October 31, 2014 Comments Off on Happy Halloween to All Our Fabulous Readers and Authors
October 31, 2014 Comments Off on Of Ice and Remembrance By Mara Buck
A white fox stands in arctic snow, the full moon alert above his shoulder, and I see only his eyes, onyx jewels reflecting my image. We stare and my own eyes adjust and details appear, blue shadows on the snow, a tinge of umber on his underbelly, the hint of dried blood on his muzzle, forepaws — or maybe I’m mistaken. I lie here naked, pale skin paler by cold, my blood retreated into my core, my hair –whitened by time — whispering about my ears in the windchill, my eyes faded by age and misuse. Is their light too dimmed for reflection? Does the fox see himself in me as I in him? On my person there is no clue of a final meal, no remnants of activity, and my feet have left no footprints on this frozen world. I can only wait.
He stares into my eyes, fascinated by his own perfection. He approaches with the halting grace of a Nureyev and he closes his teeth over my ankle. His teeth break into a cacophony of tinkling ivory because I am frozen solid as marble.
© 2014 Mara Buck
Mara Buck writes and paints in the Maine woods. She has won awards or been short-listed by the Faulkner Society, the Hackney Awards, Carpe Articulum, Maravillosa, with work in Drunken Boat, Huffington Post, Crack the Spine, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Carpe Articulum, Living Waters, Orion, Pithead Chapel, Caper, Clarke’s, Poems For Haiti, The Lake, and others. @Mara_Buck
October 30, 2014 Comments Off on Why We Burned The Witches by Chris Bullard
We did it to change our luck. Also, they were sort of creepy. So we burned about a hundred of them. Just tied them to some posts and piled the firewood around them. A little gasoline and a match and, voila, they went up like kindling. After the fire burned down, we all said that we felt a lot luckier. Sure enough, the day after the executions I found a new dime heads up on the sidewalk. The next day I won $5.00 on a scratch off lottery ticket. A week later, I found a felt tip marker I thought I’d lost. There’s been nothing to write home about since then, but I know I’m due for some really good luck soon. By the way, have you noticed how creepy my family is?
© 2014 Chris Bullard
Chris Bullard is a native of Jacksonville, FL. He lives in Collingswood, NJ, and works for the federal government as an Administrative Law Judge. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA from Wilkes University. Plan B Press published his chapbook, You Must Not Know Too Much, in 2009. Big Table Publishing published his second chapbook, O Brilliant Kids, in 2011. WordTech Editions published his first full-length book of poetry, Back, in November of 2013. Kattywompus Press published his third chapbook, Dear Leatherface, in January of 2014.
October 29, 2014 Comments Off on The Voice in the Cave By Robin Wyatt Dunn
You make me speak again, though I had forbidden it. What is it that you want? All is fallen and my rage is impotent, so what do you need me to say now? Only tell me and I will speak it to you. Your lightest word will be treasured. I promise you this.
Tell us of your suffering.
We want to know about it.
That is what we do.
Liquid, my face melted like a stream over these waxed skies and I dreamt of a river that was not mine and was not yours, it was something that had no meaning at all, I screamed and there was no light, only voices. Like your own. It was then I realized that it had all come to an end, Sofina’s treachery, my own madness, and the caper I had spun over these avenues and terraces, all mine, all mine, I would have had them, I have them still . . .
Tell us more of your suffering.
Even now I dream of your death, terrifying to me but so real, the death of you who opposed me, your faction, your demonic faction, you priests . . .
Tell us where you hid the bodies.
Sofina killed herself. I found her in the ocean water and I burned her on the beach.
Your defeat is closer than you think. All of you are weaker than me, no matter how many nights you have prayed, and how many days you have spent in obedience to your temple, I am stronger than all of that, and I listen to those voices you would have had to hear too if not for my ears to absorb them; I have been your guardian and your slave. I am still.
© 2014 Robin Wyatt Dunn
Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in The Town of the Queen of the Angels, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, in Echo Park. He is 33 years old. You can find him at http://www.robindunn.com
October 28, 2014 Comments Off on Eight Legs By Andy Tu
It started with an idea. A single thought like the first strand of a spider’s web. Then it mixed and twisted into patterns. And now my head’s caught in it, and I’m thrashing at my hair, scratching my eyes out because I don’t want to see. I don’t want anyone to see. So I hide. And write. And keep my mouth shut, and act a certain way, smile for my kids, but inside I’m screaming, because just before I fall asleep I feel a tickle on my head, and I jolt and thrash again. I’m wide awake.
© 2014 Andy Tu
Andy Tu teaches English at a private school and writes in his free time. He spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer smoking weed, avoiding human traffickers, and ditching work. Life is best for him when he’s living on the edge.
October 27, 2014 Comments Off on What the Eyes Can’t By Peter Baltensperger
The darkness was everything, the dwelling place of glowing red eyes in the corners, phantoms winging their ways through the rooms. Damien Cross kept all his blinds shut, his heavy curtains drawn. It was the only way for him. He never went outside when the sun was shining. He looked after his necessities on the dullest, dreariest days, wore the darkest sunglasses he could find to keep the outside world at bay.
He brought a woman into his darkness, to find out, a periodic foray into the unknown. She held herself stiff, apprehensive. He could smell her uncertainty, her fear. She began to relax when he ran his hands over her body, and the smell diminished. He took her by the hand and led her into his bedroom. He started to peel off her clothes, layer by layer, and she still shivered. He thought of onions, thought of laying bare the luscious insides and inhaling her aura. He could already smell her emanations and wondered if she could feel the phantoms, see the red eyes.
After he finished the peeling, all his emotions concentrated in his hands, in his nose, on his tongue, in his mind, he put her on the bed and took her breasts into his hands. For the first time, he tasted her skin, saturated his tongue with her strong aromas, filled his nasal cavities with her scents of pure femininity; let his hands inhale the richness of her soft skin. He could feel the red eyes peering out of their corners, could sense the phantoms in the still air. The darkness was standing him in good stead, his safety in a confused world, the retreat for his mind.
He followed the woman’s scents from her neck and her breasts all the way down along her body, delighting in his discoveries, moving from aroma to aroma over her trembling body, her trembling legs. She sighed with obvious pleasure as he started to lick her sumptuous secretions. She still quivered under his ministrations, but her body told him she was enjoying his exploratory caresses, perhaps not as much as he did, but at least more and more. He molded himself against her until her luxurious scents enveloped him in his darkness, filled him with their opulence.
Afterwards, he folded her into his arms, for his warmth and for her protection, and helped her fall asleep, one hand on her breathing breast. He stayed awake to feel the phantoms gather on the bed, envelop her with their wings, wrapping her into a cocoon. She screamed in her sleep, flailed her arms and legs in fright, even though she didn’t see the glowing eyes come creeping out of their corners. He tightened his arms around her, closed his eyes, and listened to the darkness rotate through the night.
© 2014 Peter Baltensperger
Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His latest book is a collection of flash fiction, Inside from the Outside, A Journey in Sudden Fiction (available from amazon). His work has appeared in print and on-line in several hundred publications around the world over the past several decades. Most recently, he has been published in print in such publications as The Big Book of New Short Horror, The Big Book of Bizarro, and Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, and on line in Apocrypha and Abstractions, The Medulla Review, Danse Macabre, and Black Heart Magazine, among many others. He writes, and has been writing all his life, because he loves to write, and because it constitutes an integral aspect of his personal quest. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their three cats.
October 31, 2013 Comments Off on Children’s Faces by Rhonda Eikamp
It’s my turn to go to the door this year. We sit in the kitchen, you and I, and eat all the blue worms before they can arrive, our own ritual, as old as the knotting of our thoughts together. I tell you I don’t want to go to the door, and my confession discomfits you because you love me. We hear their giggles before we hear the chime of the doorbell, bodies thumping against the porch rail. The two notes of the chime high low scamper across my skin.
I’m breathing hard.
I go to the door.
They are all good this year — princesses and superheroes, all masked. Not a monster in sight. The masks comfort me, I can sense behind each mound of plastic a slackly open mouth, anticipation balled into stillness, that for a second lets me believe candy will be enough.
It’s never enough.
They shake their heads at my bowl. Perhaps if we left them the blue worms. The nearest take my arms while another sets the bowl aside, and they lead me onto the lawn. The night is star-studded frost, ghost moonlight in the rhododendron. Crabgrass tickles the back of my head as they lay me down. The knife appears from nowhere, like a taboo subject insinuated into a conversation, a glinting apostrophe denoting possession. I will not scream, though the first cut, at the center of my forehead, is a red universe exploding. They carve away my face in a thin outline, a keyhole shape that encompasses eyes nose mouth, and the pain is white noise in my brain, heavy metal etching the shape of the hole onto my neurons. When they peel my face away my sight goes with it and for moments I’m a game of catch, seeing whirligig images of fairies and cowboys as I’m tossed among them, dizzied by the comet-tail streaks of streetlamps, flapping upside-down while they fight over me, then they run away down the street swinging my face between them and the connection fades.
Blind, I crawl onto the porch. From driveways and rock gardens I hear the wails of others. Some have no one to meet them the way you meet me. You help me in and bandage my face, and I’m comforted knowing you love me. We sit in the kitchen, so much candy left, and you mouth the question my lost mouth can’t, wondering what they want with all these faces. We have no answers. This is another ritual. I can feel my face starting to grow back, a stuffy heat beneath the bandages. I’m so happy it’s over.
Next year it will be your turn.
© 2013 Rhonda Eikamp
Rhonda Eikamp is originally from Texas and lives in Germany. Stories of hers appeared in venues such as Space and Time and The Urbanite up to 2001. More recently she has had stories published or forthcoming on Daily Science Fiction, the Fringeworks anthology Grimm and Grimmer and in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. She spends her non-writing time translating German legal texts, which helps keep her mind convoluted or just confused.
October 28, 2013 Comments Off on R’lyeth A Carpet Upon The Earth by Roger Leatherwood
The invasion came not from above but from below. Grumblings became earthquakes and weather turned angry; the military were pointed up at the sky and had no recourse when the fissures opened and the first of the R’lyeth slithered awake upon the valleys and the river beds.
Small and oily feathered, the R’lyeth swarmed like a yellow pissflow of locusts across the land. Guns were effective in slowing and angering them but not killing them. An infinity of vermin spit and bit at the people in Missouri and Alberta, the Rhone and Imperial valleys. Strategic nuclear strikes were considered until it was clear the unholy wash of 4-legged sloths, black and smelling and with those eyes, round and sad, were collecting.
They entered the cities as if attracted to the smell, the noise, the sweat and the flesh of humans. Mobile killing moths, like shit on legs, the R’lyeth gnawed at buildings, ate limbs off women, fucked in basements and smeared terror and commerce akimbo across into the unpopulated fields and expanses. Rendered inhabitable, downtown centers, skyscrapers, office parks and stadiums were abandoned for the cesspool of awakened invaders.
They seemed to come from the very soul of the earth yet had never been known before, creating disease and civilization to scatter.
The infestation was a carpet upon mankind. Those who thought they understood were murdered. Leaders fled and tyrants lost their armies, forced to hold impossible beachheads against the dank mossy land that had come alive it seemed, in endless night and unquenchable ardor to nip, piss on and unsettle man’s hold on the thin surface. A vanity of progress. Families were torn asunder, men joined packs and women huddled against the rapists.
Word was only Antarctica and the North Pole had not been overrun. A hazy mottled moire pattern painted the ports, the cities, the beltways and the Southern tip of Africa. A virus of cancer organic upon humanity.
After the last of the infrastructure failed and the sewers flowed like wine upon the streets . . . when those still able had impregnated the nearest women, old or crippled or willing, a primal and doomed impulse tainted by the thought the cancer had infected their gametes as well . . . when no nations joined together, the angry gods infesting all life with, once the darkness fell as naturally as branches from an oak violated by a lightning strikes . . .
. . . the R’lyeth paused and were still.
And from the skies the new gods came, the Tgotha, in ships of water and unmolested. They were large and they perched upon their rightful place upon the shit- and cum-stained ruins of the man’s immodesties and humilities, surveying the horde of R’lyeth, inconsequential and no longer needed, as were worshippers. They were here to feed, not to preach. They were not that kind of gods.
And the remnants of mankind from India to Peru bowed their heads and began to pray.
© 2013 Roger Leatherwood
Roger Leatherwood worked on the lower rungs of Hollywood for almost 20 years before returning to print fiction, where the stories he told were his own. His work has or will appear in Circa Literary Review, Siren, Skive Magazine, Oulipo Pornobongo, Infernal Ink, HorrorSleazeTrash and others. More can be found at rogerleatherwood.wordpress.com
October 24, 2013 Comments Off on Alive by Jake Walters
So what do you think? Shall we eat out or dine in? The city is a huge sphere of blue and orange lights glowing against the night sky; under that sky are hundreds of homeless people for whom every instant must be terrifying. Where will they eat? What? With whom? And we are here, safe and warm enough. I suppose we will eat right here at home, you and I, and I will prepare the food while you bathe. There is nothing wrong with my cooking; you will wash your face and I will slice off the useless, once beautiful skin there; you will rub the soap along your thighs and I will carve those slabs of meat away until I see nothing but hard, white bone, greasy with blood. No screams, no sounds. I can carry the meat from a thousand bodies and boil it up, the steam rising toward the ceiling, condensing on the light bulb. The smell, oh god, the smell, wafting through the entire apartment and then into the hallway, where people will wonder what we are celebrating inside. Well, tell them, my dear. We are celebrating life. We are happy to be alive.
© 2013 Jake Walters
Jake Walters has been published in numerous journals, including Fractured West, 34th Parallel, Corvus Review, Allegory, the horror anthology America the Horrific, and many others. He currently lives in Transylvania, a place of the world with which he is intimately familiar, after serving three and a half years there as a Peace Corps volunteer.
October 21, 2013 Comments Off on Revenge Of The Delinquents (Sacred Texts) By Peter Mara
Upon awakening, I saw her.
Poppy capsules adorned her hair. Her passive lips craved their narcotic violence which was the only trait of these plants that gave her pleasure. Isis was in handcuffs and they couldn’t release her. The home medical manual offered no solutions; neither did the Merck Manual for Physicians. The moans coming from the hallway sounded as if the opium soaked physician was being flayed alive by former patients. The walls of this room are light green with an undecipherable adornment of stains; a soft light burns overhead to relax me. Dirty windows make me cry.
I had been swallowed whole, spit out in a confused state. The payphone in the hallway had been broken for 3 months and I was tired of the white rodents outside repeating number series. Too loud.
We had walked quickly to the heartbreak dance, so we could dance slowly then lie down, Beat, beat, beat. Always against a wall. That’s why I’m here.
She and I had escaped from home a long time ago. We supported ourselves by hijacking automobiles and selling them quickly. She always licked the fenders before sending them away. I always licked her lips afterwards. Obstructions weren’t a problem: they died under mysterious circumstances and were left to rot. The police laughed at us, then we set them aflame. Time is out. Time is off.
The walls twist frequently.
That’s it. The forest has everything. My skin becomes numb. That wasn’t her blood on the floor.
© 2013 Peter Marra
Originally from Gravesend Brooklyn, Peter Marra lived in the East Village, New York from 1979 to 1993 at the height of the punk – no wave music – art rebellion. Peter has had a lifelong fascination with Surrealism, Dadaism, and Symbolism, some of his favorite writers being Paul Eluard, Arthur Rimbaud, Tristan Tzara, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Miller. Peter has had over 100 poems published either in print or online in over 25 journals. He resides in New York City and is currently constructing his 1st poetry collection.