Trembling With Fear 07/23/2017

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment. Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Diao Si Gui

Fan didn’t know if it was the drink that had led him here, or some strange sense of fate.

He had not intended to venture out this far into the woods, his feet carrying him farther than his mind had bothered to realize. But hadn’t he started drinking all those hours ago to keep his mind so very numb, to wash out the thoughts and the memories that always came creeping back this time of the year? To put this place far behind him?

And yet here he was, all the same, just barely standing on his feet, swaying and looking up at the old elm.

Gang had swayed, too, that night.

His body had danced beneath that one sturdy branch, the rope tight around his neck. Fan could still recall the creaking sound the motion had made.

Had nine years really passed since then? It’d felt like ages to Fan. He supposed the guilt contributed to that. Guilt could add hours to the days, days to the weeks, and so on, stretching the years out like taffy he didn’t want to stomach.

They’d convinced themselves their actions were just, at the time. Now, though, such lies had long-since worn off.

When little Zhao Mei had gone missing that spring of 1988, all of the village had been dismayed. As she’d always been known for being the adventurous sort (and believing the people of the village were too close-knit to fathom a kidnapping), authorities assumed the girl had gotten herself lost in a jaunt through the forest.

One week and a day of fruitlessly searching the woods had passed by, though, and whatever hope there’d been of finding the eight year old had seemed to pass with it. But not for her father, Guang. He still had hope, and above all, suspicion.

He’d convinced himself that his baby had been taken, and that he’d determined the culprit: Gang, the hermit who lived quietly in the woods, and who was only ever seen on his occasional trips into the village.

Guang had brought his closest and oldest friends together one evening, sharing in his accusation with Sun Jian, Wu Yuan—and Fan.

“He’s not a part of this place,” Guang had spat. “He’s a tick on the dog, living off of us when he needs to. We can’t trust him. I swear, he took my girl, or at the least, he knows what happened to her!”

Hot blooded and seeking justice, the three had agreed to confront Gang and help their desperate friend. When Guang led them up into the woods, heading towards the outsider’s hut, not one of them questioned the long length of rope he carried with him.

The hermit was asleep when they’d broken in his door. They’d shouted demands at him as they kicked and grabbed at him. He screamed and cried. They shouted more.

When he didn’t give them the answers they sought, they’d dragged him out to the elm with the strong-looking limbs. Guang had given the old man a final chance to confess his guilt, threatening to string him up and let him hang until dead.

Still, Gang revealed nothing, and together the four of them tied the rope about his neck and hoisted him up high. They lashed the rope to a root and let the man kick—until he was past kicking.

Fan had since told himself that it was to be a scare tactic, one that had just gone too far. But he knew in his heart that they’d done exactly what they’d gone out there intending to do.

Mei’s body was found a week later, several dozen miles from the village. Her body was frail from dehydration and hunger, but there were no other marks upon her. She had indeed gotten lost, searching for home in the wrong direction.

Zhao Guang committed suicide a few months later, becoming something of a ghost long before his passing. He’d ended it by a hanging. Wu Yuan moved to Hangzhou shortly after that; he died last year, run over in the street. And Sun Jian went two months back, a heart attack taking him in the night.

They’d kept their deed a secret in all that time, and now only Fan remained to tow their regret. He heaved a sigh, let loose his tears, and took another swig from his bottle. He nearly choked on it though, dropping the beer and falling to his knees as he went into a coughing fit.

As his breath returned to him, he heard the familiar sound of creaking overhead.

Fan slowly turned his eyes upward, knowing what he would see. Still, his gut went cold at the sight of Gang the hermit, who was swinging over him, his slack, dead gaze upon him.

He was dressed in the same rags he’d worn the night of his death, his white skin dirtied and showing signs of rot. An unnaturally long, red tongue jutted out from his mouth, lolling and twisted like a dead worm upon a hot street. There was as much demon about the specter as there was man—a twisted form born of the hell that Fan and the others had sent him to.

A hoarse whisper escaped the spirit’s lips, a single, damning word spoken from beyond the grave:

“Innocent . . .”

Fan cried out in terror, feeling all of the forest and its arcane forces bearing down upon him. Whether he knelt under the dead man for a mere moment or an hour, he did not know, nor did it matter. For when he finally rose and stumbled away, the damage had already been done.

Crazed and forever blinded, Fan fled the place of his lasting sin, screaming for death as he went.

A week and a half later, a hiker happened across his body; it lay not so very far from where the young Zhao Mei had been discovered nine years earlier.

 

Patrick Winters

Patrick Winters is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has been published in the likes of Sanitarium Magazine, The Sirens Call, Trysts of Fate, and other such titles.

You can learn more about Patrick at his homepage.

The Summon

To every teenage boy who stay up all night to invoke the devil and summon the dark one to come and collect their tormented souls. Drawing silly chalk lines on the floor, dropping blood on the carpet and reads ancient spells that they don’t understand or cannot properly pronounce. When I finally arrives their faces always becomes pale and they shiver with fear. When they can see my face I always hear a terrifying scream.

-Mum?!

-Yes, my son, I reply, I am here, so clean up your f*cking room before I drag your lazy soul back down to hell!

Mathias Jansson

Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and horror poet. He has been published in magazines as The Horror Zine, Dark Eclipse, Schlock and The Sirens Call. He has also contributed to over 100 different horror anthologies from publishers as Horrified Press, James Ward Kirk Fiction, Source Point Press, Thirteen Press etc.

You can find out more about Mathias at his homepage.

Dabblers

It was a day full of teeth marks and tears. Jerimiah pulled Bethany’s hair: he stepped on the hem of her dress. She sunk her teeth into the flesh of his ankle. Instead of giving her a spanking, Momma sent her to church.

Now, Bethany watched gaunt townswomen encircle her. Melodious chanting lifted skyward as they fidgeted over loosely threaded beads.

The women’s frantic breaths siphoned rolling smoke from the air. When they raised their heads, their eyes took an orange hue. It must have been the firelight reflected-a trick of the light.

Bethany would have much preferred that spanking.

Sarah Doebereiner

Sarah Doebereiner is a short story author from Central Ohio. For the past year, she has worked with Claren Books as their editor. Macabre themes fascinate her because of their tendency to stay with readers long after the book closes, but the joy in short fiction is the opportunity to try out all kinds of genres.

You can follow Sarah’s work on Amazon.

Glass Slipper

The scullery maid wore the gown and glass slippers created by her fairy godmother to the royal ball. She arrived in a magic carriage pulled by enchanted livery.

The Prince stayed at her side and he never tired of gazing into her mirror like shoes.

At midnight, she ran and lost a shoe. The Prince caught her and knelt to replace it. He stared into the shoe and she realized that he’d been using the reflection to peek up her gown the entire night.

She screamed, “Pervert”, ripped off her other shoe and shoved the high hell into his eye.

Robert Allen Lupton

Robert Allen Lupton lives in New Mexico where he is commercial hot air balloon pilot. He writes and runs every day, but not necessarily in that order.

Recent publications include short stories in the following anthologies:

Uncommon Origins
Twelve Days
Hindered Souls
Potters Field #6
Worlds Unknown #3

The novel, Foxborn, was published by West Mesa Press in April of 2017.

Other short stories are available online from “Crimson Streets”, Daily Science Fiction, and two drabbles have been published in “Trembling With Fear”.

“Running Into Trouble”, a collection of 15 fantasy, science fiction, horror, adventure, and humorous stories, all with running as a central theme, will be published in July of 2017. The novelette, Dejanna of Mars, will be published in August 2017, and the second book in the Foxborn series, ‘Here There Be Dragons,” is scheduled for February 2018.

Other short stories will be published online and in anthologies through the year. Visit Robert’s author pages on Amazon and Goodreads for more information.

Trembling With Fear 07/16/2017

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

My Name is Jacob Hoffman

With daylight dulled by thick pewter clouds, the city is unusually bleak this afternoon. It’ll be dark soon. Just my luck.

Why the hell did I agree to cover Mavis’ shift at the bar? I should’ve known better than to say yes. I should be inside by now, locked up safe and sound.

She wasn’t supposed to tell me her name. It’s too personal. Too human. We don’t do that around here. Not with the disappearances.

The rain begins again. Shivering, I skulk down Twenty-Ninth Street.

There haven’t been any incidents in a while. I don’t know whether that means we’re safe, or that death’s overdue and looking to return with a vengeance.

Maybe there won’t be any problem, I tell myself. The rain’s been sporadic, so maybe the sewers won’t be too full yet. Maybe the creatures won’t surface tonight. In my gut, I know that isn’t true. They’re coming. And I’m alone and out in the open— a prime target.

I pause to shake off the fat raindrops which rests on my shoulders. I pull my coat’s collar tight against my throat.

With every passing minute, the pedestrians dwindle until it finally seems like I’m the only one outside in the whole damn city. The rain keeps pounding down. It’s just a matter of time before the sewers begin to flood. After that, the creatures will emerge. I shudder at the thought.

As the orange streetlights flicker on, my pace quickens. I’ve got a dozen blocks to cover before nightfall and time’s running out. Lightning flashes. Thunder cracks.

There’s a faint scrape, like footsteps, somewhere nearby. Behind me, I think. I go a little faster.

The sound follows me down Thirty-Second and by Thirty-Third I decide to try and lose whoever, or whatever, is tailing me. As soon as my foot strikes the pavement on Thirty-Fifth, I make a left, then a right, then a left again. Half a block here, a full block there, a quarter of a block somewhere else. It doesn’t matter where I’m headed as long as I’m moving forward.

It stalks me. My throat tightens with panic. The sky darkens and I push forward. Still, it follows me, so I sprint.

Somewhere along the way I turn a wrong corner and run into an alley. It’s a dead end, but I discover it too late. I round the corner and my face slams against cold hard metal. Everything fades to black.

My eyes flutter open. Blood seeps from my brow. It drips down the bridge of my nose and lingers on my lips.

My body throbs. Soggy and shivering, I see my breath in little puffs. For a moment, I forget about the noise and the creatures and why or where I was trying to go. There’s only the searing pain in the back of my head and the sharp ache on my face.

In a puddle of runoff and dumpster drippings, I lie flat on my back, sprawled out, waiting until everything around me stops spinning. I stare up at the bulb shining above me. Behind it, the sky is impenetrable and black.

As I struggle to my feet, my legs feel gelatinous and wobbly. The light flickers above me. Hoping to catch my breath, I stand and lean against the brick wall.

From one of the back corners of the alley, the sound returns. I whip around to face it, but the light above me fizzles out. The drizzle stops. The air is still and humid.

At the opening of the alley, footsteps slam against the wet concrete, trying to escape. Someone flees from the beasts, but with every step, the stranger leads them right to me. The steps crescendo.

My stomach drops. There’s no time to escape, so I press myself between the wall and dumpster, hoping the garbage covers my scent.

The footsteps end with a thump—like the sound of a body landing on pavement. A woman’s scream pierces the air. I freeze. Muscles stiff as stone. The scream echoes against the walls of the alley, creating a discordant choir—singing agony and terror in rounds.

At first, there are words “No! Stop! Please! Don’t”, all the usual things people cry out when they’re begging for mercy. But after several seconds, the words fall away and in their place come other noises.

Eventually, the echoed screams fade to a whimper which tapers off into a tiny gargle, then stops altogether. It isn’t until after the screaming’s stopped that I wish it would continue. Screaming means pain but silence means death. I don’t know which is worse.

The creatures grunt and suck and slurp. As I witness the unholy sound of her flesh being sliced and shred, acid creeps into my throat and vomit fills my mouth. The noises turn into crunching as the creatures gnaw on her bones. Their nails click on the concrete as they leave.

A few minutes pass. I relax and slowly exit the alley. I fumble to light a match. When it ignites, I discover I’m standing in a puddle of blood. A whimper rises in my throat. As I wade through the puddle, it soaks into my socks and wicks up around my ankles. The match slips from my fingers into the pool, and the alley plunges into darkness once more.

I take a deep breath, then I run. And I run. And when I think I won’t make it another step, I run some more. With twists and turns, I dash through the maze of open streets and narrow alleys. I’m going to make it home if it’s the last thing I do.

Up ahead, over a corner bakery, a street sign flashes Forty-Eighth. Finally, something familiar. It’s so damn beautiful I could cry. Relief courses through my veins like morphine. The acidic sting in my tired muscles melts away. I’m close.

I sprint until I reach Hamilton and Fifty-Second. I made it. The nightmare is nearly over. Not only have I survived— I’m home.

I stumble up the doorstep and fumble with my keys. They slip through my wet fingers and fall to the ground. As I bend over to retrieve them, I see a creature crouching on the fire escape, staring back at me.

It licks its lips and lets out a deep growl.

I try the key again, but my hand trembles so violently, I can’t do it. The creature snarls. For a moment, I’m paralyzed with fear and my thoughts jump to the woman in the alley.

The creature’s nails click against the metallic steps— slowly descending the fire escape. It lingers on the last step. Suddenly, it opens its jaws and clamps down on my leg—teeth piercing straight through one of my knees.

My free leg to kicks the creature’s face. It releases its grip on my limb and steps back. I pound my fists against the door, screaming, “Open up!”

Claws dig into my skin and rip open thick stripes of flesh.

“Help!” I plead, slamming an open palm against the iron grates of tenant 1A’s front window.

From inside, the curtains inch open to reveal a child’s face. His mother quickly covers his eyes, but she doesn’t turn away. The creature continues to devour me. I beg for mercy until words escape me.

The woman in the window makes no effort to help — she just stands there, silently witnessing my final moments.

As darkness settles upon me, I realize I probably should’ve told her my name.

 

 

Stephanie Villegas

Stephanie Villegas

Stephanie Villegas is a freelance writer living in sunny Southern California. She graduated with a degree in Religious Studies from UCSD, where she developed a deep interest in cultural beliefs and the paranormal. Among many other obsessions, she can’t get enough of Speculative Horror, Film Noir, vigilante comic books, and mechanical typewriters. Her Flash Fiction is published at Postcard Shorts and she anticipates the release of her debut novel later this year.

Occasionally, she blogs at http://easypeasyfiction.blogspot.com/

To Die For

“Look, it’s not even cooked.”  The diner poked at her food in disgust. “Ugh.”

“You asked for rare,” her companion reminded her.

“Rare does not mean raw.”  She looked around.  “Waiter, I need to see the chef now!”

“But madam …”

“Forget it.  I’ll go.”

She got up and marched into the kitchen, stepped over the bodies.  She hacked another piece off the chef, flashed it under the grill.

“If you want anything doing properly,” she said as she returned to her seat, “you’ve got to do it yourself.”

She smiled happily.  The food here really was to die for.

Stephanie Ellis

Stephanie Ellis is a TeachingAssistant in a Southampton secondary school but previously worked for many years as a technical author. Her genre fiction short stories have found success in Massacre and Sanitarium magazines as well as a variety of horror anthologies. She is also an active member of theFlashDogs flash fiction online community where most of her contributions are of the darker kind. Also, co-curator and co-editor at The Infernal Clock.

You can find out more about Stephanie at: http://stephellis.weebly.com/.

The Companion

I’m glad you’re here.

I know.

I didn’t know who else to turn to.

You can always come to me.

You’re always there.

I’m always here.

It’s beyond my endurance now; I can’t sleep.

I know.

You always understand.

I do.

Everything’s so dark.

I’ll find you.

Something’s moving around.

I know.

I can’t see.

I can see you.

It hears me.

I know.

It smells putrid.

You’ll get used to it.

I’m afraid. I don’t know what’s happening.

I can tell you.

It feels wrong.

You’ll numb yourself to it.

I think it’s coming for me.

I’m already here.

Carl R. Jennings

Carl R. Jennings is by day a thickly Russian accented bartender in Southwestern Virginia. By night he is the rooster themed superhero: the Molotov Cocktail, protecting the weak and beer-sodden. While heroically posing on a rooftop in the moonlight in case a roaming photographer happens by, he finds the time to write down a word or two in the lifelong dream that he can put aside the superhero mantle and utility comb to become a real author.

To The Sea, The Sorrow

Leah sat on the edge of the pier and looked out to sea, salt tears welling in her wide grey eyes. She thought of her mother; the beautiful hair gone, oily sweat growing slick on pallid skin. She thought of the day she returned from school to find her mother’s bed empty and her father stone-faced, teeth clenched.

“She has gone to the sea,” he’d told his daughter who, old enough, dismissed the words as a well-meaning fable.

As Leah stood and left, a pale shape broke the water. Oil-slick and bald, it watched the girl with wide grey eyes.

Daniel Pietersen

Daniel Pietersen is an author of weird horror and terror philosophy, interested in how speculative works tell us about the world today as much as the world to come. He has had two short stories published in The Audient Void and a longer work that deal with time and regret can be found on the Aether & Ichor blog. Daniel lives in Edinburgh with his wife and dog.

They Glistened Black In The Sun

The Clickers were everywhere.
Thankfully Jesse had hidden.
She knew if they saw her she was dead.
They slept during the day.
It should have been safe.
Yet here they were.
Each time they moved the clicking grew louder.
Something had them agitated.
They were hunting.
The sound was drawing closer.
She just had to be quiet.
Not draw their attention.
One of them passed where she hid.
Its carapace glistening black in the sun.
Closing her eyes, she tried not to whimper.
Hours passed before they left.
Hours more before she worked up the courage to try for home.

Stuart Conover

Stuart Conover is a father, husband, rescue dog owner, horror author, blogger, journalist, horror enthusiast, comic book geek, science fiction junkie, and IT professional. With all of that to cram in on a daily basis, it is highly debatable that he ever is able to sleep and rumors have him attached to an IV drip of caffeine to get through most days.

A resident in the suburbs of Chicago (and once upon a time in the city) most of Stuart’s fiction takes place in the Midwest if not the Windy City itself. From downtown to the suburbs to the cornfields – the area is ripe for urban horror of all facets.

Oh, he’s also the editor of this site!

You can find out more about Stuart over at his homepage.

Trembling With Fear 07/09/2017

Closer to an announcement but ran into a snag. Hopefully to be resolved in the next week! Outside of that, we’re super low on drabble again so if you want to string together 100 words of horror we’d be happy to take them!

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

The Elephant Curse

Bianca was Mira’s fifth elephant and hopefully her last, because any more would surely have the animal rights groups up in arms and waving their torches. None of us could figure out exactly why all of Mira’s elephants were dying. She took exceptional care of each one of them and would be put out for entire weeks on end when it happened, each one more heartbreaking than the next. They had to practically peel her from the stomach of the last one as she clung to its still belly and wept into the dry folds of its rough skin as though her tears would revive it. If Bianca didn’t survive, it might finally be time to wrap it up and develop some new act for Mira. She was young and talented, so it wouldn’t be difficult, but she’d always wanted to work with the elephants, she was so fascinated by them, and she would never be the same if they were gone.

Everyone held their breath in the weeks where Mira got to know Bianca, who was a little smaller than the others but had this beautiful pale hide, almost white, that would look marvelous under sparkling dressings and spotlights. She was smart and clever and responsive, immediately taking a liking to Mira and constantly playing with her hair. Perhaps, we all though hopefully, though we were almost too afraid to hope, the previous ones had just been building up to this pairing, as if Mira had to experience the loss and heartbreak to truly appreciate the creature that was now in her care. It seemed a bit of a cruel method on the part of Fate, but we were eager to justify anything we couldn’t quite explain.

The first show was a success, as well as the second, and the third. Every show after that was fraught with an undercurrent of nervousness. Is this the one where it will finally happen? What about this one? But night after night, the bond between Mira and Bianca grew, and they continued to perform well with no signs of sickness or injury or fatal accidents. After a steady month of shows, many of us around the camp were able to breathe easier again, confident that the fifth time had been a charge. But some of us still worried, Mira included, and we weren’t about to let our guard down any time soon.

We were just outside of Louisville when Mira came to my wagon, so pale and drawn as to look like a skeleton in a spangled headdress, tears in her eye. I didn’t need for her to speak to know what had happened, but she needed to say it, to let it out, which released a floodgate as I opened my arms and let her settle into them. “Something’s not right with Bianca,” she sobbed. “Something’s wrong. It’s happening again, Jeanette. It’s all happening again.”

I tried to hush her, tried to quiet her disturbed soul, but no amount of hair petting and tight squeezes could alleviate her despair. “There, there,” I said, though a darkness was forming into a hard lump against my heart. The poor girl didn’t know, but we had been discussing her strange and expensive predicament, realizing that we couldn’t keep wasting so much time and money on the elephants, popular as they were. There just wasn’t as much of a market for travelling circuses these days, and every set-back was enough to send us miles and miles behind where we needed to be.

We didn’t want to believe it. Mira was such a sweet girl, talented, with a brilliant smile that charmed audiences into emptying their pockets. But she was clearly cursed. When I saw Bianca lying on her side in a matted bed of straw, her enormous stomach practically vibrating with the labor of her heavy breaths, I knew what had to be done.

“Mira,” I said, my voice sticking in my throat, heavy and bitter on my tongue, “this isn’t good. This isn’t good at all. You know we can’t keep replacing your elephants. We know you take good care of them. We know you’re doing nothing wrong, so clearly you have to see what we see. It isn’t the elephants, Mira; it’s you. But there is one way to stop all this, and I think you can gather what it might be.”

She looked up at me, her eyes as round as a full moon, thinking at first that I was going to suggest she pursue a new act. And then realization dawned on her, and her whole body seemed to melt in dismay. “No, Jeanette, no, please. It isn’t true! I’m sure the curse seemed like a real thing back in the day, but you know it can’t be real. Curses aren’t real. They don’t really exist, it’s all just superstition. It’s got to be something in the water, or maybe something we’re feeding them. It’s not me, Jeanette. It’s not a curse.”

“There’s only one way to know for sure,” I murmured. “I’m so sorry, Mira.”

She saw the knife in my hand, opening her mouth to scream, but it was too late. With two swift movements, I stabbed the poor girl in her stomach, then pulled her head back to slit her throat. The blood I smeared onto Bianca’s white belly, along with herbs and oils and incantations, left a faint pink stain on her skin, which lingered there to remind us, to help us never forget poor Mira. Her love for the elephants wasn’t enough to overpower how toxic she was to them, but my magic was. We brought in a new elephant trainer, one who wasn’t as charming or effervescent as Mira, but I’m fairly sure that Bianca will now outlive us all.

L.S. Engler

L.S. Engler writes from outside of Chicago, though she grew up chasing dragons in the woods of Michigan. She is the editor of the World unknown Review and author of the Slayer Saga, a zombie trilogy. Her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the Saturday Evening Post, DarkFuse, and Pulp Modern.

You can find out more about L.S. at her homepage and Amazon Page.

Just A Taste

Lisa licked the blood from her fingers.
Metallic. Salty. A bit sweet.
It was always strange when it tasted sweet.
A flavor profile she had almost forgotten.
Thankfully Diabetes was the new norm and those who cheated.
They were a mouthful but she loved slurping them down.
Humans. Dominant species of the planet.
What a laugh.
Her kind roamed the stars long before these apes lost their hair.
She would again once she could get off this backward planet.
That’s all she could get out the next day when they found her.
Tripping, knee deep bathed in the hobo’s blood.

S.C. Cornett

The Midwest’s very own curvaceous author of strumpets, harlots, kink, fetish, and all kinds of other illicit and fun-filled naughty activities!

You can follow her work at http://sccornett.com.

Roses Are Red: Volume 2

The rose bush was Sarah’s pride. With reason, it had featured in many a gardening magazine, winning many prizes. Its petals were bright red, blood-red almost. The thorns; deadly. She smiled as she prepared the fertilizer. Her secret fertilizer. She mixed the ingredients, and added her special touch, leaving just a few drops for afterwards.

She stopped briefly to listen to the news; another child-Shaun- had gone missing.

“Terrible shame,” she muttered.

Sprinkling the mix with the soil, she poured the drops she had saved over the petals.

The petals opened to receive them.

“Good-bye Shaun. Thank you for helping.”

Justin Boote

Justin Boote has lived for over twenty years in Barcelona, Spain, plying his trade as a stressed waiter in a busy restaurant. He has been writing horror stories for just over a year, and currently has 8 published in diverse magazines including for Lycan Valley Press, Deadlights Shotgun magazine, Zimbell House Publishing, Dark Dossier Magazine and The Horrorzine’s summer edition.

He is also a member of a private writer’s forum called The Write Practice where he has also acted as a judge on two ocassions for their contests.

He can be found at Facebook under his own name, or at [email protected].

A Sea Of Unnamed Faces

She sat on the couch, her fingers tapping her handbag.

He’d done this hundreds of times. The key was to wait. If he pressed her too much he might spook her.

“I’ve been seeing things”

“Such as?”

“Ghosts. It’s like they’re always lurking in my peripheral vision. I’m not crazy. I swear”

“You aren’t,” he said flashing an affable smile.

“But ghosts don’t exist”

“But psychopaths do,” she said before she slit his throat.

She placed the bloodied knife back into her handbag and walked out of the therapist’s office. She was forever lost in the sea of unnamed faces.

Anusha VR

Anusha VR is a CA and CS with a penchant for traveling. Her works have been published in over thirty anthologies. Her chapbook is slated for publication in December 2017 by Chapeltown Publishing UK.

You can follow her work on Good Reads and Amazon.

Trembling With Fear 07/02/2017

Another week and another set of stories to enjoy. Hopefully, next week I’ll be able to make the incredibly delayed announcement for a partial expansion of ‘Trembling With Fear!’ On a fun side note, I’m actually getting caught up on submissions for both short stories and drabbles!

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Silver & White

The man didn’t want to be up here on these floors.  It was too noisy, too busy, too loud.  There were too many people, too many sensations.  He tried to tune it out, worked hard to keep his gaze firmly lowered as he pushed past the nurses in their trim, white uniforms.  He prayed they wouldn’t stop him, wouldn’t question him, and they didn’t.  They paid him no mind, just smiled and nodded as they wheeled the sick and decaying along faded linoleum on rattling, silver wheelchairs.

The elevators seemed to take an eternity to arrive.  The man could do nothing but wait, his heartbeat thundering in his ears like a distant, late summer storm.  It was during this eternity that he began to doubt himself, began to waiver.  Yet despite the strong urge to run, as soon as the elevator finally dinged its hollow sound and the silver doors slid open with a shake, the man stepped inside without hesitation.

It was the air.  That was the first thing he noticed upon exiting the elevator.  The air was sterile.  The smell of nothingness intermingled with an occasional whiff of ammonia or the sour stench of bleach.  It filled the hallway.  The man could almost feel it seeping into his pores, clinging to his clothes.  He hurried on, not looking back.

The door handle was cold to the touch, as was the door, and when he opened it, he was met with more of the icy chill, like a tangible manifestation of his own inner soul.

He examined his surroundings.  All was silver and white.  Polished metal cabinets lined the walls.  Trays with silver tools sat upon silver tables with clean white tablecloths draped about them.  The room was utterly dead, and the man knew all who dwelt within were dead as well.  As he turned to take in more of the still room, he was met with his own reflection in a thin silver mirror over a white porcelain sink.  It was a startling sliver of life in an otherwise lifeless setting.  He almost didn’t recognize himself and started suddenly at the image staring back at him.  He was thin and homely, with sunken in cheeks and eyebrows too bushy for his long, plain face.  He was wearing plain clothes, plain shoes, had a plain haircut…in fact, his entire being was screaming out in plain.  His manner suggested a shy, fragile man who probably had little contact with the outside world.  He had never had a girlfriend, or even a true friend for that matter.  He was the one picked on at school, the one always average but never above.  He was the person everyone looked at on the bus but never really noticed.  He was a tired, scared little man who had finally gone off the deep end but was afraid of drowning, and it showed in his every hesitant movement and gesture.

He maneuvered cautiously through the silver and white room, carefully winding his way around the metal tables until he arrived at the far wall.  This far wall was silver like the rest of the room.  Cold, metallic, lifeless, it had large drawers all along its face with numbers and letters scribbled above silver handles on pieces of white tape.  Trembling, the man reached out and grabbed one of the handles.  He gingerly pulled.  It slid open without a sound, and the man gasped.  The sudden intake of cold air made him cough, and as he coughed, he turned to see another man standing just a few yards away with another drawer from the long silver wall open in front of him.

As he turned, the other man turned as well, and their eyes locked.  Immediately, a sheepish, embarrassed look crossed both men’s faces.  Ashamed, they reacted as if they wanted to turn away, but some force seemed to hold them locked in a helpless, awkward stare.  The one was a fractured, mirror image of the other, as were the compulsions that led them both to this cold room in the dead of night.  Slowly and deliberately, both men pushed the drawers back into the long wall and stepped away.  Without a word, the stranger then quietly retreated into the shadows.  A moment later, a door creaked, and he was gone.

The remaining man stood rigid and still, breathing in the silence.  He looked down at his hands intently, held them in his gaze for a long moment, then reached over and picked up a silver tray from a nearby table.  He watched as his reflection distorted and cascaded, morphing into hideous caricatures.  Terrified, he dropped the tray, and for the first time in his adult life, unlocked the door hiding all of his innermost secrets, needs, desires, and emotions, screaming the scream of a dead man.

Joshua Shioshita

Joshua Shioshita


Joshua L Shioshita is a film school drop-out and occasional musician currently residing in the U.S. where he works an office by day and writes by night.  He is a proud lover of all things eerie and macabre much to the annoyance of his beautiful wife and two ferocious cats.
You can visit him at Joshua Shioshita

Date Night

Watched by dead eyes, me and Billy crack open the crypt’s padlocks.

Our bag tinkles with cans; this is as exciting as it comes in our little
town.

‘Ladies first,’ Billy sniggers.

We stretch out across the tombs. I’m lying on a Knight.

We drink, smoke and cuddle. I shouldn’t do the first two though. Not in
my condition.

Behind me I hear a rustle. Turning I spot her- bloodstained dress,
bashed in head, blue lips.

She looks familiar. I turn to Billy. ‘Is that…?’

No warning; his fists pulverise my skull.

Like trash, he stows me away. Smiling constantly.

Alyson Faye

Alyson trained originally in the UK as a teacher/tutor. She wrote a couple of children’s books which were published by Collins and Ginn. Now she lives near Bronte terrain in Yorkshire with her teen son, partner and 3 rescue cats. She writes noir Flash Fiction (some of which is published online) and spooky longer tales (3 are available for download on www.www.alfiedog). She has a collection of her Flash fiction coming out soon from Chapel Town Books in the UK. She enjoys old movies, singing, and swimming. She is a confirmed chocoholic and is still hopeless at maths. Her blog is at http://www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com.

Darkness and Light

The night was darker than usual.
No moon or stars lit her path.
The heat from the sun had lingered.
Carrying her coat in her arms she didn’t hear him creep up behind her.
There were no streetlights to cast a glimmer on the blade he raised and plunged it deep into her back.
She crumpled to the ground. Her screams muffled by the pungent hand held firmly over her mouth.
Piercing evil eyes met her panic as the knife sank through her flesh, stabbing her heart.
A bright light caught her eyes as her last breath left her body.

Amanda J Evans

Amanda J Evans writes paranormal and fantasy novels as well as children’s stories. Amanda lives in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland with her husband and two children. She was published in several journals and anthologies in 2016. Her first novel Finding Forever was published in 2017 and her forthcoming title Save Her Soul will be released in the summer of 2017. Amanda has also secured a publishing deal with Handersen Publishing for a children’s book and this will be released in the fall, 2017. Amanda is the author of *Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, *published in 2012. You can find out more on her website www.amandajevans.com.

Time of Death

I wake to find myself in a nightmare.  Instead of my bedroom, I’m in a white room with dozens of other people.  A small man with a clipboard stares at me.  On the wall there’s a number.  10.38.

“103.  Below average.”

“What?”

“The total should be closer to 107.”

“What?”

“Deaths.  107 deaths per minute.  That minute.”

He points at the number.

“I’m dead?”

He nods.

“So, what’s next?  Judgement?”

“No.  You spend eternity with those who died at the same time.”

“What about heaven?”

“No heaven, no hell.  Just this.  It’s the most efficient way.”

I start to scream.

 

 

 

 

 

R. J. Meldrum

R. J. Meldrum is an author and academic. Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010 with his wife Sally. His interest in the supernatural is a lifetime obsession and when he isn’t writing ghost stories, he’s busy scouring the shelves of antique book-sellers to increase his collection of rare and vintage supernatural books. During the winter months, he trains and races his own team of sled dogs.

He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Digital Fiction and James Ward Kirk Fiction.

You can find out more about RJ at his homepage.

Trembling With Fear 06/25/2017

So, we’re finally about caught up on submissions. I’m hoping by the time you read this it means I’ve gotten back to everyone so if you haven’t heard on your sub, please reach out! I believe there might be a couple missing from when I moved around our e-mail. That being said, we could use a few new regular AND drabble submissions!

Also, I’m hoping next week that I’ll be able to announce a co-editor for TWF which will lighten my all too busy load as of late and lower our turn around even more! (A key step in some of the changes which we’ll be looking to make next year.)

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

The Long Road to Immortality

It was dark. The road seemed to have been meandering forever. Her eyelids felt heavy and sleep was whispering sweet words in her ear that she’d already been half-seduced by. She’d passed through hill after valley, hamlet after village, and still her GPS pressed her to go on. The fuzzy white halos of light that were her headlights against the fog that surrounded the car had a comforting, relaxing aura about them, which only added to her wooziness.

Up ahead darkness loomed, somehow darker still. The car’s engine continued its purr, pulling her toward it. Closer now, she could see skeletal fingers through the fog. Trees, barren with the burden of the frozen winter. She zipped through the forest, her GPS still silent, its long, slender blue line still urging her on. The road narrowed and the tips of branches began tapping at her windows intermittently.

“In four hundred metres, turn left,” said the woman’s voice on her GPS.

She squinted, peering in to the murk. Could see nothing. Still she drove on.

“In one hundred metres, turn left,” the voice again. “Turn left.”

She slowed almost to a stop and could just make out a dirt track veering off to the left. She turned, the car bumping off the smooth tarmac on to bumpy earth and stone.

“Your destination is in forty metres, on your right,” came the voice of the GPS once more, the screen illuminated, clamouring for her attention to rate the directions she’d been given. She pulled in to the clearing on the right, swiped away the message on her screen and turned off the engine. She fastened her thick coat, pulled on her woollen gloves, tightened the scarf around her neck and stepped out of the car. She looked around. Nothing. No wait, a shape. She stepped towards it. Out of the gloom appeared a well. Old fashioned with a slate roof and a crank that could have been centuries old.

The wind blasted through the bones of trees that surrounded her as she approached the well. She looked back at her texts from him. ‘Meet me at these co-ordinates,’ the last one read. She looked around her again. Nothing. No-one.

She bit the middle finger of her right glove and tugged it off. Thumbed into the phone ‘Here’ and pressed send. The light started to dim, then brightened, a tick next to message. Delivered. She stamped her feet to keep the blood flowing in her legs. It was a frigid night. Then her phone buzzed, the screen brightly coming to life. She swiped up.

‘Do you still want to join the immortals?’ read the message in her preview.

She took her gloveless right hand from her pocket, tried to stop it trembling as she typed. ‘Of course. It’s why I’m here.’ Send. Since the first message left on her voicemail. The anonymously delivered envelopes of money that had followed. The secrets that had been revealed to her in those cryptic emails. Her ego, massaged like it had never been in her utterly unremarkable life to date, would not let her off this train now.

Another minute passed. The silence was deafening. Nothing stirred, but for the icy blasts from the north every few minutes. She looked over her shoulder to her car. Plumes of steam were still rising from under the bonnet. Then another buzz. She brought her phone to life, another message. ‘Coming,’ it read.

Then she waited. Paced. Reached out to touch the crank handle. Frozen, as she ought to have expected. She stepped backwards, almost tripping on an exposed root. Looked at her phone once again. Then she heard something. A cracking sound on the other side of the well. She tried to look, but could see nothing. Why hadn’t she brought a torch? “Hello,” she called out. No reply, but more cracking of branches. Closer. Then a figure – more of a shadow really – began to emerge from the woods.

“Hello Emily,” came the man’s voice. “You’ve come a long way. Thank you. Are you ready?”

Emily nodded. Then realised it was almost certainly imperceptible in the darkness. “Y…yes. I am. I think I am.” She shivered. She wasn’t sure if it was the cold this time, or the anticipation.

The man stopped at the other side of the well. She could begin to make out some of his facial features. “Go to the well Emily. Wind the crank.”

She stepped forward, put her gloved right hand on the dull metal of the crank and pushed. It wouldn’t budge. “It’s stuck,” she said, still trying to force it.

“It’s not stuck, it’s heavy. Two hands.”

She lifted her left hand and pushed the crank harder, it began to budge. Her muscles screamed and she felt herself starting to sweat at the weight of the bucket on the chain. It slowly rose, the effort required seeming to multiply every with every revolution. She heard creaking of the wood, but could not see in the cylinder of darkness that was the well shaft.

“Almost there,” he said in encouragement.

And then it rose up out of the darkness, that seemed to be broken like the surface of a liquid. In the wide wooden trough was a teenage boy. He was asleep. Possibly unconscious. It was difficult to see. He was wearing a filthy track suit, his hair was matted, his skin pale.

“Lock the crank, by pulling it down.”

She did as he said.

“Look down by your feet.”

She looked down. Could see nothing. Not even her feet.

“You’ll have to get closer.”

She looked at the man. His features, still out of focus in the shadows, remained impassive. She sighed and crouched, hearing her knees give off an arthritic click as she did so. She felt around with her hand, finding soil, leaves, twigs and then something solid. A knife. Her breath rushed from her. She tasted sick in her mouth. But she choked it back and stood, knife in hand.

“Now?” she asked, unable to form the rest of the question.

“Cut his throat.”

There was silence. The wind had dropped. She could hear her heart drumming, double-time in her ears.

“What?”

“Cut his throat.”

“And then I’ll-“

“-and then you’ll join the immortals. Do it.”

She lifted her left hand to the boy’s head, tipped it backward, exposing the neck. His sallow skin darkened under the pressure from her hand. She raised the blade so that the edge was pressed against his neck. Her hand trembled. She let out a breath and steadied herself. Then she pressed and slid the blade along the line of his throat. Dark blood, near-black in the pitch of the woodland, began to seep from the wound, then flow faster. The glove on her right hand began to get heavy and warm as it soaked up the blood, running over the blade. Emily looked up. He was still watching from behind the well. The boy shuddered, spluttered as his lungs gave out and then was still.

Emily released her hands from him, let them hang limp at her sides. Felt the blood already beginning to coagulate on the fingers of her cutting hand. She couldn’t feel herself breathing. Was she breathing? Her mind was thrumming with what she had just done, but she managed to find a moment to focus. She looked directly at the man, or the shape of him, at least.

“And now?” She let her question hang in the icy air between them.

“Throw the knife into the well.”

She tossed the knife down behind the trough, heard the metal clanging against the shaft once, twice, before any trace of it was swallowed up by the darkness.

“OK.” She waited for a long moment.

“That’s it,” he said. “You’re immortal now. You’ll live forever.”

“I… I don’t understand.”

“Look up Emily, see your immortality.”

She looked up. Saw nothing but the spindly branches of trees, criss-crossed over one another, hatching out every last speck of sky above. She looked back to him.

“Really look, woman,” he said. It sounded like a taunt.

She leaned her head back again and then she saw it. Above and just behind her. A red light. A tiny LED. She felt the world enter a spin around her.

“Yes, it is,” he said. She could hear him smiling. “It’s a camera. Go-pro. Night vision. Why don’t you wave to your public?” He chuckled at his own joke. First I checked in to this location, then I started the live video broadcast, and then I tagged you. You’re a social media star, Emily. There are, let me see-“ He took his smart phone from the deep pocket of his long coat “-two thousand-and-thirty-one viewers.”

“But you-“

“Am not who I said I was. And an hour from now, will be someone else entirely. What’s that?”

He turned his head slightly, his eyes darting upward.

“Sirens?” she asked, though to whom she wasn’t sure. She looked back to the road. Nothing yet. She turned back in time to see the shape of the man melting into the shadows of the forest. She knelt. And waited. And wept.

Kev Harrison

Kev Harrison

Kev Harrison is a British author of dark fiction, living and working in Lisbon, Portugal. In the past year, he has had short stories published in anthologies by Jitter Press and 9Tales Told in the Dark. In the coming months, he has work awaiting publication in anthologies by MacKenzie Publishing and Lycan Valley Press. He is also working on his first novel.

Monsters

I never liked the well in our backyard. It scared me since the day we moved in. It smelled bad—like garbage and dead cats. The walls were covered in nasty moss, and it was in the water that mommy tried to pull up from the bottom.

And it was so dark down there. I knew there had to be a monster living in it.

I’m down here now, cold and waiting for the monster to get me. Mommy says that if I’m a good girl again, she’ll let me out.

I think the monster will eat me by then . . .

Patrick Winters

Patrick Winters is a recent graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has been published in the likes of Sanitarium Magazine, The Sirens Call, Trysts of Fate, and other such titles.

You can find out more about Patrick on his homepage.

Roses Are Red: Volume 1

The baby’s crying was coming from the garden. Strange, he thought, because they didn’t have children. Joanne couldn’t, she’d told him.

He donned his dressing-gown, and headed outside. The crying was faint, muffled. It was coming from the rose bush, but, he thought, beneath the roses.

Oh God. Could someone perhaps have buried…? A young mother perhaps?

He put his ear the ground. The sobs died away.

Frantic, he scraped away the earth until he came to a small bundle. Opening it, he saw a photo, and a child’s skeleton. He looked at the photo. It was Joanne, heavily pregnant.

Justin Boote

Justin Boote has lived for over twenty years in Barcelona, Spain, plying his trade as a stressed waiter in a busy restaurant. He has been writing horror stories for just over a year, and currently has 8 published in diverse magazines including for Lycan Valley Press, Deadlights Shotgun magazine, Zimbell House Publishing, Dark Dossier Magazine and The Horrorzine’s summer edition.

He is also a member of a private writer’s forum called The Write Practice where he has also acted as a judge on two ocassions for their contests.

He can be found at Facebook under his own name, or at [email protected].

Jagged Little Teeth

They gleamed in the dark

Those jagged little teeth

Chomping at the bit

Nibbling at your feet

They’re from under the bed

And scurry across the floor

Monsters in the shadows

Who live behind closed doors

They fuel our nightmares

And hide beneath the stairs

The knock at the windows

Scratching in the walls

Peace of mind is in the past

As soon as night falls

The clicking of their legs echo

As they approach their sleeping prey

A plague on the sanity

For those who’ve ended their day

They feed upon the happiness

On all who have dozed away

Stuart Conover

Stuart Conover is a father, husband, rescue dog owner, horror author, blogger, journalist, horror enthusiast, comic book geek, science fiction junkie, and IT professional. With all of that to cram in on a daily basis, it is highly debatable that he ever is able to sleep and rumors have him attached to an IV drip of caffeine to get through most days.

A resident in the suburbs of Chicago (and once upon a time in the city) most of Stuart’s fiction takes place in the Midwest if not the Windy City itself. From downtown to the suburbs to the cornfields – the area is ripe for urban horror of all facets.

Oh, he’s also the editor of this site!

You can find out more about Stuart over at his homepage.

Trembling With Fear 06/18/2017

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Mr. Jackson

Darren Phoski lifted the blind and peered out the window. He was still there. Mr. Jackson; owner of the jewellery store across the street. Jackson had been watching him for over two hours now, and Darren was decidedly worried.

I shouldn’t be worried, he thought, if we analyse the basics. There was absolutely no way that Jackson could have seen him during the robbery. He’d been wearing a mask, and hadn’t said a single word that might have given away his eastern European accent. And besides…

So what the hell was he doing out there?

And what the hell am I gonna do about it?

Darren sat back down at the table beside the window, and with a trembling hand picked up the litre bottle of beer he was drinking. The liquid swished and foamed. Pretty much like what his head was doing right now.

The initial shock and horror was now subsiding, to be replaced by unease. Uncertainty. He looked at the bottle as though it may hold the answer or a solution to the problem, and to a certain extent there could be a relation here, he mused. Certainly, after downing the fifth since seeing Jackson the first time, there was a chance he might be imagining it. Alcohol could play havoc with one’s perceptions of things.

He decided to chance another peek. The seventh.

With the tips of his fingers, he lifted the blind, holding his breath without even realizing, and cast a wary eye out.

“Shit!” he hissed, and jumped back from the window as though it might explode at any minute.

Mr. Jackson stood across the road, dressed in his habitual three-piece black suit, arms by his side, and staring up directly into Phoski’s second-floor window. The overhead street light cast an eerie shadow around Jackson that should not have been there either. And Phoski would have sworn that the shadow moved of its own accord, albeit slightly. Swirling, expanding and decreasing as though it were breathing. Partners in crime. A dark one. Very dark.

Darren slumped back into his chair; drunk, nervous, and alarmed. He mentally recalled the robbery. It had gone perfectly. Five minutes before closing time at eight, when Mr Jackson would have no customers, people would be busy rushing home from work, and Jackson no doubt thinking of dinner, and putting his weary feet up in front of the television. He was reasonably old-near retirement age presumed Phoski-thus should provide little or no threat. By simply removing the revolver he kept hidden in his jacket, no words would be necessary. The language of guns was universal.

Jackson had looked scared, as though he might suffer a heart attack even. Phoski didn’t want that to happen. It was one thing going away for a couple of years for theft, another off for fifteen for second-degree. So, he finished the job as quick as possible before anything nasty might happen, and left. The next day, he sold the jewels for a tidy eight thousand, and life seemed wonderful again.

And now this.

Somehow that old fucker had discovered that it had been him. How, he couldn’t even begin to wonder, but then, considering that what was waiting, lurking, outside for him- and who knows what ideas Jackson might have in his head should they be re-united- it might be an idea to start looking at things in a new light

Because Mr. Jackson, owner of Jackson’s Jewellery Shop, should not fucking be there.

All kinds of drunken thoughts passed through Darren’s head. Maybe he’d read the article in the newspaper wrong? Perhaps he was shitfaced and imagining it? The guilt of what he’d done catching up with him. Could it be that…? No. Don’t go there. Because that’s impossible, right? He would be the first to accept that plenty of weird shit happened in the world-often tragic, occasionally amusing, sometimes downright bizarre-but that was the kind of shit you laughed and joked about in the bar with your buddies. The usual thing;

‘been smoking too much dope, have you?’

‘been watching too much X-Files, pal. It’s getting to ya.’

‘good idea to see a psychiatrist, don’t you think, chum?’

On one occasion, during the robbery of a gas station on Halloween of all nights, the employee’s girlfriend had startled him (scared him almost to fucking death actually) by appearing from the office wearing a zombie mask after hearing the ruckus out front. That had freaked him out, and for several days afterwards, had seriously considered a new career. An honest one. But this…

This bordered on abnormal. Beyond comprehension. Fucking neurotic.

Darren dropped the empty beer bottle. He couldn’t stay here all night, on the verge of a mental breakdown, wondering if he had finally lost it, or there really was an explanation plausible, natural. It was time to confront Mr. Damn Jackson who should be somewhere else right now, somewhere specific that did not allow for doubt or certain questions about one’s state of mind.

“Fuck it,” he said and stood up, rapidly grabbing onto the edge of the table to avoid falling back down again.

Two things were about to happen. One: some guy impersonating Jackson was going to get very probably shot for freaking him out so much, or two: Darren was going to need lots of help very probably in the near future. If he survived.

He picked up his trusty revolver, thrust it into the back of his trousers, and before heading towards the door, looked once more at the newspaper article to confirm his suspicions;

JEWELLERY STORE OWNER DIES IN ROBBERY

Andrew Jackson, owner of Jackson’s Jewellery Store, was found dead of a heart attack this morning following a robbery at his store. Police are currently investigating the robbery, but as yet have no leads…

Justin Boote

Justin Boote has lived for over twenty years in Barcelona, Spain, plying his trade as a stressed waiter in a busy restaurant. He has been writing horror stories for just over a year, and currently has 8 published in diverse magazines including for Lycan Valley Press, Deadlights Shotgun magazine, Zimbell House Publishing, Dark Dossier Magazine and The Horrorzine’s summer edition.

He is also a member of a private writer’s forum called The Write Practice where he has also acted as a judge on two ocassions for their contests.

He can be found at Facebook under his own name, or at [email protected].

Soul Mate

We gorge ourselves on the scents and sights of the street market. From behind the church, a lone flute pipes its melancholy notes. Lured in, we wander over to where the toppled tombstones hug the earth. A line of dancing children snakes out of the graveyard grass. One of them, a bedraggled girl, approaches with a pitiful smile showing rotted teeth.

‘Rosemary?’ She holds out her hand.

You cannot resist her call. The music tugs at your spirit. You are drifting away from me.

Selfishly I have kept you with me too long. It is time to let you go.

Alyson Faye

Alyson trained originally in the UK as a teacher/tutor. She wrote a couple of children’s books which were published by Collins and Ginn. Now she lives near Bronte terrain in Yorkshire with her teen son, partner and 3 rescue cats. She writes noir Flash Fiction (some of which is published online) and spooky longer tales (3 are available for download on www.www.alfiedog). She has a collection of her Flash fiction coming out soon from Chapel Town Books in the UK. She enjoys old movies, singing, and swimming. She is a confirmed chocoholic and is still hopeless at maths. Her blog is at http://www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com.

The Itch

There was a need she couldn’t fill.

Sex, drugs, rock and roll, she’d tried it all.

It was always there, unfulfilled.

She wanted more. Needed more.

The boys couldn’t help with lust and desire.

The girls couldn’t help in the heat of the fire.

The highs lead to lows and turned happiness to woes.

The music was a reprieve but couldn’t satiate her need.

But one day she found the solution to her pain.

An accident that happened while driving in the rain.

She’d killed her first in that dreary night.

It wouldn’t be the last. It felt so right.

S.C. Cornett

The Midwest’s very own curvaceous author of strumpets, harlots, kink, fetish, and all kinds of other illicit and fun-filled naughty activities!

You can follow her work at http://sccornett.com.

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