Trembling With Fear 12/16/2018

Welcome to December’s latest offerings as we stagger towards Christmas. I’m not quite in the festive mood yet, a new kitchen is being installed on Monday and I haven’t the faintest how long it will take, only that it will be chaos (although it is a small kitchen). Only when that is done can I think about relaxing and looking forward to the festive season – although with a family dental check up on the 27th that does add a little tension still. I hate going to the dentist. The easiest way to switch off from all that is obviously to read.

Our longer piece of flash this week is Spring by Evan A. Grace. This is a painting, the words splash colour and sound, emotion and sensation across its canvas. The personification of the land adds so much to the mood of this story, earth and sky are alive and brooding. The girl, the watcher, the whole world is involved in that moment. Memories of ancients infiltrate the modern, the past, the ancients reclaiming a son, time stretches and ancestral memory links all. This was not just a painting, this was poetry.

Six by Steven Holding as a piece of dialogue between two characters featuring many stories within one main story – those 6 word tales people ask for and I can never come up with. They’re clever and always make me a little jealous, why can’t I do that? And then there is the main story, the last six being the crux of the tale and is the reality rather than the fiction. A great interweaving of wordplay between the couple.

The Loch Ness Monster by David Rae depicts a perfect moment between a pair of young lovers but as you read, the language used starts to hint at something else, the water is a ‘dead lover’s caress’, one character is compared to a ghost. These are subtle clues as to what is to come when against this backdrop of tranquillity and fun, something stirs. You know it won’t end well. Clever and subtle use of language to hint at the story’s outcome.

Rain by G. A. Miller uses sound as an extremely effective method of setting a scene and creating an atmosphere, juxtaposing expected tranquillity against a strong sense of tension and unease. I love it when writers use the senses to pull in the reader – you are there straight away, listening to the rain … and of course a killer last line.

Out in the wider world, I caught wind of our stalwart Richard Meldrum’s latest publication, Trick in Sirens Call free ezine (available here What did I find however when I opened the pages? A roster call of TWF contributors. So many familiar names, it felt like coming home. So, congratulations not just to Richard but to Patrick Winters, DJ Tyrer, B.B Blazkowicz, Rie Sheridan Rose, Alyson Faye, Andrea Allison, Mathias Jansson, Ken MacGregor, G.E. Smith, Michael Carter … and if I’ve missed any, apologies. I’ve dipped into the stories a little but hope to give it a proper read at the weekend.

Back to Christmas now. I’ve just posted a little Christmas flash on my site – it gets dusted down each year and put on display. Does anyone have any Christmas/New Year stories or poems they’ve put up on their own sites for the season? If you have send us the links and I’ll put them in next week’s editorial.

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

It is the holiday season my friends and I actually scheduled today’s post with the singular thought that I wanted something refreshing in the middle of winter. Something titled “Spring” has to fall into that category to keep you in a good mood, right?


‘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


He stands at the edge of the clearing amongst his brothers and watches the

horizon slowly stub out the sun, spitting fire. Smashed idols and thrown crimsons paint

the sky and he smiles. He hears the crickets hum their legs together and warm the

ancient chorus as shadows stretch and pool in periphery. He feels the air convulse

once–twice–and become still. He stands as his father and his father before.

As the sun disappears the wind picks up again and he smiles. She will hear his


The girl appears in the distance, her image wavering and curdled against the sky.

She carries a book in her twisted hands and her hair is bundled and messy; tied like

straw above her head. Her shadow grows long and flickers and leaps over the stones

and tall-grass as she begins to run. The line of trees at the far end of the plot grows

closer and in that moment one might be unsure if it were they or the girl in motion. The

sky looms and lists drunkenly as insects buzz, suspended in time above the flaking

corpses of trampled grain. The air is tight; alive and expectant.

The girl—and maybe time itself slows, unsure.

He watches and his excitement grows. He will feed his brothers. He will make the

Fathers proud.


The girl stops and shades her face. Her eyes narrow and she tilts her head to

hear. Underneath the cricket-hum, through the loping breeze…down, down into the

loamy wormy earth she can feel it in her body. All other sounds fade and her senses

sharpen to a point. The air turns thick and she hears him.

Unearthly and earthy, an alien concerto: his voice is throbbing and sensual. He

sings and she is drawn to him. She sees his smile turn vulpine and she is attracted and

afraid. Every cell of her body is a screaming klaxon but the song pulls at her, all knotty

white knuckled anger that leaves bruises and promises. She sways and begins to lurch

unsteadily toward the tree line. The sun winks out and all goes black.

His task is complete and his brothers have been satisfied. Soon they will be

strong again but for now they slumber and swim through the distant memories and

ancient dreams of the Fathers. He can feel them waiting and whispering across the

cold, inky expanse of abandoned dead and distant worlds. On clear nights he can catch

fragments of their murmurs and tortured thoughts like tinny, ghostly voices from a

static-filled radio. They are hungry and time is short. But for now he will watch and wait

through the frozen winter until grey becomes green and life returns and he will begin

again. They are on the cusp of reunion. All is quiet, peaceful.

This was an easy one, he thinks. Sometimes he has to drag them by their hair.


The man wakes in a sweaty fit. A branch rakes against the window, cackling like

a witch and the wind is insane. He gets out of bed, loudly cursing his body, and

stumbles to the bathroom. He pisses and washes his face. Down the stairs, and into the

kitchen, now.

He grips the counter, and opens the twin windows above the sink. The curtains

begin to billow, and he pulls them aside and squints, looking out. The air is

cool–crisp–and he hears and sees nothing but moonlight.

Those trees have got to go. They’re hurting the crops; but it was just a dream, he

tells himself. It will be nine years in November and he still reaches for her in the night.

He stumbles and sees nothing but white lights blinking as his head catches the back of

a chair and he falls to the floor.

A branch reaches through the window and tickles his hand, offering buds. He

coughs, and grabs at the branch and eats from it. The branch begins to enfold him like a

glove and he feels safe. In that cozy place he hears the song, and he begins to hum


The branch grips tighter, kissing his forehead, and the man sucks at his thumb. Now all

is chorus and he hears chanting.

“You will make our father proud.”

Over and over and over.

He can only hold out for so long.


The man seems to melt into the floor, seeing visions of alien worlds: where trees

are like people, and people are mouths. The man becomes immobile, and the branches

stretch, groaning; covering his face.

Evan A. Grace

Evan A. Grace is an aspiring writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin: a city commonly known as being somewhere north of Chicago. His credits include handwritten letters to the local village newspaper, decorating Pringles cans for birthdays, and staging shows for his parents that he’d cancel immediately if he felt the response wasn’t what he had hoped for. Evan began and ended his college career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, studying journalism and wasting a lot of money. As a child, Evan was plagued by scary dreams that frighten him to this day so now he writes them down, and draws weird stuff @laurapringleswilder on Instagram. He hopes he can pass on the feeling of skin, just crawling back across itself, making faces. Boo!


The random patter of rain on the windows in counterpoint to the steady tick of the wall clock should make for a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere in my living room, yet instead creates an air of tension and unease… but why?

This is a late summer rain, no storm or winds, no reason to take shelter, so why am I looking over my shoulder for shadows that aren’t there?

Why do I keep glancing at the door, as though expecting it to burst open, an intruder dashing in?

Well, let him.

I have room for one more body out back.


G.A. Miller

G.A. Miller is a new voice in the chorus of horror authors, drawing his ideas from every day, commonplace events that take unforeseen turns down dark corridors, often with horrific consequences.

His work has been published in numerous anthologies from a variety of publishers, and he’s just released his first novella, “Spirit of the Dead”, now available at Amazon.


She smiles at him.

“Tell me a story. A horror story. In six words.”

He grins. Nods. Thinks for a second.

“Face at the window. Nobody’s home.”

She giggles, shivers.

“Your turn,” he whispers.

Chews her lip. Claps her hands.

“Siamese twins. Separated at birth. Reunited.”

His nod of approval. She gestures. His go.

“God is a fiction, whispered Beelzebub”

A shriek of delight. He tickles her. Her round.

“All alone? Who’s that behind you!”

He fakes a scream. She punches him.

“You do better!”

A pregnant pause.

“The knife took his wife’s life”

She’s in bits. Carpet’s a mess.

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives with his family in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom. His work has been short listed in several contests and his story UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD was selected as the winning entry in the WRITING MAGAZINE 2016 annual short story competition. He is currently in the process of completing a number of new short pieces of fiction and is also working upon a novel. You can visit his website at

The Loch Ness Monster

We rode out to the loch in your dad’s silver merc; you drove. Giggling, laughing, we stripped on the water’s edge letting our clothes fall together. Our eyes stealing shy glimpses of smooth skin. We swam out into the loch, out to the deep water; backstroke, breaststroke, crawl, the icy water like a dead lover’s caress.
In the full moon’s light, your hair and skin glowed like silver, like you were a ghost or a spirit.
You swam towards me and treading water, you kissed me. Your lips tasted of salt water and lip balm.
In the depths, something stirred.

David Rae

David lives in Scotland. He loves stories that exist just below the surface of things, like deep water.

He has most recently had work published or forthcoming  in; THE FLATBUSH REVIEW, THE HORROR TREE, LOCUST, ROSETTA MALEFICARIUM, SHORT TALE 100 and 50 WORD STORIES. You can read more at

Damien’s Dilema

Damien Cross hated his Godforsaken name.
He knew that for it only his parents were to blame.
A stupid movie from the seventies would forever have other kids call him the Devil’s son.
Though the chances of finding him without his head in a book are slim to none.
Damien knew that one day soon he would put his newfound knowledge to good use.
Everything he was learning about from poison to politics would help him end the abuse.
He might not be the devil, but he was no one fool.
Damien had always known he was born to rule.

Stuart Conover

Your local Horror Tree editor has been super busy as of late! With the holiday season, I’ve been working diligently on keeping the site updated and not much else. My writing has been slim to none as of late. However, that slim has still allowed me to pen an outline for a fantasy novella.

I’m hoping that when the new year hits that things will calm down and I can really focus on it because…

Hopefully, this will be a piece of writing I can actually get finished!

Taking Submissions: Contrary Spring 2019 Issue

Deadline: March 1st, 2018
Payment: $20

“Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will invest in new perceptions. I will combine and recombine and fabricate and juggle until something that I have never experienced is experienced. The process is alchemical. The process is violent. It goes to the heart of creativity. It disrupts and shatters. It is splendid with provocation. It is an aggression against banality. It is sharp and loud like a janitor scraping frost from a window. The hectic bounce of steam on a street after a truck roars by. The anarchy of waters, the comedy of the face, dangerous feelings vented from a cage of skin.” ~ John Olson

Poetry — We believe poetry is contrary by nature, always defying, always tonguing the tang of novelty. We look especially for plurality of meaning, for dual reverberation of beauty and concern. Contrary’s poetry in particular often mimics the effects of fiction or commentary. We find ourselves enamored of prose poems because they are naturally contrary toward form – they tug on the forces of exposition or narrative – but prose poems remain the minority of all the poetic forms we publish. Please consider that Contrary receives vast amounts of poetry and that we can publish only a small percentage of that work. Please submit no more than three poems per issue. Our poetry editor is Shaindel Beers.

Fiction — We ask our fiction writers to imagine their readers navigating a story with one finger poised over a mouse button. Can your story stay that finger to the end? We have published long stories on the belief that they succeed, but we feel more comfortable with the concise. We favor fiction that is contrary in any number of ways, but our fiction typically defies traditional story form. A story may bring us to closure, for example, without ever delivering an ending. It may be as poetic as any poem. Our fiction editor is Frances Badgett.

Lyrical commentary/creative non-fiction —“Commentary” is our word for the stuff that others define negatively as non-fiction, nominally as essay, or naively as truth. We favor commentary that delivers a message less through exposition than through artistry. The commentary we select is often lyrical, narrative, or poetic. Examples from our pages include “Plum Island” by Andrew Coburn, “Ascension” by Kevin Heath, and “A Spring Sunday” by Heywood Broun. Our commentary editor is Jeff McMahon.

Terms of Submission

PLEASE NOTE: Because of Contrary’s 15th Anniversary issue in Autumn 2018, current submissions are being considered for the Winter 2019 issue. Acceptances will be delivered in December.

Our deadline, response, and publication cycle – Contrary receives submissions throughout the year and publishes four issues per year, with the change of seasons. In Spring our deadline is March 1, and the issue appears on or about April 1. Following that cycle, our deadline for Summer is June 1, Autumn is Sept. 1, Winter is Dec. 1. We begin each issue from scratch, with completely new submissions. If your submission is accepted, you will hear from us. If not, you can always verify that it was not accepted by viewing the issue for which you submitted. We do not send rejection letters.

Rights – Upon acceptance, Contrary acquires: 1) worldwide rights to publish in any or all versions of Contrary and other Contrary-affiliated media, including domestic and foreign, whether in the English language or translated into a foreign language, including any successor, similar or replacement versions thereof; 2) exclusive worldwide rights for a period of 90 days from the date of Contrary’s first publication of the work; 3. non-exclusive perpetual rights to republish, store, syndicate or distribute the work or portions of the work in any language and in any country, and 4) the right to use your name and likeness in a fair and dignified manner and to publish information about you in connection with the advertising and promotion of Contrary and of the Work. 5) When exclusive rights expire after three months, the author is free to seek republication elsewhere, but Contrary must be credited in all subsequent publications. 6) All rights granted by this agreement are granted in perpetuity and applicable in all media including, but not limited to, all electronic media, internet, wireless or mobile platforms whether now known or hereafter created.

Payment – For original commentary, fiction, and poetry, Contrary Magazine pays $20 per author per issue, regardless of the number of works or nature of the submission, if invoiced within six months. Reviews and Contrary Blog posts are unpaid. Author must email us an invoice within six months of acceptance for the payment to be processed. If no invoice is received within six months of acceptance, author forfeits payment, and all rights remain in force. Upon receipt of invoice, payments will be made through Paypal.

Simultaneous submissions – We accept simultaneous submissions, but you must inform us when submissions are simultaneous, and you must withdraw your submission immediately if the work is accepted elsewhere (you may resubmit any parts of your submission that remain unpublished). A submission constitutes an agreement to publish in Contrary under the guidelines on this page. Accepted works go into production immediately and may not be withdrawn under any circumstances.

Mailing List — When you submit your work you will be automatically subscribed to the mailing list we use to communicate with our contributors. We use it to call for submissions no more than four times each year. You may unsubscribe at any time or otherwise manage your subscription at our list host.

Before submitting, you may wish to consult our Manuscript Suggestions.

Via: Contrary Magazine.

Video Refresh: The Waiting Game

This is a quick video refresh of our previous article ‘Setting Self Doubt on Fire: The Waiting Game’. We almost all have to wait to hear back on the stories and novels we submit to publishers and Nicole Simms is sharing a few hints at what you can do to pass the time that doesn’t include losing your sanity! If you’d like a few ideas on the topic, please be sure to click on the direct link to the article below!

After watching the video, please like, share, and subscribe to our channel!

This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear. Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

You can read the full interview here:

Taking Submissions: Great Weather For Media

Deadline: January 15th, 2019
Payment: One contributor copy, plus $10 for writers based in USA. To help towards shipping costs, international writers receive one copy.

unpredictable, fearless, glistening, innovative… GREAT

great weather for MEDIA seeks poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic monologues, and creative nonfiction for our annual print anthology.

  • Submissions are open from October 15th through January 15th every year. Need a reminder? Sign up to our monthly newsletter.
  • Our focus is on the edgy, fearless, and experimental but we do not have a set theme for our anthologies. We highly recommend reading one of our previous collections to get a feel for the type of work we are interested in. Our latest anthology is Suitcase of Chrysanthemums. We are based in New York City and welcome submissions from both national and international writers.
  • 1-4 poems of any length. If you are submitting more than one poem, include them all in a single document. Do not submit multiple poems in separate files. Single-spaced please, or how it should appear on the printed page. Start each poem on a new page.
  • 1 prose/creative nonfiction piece, 2 if under 500 words. Maximum word count: 2,500. Prose should be in English.
  • Multiple submissions (in the same genre) are not accepted and will not be read. Please wait until you receive a response from us before submitting again.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine – just notify us with your good news immediately. If you wish to withdraw part of your submission, please log in to your Submittable account to add a note to your submission activity and list the title no longer available for consideration. If you wish to withdraw your entire submission, log in and update your Submittable account – instructions here.
  • Please don’t send revisions. You can always add a note to your submissions if there is something you need to let us know about.
  • Payment: One contributor copy, plus $10 for writers based in USA. To help towards shipping costs, international writers receive one copy.
  • We aim to respond in 1-4 months. If you have not heard from us after four months, please email [email protected]
  • Copyright: great weather for MEDIA holds first serial rights for material that we publish. The copyright automatically reverts to the author upon publication. All work may be permanently archived online. We ask that great weather for MEDIA be acknowledged in any subsequent publication of the work.
  • We look forward to reading your work!
  • Finally, please take a look at our books. Small presses love readers and all support is much appreciated!

Via: Great Weather For Media’s Submittable.

Ongoing Submissions: The Master’s Review

Payment: 10 cents per word up to $200

Submissions for our New Voices category are open year round. New Voices is open to any new and emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length. You must not have a novel forthcoming at the time of submission. Published short-story collections do not count as a novel-length work and those authors are free to submit. New Voices are published online only and will feature a number of stories from new authors each month.

We are pleased to announce we now offer payment to New Voices authors. $0.10/word up to $200. We are thrilled to be paying for published pieces but will be highly selective in our choices for publication.

  • New Voices submissions are open to new and emerging writers only (no novel-length published work forthcoming at the time of submission).
  • We accept fiction and narrative non-fiction. We do accept a variety of genres and styles, our only requirement is that you show excellence in your craft. We want to be wowed. Bend genres, experiment with structure, and write your heart out. But please, send us polished work. Our aim is to showcase writers who we believe will continue to produce great work. Send us only your best.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please notify us if your work is picked up elsewhere.
  • All submissions must be less than 7,000 words.
  • We do accept multiple submissions.
  • Please include a cover letter with your publication history

Via: The Master’s Review Submittable.

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