Tag: Horror

Deciduous and Carnivorous by Rica Qiu

I considered the possibility
That the trees may be carnivores.
Because I could have sworn
I watched someone climb one
And never again touch the floor.

And when I spied on the trees
Through the thorns,
They did not mourn.
I could have sworn
They jeered and cheered.

Encaulled by Steven French

There was a place, it was said, where if you held still, stopped your breath, waited, waited … you could see the ghostly funeral processions pass. Down the long road from the old mansion house, now a nursing home. The family, long since gone, had had the privilege, when one of them died, of having the coffin carried down the long road at midnight. Down through the fields, now housing estates, across the streams and becks, now paved over, past the stores and warehouses, now coffee houses and apartment complexes. If anyone were about, doing god knows what, out with cause, or not, they would turn aside, or step back into the shadows, eyes down, letting the procession step slowly by. Down towards the river, down through the town to the parish church. There to pause, to request admittance, a soft glove against the door, the slow creak as it opened and the priest stepping to one side. The service, brief with few hymns, a short summary of a life, sometimes long, more often not. The crypt opened, the smell of old bones released into the air.

The Mystical Medium Hotline by Will Musgrove

My line blinks red, so I press the button on my headset to answer. A woman’s whisper I don’t recognize says my name, my real name. For liability purposes, we’re not supposed to use our real names. The operator probably goofed and let it slip when transferring the call. It happens. Leaning back in my chair, I contemplate hanging up. It’s Monday, and I get the same hourly pay if I pick up or not. Plus, it’s tough going into a reading cold. When I can’t get into character first, I have trouble taking everything seriously. The whole back-and-forth feels like an elaborate prank call.

“Eric?” the woman says again, my hand hovering over my ear.

“I think you might have dialed wrong, miss. This is the Mystical Medium Hotline. There’s no Eric here.”

My Friend Has a Name by Tam Eastley

His blood pools on the tiles, red and thick. I know I should feel something, to see him lying there, but where one would expect denial and sadness and fear, there is nothing. You probably think this is horrible of me, that I am monstrous, but I am balancing between two worlds right now and it is hard not to tumble all the way down into one of them. Will you judge me if I say he is already starting to look like meat? Like flesh wrapped in clothes?

My hands are nubs but I manage to push myself up out of the bath anyway and I slide against the porcelain because my skin has started to go translucent and onion-y. I lean in close and I am reminded that he is in fact human. It is the smell – soil and sweat and last night’s shampoo. A hint of metal. So unlike me, all pickled and peppery.

Lights Out by David Henson

Around dusk, two men and two women in yellow jumpsuits force their way into my house. They claim to have guns and warn me not try to stop them. One ties me to a kitchen chair. 

The four spread out on a ransacking binge. One comes back and puts my phone, tablet and laptop on the table. She yanks the lone landline out of the kitchen wall.

I hear them going through drawers in the bedroom. I expect them to come back with Lucy’s jewelry, but they don’t. 

Viral by Tim Hanson

“It’s so wonderful you’re helping me, Michael,” Mrs. Brewster said, offering the boy a smile he had no intentions of returning. “I want you to know how much I appreciate it.”

Like I had a choice, you old bitch.

Michael’s mother had forced him to come, so he could help their elderly neighbor dispose of her recently-departed husband’s belongings. It was penance, she said, for receiving yet another suspension at Jefferson Middle School. “It’s either that or your phone,” she’d threatened. He knew she probably wouldn’t take that away—as far back as he could remember, his phone had offered her innumerable respites from her son’s sour behavior—but he also knew everyone had a breaking point. It was best not to push his luck and just pay the piper now when the bill wasn’t too stiff.

The Hollering by Matt Stephenson

Jess sat on the front porch rocker between her dad and Uncle Jimmy. The fall evening air was thick and sticky, almost as if summer hadn’t ended. All three members of the Honeycutt family were sweating as their chairs moved back and forth, back and forth. It was closing in on midnight and the thirteen-year-old felt lucky that she was being allowed to stay up. Her mama and two younger brothers had been asleep for hours. But it wasn’t a school night and the more her daddy and uncle sipped from their mason jars, the less she worried that she would be told to run off to bed.