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.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

The Portent

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

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.

Ageless

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

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.

Sight

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

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.

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