Following Stuart’s recent article on author bios, it has been great to see a number of contributors have actually taken this advice onboard and a few have even sent in a revised bio as a consequence. I can guarantee these bios have given the author a more professional appearance, showing they take their work seriously. The hardest time to write a bio is at the start of your publishing career, I mean what can you say? I know that was the time I found it tough – everyone else was reeling off all their publications and there was me with nothing. That, for me, has now changed – as it will for any of you yet to be published, but, for those currently in this position, I would refer you back to that article and read what the editors in the business say themselves. Then go back to your bio and redraft it.
Stuart has a number of articles planned in the future which we hope will help you on your writing journey, however, if you have any particular topics you would like us to cover, please drop us a line at Horror Tree.Stephanie Ellis
‘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
My shaking hand nearly drops the hunk of meat on its way to my mouth. I fight valiantly against my gag reflex as my tongue and teeth mash the fatty, globular slab of jiggling pink flesh against my gums. I swallow the macerated compote of raw protein, slimy and soft, down my throat. The taste is about as repugnant as you’d think. Pungent. Clammy. The tiniest bit salty.
The revolver’s hammer cocks, the only sound in the otherwise silent chamber. Cold metal licks the side of my head, pressing through my sweat-laden curls, into my skin. The blood pulsing through my temples struggles against the pressure of the gun and the bullet promised in its barrel.
His demand is husky. Vocals ravaged by a life of chain-smoking and barking orders.
My vision swims and swirls. The remnants of ketamine he’d stabbed into my veins blur my sight, corrupt my perception of reality. The restraints pinning my ankles to the fancifully carved mahogany seat at the head of the dazzlingly long, disturbingly empty dining room table seem to tighten. Their leather kiss is not gentle. I can feel the bruises blooming, sickening violet, putrid yellow.
I lift another chunk of brain from the gilded china platter. Meat oozes beneath my fingernails. Grease slathers my palms.
My sob is involuntary, muffled behind a mouthful of my sister’s cranial contents. I chew slowly. Nausea churns my gut but the shame is a thousand times more potent, warping my mind, roiling my stomach, cinching my throat tight like a garrote.
I splutter. Bits of grey matter and frothy saliva spray onto the immaculate tablecloth.
His revolver slams into my head, snapping my head to the left. I can’t help the pathetic yelp and the effeminate whimper that escapes my lips in fear of the bullet inside.
I am a coward.
I don’t want to die.
So I force her brain down my throat, waging a grotesque war against my humanity with my will to survive, to flee this godforsaken place, and put as much distance between me and this cannibalistic monster of a man.
The gun is a frozen, undeniable force against my skull.
“Go ahead, Michael,” he says. “It’s okay to like it.”
I shiver. I cry. Snot and tears do nothing to improve the taste.
I shovel quivering handfuls of my sister’s brain into my mouth, murdered by the man’s unforgiving axe just hours before.
I eat it. Piece by agonizing piece, I eat it.
Gobs of it lodge between my teeth. Drool slathers my face. My stomach moans in betrayal.
“Wasn’t so bad, was it?” His laugh is deep, drawling, casual. “I’ve tried it every which way.”
The revolver is icy.
“Sautéed. Baked. Grilled.”
His breath is rank.
Goosebumps sting my skin.
“That’s the way to go.”
And then he shoots me.
Should’ve never gone to that damned dinner party.
Brianna M. Fenty
Brianna Fenty is a state maritime academy alumna hailing from New York’s wonderfully weird Long Island area. After spending a few months learning highland voodoo from Scotland’s resident fairies (AKA taking a gap year), she now keeps busy at home begrudgingly searching for a day job, writing strange stories, and forcing her very moody cat to read them. Brianna specializes in writing bizarre speculative fiction, including horror, sci-fi, and dark fantasy. Her work can be followed on her blog, https://briannafenty.wordpress.com!
A Simple Accident
It was just a simple misstep on the stairs. She landed heavily, neatly snapping her ankle. There was no pain, unless she tried to move. She was stuck.
She was alone; her husband was away on business, the phone was out of reach and the nearest neighbor a mile away.
For three days she lay there. Their dog snuffled around trying to help, asking for food and water.
She realised she was going to die, not from the fracture, but from thirst. The dog was the same. She stared into its eyes.
She felt breath against her throat.
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 intruder lunged, its claws grazed her arm. Clutching her cellphone, Helen burst from the house and scurried into the woods — her only escape. She could lose it in the woods.
No time for tears. Keep running. Breathe. Breath. Don’t look back. Run.
She switched on the phone’s flashlight. It helped a little.
She tripped, but caught herself. She turned back. Nothing there.
A sound came from the right. It reached for her. She dodged it.
Run. Run. I can’t see.
She tripped, falling head-first into a thick tree trunk. Helen was scared no more.
Pernell Rogers is a product of the supernatural world. In his mind, the real world isn’t real at all. All human motivation is based on fear, and it’s that fear that he tries to expose in his writings.
You can follow his work on Smashwords.
Her ghost lurks in every corner. The shelf dust, the molding webs, even the corner shadows. I hadn’t been home in years.
“She’s obviously been here,” Mark said, pointing to ivy, flowering plants, fresh blooms. “Who else would care for these?”
But I didn’t reply. My brother’s question hung in the silent gloom as I traced roots along the walls, thickening like fat fingers pointing to a secret.
“Do you think she’s still living in this dump?” he yelled.
Vines wound their way into a back room, where they dug into Sarah’s corpse—the best fertilizer around.
“No, I don’t.”
Kevin Holton is the writer behind all sorts of work, ranging from dozens of short stories, to a variety of poems, and even a co-written screenplay. His first traditionally published novel, The Nightmare King, is forthcoming from Siren’s Call Publications. He also has a YouTube channel reading some of his drabbles and flash fiction. When not writing, he’s a gamer, actor, athlete, and coffee enthusiast who probably likes Batman too much.