Deadline: September 1st, 2017
Payment: Unlisted but “will always meet or exceed SFWA minimum compensation guidelines”
Retro Future is a quarterly pulp magazine that searches for diverse, surprising, and progressive science fiction in art, prose, essay, and comics.
Issue Submission Themes
Issue #4: Resistance to oppression.
We welcome submissions of art and writing that approaches retrofuturism through a progressive lens. Essays and flash fiction of approximately 250-500 words is especially welcome; longer works may be serialized.
Comic submissions should be 1-8 pages of finished work. Anything longer may get serialized across multiple issues. Please note that inside art should be in grayscale (please refer to art and comic templates for details.)
Galileo Books acquires first serial rights; upon publication, these rights revert back to you, the author. We ask that you acknowledge Retro Future (Galileo Books) as the venue of original publication when the work appears in your book or is otherwise collected.
If a work becomes unavailable while under our review, please contact us via email. Submitted work for specific issues may be considered for other issues if themes fit. Please include your name and contact information (at least an email) at the top of your submission.
Art and comic templates are located here. Please make sure that art finals are high resolution (at least 300 DPI), in the RGB or Grayscale color space, and native Photoshop or TIFF files. No JPG or GIF.
(Dropbox will ask you to join, you can ignore that and click the ‘continue to download’ link)
Written material should be attached to the email in TXT, RTF or Word formats.
Retro Future is a progressive publication. Subjects such as sexual violence, un-examined racism, and other potentially offensive material are often used as fodder for exposition in genre stories–this is not appropriate for inclusion in Retro Future.
We are looking for forward-looking and optimistic science and science-fiction. Sensitive topics can be part of a good story, but a vision of a future better than our present is the focus of Retro Future. Keep this in mind when submitting.
In the subject, please format as follows for artwork:
Full Name, artrf, Your Project Title
In the subject, please format as follows for writing:
Full Name, litrf, Your Project Title
This will help our filters organize better! You can expect a response up to a month after the deadline date.
We will always meet or exceed SFWA minimum compensation guidelines.
Via: Galileo Games.
Deadline: July 15th, 2017
Payment: 6 cents per word
“Strange Beasties” – Slipstream. Are you itching to invent your own odd literary devices or creatures? Impress us, delight us, or scare us with the diversity of your fiendish creations. Creatures of the id don’t necessarily have to be monsters, but they do need to be strange. We’d fancy some ghostbusters and monster hunters too.
Reading Period: May 15 – July 15, 2017
Writer Deadline: July 15, 2017
Publication Date: September 20, 2017
Third Flatiron Publishing is based in Boulder, Colorado, and Ayr, Scotland. We are looking for submissions to our quarterly themed anthologies. Our focus is on science fiction and fantasy and anthropological fiction. We want tightly plotted tales in out-of-the-ordinary scenarios. Light horror is acceptable, provided it fits the theme.
Please send us short stories that revolve around age-old questions and have something illuminating to tell us as human beings. Fantastical situations and creatures, exciting dialog, irony, mild horror, and wry humor are all welcome. Stories should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Inquire if longer.
Role models for the type of fiction we want include Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, Vernor Vinge, and Ken Kesey. We want to showcase some of the best new shorts available today.
For each anthology, we will also accept a few very short humor pieces on the order of the “Shouts and Murmurs” feature in The New Yorker Magazine (600 words or so). These can be written from a first-person perspective or can be mini-essays that tell people what they ought to do, how to do something better, or explain why something is like it is, humorously. An SF/Fantasy bent is preferred.
Continuing with Third Flatiron’s quarterly themed anthologies, we will be soliciting SF/Fantasy/Horror short stories with the following themes. Themes are designed to be open-ended, allowing authors considerable leeway. We appreciate short, imaginative tales, preferring those that work with the theme in some way. Short stories should be 3,000 words or less. Flash humor pieces (<=1,000 words) can be on any theme. We aim to be inclusive and encourage submissions from all creators.
Stories should be submitted in either Microsoft Word (using double spacing), RTF, or plain text. They should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Flash humor pieces (Grins and Gurgles) should be short, around 600 words.
Please don’t send simultaneous or multiple submissions. If a story has been rejected, you can then send another.
Submit by email to
either as an attachment (Word, RTF) or in the body of the mail (text).
In the Subject: line of the email, please put
to avoid being deemed a canned meat product based on ham.
If the work is for the humor section, please note that in the body of your email. A brief bio and a one- or two-sentence synopsis in the body of your email would also be helpful to us.
Use the following template (basically, follow William Shunn’s Standard Manuscript Format):
[10 blank lines]
Body of story
Our response time is expected to be about 8 weeks (or less if the writer deadline is coming up soon).
As of: November 1, 2016
Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 6 cents per word (U.S./SFWA professional rate), in return for the first publication rights to the story for six months after publication. All other rights will remain with the author. We no longer offer royalties. If your story is selected as the lead story, we request permission to podcast the story as a free sample portion of the anthology. We welcome new writers.
Third Flatiron will price and market your story to various e-publishing venues. We will format the story for the most popular electronic readers and platforms. You agree that we may distribute a sample (portion of the story) to potential customers.
For non-U.S. submissions, we prefer to pay via PayPal, if you have such an account.
Authors selected for publication will also be entitled to one free online copy of the anthology.
Via: Third Flat Iron Press.
Another week and another set of stories to enjoy! If you did like any of the works included, please be sure to comment to the authors in the comments below.
As usual, we’re a bit low on Drabble and if you could feel up to sharing 100 words it would be much appreciated! We’re also looking for some potentially interested editors to help out on the installments and grow this into 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.
This is the last testament I shall pen on the horrors that unfolded around the incident of December 3rd, 1837. I will not go into the details of the voyage, for it was many months on brutal seas. Instead, I shall tell only of our arrival upon that rock. This brief document pertains to the voyage of Captain Manus from London upon the ‘Old Venerable’ and the fate of the crew of said journey.
The memory of my friends and crew’s execution upon that blighted isle is an image I wish not to recall, as such, I deign to skip to my own survival. That terror made manifest haunts me still, the thing from beyond the veil stalks me to this day, I fear. I imagine it may be the last testament I write, if illness does not claim me first.
I will start my recounting after the death of each and every man who had pledged to my service. I had been in the ancient construction for what felt like a full day. I had discovered each body in manners most macabre than any man should ever have to see. I resolved to flee, to escape; in that moment all the sanity left at my disposal demanded it. To this end, to save myself from suicide and other comforts, I ran away from.. It..
I peered, the gleaming flicker danced along the frame, spilling light down the stone hallway. The thumping footsteps subsided. Perhaps it tired or lost my trail, I could not allow the hope of either eventuality. I turned, fumbling through the archway, catching my sodden garments on the dry stones edge, ripping them further. The oppressive miasma forced its way into my nostrils; it’s unnatural pungency stinging the senses with the very offensiveness of it. How had it come to this? To what end had my fellows come when they beached this pitiless rock? The question that burned deep within my mind, the question that wakes me in fever when sleep ever takes me; what was the being I had glimpsed? That wet, glistening, nameless and formless thing. The human mind was not made to endure such sightings. Yet still, no matter the amount of narcotics I thrust into my veins, I see it.
Instinct pushed me onward. My breath came in gasps as I spied the stair that we had ascended, too blind in our rush for riches. Perhaps a hope was left in this place which sought to suffocate the dreams of man. I crossed the corridor quickly, taking pains to conceal my rush and began my descent. Then the rasping again. I can’t help but convulse somewhat as I write this. It was close. Close enough to echo from the bottom stair. The pulse that pounded in my veins accelerated further. How? How did it pass so quickly? From what pit of an unknown hell had this abhorrence been spat forth?
I doubled back, picking up pace. I still remember how my heart beat was like a cacophony in my breast. I wanted out. I slipped into the hallway again, hoping and praying to God this wretch had spared the fate of the others. There was no sound now. I allowed myself, foolishly, to hope it had gone and as I lay there, miserable and pathetic, I thought it had.
But then it came again. The guttural rasp of air through a violated mouth carried to my refuge and the terror returned like hands around my throat. That noise… It was like nothing the natural world has ever birthed. The palpitations threatened to overcome me. I was unsure if I was exerting extraordinary will, or if I was frozen in a grip too strong to overcome. As I hardened the fabric of my soul to the dread, I took one final, sharp breath. That was nearly my undoing. Silent, but not silent enough.
The grotesquery had spied me. Perhaps he always had. What came next was not meant for mortal comprehension.
The creature, for it could be described no other way, spoke to me. No language of man, no syllables devised by a sane mind. The noise. The thundering, agonising noise of its speech was like the roaring pistons of a dreadnought. At the same time, they seemed to suck the life out of the world. Like the numbing cold that follows a severe burn, they imprinted in my mind.
“Do you fear me?”
I collapsed against the wall, my tattered form destitute.
“You have released me. For this”, it hissed “you have my gratitude. Leave and behold the calamity to come.”
I remained as silent as I could be. I wanted to rip my own veins out for fear their frantic beat would be a beacon to this abomination.
“I have taken your cohorts. ”. A thin trickle of scarlet dripped past my lip, I recall the fecund taste of my own discoloured blood and the pressure that threatened to rip my head asunder. I thought “What has it done?”. A thought. Yet it heard me…
“Harken when I say, what I have done is beyond your comprehension”.
I heard it’s unnatural breaths cutting through the thick smog of this nightmare scape. It’s titanic footfalls slapping against the slab floor. It pressed towards me where I hid, it’s crushing presence threatened to squeeze life from me.
Then it came..
It was something primordial. Ancient. It was both humanoid and utterly bestial. A maw that shifted between hanging down and being ravaged and ripped to bloody shreds, to then retracting and displaying a blossom of teeth. The skin, if it was skin, shifted before my very eyes, taking on a plethora of tones which to see caused me to be seized by a wracking cough and my own blood to come from my eyes.
That truly monstrous effigy stared through me. It seen all my fears, every thought and emotion, all the shards of my sanity. And eviscerated them. When I at last seen the eyes, those orbs of such utter malice, burning in their intesity of sickly light I nearly weep while I write even now… I fled. What else could I do? I ran with rancid air burning in my breast, I ran in a state of terror induced delirium while the choking scent of putrefaction hung around me and the sinister moans pursued me. I left my companions, men I had been at sea with for years. I left them to die in that hellish domain. Those phantom discs plague me. That sighting will haunt me with tainted visitations until I am dust.
I care not for any judgement from whoever shall find and read this. It is my last words to the world and if it condemns me as a madman then so be it. I have left this quill for the past hour, my body was overcome with a sudden malady (apologies for the blood on this parchment). The hour is now ten past the stroke of midnight and I fear I won’t have the sobriety to scribble these last few words so I shall finish what I can now. I have never chosen to write of this event, nor even break breath of it.
Tonight is different. Tonight, after the last thirty years of my life spent in fever and wavering sanity, I have succumb. The beast… it has returned.
I can feel it. I feel it as surely as I feel the opiums seize me, as surely as I feel my pulse. I have felt it for months, but now… Now that palpable tension reached its crescendo when I seen them. Those eyes. Those eyes…. The eyes. They gnaw at me. They stalk me still. And now they have found me. Even as I write I feel it. I feel it. Hell has never birthed a more triumphant son than it did the day my nameless tormenter managed to leave that blighted isle…
….Out the window before me… Good God in heaven, I see them… I see it…
May God forgive my soul for the cardinal sin I am about to commit.
(Found in the empty room of Captain Manus along with a shotgun, blood stains around the writing desk and the log of the ‘Old Venerable’ of the 3rd of December, 1837. Log of voyage on file with London Constabulary. Scattered notes and journals discovered at scene, to be read and recorded. No body discovered.)
Shaun Mclaren is from Glasgow, Scotland where he stays with his fiancee and swarm of (two) rats. Specialising in old fashioned and extremely dark horror and dark fantasy to rival the grittiest as well as poetry. Currently working on his first full length horror novel, ‘Father William’, set for release later this year as well as producing flash-horror collections alongside new-comers ‘Four Horsemen Press’. Check out his Facebook page for updates on his dark secretions.
Princess Samira locked herself in her bedchamber, then eagerly retrieved the empty oil lamp hidden in a wardrobe. She’d killed for this. Unable to wait a moment longer, she rubbed the vessel and recited the incantations she had read in the forbidden texts.
Mist arose out of the vessel, taking the shape of a man.
“Milady, I shall grant you three wishes,” the djinn said.
“My only desire is to be young and beautiful forever,” Samira said.
“Your wish is granted,” the djinn replied, bowing with a flourish.
Samira froze in place, her youth and beauty forever cast in stone.
Mary Jo Fox
Mary Jo Fox is so new at writing professionally, she doesn’t even have a website yet. However, she has had a couple of stories published already, “The Beast Outside” in the Shadows of Salem anthology (2016) from FunDead Press and “Dead End” in Deadhead Miles Vol. 2 (2016) from FoF Publishing.
The Good Son
When we left her with our three years old son she smiled and with her
strange foreign accent said:
“Your son look so good. I could eat him.”
When we later returned home, the house was filled with the lovely smell of cooking.
“I have cooked your son” the babysitter explained.
“I have cooked for your son” my wife corrected.
No she said and dragged us into the kitchen. She showed us the pot on the stove and when the steam dissolved, I could see my son’s face under a layer of vegetables and he surely looked good to me.
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.
Megan squeezed her eyes shut, yet nothing could stop the images from flashing within her mind.
Since the car accident, the visions tormented her.
Relentless, violent, horrific-awake or asleep- they came.
With each day they’d increased in frequency and duration. She felt like she was losing her mind.
The doctors answer to her pleas was a padded room and a myriad of pills that did nothing at all.
Megan opened her eyes to find herself surrounded by decaying corpses.
Their distended jaws mocked her with gaping smiles.
With a distraught howl, she ran headfirst into the door, praying for darkness.
Liz Butcher resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, daughter, and two cats, Pandora and Zeus. While writing is her passion, her numerous interests include psychology, history, astronomy, the paranormal, mythology, reading, art and music – all which help fuel her imagination. She also loves being out in nature, especially amongst the trees or near the water. Liz has published a number of short stories in anthologies and currently has a multitude of projects in the works including her upcoming novel, ‘Fates Revenge’.
You can find out more about Liz at her homepage.
Payment: 6.00 for each accepted original story; $2.00 for each accepted story reprint; $2.00 for each accepted poem; and 10.00 for the door art
Note: Reprints Allowed
Note: Younger Target Audience – READ!
Spaceports & Spidersilk is an online magazine for younger readers [8 to 17 and beyond]. Formerly it was called KidVisions. Spaceports & Spidersilk features short stories, poems, and art, as well as brief essays on science and the environment, interviews, quizzes, contests, [and, quite frankly, anything else that is genre-oriented and will help encourage the younger generation to read…and to dream, especially about going to the stars]. We at Nomadic Delirium Press hope that younger writers and artists, as well as adults, will submit their work.
The genres for Spaceports & Spidersilk include fantasy, science fiction, and a category we are going to define as ‘shadow stories’. Shadow stories are mild horror. We want spooky, not terrifying. Most of all, we want ADVENTURES! And especially SF or fantasy adventures.
Also, we are looking for works set in a speculative genre, rather than about a speculative genre. In other words, we want stories where the fantasy or science fiction is real within the piece, not pieces where those elements turn out to be a dream, or even a daydream.
While we believe that adult readers can and will enjoy good stories aimed at kids, we still want stories which are aimed at kids. Generally, kids (especially in the 8-14 range ) prefer to read about other kids. Stories about middle-aged couples seldom appeal.
No reader, young or old, wants to be force fed a moral. Too often stories written for kids seem to be all about the lesson the reader is meant to learn, and few things are as likely to make readers run screaming. Give us a good story, one that entertains and connects with emotions. If that story causes the readers to rethink something, or proves an interesting point, great, but in the end it has to be something they enjoy reading.
The guidelines for submissions to Spaceports & Spidersilk are simple and straightforward. Here they are:
What we want:
Spaceports & Spidersilk will consider—
genre stories of up to 3000 words.
poetry of up to 25 lines.
art, in color or black-and-white
essays of up to 800 words.
interviews and articles of up to 800 words
Spaceports & Spidersilk will accept reprints, provided they are identified as such, provided you have the rights to the work, and provided you tell us where and when the submission was first published. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.
What we DO NOT want:
NO “bad language”. This includes cussing, swearing, and those wonderful hyphenated words you use when you whack your thumb with a hammer. You know what they are. I don’t have to tell you. Also, no racial epithets. You know what those are, too.
NO sex. Your characters may kiss, or fall in love, or get married, but that’s all.
What we ALMOST DO NOT want:
NO drugs, unless there are severe and very clear consequences to the character involved with them.
NO sexist language. I said ‘almost’. It is quite typical of boys of a certain age to say things like, “She can’t do that, she’s just a girl.” Usually, in real life, such statements are preludes to valuable and sometimes painful lessons learned. So it must be in the fiction you submit to Spaceports & Spidersilk.
Effective 01/01/2008, Marcie Lynn Tentchoff is the editor of Spaceports & Spidersilk.
Payment–Effective the issue of March 2008, the following payments apply:
Spaceports & Spidersilk will pay $6.00 for each accepted original story; $2.00 for each accepted story reprint; $2.00 for each accepted poem; and 10.00 for the door art. These rates are effective with the December 2011 issue.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR WORK:
Please submit stories and essays [and articles, etc] as RTF attachments to Spacesilk at yahoo dot com. You will have to convert this to a usable address, of course. Please write SUBMISSION and the title of your piece in the subject line of your e-mail.
Please submit poems in the body of the e-mail to Spacesilk at yahoo dot com. You will have to convert this to a usable address, of course. Please write SUBMISSION and the title of your piece in the subject line of your e-mail.
Please submit art as a jpeg attachment to Spacesilk at yahoo dot com. You will have to convert this to a usable address, of course. Please write SUBMISSION and the title of your piece in the subject line of your e-mail.
If Spaceports & Spidersilk accepts your submission, we will ask for your mailing address so that we may send your payment. We will also ask for a brief bio of the writer or artist.
If you have any questions about this, or about Spaceports & Spidersilk, please e-mail them to Spacesilk at yahoo dot com. Again, you will have to convert this to a usable address.
Via: Nomadic Delirium Press.
Payment: $15.00 each story. $30.00 for stories that are featured on the Front Page.
Note: Audio and print rights also wanted so be sure to check that out.
Welcome to With Candlelight, a literary magazine created for and by authors. We aim to deliver creative and worthwhile content that both our writers and readers crave. Really, what we want to do is create a community where those who crave a good story, and those who strive to produce one, can come together-hopefully in a state of wonder.
Don’t worry about the genre, we’re all inclusive. We want your lit-fiction, your horror and science fiction, your LGBT story, your creative non-fiction, and we love flash fiction too. Do you have a story that doesn’t fall into these categories? Send it anyway. We will read every story sent our way. If it’s good enough, and we want great pieces, we will publish it on the site. There are also no word limits or expectations. If it’s great, we want it.
We pay $15.00 each story. $30.00 for stories that are featured on the Front Page. We ask for the publishing rights of your story, as well as electronic rights, which include: PDF, HTML, plain text, print and MP3 (audio) formats. Stories are distributed through this website and some may appear in audio form, via podcast, etc. The payment also includes the right to publish the story as a non-exclusive, one-time right to include your stories in an anthology.
If you’re unsure of our rights policy, but want to publicize your work, you can submit to us anyway. This will be without pay but we will be able to promote your work and hopefully bring more attention to it. Just inform us in the email that your story is attached in that you do NOT want to sell the rights to your story. You can also send us links to your website, twitter, or Amazon page to go along with your story.
Send submissions to [email protected].
Via: With Candlelight.
Deadline: July 31st, 2017
Payment: $25usd and a contributor’s copy
We loved our first Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum call so much, we’re opening another for Volume 2 with the exact same details! Have at it wordsmiths, and send us true depravity to read!
Sanatorium, mental ward, psychiatric hospital – they’re all the same. Places where the infirm, the crazy, and the certifiable go for treatment… Or what passes for ‘treatment’.
We want stories of bedlam taking place within the padded walls of an institution. Give us stories of experiments gone wrong, patients revolting against the staff, or tales from the perspective of those charged with offering care. Make them sick, make them depraved, make them atrocious – these should be the kind of stories that rarely reach the light of day.
Are you brave enough to see what your mind conjures up… Or are you afraid you’ll be locked up for trying?
Deadline: July 31, 2017
Word Count: 4,000 – 8,000 words
All submissions MUST be submitted to: [email protected]
Reading & Evaluation Period: Two to three months after close of the deadline
** NO REPRINTS WILL BE CONSIDERED **
Payment: Each story selected for inclusion will receive a one-time payment of $25US, plus one print copy of the book.
As per our standard guidelines, there will be no stories containing pedophilia, bestiality, or graphic rape scenarios accepted.
Full submission guidelines can be found on our website – www.SirensCallPublications.com – we invite you to read them before submitting!
Via: Siren’s Call Publications.
Deadline: June 15th, 2017
Payment: Royalty Split
Spark and Fizz Books is accepting submissions for its second issue of quarterly science and speculative fiction magazine, Planet Scumm. We’ll be accepting submissions April 23 to June 15.
Issue 002 will be released October 2017. Our benevolent overlord Scummy will be especially kind towards spooky submissions hitting his space-desk this cycle. However, horror elements are not required. All submissions must still conform to the guidelines below (we’re looking at you, zombie fiction).
What We’re Looking For
Previously unpublished short fiction that doesn’t lean heavily on genre tropes. Hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, sci-fi that melts in your mouth-brain not your hand-brain. Speculative fiction, weird fiction, slipstream, glitterlit, analogpunk. Basically anything that pleases Scummy, our megaphone-toting slime buddy.
How to Submit
Include submissions as an .RTF or .DOC attachment sent to [email protected] along with a brief cover letter in the email body. Stories, or collections of flash fiction, should be 1000-7500 words in length, and submitted in standard manuscript format. Use the subject line “Planet Scumm Submission” followed by your story title.
Submit only one short story or flash collection. We will not accept multiple submissions from the same author in one reading period.
Simultaneous submissions are okay, as long as you promptly withdraw a story accepted elsewhere. Submissions that are too long or short will be rejected immediately, as will those that are incorrectly formatted. In addition, submissions covering the topics below aren’t likely to play well with our slush readers.
The No-No List
- Zombies, vampires, werewolves, pirates, ninjas
- Cthuloid/Mythos tales
- Straight horror without a clear speculative element
- Fan fiction
- Sword-and-spell fantasy
- Anthropomorphic animals
- Stories that end with “It was all a dream” or “Turns out they were in a simulation”
Use With Caution
- Time travel
- Political allegory
- Lasers (pew-pew handheld ones, and big blue planet-killers)
- FTL travel
Schedule, Rights and Payment
Issue 002 will be released October 2017 as an e-book with a limited print run. Most accepted stories will also be published on our website. For accepted stories, we’re asking for first world English print and electronic publishing rights for six months and non-exclusive rights thereafter.
Half the profits from the issue will be re-invested in the magazine, the other half will be split among all contributors.
Authors will receive their first payment within 6 months of their issue’s release date, and an annual residuals check. Contributors will also receive a free digital copy of the issue.
The finances are structured such that contributors succeed proportionally as we succeed. We hope authors who can’t afford to submit a story with such an uncertain remuneration model will give us another look a few issues down the road, or whenever we can confidently offer a meaningful minimum payment.
We will not exceed a $200 budget for Issue 002. That money comes from us and goes to:
- An initial print run to sell on consignment in stores local to the editors (that’s Boston, Portland and NYC) and via our website
- Flyers and promotional materials to get the word out
- One quarter of our modest yearly hosting costs
Via: Planet Scumm.
Deadline: October 31st, 2017
Payment: 10 USD per story
Stitched Smile Publications in collaboration with Paul Mcvay present:
Drive-in of the Damned: Black and White
We are looking for 13 original stories (reprints will be considered on a case by case scenario)
Word Count: 7500 word max
Deadline: October 31st 2017
Anticipated Release: Summer of 2018 (Drive-in Season!)
Compensation: 10 USD per story, multiple submissions allowed (one at a time), but only one story will be chosen per author.
Submissions: We accept word documents only. Once you have submitted, please be patient. Acceptance letters will be sent within 90 days *after* the deadline. Send all submissions via form at www.stitchedsmilepublications.com (click “submissions) and be *sure* to include DRIVE-IN OF THE DAMNED for clarification! Or Email directly to: [email protected]
The sky was dark driving up the road to the drive-in. Headlights from other cars cut across your vision as you pull up to the ticket booth. With the window down, the warmth of the air was reprieved by the passing of a single breeze. The operator was nothing more than a silhouette in front of the flickering bulb behind him. He reaches out a thin, bony hand with his palm up and you place your money in the center of it. When he curls his fingers inward, you notice that they are unnaturally cold in comparison to the temperature.
Leaning forward, he gives you a wide grin and you can see the highways of deep lines through his wrinkled skin.
“Right this way,” he says, swinging his arm out.
He directs you to the one of the many paths that leads down into the quarry where countless screens form a circle at the bottom of the quarry. You pass the big sign with giant letters that announce your arrival to … “The Drive-in of the Damned”.
(Each story centers around a person, or persons present in the vehicle. The quarry is at the entrance of another dimension; a place of limbo between heaven and hell. Those that arrive are unaware of this, though, but will soon realize it when the story played on their screen reveals the events leading up to their death.)
• do tell a well thought out story centered around the theme and time-period which is any time prior to 1970.
• do be conscious of vernacular used in the year/time you are writing in.
• do send in a well-edited draft and include on the title page, author name, address, phone number, email and TITLE of the story. If you use a pen name, please make that clear as well.
• do have fun! Stories can include monsters, aliens, demons, supernatural, etc.
• Nothing modern will be accepted: no modern technology, terms, clothing, etc.
Via: Stiched Smile Publications.
I got this one going a bit late this week due to being massively behind, thankfully it was all able to come together. As always we’re low on Drabble and I’m curious as to if any of the editors out there would be interested in a long term plan on helping out with ‘Trembling With Fear’ for weeks like this or if we were to expand next year? Please get in touch if so!
‘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.
The Worm Turns
The life of a bartender is an interesting one. The pay ain’t great, but the stories you hear and the eccentric folk you see, are priceless. I bar-backed in a Gold Rush town at the foot of a mountain. It was colder than the kiss of death there, but the warm glow of gold kept the town alive. Found a few of the nuggets myself back when the boom first started. Although knowing what I know now, I would have taken that money and run until my legs were nothing but bloody stumps in the snow.
The morning started off well; the miners were in high spirits. One of them told me they found a cave deep under the mountain. The guy said it “was not natural, and looked to be made by hands other than mother nature.” Another one chimed with excitement in his voice.
“Didn’t go too far, but we saw some pictures on the floors. Like nothing I ever seen before. Looked like big coins with a mass of snakes in the center.”
It didn’t take a genius to assume they were all hoping to find the treasure of some lost civilization. I thought little of it, as long they were eating and drinking.
With the morning meal, and pint of drink in their stomachs the miners left for that cave under the mountain. It was not long after the miners that the rest of the town woke up. Cake bakers, bankers, cobblers and constables began pouring in. Most of them were relatively new. Once the word got out of the gold boom, people began showing up from all over. Almost overnight a whole town sprung to life. All was well, and all was good, until about mid-day.
A stranger walked in. He was dressed from head to toe in dark purple, silky robes, the likes of which I never saw before. Or ever again. His head was hung low and obscured by a large hood. Everyone fell silent and stared at him- If you could call it a him, or her. The figure strode silently up the bar and sat on a stool. I could feel myself start to tremble. Something was not right with this stranger. Still, I offered a drink. No need to make a tense situation worse. No reply came from the stranger. Instead, a long, ornate leather glove came out from the robes and point to a bottle of whiskey on the wall behind me. Not wanting to test the stranger’s patience I grabbed a glass and quickly poured him three fingers of whiskey on the rocks. His hand then reached into the robes for what I hoped was money when a miner burst through the door.
“Cursed Beast!” he screamed at the stranger between heavy breaths. “That monster…that monster killed everyone!” He yelled, shaking all over. His eyes darted around like a cornered animal. He aimed the revolver at the stranger, cocking the hammer with a hand that looked like there was an earthquake in his elbow. I looked down at the stranger expecting him to produce a gun of his own. The stranger looked up slightly revealing an uncanny smoothness to the face. Before he could react further, a shot rang out. The bullet caught the stranger right through the chest and embedding itself into my counter. The robed figure did not even seem to notice, and there was no blood. What happened would make any man of faith deny their god, For what diety would let something so abhorrent run amok in their creation?
The robed figure slowly crumpled to the floor and out from under those flowing silk garments came thousands of sickly grey worms. Everyone at the bar got up from their chairs and pressed themselves up against the far walls. Their eyes were wide and fixated on those dreadful writhing… Things. All at once they bolted across the towards the miner, crashing into his legs like a tidal wave. He screamed out in pain as they wriggled their way up his body. He began thrashing about in vain trying to knock them free. Nobody moved. Nobody helped him.
“Maybe they would be appeased by the miner and let us be,” they surely thought. Soon the worms covered every inch of his body and silenced his suffering wails. His body then went completely stiff. The worms continued wriggling and running their way up and down the body, and with a fluid motion the body stood.
The miner then calmly walked back across the bar and donned the dark silky robes. The gloves came next. The miner casually slid them over worm-infested hands. Then it bent down and picked up a white, pristine porcelain mask. A few people nearly fainted as it lifted the mask to it’s head. The worms slid back from the mask, revealing a freshly cleaned skull beneath. My blood ran cold at the sight of it. The miner had been picked clean. No eyes, no scalp, not a trace of tendon or hair. Even though there were no longer eyes in those sockets I could swear I could feel it staring at me.
It was at this point everyone vacated the bar. Tripping over one another trying furiously to get away from this thing. I could hear them screaming of demons beneath the dirt as they dispersed. I, on the other hand, was a little cornered the only way out was past that, unless I somehow jumped through a wall made of whiskey and solid bricks.
The thing then sat down, grabbed the glass of whiskey and slowly drank it in silence. After what felt like several lifetimes of screaming inside my own head, it sat the empty glass down. I smiled meekly and thanked it. The robed abomination nodded it’s head before reaching into robes like it tried to earlier. I backed up to the wall expecting to be the next one devoured as it did this. In it’s gloved hand were two gold coins which were then placed on the bar counter. The robed creature then stood up and strode out the door. I looked down at the coins. One was a mass of worms. The other was a skeleton in prayer.
Those two coins still sit on that counter to this day. As quickly as it sprang to life the town became abandoned. Stories of things that that writhe and bend the bones of men drove anyone who was not at the bar that day from their homes. These days I hear little about that ghost town at the foot of the cold dead mountain. Sometimes though, I hear about some bumbling fool who claimed that they were going to recover the riches hidden beneath that dreadful place. That is also where the stories always end, because none of them return.
Yea the life of a bartender is an interesting one. Sometimes a story is just a story. Sometimes a story rings true. So if one of those interesting people you meet have a porcelain face and are clothed in robes from time unknown. Then do yourself a favor and buy them a drink, lest you become food for the worms.
B.B. Blazkowicz is a carbon-based human male from planet earth, just like all of you. He writes horror fiction for the entertainment of his fellow humans and has been previously published in Horror Tree, Horror Writers and Bloody Disgusting. He enjoys ingesting the native plants and animals through his mouth hole for nourishment. His hobbies include breathing and lying in the dark with his eyes closed for eight hours a day.
A Walk In Sunlight
The sun was shining. There was a gentle breeze. The grass was green and the birds were singing. He could see the crest of the hill; he’d nearly reached the summit. That was where he’d rest and enjoy the view. He was surprised at himself, at his age he hadn’t expected to find the climb so easy.
He reached the top. Suddenly, there was a high-pitched noise. Its penetrating pitch disturbed the peace. He grimaced, his head pounding. He felt sick.
The nurse switched off the machine and the flat-line alarm ceased. The doctor spoke.
“Time of death, 9.02 p.m.”
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.
No Funny Business
Eyes wide open she awoke in darkness.
Emma tried to scream.
Bound. Gagged. Blindfolded.
Terror set in.
She swallowed it down.
“I’ll set you free if you promise to behave.”
She knew the voice.
Bloody likely lecherous fool.
She choked down the anger.
Keeping it off her face, she nodded.
A blade traced down her cheek and pushed into her neck.
“No funny business sweetheart.”
The blade cut the binding.
It cut the gag.
Finally, he leaned in to remove the blindfold.
Was the last thing he heard before she sank her teeth into his neck.
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.
“Mommy! Dad burned the soup. “
Closing her eyes, Linda took a deep breath. The kids didn’t need to know how angry she was, again.
“That’s okay Beth. Mom will fix it. Where’s dad?”
“in his office. He hasn’t come out all afternoon. “
Of course, he hadn’t.
Walking up she tried the door. Locked. That was unusual.
Taking out a hair pin she easily opened the cheap locks they used.
Walking in, the anger rose in her voice.
The anger turned to fear as whatever was feasting upon her husband turned to her.
Hunger filling its eyes.
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.
Oh yes, he’s also the editor at a little site known as HorrorTree.com
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.
You can find out more about him at: StuartConover.com.
Liz – This month, author Rhiannon Frater joins us at the Horror Tree. Rhiannon, Tell us about your part of the world?
Rhiannon – I live a very boring quiet life at the moment in North Texas. We’re currently taking care of my mom, so we’re not living in the most exciting part of Texas. I really miss Austin and San Antonio (especially the food!). We hope to move to San Antonio in the near future.
Liz – How many ‘fur babies’ do you have? Do they help or impede your writing process?
Rhiannon – I have two adorable cats. They both have very different personalities. One is super laid back. He’s everyone’s buddy. The other is completely neurotic. She’s also my little personal assistant. She has my schedule memorized. If I’m away from my computer for too long during “working hours” she’ll find me and yowl until I return to my desk.
Liz – Now that’s a helpful cat! I need to train mine to do that. You’re a self-confessed lover of horror movies and television shows. Do you have a favourite?