Tag: Horror

Visceral by Maheen Majid

I’m leaking again, and it’s just as annoying as the last fucking time. Harvey had to tell me there was blood on my shirt because I didn’t even notice at first. So now I’m standing in the bathroom rewrapping my bandages while he waits outside as usual.

He offered to help, of course, but I don’t need help. As frustrating as it is, I usually like this being my own little ritual where I can just dissemble and breathe freely. It’s less enjoyable when I’ve ruined another shirt and I’m getting fluids all over the sink.

It’s a dad’s life by Jeremy Hinchliff

‘Mind you get that bike home in one piece.’

His mother left him at the school bike sheds. The car faded towards Ipsden Heath, leaving him to cycle home the long route.

The long route would have been all right in the end. But on this fateful day Tom Purton decided to make the descent of Berins Hill, the forbidden shortcut. Thirty seconds down the incline he heard a little tinkling behind him. His rear brake was falling off. Away went the endless sequence of nuts and washers accompanying the brake pads, into the abyss. The bike picked up speed.

The Train at Platform Seven is Calling at all Stations by Joyce Bingham

The repetition of my commuter journey lulled me and took my mind to distant shores, but muscle memory kept my feet on the right path. As every morning I wondered how I got here, remembering nothing of my way. A cold fog swirled, swiping at my ankles as I entered the wide station concourse.

I headed for the usual platform, the first train of the day, busy and teaming with stress, leaching out of the seats and into the air like the haze on a marsh. People streamed through the ticket barrier, carrying cups of coffee, hauling luggage and trailing their anxiety behind them. The herd moved to the next platform, the clomping heels and squeaking wheels diminished, only I walked to platform seven.

Foul Mountain by Olga Dauer

Paul Stanton disappeared on a hot Thursday afternoon in July, quietly and without trouble. His executive assistant assumed he was out to lunch, taking down messages from three clients and directing one partner to call back later. But later came, and all that remained of Paul was his striped blue suit jacket, dutifully hugging the back of his tufted leather chair.

The letter arrived three weeks later. When Paul’s wife Jane saw the address on the envelope, she told herself that in order to stay on her feet for as long as she needed to, she had to come up with a plan. First, Jane decided that she’d get in touch with Officer Kinsley at the police station. She thought about how she’d say it – does one request to cancel a missing person report? Rescind it? Or would the mere mention of the letter arriving from Foul Mountain be enough? After that, she’d call her sister. Formulating these next steps in her head helped Jane momentarily delay the gravity of the news she held in her shaking hands, giving her just enough time to walk from the mailbox to the porch, find her keys, and close the door behind her as she slid down to the floor.

Weeds are Just Plants in Places They’re Not Wanted by JP Relph

Trying to thrive in hostile places; unwanted, despised. Some are brazen, resolute in their right to be. Bursting from cracks and last year’s baskets, slithering through flowerbeds like venomous snakes. Others are timid, quietly seeding in shadowy hollows, in long grass. Hiding their delicate leaves, their pale flowers. Trying to live unseen, be unobtrusive. Trying to live.

The Presage by Ken Foxe

I never tell anybody about my gift. Nobody really wants to know when they are going to die. I remember when I first happened upon it, not something I’m ever likely to forget. I was thirteen years old, a gawky schoolboy with all that entails, rebellious, playing at being a man, ready to fight with anybody, most especially my parents. I was at Heuston Station, about to catch a train to what seemed at the time like escape, three weeks of freedom in an Irish-language school in West Cork.

As I was about to board, my mother insisted on hugging me and in that moment, I could see it all vividly. The white rental car that my father was driving, the pilgrim coast road, the metal of the crash barrier giving way, a tumbling, and the wreck on the rocks below. Mammy watched my dad die, wondering if she might survive, but she didn’t.

Magic in the Digital Age by Patricia Ann Bowen

As I watch children scurry by my iron gate, I recall how I started doing the same thing when I was their age, nine, maybe ten, hurrying past this same house, pumped full of Halloween sugar, ready to jump out of my skin at any unexpected sight or sound.

At thirteen I summoned up the courage to open the creaking gate – rusty even back then – and knocked on the door, my pals cowering in the shadows. Their loss. The old crone who drew it open seemed pleased to see a brave young fellow coming to call. She put out her hand and, before I could grasp it, a dove fluttered from her gnarled palm. I stumbled backward as the bird flew up the stairwell, then perched on the banister.

Worms by Logan Markko

It’s Saturday night, but Mac doesn’t have any plans. He pours himself a glass of whiskey and settles into his recliner to watch the Adam Sandler movie marathon playing on cable TV. There’s a warmth to Sandler’s performances and Mac laughs for a few hours, making it through Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and some of Big Daddy, before passing out during the scene when Sandler teaches his roommate’s son how to urinate in public.

Ellie left him almost a month ago. His family and friends back in Pittsburgh warned him that moving to Denver with a woman he’d only known for a year was foolish, but Mac was in love and ready to start the next chapter of his life. He knows now that she never loved him the way he loved her, yet he can’t keep his subconscious from stirring up memories of Ellie as he sleeps, ruining even his dreams.

Bottled Up by Yolanda DeLoach

“I can’t take this heat anymore,” I said, pushing back strands of hair that blew free from my headband. The open car windows did little to bring relief from Louisiana’s thick, oppressing air. “Might as well be holding a hair dryer up against my face,” I added for dramatic effect.

“For someone who grew up here, you sure complain a lot about the heat,” Daniel said. He poked me in the thigh.

“Well, we had this thing called air conditioning and it actually worked,” I said, returning a double jab to his thigh.