Tag: Horror

Digging It by Diana Devlin

My dad told me when I was, like, seven or eight that if I dug long enough I’d eventually reach Australia. And I believed him. I mean, why wouldn’t I? He’d worked on building sites all his life, knew about that kinda stuff. Ryan, he’d say, you dig hard, son and I tell you, you’ll strike gold one day but you gotta put the effort in. He was big on effort, my old man. Work ethic, he called it. Refused to accept that jobs weren’t as easy to come by nowadays, especially for people who came from shitholes like Dilly.

Last week of the summer holidays and the sun was still splitting the sky. Amos and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves it was so damn hot. None of the girls wanted to hang out – probably worried their make-up would melt or their hair would go frizzy – so we decided to head for the beach. May as well make the most of it before the big exams. We’d soon be locked in our rooms for the best years of our lives, extracted by our parents for dentist appointments or lectures on fuckin personal hygiene.

Dish of the Day by Steven French

So. This is how the story was told to me by my sister-in-law who was friends with the daughter of Mrs O. Who together with her husband ran a Turkish restaurant just off Green Lanes. Well, they were Kurdish really, which matters a lot in some contexts but not so much in this one. Anyway, Mr O was in charge of the chefs’ station, while Mrs O supervised the service and also handled the accounts. Even though Mr O was referred to by all as ‘boss’, no one wanted to look Mrs O in the eye when she passed on a customer’s complaint or, heaven forbid, returned a plate of food. Not even Mr O. 

Bone Apple Teeth by Mason Yates

Although she had been feeling nervous—a horrid anxiety had infested and made itself a home in her gut—for the past few days, Kate Knight (her last name had been Rains less than five days ago) felt it even more when she stepped off the crowded Tokyo street and into the dark alley that reeked of urine, cigarettes, and burned food.  For some unknown reason, her legs shook with a strange violence, sweat beaded her pale forehead, and every particle of blood bubbled inside her veins.  Because of her shaking—not to mention the slippery cobblestone ground, too—she kept a slow pace as she wandered into the darkness, the radiant neon signs behind her starting to fade, as well as the energetic voices of the touristy road that simmered into susurrations.  Kate clung to her husband as they descended into the black.  Brick buildings enclosed themselves around them, chunky rats scuttled next to the walls and squeaked every so often, and above them, a black night sky, one where no stars resided, seemed to weigh heavy upon them.

Crooker by Alex Bestwick

Water curls over the lip of the cave like curtains. I shiver back into the curve of earth and damp soil patters around me. The shelter protects me from the elements a little, but I am already sodden. I am lost. I am ten. I am terrified. The last thing I am is protected.

Far below, the river sings a war cry, laughing and lapping at its embankments. The trees scream and creak under the brutal bend of the wind. Lightning veins across the sky and turns the clouds momentarily to purple slate. Thunder shakes the world.

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.