Derek Pryce hated the cold.
He pulled his thick, double-hooded coat tight as the angry wind and lacerating rain pelted his back. The constant thudding of the torrid weather and the sheer misery of it all drowned out the self-preserving voice of reason that tried its best to warn him: turn back; you shouldn’t be out here.
He forced himself forward, slowly, cautiously. The footpath wet and treacherous. Continue reading “The Great British Break-Off by Jake Kendall”
Elise held a candle in one hand and a knife in the other. The panic that had simmered in her skin subsided, and she could breathe easily again.
The candle was one of Maxine’s. She collected them the way some women collected cats. When Jonathan first introduced Elise to his older sister, he brought up the candle thing within five minutes, as if it were a defining trait. Later, when he took Elise to Maxine’s flat for dinner, Elise noted the malformed skylines of half-melted candles on the mantelpiece and in the windowsills, the spaces where other people would display family photos. Teardrops of solid wax ran down their sides. Charred wicks bowed to the room. Elise pressed her fingers into the hollows the flames had left behind. Continue reading “Lavender by Amy Slack”
There was a song Ben heard once sung by a beautiful black woman whose name he couldn’t remember. She sang about strange fruit hanging from the branches of trees. He’d had that song in his head for weeks now.
Maybe the postman was new, maybe he wasn’t quite awake yet, but as Ben left for work there was a letter on the mat that didn’t belong to him. He picked up the envelope and closed the front door. He’d give it to Leon before he left for work. Continue reading “Ten Days Missing by Hannah Stevens”
Defeat fatigue’s cry that soars above you
High. Victory and loss are fleeing
Your purpose, now complete. Temporary.
You look above you at the blood-drenched sky
And reflect on the fate you struggled for. Continue reading “Triumph Has a Hard Shell by Aldas Krūminis”
CHAPTER EIGHT-HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN
Concerning the communion of souls with the Forces Eldritch, and the means through which a Sister of the Three-Eyed Outcast can determine if a layperson has attained it—
In light of the apparitions that have begun proliferating in the bowels of our Western Abbey, it is only proper that we turn our attention towards the treatment of those unstuck from time, and the means through which their souls may be reunited with their bodies. But before we end our discussion of otherworldly communion, I would like to offer you an anecdote illustrating the capacity of laypeople to touch the Wild and Strange, and how it often amounts to more than clergy-members are apt to give it credit. Continue reading “From the Collected Works of the Eighty-First Mother Superior of the Noble and Holy Order of Sacred Sisters of the Three-Eyed Outcast and His Eldritch Brethren by T. Rios”
I hold the scrawny thing to my chest, cradling it like a babe, its paws resting on my collar bones, its fur smelling like pine, its eyes the same colour as Kinko Bay, which stretches behind us, a black mirror scarred with moonlight, until it reaches the grey tower of Mount Sakurajima. In the state of cold fear our hearts beat at the same pace, knocking against each other, its shivering ribs rubbing over my own.
The fox’s eyes have found mine the way that two magnets lock. I feel, in a way that is outside of any sensory apparatus defined by scientific means, its desire for me to look, its desire to show me something in the mercurial glow of its silver gaze, what I need to know. Continue reading “The Heaviness of All Things by Joseph Sale”
On a foul night in fickle early autumn, when the wind sobbed and wailed like a lost wandering wraith, Constance awoke from a garish dream, aghast to hear her garden crashing into the sea. It clattered down the cliff thud by thud into darkness, sodden by the pelting rain and bludgeoned by the gale.
Up at the farm, we kept an eye on our neighbour, so the next day I tracked through the glen to discover how she was. I remember the feral scent of the earth after rain – how that smell takes me back to that day. As I arrived, I saw Constance through a shroud of mist, waiting for me outside her house, wearing an ethereal smile; I remember thinking, ‘She looks frail’. How anyone could live here in such precariousness – crumbling in a cottage on a cliff edge, without electricity or gas, drawing water from a corroded pump, surviving in such isolation, always beggared belief, but especially someone of her age. Continue reading “Unturn This Stone by Aviva Treger”