Author: Stephanie Ellis

Indie Bookshelf Releases 04/01/2022

Got a book to launch, an event to promote, a kickstarter or seeking extra work/support as a result of being hit economically by Covid or life in general?

Get in touch and we’ll promote you here. The post is prepared each Thursday for publication on Friday. Contact us via Horror Tree’s contact address or connect via Twitter or Facebook.

Click on the book covers for more information. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page – there’s all sorts lurking in the deep.

(more…)

Unholy Trinity: Down Stream by Andy Martin

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Nymph

The creek flowed southeast through hills scraped raw for coal and gypsum before winding through the ‘burbs and into Philadelphia.

Mark waded, casting upstream where the bank eroded, the tree roots making a shelf for trout underneath. He dropped the fly just short of the roots and hooked up, the fish running hard downstream.

Rod high, he reached as it surfaced, not a trout at all, more like an otter made of plastic bags and weeds but somehow alive. His fingers were gone before he could pull his hand away, his blood staining the creek as the thing slashed downstream-  

Pupae

Dad was on midnights so when Anthony came in yelling about something in the creek, Theresia shoved him out the door, Dad’s hanging coat a reminder to “BE QUIET.”

Now that she saw, she wished she’d woke him up.

There was a mountain of trash and leaves under the Rhawn Street bridge, the creek backing up behind it, running over the bank.

“I told you T!”

“We gotta call someone-”

A shudder ran through the big mess and it opened its eyes.

It dragged itself under the bridge, the bottles in its back shattering on the stone-

The bridge collapsed-

Emerger

“Wake up.”

“Huh?”

“Wake up, you smell that?”

“Jesus, low tide?”

“We’ve never smelled it like that before-”

Brad was heading for the window. They were almost a mile from the river-

A roaring, blinding light-

“Kate!”

“Brad!”

Somehow, they were both alive, the front of their row home yawning open to their narrow street.

A gas explosion?

There was another boom, the wind pulling at them, their neighbors were screaming, and over the smoking pile that had been Snyder Ave, Brad saw a leg, hundreds of feet around, coming down again, river water and trash raining down from it-

THE END

 

Andy Martin

Andy Martin is an archaeologist, fisherman, and musician who lives in South Philadelphia with his partner and cat. His writing profile is Instagram.com/@grassapewritesandyells. His music can be found at clamfight.bandcamp.com and Instagram.com/@clamfight.

Trembling With Fear 03/27/2022

Welcome back to Trembling with Fear, our online flash zine. We publish both new and established writers with many becoming familiar faces and being an ongoing open market, we are always after material. Submissions don’t have to be horror, they can be dark sci-fi or fantasy or some other aspect of the speculative fiction field. Nor are we averse to a touch of noir or a dark thriller. Humour is also welcome!

One thing I have been unable to do since moving to Wales is get into a proper writing routine. I’ve kept going but it has been a bit all over the place. Last Sunday I was lucky enough to speak to Joe R. Lansdale on the Dark Fusion podcast and he shared his routine with us. Three hours writing every morning, 5-7 days a week. That and all his other advice motivated me, so I’ve been working from 9am every morning this week and doing those 3 hours – and it’s worked. I’ve finished a short story and returned to my novella and getting this done by midday has made me feel I’ve achieved something. The afternoons have been for reading slush, admin, and Horror Tree (although the latter did take up a couple of evenings as well). Not sure how long I’ll keep this up but it’s shown the need for discipline. Wish I had as much energy as Joe though!

Beautiful Roses by Pete Larivee is our first story in Trembling With Fear. Sadly we didn’t get round to producing a Valentine Special this year and this one has been waiting a while to appear in it so we’re sharing it here. A very visual and visceral piece with its focus on colour delivered as a lesson by its artist.

Above by Michael J. Bertolini is a good exercise in atmosphere and dread, the phrasing of the last line with its almost repetition, adds in to this.

Gee, What Big Feet You Have by Jonathan Worlde is perhaps a reminder that the excitement of an innocent childhood discovery can end in horror.

I’m Late by Corinne Pollard brings an accident most folk dread having to deal with, the weight of the tragedy being added in a neat turn at the end of the story.

 

I hope you enjoyed our stories, now send us yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Okay, progress made in a few areas. On Steph’s suggestion, we now have a Ko-Fi as another way to donate to the site. While I still find Patreon the easiest way to keep track of things, I’m always happy to make things as easy as possible for anyone looking to contribute to the site’s future!

Offhand, if you’re a fantasy or science fiction lover who is also obsessed with wrestling, please reach out to me directly on our contact form or social media.

We’ve got a variety of things in the works at the moment from future publishing ventures to site expansions and beyond. I’m so eager to tell you all about them but we’re in such early stages that I feel it would be a disservice to you to start talking about them now. Rest assured, things are happening my friends! 🙂

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

(more…)

Indie Bookshelf Releases 03/25/2022

Got a book to launch, an event to promote, a kickstarter or seeking extra work/support as a result of being hit economically by Covid or life in general?

Get in touch and we’ll promote you here. The post is prepared each Thursday for publication on Friday. Contact us via Horror Tree’s contact address or connect via Twitter or Facebook.

Click on the book covers for more information. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page – there’s all sorts lurking in the deep.

(more…)

Unholy Trinity: No Humans Involved by Andy Martin

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Missing Person…

“You gotta learn kid, it’s always the same with these people. He had problems, but he was getting his act together. Bullshit,” Damico shoved the clipboard at her. “I’ll drive, you write.”

Cruz nodded. The missing guy’s Abuela looked like her own, but tough luck for Abuela, her grandson looked like every creep junkie asshole who’d ever hissed at Cruz in the street-

“In a perfect world, you’d mark that ‘NHI” and move on-”

“NIH?”

“No humans involved.”

Cruz laughed, she loved it.

*

Miguel woke underground, the dream of an old woman he loved fading, replaced by burning hunger-

Floater…

“Look ma’am, if we got no body, we got no reason to be here.”

The jogger was pale. Cruz believed her; she’d seen something in the river. 

“I know what I saw-”

Damico waved over the Schuylkill. “Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. If you did, it-”

“She. The body was a woman.”

Damico gave Cruz a look. “-she’ll pop up. And ma’am, it’s getting dark. It’s not safe for you out here alone.” 

*

Underwater, she clung to a shopping cart on the bottom, listening to the sounds of prey above. She was ravenous but her time would come.

No Humans Involved…

Damico was bit and bleeding bad. 

“We gotta get back to the car.”

Cruz looked out the doorway of the abandoned rowhouse.

“They’re all over it.”

“Fucking set up, Jesus,” Damico whined.

Cruz was plotting her route to the car when the floor gave way, spilling them into the basement and the waiting mouths below.

*

“Back up, back up,” Miller said, twisting in his seat.

Timmons reversed and hit the spotlight. Skinny bodies faded under the El as he did.

Miller was pale.

“Jesus, it can’t be, but two of them junkie fucks looked just like Cruz and Damico.”

Andy Martin

Andy Martin is an archaeologist, fisherman, and musician who lives in South Philadelphia with his partner and cat. His writing profile is Instagram.com/@grassapewritesandyells. His music can be found at clamfight.bandcamp.com and Instagram.com/@clamfight.

 

Trembling With Fear 03/20/2022

Welcome back to Trembling with Fear, our online flash zine. We publish both new and established writers with many becoming familiar faces and being an ongoing open market, we are always after material. Submissions don’t have to be horror, they can be dark sci-fi or fantasy or some other aspect of the speculative fiction field. Nor are we averse to a touch of noir or a dark thriller. Humour is also welcome!

Spring appeared briefly this week, I saw daffodils, heard a few lambs, and birds are gathering twigs in the front garden for their nests. Then it rained and the temperature dropped, the skies were also orange-tinted, apparently coming over from the Sahara, which happens from time-to-time. Needless to say, I’ve stayed indoors. I’ve been working on some new notebook designs, a short story and all the bits and bobs of a writer’s life which you can never quantify or remember doing! One thing I do remember was talking to Joe Koch on the Dark Fusion podcast last Sunday, such a lovely person to talk to and someone whose work I hope to be reading more of. If you like the weird stuff, then I recommend his fiction. I always look forward to talking to folk on this, even if I’m a bundle of nerves half the time, as it makes the writing world and all those social media contacts etc become more real. Speaking of work I like, here’s this week’s Trembling with Fear line up!

We start this week with Artificial Red by April Echols. A relationship developing purely by telephone conversation, the building up of trust and an imagination running riot. What happens though when you finally arrange to meet in real life? What are the expectations? Certainly not to be where you end up – which loops cleverly – and chillingly – back to the telephone. The first person POV is perfect for this story.

Soul Separation by Wayne Fenlon brings us some much needed humour and is a great example of innuendo.

Suck on a Soft Centre by Steven Holding is a Valentine’s anti-love drabble. If you want a reason to stop eating chocolate, this might be it! I should mention that a feature I’ve grown to appreciate in recent times with Steven’s work is his titles.

The Former Mrs Edwards by Steve Patchett appears to be simple contemplation of a photograph but then yourself being directed to think about what you can – or cannot see. The last line is used to solidify these directional hints.

I hope you enjoyed our stories, now send us yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Okay, progress made in a few areas. On Steph’s suggestion, we now have a Ko-Fi as another way to donate to the site. While I still find Patreon the easiest way to keep track of things, I’m always happy to make things as easy as possible for anyone looking to contribute to the site’s future!

Offhand, if you’re a fantasy or science fiction lover who is also obsessed with wrestling, please reach out to me directly on our contact form or social media.

We’ve got a variety of things in the works at the moment from future publishing ventures to site expansions and beyond. I’m so eager to tell you all about them but we’re in such early stages that I feel it would be a disservice to you to start talking about them now. Rest assured, things are happening my friends! 🙂

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

(more…)

Indie Bookshelf Releases 03/18/2022

Got a book to launch, an event to promote, a kickstarter or seeking extra work/support as a result of being hit economically by Covid or life in general?

Get in touch and we’ll promote you here. The post is prepared each Thursday for publication on Friday. Contact us via Horror Tree’s contact address or connect via Twitter or Facebook.

Click on the book covers for more information. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page – there’s all sorts lurking in the deep.

(more…)

Unholy Trinity: For the Flies by Eliza Hyde

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

These drabbles detail three key parts in the unnamed murderer’s life – himself as a teen, then a story in the throes of his serial killing, and finally a final drabble set at the end of his life. Flies are a recurring theme in each of the drabbles, signifying death. I took the idea from a longer piece I wrote which was never published, again from the P.O.V of a serial killer. 

Consumed by Death

I’d never seen a naked woman before, let alone a dead one.

She was sprawled on the floor, her eyes glassy and unseeing. Flies darted across her body, over skin that was just the wrong shade of pale. No breath escaped her blue lips, no steady rise and fall of her chest. 

Properly Dead. 

There were no clues as to how she might have passed on, especially with her being so youthful. I knelt down beside her, my fourteen year-old self fascinated by her frozen perfection. I allowed myself to be caught in her empty gaze, and never really escaped.

Hunger

The woman was alone, and I swear I could hear the annoying thudding of her heartbeat.

Her heart will be the first to go, I thought. I’ll hold the wretched thing in my hands, relishing its dying, futile pulses. 

I was hungry for blood, and the flies…the flies were hungry for death. I could hear them too, buzzing greedily in the darkness. I owed it to them, my companions in murder.

I hung back in the shadows, protected by the night. I gripped my dagger tightly as the woman approached, unsuspecting. 

Her heart pounding in her chest.

Not for long

Time Bleeds Away

I coughed, tasting blood on my lips. Somewhere, a clock ticked and tocked. A frustrating mechanical heartbeat, out of reach and a constant reminder that my time was slowly ebbing away.

I was too weak to climb up, knock it off the wall, smash it to pieces just as I’d destroyed a dozen lives or more. Instead I lay there on my bed, staring at the ceiling. Pathetic, tired, but free. Just myself, and a head full of secrets.

I wonder if they’ll ever find the bodies, I pondered, hearing the faint buzzing of some hungry flies.

Hungry for me…

Eliza Hyde

Eliza Hyde is a trans writer, teacher, Youtuber, radio presenter and Doctor Who fanatic, who divides her spare time between drinking tea, watching horror movies and listening to heavy metal. She has had several short stories and Doctor Who-related essays published in the past, and is currently working on a novel. Her favourite authors are Poppy Z. Brite and Douglas Adams, and her favourite Doctor Who is all of them.