitch, born in a ditch . . . The last time he was outside in a downpour was ten years ago, that night by the lake after his treatment. He had been jittery with withdrawal, teeth chattering in his head, as loud as the waves crashing against the shore. Look at him now. 2,800 seats, sold out.

Fiction

Devil Take Me

The caveat is that I’m going to lie to you. That’s how confessions work, isn’t it? There are those things that even though we want to confess, we can’t confront, and so we talk around. Lying isn’t even second nature; it’s our primary condition. The best I can do is tell you the truth about when I’ve lied. Let’s start at the beginning. I come from a deep and worn-out notch on the Bible Belt, the only child of Peter and Trudy Cadigan. Well, no. You’d need only look at the graves to know that’s not entirely true.

Fiction

The Ghost Eaters

The Man had come and gone, other Someones too, and all the lessers, but Barley still guarded the House. He still patrolled, passing right through the gate instead of getting caught under the slats, still lifted his nose and trotted the fence line every morning, though he could no longer smell the asphalt baking in the heat or rabbits in the hedges. At sundown he returned to his grave and lifted his leg even though he hadn’t urinated since the Man put his body in a cardboard box and dropped it into foot-deep earth.

Fiction

Sharp Things, Killing Things

We saw the first billboard while driving along Lake Road. We’d driven the road a hundred times before, because it was the only road out of town that went anywhere worth going, and there was fuck-all to do in town except get drunk, get stoned, and get in trouble. Lake Road let us go ice fishing in the winter. Lake Road let us go camping in the summer. Lake Road let us drive and pretend like we would keep going, like one day we would get out for good.

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).

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.

Fiction

The Arm Ouroboros

I take the hammer in my right hand and raise it up over my head to bring down, screaming, against the left hand I have placed flat on the tabletop. My knuckles do not break. My skin does not tear. I do not scream in agony. Instead, my left hand flattens like soft rubber, the imprint of the hammer’s head clearly visible in what is supposed to be human flesh. The sight is worse than any pain could possibly be.

Fiction

Every Atom Belonging to Me as Good Belongs to You

We came down to Independence in the afternoon. The sky as we descended was white, gray, pink smeared on a dirty canvas. I had the sense—because that morning we had been very high, above 13,000 feet, and everything had been very still as we balanced on hard, flat, brown rocks—that we were walking through the sky, and that we might come down from the sky painted white, and gray, and pink, ourselves.

Fiction

What the Dead Birds Taught Me

The first time I saw him, I was crouched in a ditch by the highway, lancet poised, holding a crumbly-paged book open to the words to reanimate a dead owl. Anne leaned against our dad’s old car on the shoulder, just a few feet past the impromptu memorial some of Mom and Dad’s students had put up. The flowers were wilting and the photos were fading, just like our parents’ ghosts in the ditch where they’d died. I walked all up and down it, grasses itching at my legs despite my jeans.