Deadline: July 21st, 2017
Payment: $5 per 1,000 words
Franklin/Kerr Press is looking for exceptional horror short stories with post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes or settings for our upcoming horror anthology Down with the Fallen. Stories can cover a wide variety of horror sub-genre′s such as sci-fi, splatter, psychological, suspense and the weird as long as they have a substantial dystopian or post-apocalyptic element. We will not accept works with erotic or extreme sexually explicit elements. We will choose eight to ten stories to include in the anthology from author submissions to be published in both print and e-book formats.
All stories should be edited and as free of error as possible prior to submission. Each story can range from 2,000 to 8,000 words, however, longer stories will be considered.
Accepted works will grant Franklin/Kerr Press first exclusive English-language rights for one year and non-exclusive English-language rights for the life of the anthology in digital and print formats. The author of each short story will retain the copyright to their respective work.
Payment per Story
$5 per 1,000 words
Each author will also receive one copy of the published anthology in print and be entitled to an author discount on additional copies.
Simultaneous & Multiple Submissions
No simultaneous submissions will be accepted. Multiple submissions from the same author will be considered but please note that only one story per author will be accepted to allow for greater variety and diversity. Previously unpublished stories only, no reprints unless requested.
July 21, 2017 at Midnight EST or until all slots have been filled.
How to Submit
Send your full manuscript along with a query letter and brief bio to [email protected] in a .DOC or .DOCX format with a subject line of “DWTF Anthology Submission / Your Name,” i.e. “DWTF Anthology Submission / John Doe.” Submissions should be formatted according to the Shunn Short Story Manuscript Formatting Guide here. We will send out acceptance notifications a few weeks after the submission deadline.
Via: Franklin Kerr.
Deadline: August 1, 2017
Payment: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry and contributor’s copy
Frank Rooney had been the manager of the Shop & Save for thirty-eight years, and he wasn’t retiring anytime soon.
Due date: August 1, 2017
We love the fact that writers around the world are inspired by our first lines, and we know that not every story will be sent to us. However, we ask that you do not submit stories starting with our first lines to other journals (or post them online on public sites) until we’ve notified you as to our decision (usually two to three weeks after the deadline). When the entire premise of the publication revolves around one sentence, we don’t want it to look as if we stole that sentence from another writer. If you have questions, feel free to drop us a line.
(Also, we understand that writers may add our first line to a story they are currently working on or have already completed, and that’s cool. But please do not add our first line to a previously published story and submit it to us. We do not accept previously published stories, even if they have been repurposed for our first lines.)
One more thing while I’ve got you here: Writers compete against one another for magazine space, so, technically, every literary magazine is running a contest. There are, however, literary magazines that run traditional contests, where they charge entry fees and rank the winners. We do not – nor will we ever – charge a submission fee, nor do we rank our stories in order of importance. Occasionally, we run contests to help come up with new first lines, or we run fun, gimmicky competitions for free stuff, but the actual journal is not a contest in the traditional sense.
Fiction: All stories must be written with the first line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors. The story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule; going over or under the word count won’t get your story tossed from the slush pile). The sentences can be found on the home page of The First Line’s Web site, as well as in the prior issue. Note: We are open to all genres. We try to make TFL as eclectic as possible.
Non-Fiction: 500-800 word critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.
All Stories: Writers should include a two- to three-sentence biography of themselves that will appear in the magazine should their story run.
Multiple Submissions: We don’t mind if you want to submit multiple stories for the same issue. However, it is unlikely we will use more than one of your stories in the same issue.
Four-Part Stories: If you think you are up to the challenge, you can write a four-part story that uses the spring, summer, fall, and winter sentences. However, all the parts must be submitted at once (a single e-mail or snail mail) before the February 1st deadline. (If selected, each part will be published in its respective issue.)
Submissions: We prefer you send manuscripts via e-mail to submission (@) thefirstline (dot) com. We accept stories in MS Word or Word Perfect format (we prefer attachments). Please do not send pdf versions of your story or links to Google docs. Make sure your name and contact information, as well as your bio, are part of the attachment. Stories also can be sent to The First Line‘s post office box. No manuscripts will be returned without an accompanying SASE with sufficient return postage.
Notification: We don’t make decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within two to three weeks after the issue’s deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the Web site as we will indicate each issue’s production status there.
Payment: We pay on publication: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars). We also send you a copy of the issue in which your piece appears. You’ll receive your money and issue at the same time.
Note to our international writers: Postage cost for sending author copies overseas is becoming outrageous, so we are reducing international author payment by the amount it would cost to send one author copy overseas. However, if you would like to receive an electronic version of the issue (PDF) instead of a hard copy, author payment will not change.
Via: The First Line.
Deadline: June 15th, 2017
Payment: $60 USD for fiction and $30 USD for poetry
Fiction and Poetry Guidelines
Arsenika is looking for previously unpublished original fiction and poetry up to 1,000 words long. Payment is $60 USD for fiction and $30 USD for poetry for first world electronic rights and non-exclusive audio rights. We hope to raise the poetry rate to $60 as well in the future—please support us on Patreon if you’d like to help us reach our goal.
Submit no more than two flash fiction pieces and five poems at a time, and please make sure you fill out the form again for each piece you send, unless the pieces are meant to be read together (e.g. a triptych of poems).
All work should be in Standard Manuscript Format (fiction format | poetry format). Format poetry exactly as you would like to see it online—use italics for italics, underlines for underlines, boldface for boldface, etc. Send only TXT, RTF, DOC, and DOCX files.
Please do not send simultaneous submissions (pieces that are submitted to Arsenika and another market at the same time). Multiple submissions are accepted, but please have no more than two flash fiction pieces and five poems in the submissions queue at a time.
We try to respond to all submissions within 14 days. If you haven’t heard from us in 30 days, please send us a query at [email protected].
Remember: Don’t self-reject.
Arsenika does not accept unsolicited reprints. Payment is $10 upon acceptance.
Arsenika pays $100 for reprint art. Please feel free to query us at [email protected] with a link to your portfolio.
Q. Can I submit multiple times per submissions period?
A. Yes. Please have no more than two flash fiction pieces and five poems in the queue at a time; once we respond to those, you can send more. For example, if you’ve sent one flash piece and four poems and we’ve responded to all of them, you can send another two flash pieces and five poems. Please note that pieces held for further consideration count as being in the queue: if you send three poems and we hold one and reject the other two, you may only send another four poems and two flash fiction pieces at a time.
Q. Does Arsenika accept microfiction (fiction under 500 words long)?
A. Absolutely! We have no minimum word limit, though we do require that microfiction still tell a story of some sort.
Q. Does Arsenika accept prose poetry?
Q. Does Arsenika have any line limits for poetry?
A. No, although we do have a word limit of 1,000 words.
Q. Does Arsenika accept horror?
A. Yes; we prefer horror with a speculative element.
Q. Does Arsenika accept translations?
A. Definitely; we’re very interested in translations! Please note that you must acquire translation rights from the original author unless the piece is already in the public domain. If we accept your translated piece, we will need the original author’s contact information as well; we treat translations as co-authored and pay both the author and the translator our rate for individual pieces.
Q. Does Arsenika accept fanfiction?
A. It depends—we’d rather not face potential legal issues with properties that are currently trademarked/under copyright, but we’re fine with reinterpretations of works in the public domain, myths, fairy tales, folk tales, etc. We understand there will be some degree of allusion, but we also would prefer it if the works could stand alone.
Q. Does Arsenika accept interactive fiction and poetry?
A. Yes. Please send a link to your piece and make sure it is password-protected or otherwise not viewable to the public. Be sure to include the password or access details in your submission.
If you have any further questions, please email [email protected].
Deadline: July 1st, 2017
Payment: $25-$200 depending on length and three free copies.
Note: Texas writers only
I attended a meetup today and got information on an open call for Texas-based writers (either born here or living here) for Road Kill: Texas Horror from Texas Writers, Vol. 2. They are eager to hear from authors who have been traditionally marginalized, excluded, or unrepresented because Texas has many voices and it’s important to include everyone.
Here are the details straight from the Editor’s hand.
Hello, E.R. Bills and Bret McCormick here. We are the editors of the upcoming horror title, Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers, from Eakin Press. Due to the success of the anthology, we are accepting stories for Road Kill Vol. 2. We are looking for original horror stories, 1,500–10,000 words, give or take. If we receive a 14,00-word story that knocks our socks off, we will consider it. And the same for an 800-word yarn. We prefer not to receive stories that have already appeared elsewhere.
Submissions should be sent to ba.mccormick (at) yahoo.com.
The primary objective of Road Kill is to promote new, up-and-coming horror writers in Texas, but the collection will include some works from established wordsmiths. The stories must be written and submitted by Texas authors and they must take place in Texas—hence the title. No one will be making a fortune, but we will be paying one-time fees (based on word count) and if the anthology sells over 5,000 copies, royalty percentages—1% per writer—will kick in. Every writer will receive three free copies and every contributing writer will receive 50% discounted wholesale pricing on any copies of the book that he or she purchases to carry and sell on their own.
The scale for writer stipends will look something like this:
10,000 words – $200
7,500 words – $150
5,000 words – $100
2,500 words – $50.00
1,500 words – $25.00
All payments will be made upon official acceptance and when acceptance is communicated, each author will need to supply a short bio.
We will be requesting one-year non-exclusive rights. This means we will use your story in this anthology and we can print excerpts of it online and otherwise (for promotional purposes, etc.), but you can still sell it a year down the road to someone else, we simple request that you note in later publications that it appeared here first. Authors retain all TV and/or film rights—you own them outright—but, again, we request that the writer of any story that receives TV or film treatment note that the story appeared in Road Kill Vol. 2.
The deadline to turn in stories is July 1, 2017, and our intent is to have the book printed and available by October 1, 2017, in plenty of time for Halloween. eakin Press will be promoting Road Kill Vol. 2 and my co-editor, Bret McCormick, and I will be submitting it for review to local, state and national media outlets. We will also be setting up signings and appearances around the state for the authors themselves to promote the book.
If your work is chosen to appear in this collection of Texas horror, you will join a talented group of upcoming and accomplished authors and expand your reach in the competitive field we are all trying to excel in. Hope to see your work soon!
Bills and McCormick.
P.S., Your submission does not have to be double-spaced. Thanks!
Via: Pulled It Outta My Ass.
Deadline: September 8th, 2017
Payment: $0.01 per word
Typewriter Emergencies is seeking works featuring furry characters. We’re looking for stories, book reviews, articles, and any other form of furry material. The journal accepts work that is considered rated R or Less. You can throw in the word “fuck” around a few times, but no excessive sex, blood, and guts pretty much. Typewriter Emergencies publishes under the philosophy of degenerate literature. We’re not here to be proper, we’re here to make art. We don’t have a specific theme for our issues, therefore it’s free reign. Themes may be implemented in the future.
We plan on publishing at least twice a year. If we feel we can take on a heavier load, we’ll open up for more issues. Our Schedule is as follows:
Issue 2 release – December 2017 – Submissions must be received by September 8, 2017.
Payment is $0.01 per word.
All rights revert back to the author. We simply ask for the right to publish the story for the period this journal is active.
Simultaneous submissions are fine. It is your responsibility to notify us if your work is accepted elsewhere.
Max word count is 2500 words. Anything over this will not be accepted.
Reprints will be reviewed, but we will prefer previously unpublished work.
Each issue is expected to have a small amount of material, 3-5 stories at most.
Articles & Reviews
Max word count 1000 words. Anything considered a book review or article that is over 1000 words will not be considered.
Articles/Book reviews must be predominantly furry in nature.
Reviews must not contain spoilers.
We will not accept reviews that are overly negative.
As for articles, familiarize yourself with [adjective][species] or Dogpatch Press, and related furry websites.
We accept submissions through Submittable only. Emailed submissions will not be read. Our submittable link can be seen below. All works must be submitted in DOC or DOCX format. Will not accept any other file types. Double-Spaced, Times New Roman preferred, 12pt. font.
Payments are made through Paypal. If another format is needed, it can be discussed.
Via: Weasel Press.
Tor Books, a leading global publisher of science fiction and fantasy, announced today that it is launching TOR LABS, a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts.
Helmed by Senior Editor Marco Palmieri and Editor Jennifer Gunnels, Tor Labs will debut this summer with Steal the Stars, a science fiction audio drama which will be produced in partnership with Gideon Media and written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of the global hit podcast thrillers, The Message and LifeAfter.
Steal the Stars is the story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO. Despite being forbidden to fraternize, Dak and Matt fall in love and decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: They’re going to steal the alien body they’ve been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.
Steal the Stars is a noir science fiction thriller in 14 episodes, airing weekly from August 2 – November 1, 2017, and available worldwide on all major podcast distributors through the Macmillan Podcast Network. It will be followed immediately by a novelization of the entire serial from Tor Books, as well as an ads-free audio book of the podcast from Macmillan Audio.
In a joint statement, Gunnels and Palmieri said, “There’s a little mad science in every new publishing experiment, and we’re tremendously excited about the creative possibilities of Tor Labs. We’re especially thrilled to be partnering with Gideon Media on Steal the Stars, and bringing their phenomenal work to a wide audience.”
“I was intrigued by the idea of a science fiction heist thriller told in the classic noir tradition of James M. Cain and Patricia Highsmith,” said writer Mac Rogers. “I’ve always loved those stories of illicit lovers trying to pull off one nearly impossible crime in order to be together. As forces close in on them from all sides, they’re pushed to greater extremes than they ever imagined.”
About Tor Labs
Tor Labs, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, specializes in experimental and innovative ways of publishing science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres, as well as other material of interest to readers of those genres.
About Gideon Media
Gideon Media proudly builds on the acclaimed, award-winning theatrical tradition of Gideon Productions in creating complex, riveting genre entertainment. Gideon Media meticulously crafts new audio worlds in which listeners can lose themselves, centered around heart-wrenching, pulse-pounding tales of science fiction and horror.
Deadline: August 15th, 2017
Holiday Horror. Mix it up. Give us a story about Easter, 4th of July, Yom Kippur.
The big three are acceptable too…but fall last in line.
Season Two Submission Deadline: August 15th, 2017
How to submit:
At the moment, we are accepting submissions through our Online Submission Form. Only submissions through the online submission form will be accepted.
What we’re looking for:
We will be publishing 3 SEASONS of genre anthologies each year. Each Season will have its own theme. See the SEASONS page to see what seasons we are currently looking for and what seasons have past. We will also be publishing other anthologies, so feel free to send us work at anytime. We will post if and when we have themes for other anthologies. We publish anthologies with Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror themes.
Please note that we do not consider novel excerpts, or anything with illustrations or photographs.
Our anthologies will be available in paperback and ebook formats exclusively through Amazon.
What’s the deadline?
Check the SEASONS page for each seasons deadline. Otherwise, please feel to send us other work that may be great for another anthology as we will be publishing others.
We’re based in the US but we accept submissions from authors all over the English-speaking world.
We ask for first serial rights on any story we publish. This means that the story should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online. (This includes publication on an author’s own website.) When we publish a story, we ask for a brief period of exclusivity (roughly 18 to 24 months), and the right to keep the story in print. We do not place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period.
We are able to consider stories for publishing on the site that are between 1,000 and 20,000 words in length; please do not send anything longer than this. Stories shorter than 1000 words may be considered for extra exclusive content when the season is published in book format. (Most of the stories have been submitted so far are between about 2,000 and 7,000 words.)
Do you get paid?
Each story once published to the site will come with a listing of how to find everything from that author and a weeks paid advertising to help drive traffic. Once the Season is finished and published in book format with exclusives added 50% of the profits will be deducted for charity, 10% will go to our editors and 40% will be split between the authors to be paid quarterly.
Yeah, we don’t have one of those.
Multiple and simultaneous submissions:
Please feel free to send us more than one story at a time. We do have a limit of 3 submissions per day. Please send each story through the form one at a time, and not together in one document.
We do understand if you want to submit to more than one outlet at a time. However, please let us know if a story you’ve submitted to us has been accepted elsewhere!
Our response times:
We aim to reply to all submissions within three weeks, although sometimes we may fall behind.
If you’re waiting for a reply from us, please keep an eye on your promotions and junk mail folder, as our replies can sometimes make their way there. If you have submitted a story and not heard from us after 4 weeks, please check your spam/junk mail folder again. If there’s nothing there, email us: [email protected] Please include your name and story title.
Via: SciFi Monkeys.
The Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy, announces this year’s Bram Stoker Awards® winners after a ceremony held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. “The winners for this year’s awards unquestionably represent the continued high-level state of the art in horror writing,” said Lisa Morton, HWA President and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner. “Our members and awards juries were dedicated to the selection process for outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”
We proudly provide the list of talented winners along with the finalist nominees.
Superior Achievement in a Novel
Winner: John Langan – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Winner: Tom Deady – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Winner: Maria Alexander – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Winner: James Chambers – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)
Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Winner: Tim Waggoner – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)
Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Winner: Joyce Carol Oates– The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)
Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei (Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories)
(Crystal Lake Publishing)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Winner: Joyce Carol Oates– The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)
Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Winner: Robert Eggers – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers
(Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down
(Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04)
(Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions,
Neal Street Productions)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Winner:, Thomas F. Monteleone and Olivia F. Monteleone – Borderlands 6
(Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories
(Crystal Lake Publishing)
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Winner: Ruth Franklin – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
(Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural (Yale University Press)
Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Winner: Stephanie M. Wytovich– Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman.
Active and Lifetime members of the organization are eligible to vote for the winners in all categories.
Via: Horror Writer’s Association.
‘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.
It’s been three years since I retired from Maverick Heat & Air and fulfilled our dreams of moving to the country. Alice and I were never wealthy, but we got by. We made do during hard times, tucked away what we could in the good. Once Kyle and Molly were grown, we’d even managed to save enough to buy some land and a trailer near the lake. Fishing had always been our shared passion and in our new home, we looked forward to years together along the water’s edge.
But my Alice died of cancer the following spring.
After her illness, there wasn’t much money left. I had little desire to fish. Then, last Christmas, the kids surprised me with the kayak.
“Dad, you should get out on the lake again,” Kyle said as he and his sister carried in the blue plastic boat topped with a mammoth red ribbon. They set the gift beside the tree and Molly stared up her eyes wet with concern. “You’ll get exercise while you’re at it,” she said. “I know mom would want you to go on.”
They’d both been right. Getting back to the lake had relieved much of my loneliness, and my strength grew as I ventured further and further along the shore. Then, in early June, I’d met Burt Grimes, Sid Meyers, and the enigmatic Hog’s Leg Creek. Like me, both men were retired; Burt a gruff Army colonel from Ft. Sill, Sid a chatty software developer from Houston. Like me, they both loved to fish. Over the course of that spring, we grew to be friends.
Then, on an early-July morn I rowed to a meeting I didn’t realize would be our last. Fog parted in silent gray curtains before the bow of my kayak as I rowed to that meeting. The metered dip of the paddle and the hollow thump on my boat’s plastic hull were gulped down by the mists. Almost as if they hungered after any sound marring their uniform silence. I let the kayak drift and unhooked my rod. Then flicked the lure into the void; the unseen splash my only companion on the water.
I paddled along what I guessed to be the shoreline, throwing in the occasional lure. As the fog cleared, great stands of trees emerged along the banks, like the rough, bandy legs of giants. Burt was already anchored at the mouth of the murky Hog Leg tributary fishing rod in hand.
When he saw me, he glanced up and waved. “Bout time ya showed up,” he called. “Thought I’d be fishin’ alone.”
I eased my kayak next to his fourteen-foot bass boat and dropped anchor. “Not all of us have years of experience navigating in this crap,” I said.
“Speaking of which,” Bert said. “Have you heard from Sid? Without his GPS that guy couldn’t find his ass with a map and a flashlight.”
“Hey, you old farts,” Sid’s disembodied voice hailed from the mists. His canoe emerged from a bank of fog his angular form hunched over the oar like some primeval savage. “I heard that.”
Burt roared with laughter, pulling a cigar from his tackle box and lighting up. He filled the dense, morning air with its rich aroma. “So where we headin’?” Burt keyed his boat’s ignition, the throaty motor gurgling to life. “We goin’ up the creek? Try an’ catch The Watcher?”
“That’s nothing more than an old wives tale,” I said. “There’s no giant fish living up that creek. If there were, don’t you think Sid here would have caught her?”
“Or been dragged to the bottom like legend tells,” laughed Bert.
Sid’s face grew serious. “I wouldn’t poke fun,” he said. “There’s more to those old stories than people let on.” He set his oar across his lap and drifted close, the metallic hull of his canoe bumped lightly against mine. “I’ve seen things along the Hog Leg, things watching from the water.” He unscrewed the cap on a silver flash and took a long swallow. With a sigh, he lowered the container and wiped a hand across his lips. “Maybe someone released an alligator into the lake. I don’t know what I saw, but I’ve been followed on this creek.”
“Oh jeeezus,” Bert drawled. “Not another one of those stories.” His engine whined up in pitch and the boat pulled away.” Hash out that bullshit later,” he called over his shoulder. “It’s time ta fish.”
I watched him slip through the thinning mist and disappear around a bend in the creek.
“I’m not bullshitting,” Sid said, his expression as flat as stone. “There’s something living out there. Something that watches us.” His eyes drifted to the fog-shrouded creek. “The fishing’s good but you’ll never find me out here after dark.” His eyes caught mine. “Ever.”
Five weeks later, the night of Sid’s funeral, Bert and I sat alone at a table inside the Cold Nine Bar reminiscing on our friend’s good nature and love of blarney.
“I never understood his affinity with that Watcher tale,” I said, the memory of Sid’s stoic expression while he spun his myth bringing a smile to my face. “He sure could pull your leg.”
“He wasn’t pulling your leg,” Bert said. He set down his beer and leaned back in the chair. “He believed every word.”
I laughed, but the set of Bert’s eyes halted my mirth. “You’re kidding, right?”
He shook his head, dropped his elbows to the table, looked me square in the eye. “I kid you not.”
In the intervening silence, Bert pulled a cigar from his jacket and scratched a match across the table. The waitress shot him an angry glance as he puffed the stogie to life. “You know how he died?”
“His wife said a heart attack,” I answered. I felt a pang of guilt that I’d not been with him that day. Maybe there was something I could have done.
“More than a heart attack,” Bert said. “The ranger who found him said he had the look of a man who’d seen the devil himself.” He blew a pillar of smoke waving it away with his hand. “Personally, I think he was stuck on that creek after dark; scared himself to death.”
I eyed my friend with suspicion. “You’re messing with me, right?”
He lifted his beer and took another languid puff. “No… I ain’t. An’ I’ll tell ya another thing,” he jabbed the cigar at me like a finger. “I’ve seen them Watchers. That’s why I carry this whenever I go fishin’,” he pulled aside the hem of his jacket revealing a holstered 1911 pistol. He drained his glass and rocked back in his chair. “I ain’t sayin’ I believe in none ah that shit, but I ain’t runnin’ into trouble without protection neither.”
I stared at Bert in disbelief. Sid was a dreamer, a watcher of sci-fi movies and horror flicks, more terrified of the shadows in his front yard than real dangers presented by the modern world. But Bert; Bert was a no-nonsense warrior. He didn’t believe in anything he couldn’t rub between his calloused fingers.
“What do the Watchers look like?” I asked.
“Eyes,” he said. “Eyes in the water.” He drained the dregs of his beer then banged the glass on the table. When the waitress looked over, he swirled his finger above the table in a sign for another round. Then, leaning forward, he glanced left and right as if fearful someone might overhear.
“I seen em’ on the shore. They got heads like toads but their bodies are …weird.”
Just then the waitress arrived with our pints; the subject changed. I never figured if Bert was yanking my chain or not.
I didn’t go fishing after that and I lost contact with Bert. The story of Sid’s death and the Watcher had nothing to do with it. My son, Kyle, and his wife, Abby, had their first child. So I stayed with them for a few weeks; helping out with the baby. But eventually, I needed to return home.
When I got back, I began thinking about Alice; how much she would have loved to see our granddaughter. It was soon after that I began drinking. I didn’t go out much or answer the phone. A week later, I was going through a stack of unread papers and spotted Bert’s obituary.
My friend had died on a Thursday, buried the following Monday, three days before I discovered his passing. I searched the internet and learned he’d drowned at the lake. Right then and there, I promised I wouldn’t shut myself away. I could picture Alice, arms crossed, her head tilted in her own jaunty fashion chiding me on self-pity. She’d want me back in the world, enjoying life.
The next afternoon, found me paddling along the overgrown banks of Hog Leg Creek, the September air alive with the call of cicada and buzz of grasshoppers. The sky a blue so intense the jays beat through the branches voicing their jealous protest.
I had some luck catching Crappie early on, adding three good sized fish to my stringer. Then, I paddled between the cattails to a spot Bert, Sid and I frequented for lunch. The creek was calm between the wide banks, the mirrored water deep. I sat munching my sandwich and staring absentmindedly at the far shore.
Then I saw it.
The first thing I noticed were the eyes. Two jet black orbs gleaming amongst the mossy twigs. When it blinked, I leapt to my feet, the thing disappearing into the depths with a heavy kerplunk. I could almost believe I’d been dreaming except for the wide ripples spreading across the flat green surface.
I continued my meal convincing myself I’d seen a frog. As a kid, I’d caught plenty of bullfrogs, some as long as your foot. I’d heard of Louisiana frogs as big as a newborn child. Although the eyes of this creature were the size of golf balls, I convinced myself a frog was what I’d seen.
Then I spotted two empty, brass casings glittering on the shore. They were .45s. The same caliber as Bert’s 1911. I imagined him killing time plinking away at turtles. Then a more disturbing target came to mind.
I brushed away ridiculous ideas of lurking monsters and pushed off from shore, letting the current carry me deeper into the marsh. Until the sun dropped below the towering oaks, and I spotted them again. A pair of eyes bobbed alongside a half-submerged branch to my left. I caught the gleam of that malevolent stare and snapped my head around. The thing disappeared in a widening ring of fear that spread across the water’s surface and set my boat to rocking.
Reeling in my bait, I plied the paddle towards the creek’s mouth set on never returning. I hadn’t taken but four strokes when, beneath my craft’s hull, a rasping scrape brought me to a jolting halt. I’d been stranded on sunken limbs before but my efforts to break free were, this time, in vain. Images of submerged goblins ensnaring my craft beguiled the recesses of my mind, but I drove these thoughts away.
Although the water was deep, the muddy banks were a scant ten feet distant. An easy swim. I could even carry the anchor line and once relieved of my weight, might easily free the kayak from shore.
As I mulled these thoughts, my paddle dipped idly in the water, then was suddenly ripped from my grasp and dragged below.
It was then they came.
Creeping out of the woods like a plague of slime encrusted locusts. In snake like slithers and deformed, lumbering hops, they sidled across the leafy shore before plopping their disfigured bodies into the water, the brackish surface seething with their activity. Then, one by one eyes bobbed to the surface, surrounded me. A forest of ebony orbs lit with the malicious red glimmer of the westering sun.
Jeff Dosser is a burgeoning new writer living with his family on their wooded property outside of Norman Oklahoma. He retired from the Tulsa Police after eighteen years of service and now spends his time working for the man, writing and taking long walks. Jeff’s short stories have been picked up by Yellow Mama, Down In The Dirt, and Pulp Fiction magazines.
He can often be found wandering the woods behind his rural home pondering on what lurks in the darkness.
You can find out more about Jeff at JeffDosser.com.
The Impossible Visitor
Ellen stumped downstairs, running a hand through sleep tousled hair. She saw her husband leaning against the wall. He stood with his arms crossed over his pajama clad chest and a look of contemplative concern on his face.
“Mark, honey,” Ellen said, “What are you doing? Is everything alright?”
Mark nodded toward the wall opposite. “There’s a knocking.”
Ellen followed his gaze. Where did that door go? She thought. Oh yes, that’s right. “The basement door,” she said out loud, “Did an animal get in?”
Mark now looked at her with concern. “Ellen,” he said, “We don’t have a basement.”
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.
His intestines screamed in pain after the great buffet. It was his first
time in Paris and it sounded so great and funny. Eat all that you want and
pay with a fart.
He couldn’t hold it back any longer. He had to fart. The gas seeped out
from his buttocks and was ignited by the candle. The flame burnt of the
string holding up the guillotine’s blade that fell down with its heavy
weight on his neck and decapitated him.
His head rolled over the floor and stopped by the sign which translated
into “The exclusive human deli store.”
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.
The building was grey and anonymous. Inside, the doctor and tech set up the syringes and vials for the next batch. The doctor was an old hand, the tech was brand new.
“Doesn’t this job give you nightmares?”
“Used to, when I first started. But someone has to do it, it’s unpleasant but necessary. It’s not our fault, it’s the breeders. They just won’t stop. The population is out of control.”
The door opened and the guard brought in a fat toddler. The doctor sighed.
“To think they used to do this to dogs. Now, that’s what I call cruel.”
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.
The Unremarked Return
Jesus watched the six o’clock news on an immense flat-screen TV.
None of it was good.
He walked among the people, but no one saw him. They looked at their feet, their phones, at anywhere but others walking by.
He stopped before a church. It depicted, at the top, his own painful, drawn-out death. Seeing it took him back, made him relive the days he spent bleeding, aching, dying.
He came back to bring hope, to heal a broken world.
Shaking his head, he left the world the way it was. It was too much; he couldn’t bear this burden.
Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in a whole mess of anthologies and magazines. His story collection, “An Aberrant Mind” is available online and in select bookstores. He edits an annual horror-themed anthology for the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. Ken is an Affiliate member of HWA. One time, he even made a zombie movie. Recently, he co-wrote a novel and is working on the sequel. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two cats, one of whom is dead but still haunts the place.
Deadline: June 13th, 2017
Payment: $15 and contributor’s copy
Theme: Death is permanent. This is the falsehood that we tell ourselves so that we can sleep at night. It’s the lie that we tell our children so they don’t carry their little kitten’s corpse to the old cemetery deep in the forest, in the grove where nothing living grows. It’s the myth that we wrap ourselves in so we can ignore the gut-wrenching terror of what really comes after all this rigmarole.
If the afterlife’s so great, why do the dead keep getting up?
The Misbehaving Dead is an anthology about rebels–the dead that won’t stay down. Maybe their business isn’t finished, or maybe Hell spat them back out, but no matter how strong the grave, they just refuse to stay in it. These are the misfits of biology, abominations that aren’t alive but don’t care. They’ll get shit done anyway. They’ll get what they want.
Simultaneous Submissions: Sure, but please let us know that it’s a simultaneous submission and tell us immediately if it was accepted somewhere else.
Multiple Submissions: Yes
Reprints: Yes, but let us know where it has been previously printed and make sure you have the rights to have it reprinted.
Word Count: Up to 10k words.
Formatting: This is a very good guide if you have any questions. You can’t really go wrong with it. But, if you don’t feel like reading that, here’s the down and dirty of it.
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Via: A Murder of Storytellers.