Category: Trembling With Fear

Trembling With Fear 08/01/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. We hope to reopen later in the year once we have caught up with the publication of those already accepted. Please also remember to read our guidelines, especially on word counts!

Dear all,

I had written up an editorial and it was all primed and ready to go but that will now be held over to next week. On Thursday, I received an email from Stephen Bustanoby’s former landlady letting me know that Stephen sadly passed away on the 26th July. Looking back at our records, I found he started submitting to us early summer 2020 with serials and short stories and was building up a solid record of acceptance with his actual publications appearing earlier this year. His landlady also told me that she is nowhere the character’s age or description in his serial, The Boarder(!) and that she will miss him. It is sad to see an emerging talent cut short in this manner and Horror Tree would like to extend their condolences to his family and friends.

On behalf of Stuart, Steph, Amanda and everyone at Horror Tree

 

 

Trembling With Fear 1st Aug:

Due to a slight mix-up – such things happen – we have two short stories in Trembling with Fear this week. The first of these is The Phobic Vampire by Martin P. Fuller. Martin is always someone I can trust to bring in some lovely touches of humour to our dark little genre. The Phobic Vampire is an exploration of what it takes to fill such a bloody role adequately, and perhaps a warning to those who seek to ‘turn’ others that they should look into their history first!

Our second short story is A Time of Loneliness by Varian Ross and is one of the most beautiful and touching zombie stories I have ever read. This tale brings back the humanity to those often thought of as nothing but rotting flesh, reminding us that maybe, just maybe, there is something still left behind.

Fortune Cookie by RJ Meldrum plays into the human weakness of believing the old fortune teller. Is it luck that causes the outcome of this story or something else though?

Purblind by Patrick Winters gives a whole new meaning to the term recycling and reuse, all in the name of greed.

The Convent by Mike Rader is a lovely little religious chiller. It makes you look at the main character in two ways – is she someone with compassion, or someone who wrought horror in the first place?

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Hello all! I’m busy traveling this week and the next week and a half so things are a bit messy. Not much in the way of updates this week though I’m hoping to have some news next! 
One final reminder – All of this year’s Trembling With Fear copies are now available both in physical and digital format which you can find below! Please, if you’ve ordered these or previous installments, do leave a review on Amazon!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Tribulations of Youth by Yvonne Lang

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.

I

Jane breathed deeply, trying to quell her nausea. Had her drink been spiked? Everything felt fuzzy and her brain was fumbling for coherent thoughts. The cold air was helping as she gulped it in. She’d be more careful at the next party. Something rough was digging into her soles. Jane was paralysed as she realised she was stood barefoot on a window ledge at least a dozen storeys up. She gripped onto the wall, desperately trying to edge back inside. Then a pair of hands shoved her and for a few seconds Jane was flying before she hit the ground.

II

The girl’s blonde hair was splayed like a halo round her crumpled face. A mess of twisted limbs and jutting bones seeped in blood. Students from the party claimed it was Jane, who had unexpectantly jumped. Sarah tried to remain professional in her role as security officer, but the girl looked so young. Her concaved head had been the first thing to hit the ground, shattered wrists had tried to break her fall. Jumpers hit the ground feet first, had smashed ankles. No-one depressed enough to fling themselves off a roof dove headfirst. Sarah reckoned this girl had been pushed.

III

Glynn stood in the empty room. She had packed up her candles, wiped away the red lettered incantations from the walls and scrubbed the chalk pentagram from the floorboards. This abandoned building was earmarked for demolition, yet students still flocked to the lower floors for parties. Glynn could sidle up to a vulnerable soul and lure them to her thirteenth floor. Another sacrifice to keep her young. These days it was easy pickings. Social media wrecking people’s mental health as well as thousands of new and vulnerable people shipped here annually. The humans were making her eternal existence even easier.

Yvonne Lang

Yvonne’s short stories and comedy articles have been featured in a range of publications, from Sugar Magazine to Your Cat Magazine, as well as local publications such as Northern Life Magazine and ranking highly in competitions throughout the UK. She has featured in online publications Café Lit Magazine and has had drabbles on The Daily Drabble. Her latest horror stories have been published as part of the Short Sharp Shock Series by Demain Publishing and are available on Amazon. Her horror has featured in Siren Magazine, Schlock Magazine and her science fiction on sites such as 365 tomorrows. She resides in Yorkshire, England with her partner and cat. 
 

Trembling With Fear 07/25/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. We hope to reopen later in the year once we have caught up with the publication of those already accepted.

As we continue to bask in the glow of summer (poetic version) or melt in the pressure cooker (reality), life has taken a tiny step forward. If you live across the border in England that is, where some restrictions have been lifted. Here in Wales we have to wait a bit longer. And even then, some things will remain for the duration of the pandemic.

Regardless of the politics and personal views on the matter, I think looking back over the behaviour of both government and individuals will certainly feed into the stories we write. To be restricted in what you do, where you go, who you can see, touch, hug is a degree of micro-management of personal life I never thought we’d experience. Writers and poets have a part to play in exploring and developing these themes, holding up examples of ‘what if’ for society to consider and use as a challenge to the law-makers, ensure that what we are told to do is for a genuine reason and not dictatorship by the back door.

Writers – authors, poets, journalists – are dangerous creatures, it’s why many non-democratic governments imprison them on trumped up charges. Writers have a place as social commentators and freedom fighters as well as entertainers. And genre writers, especially horror, hold a unique place in that they can really dig deep into the psyche and explore the darkness that could so easily erupt in a world of ‘what if’. Use your anger, your frustrations to birth a story and give the world a wake-up call.

There have been people asking if books set in a pandemic will be popular, will people read them. I’ve not been put off. But in particular, I think there will be a growth in dystopian literature as we try to work out exactly how we feel about this lived experience and what we can or can’t tolerate, the polarisation of views, the censorship and self-censorship of speech. Life has become a tightrope and I think horror writers are perfectly poised to explore this world of extremes. I love dystopian work and it would be great to see a touch more at TWF.

The first story in this week’s Trembling with Fear is The House of Dennis Eath by Tom Hook. I’m glad my experiences of house buying did not feature a character such as Mr. Eath and I don’t think I’d have signed on the dotted line but sometimes the price is just too good. Or is it? Lovely chill in the last sentences directing the reader to think only one thing.

Desert Vengeance by Ken MacGregor is a great story for this heatwave – or not, if you consider the consequences. Nicely brutal.

Kraken by Elyse Russell paints a picture of roiling ocean life, some great imagery here.

When Darkness Falls by Dee Grimes brings us another monster of the deep. Terrific description of the creature also shows its intent – without telling. Lovely.

 

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

This week, we’re trying something new on our newsletter! I’m trying to step back a bit in preparation for having help for it while I’m away for a couple of weeks coming up. So, Holley Cornetto will have written this one and it’s worth checking out! (She’ll be doing a few of the upcoming ones as well!)
All of this year’s Trembling With Fear copies are now available both in physical and digital format which you can find below! Please, if you’ve ordered these or previous installments, do leave a review on Amazon!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Three Drabbles by Alan Moskowitz

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.

When Time Runs Out

Doctor Sturges tried to look sympathetic through his mask when he told Jim that it was only a matter of time.  He was sorry, but Jim couldn’t visit her, due to contagion.   

Jim went into Margate’s room anyway.  He took her hand, watching in sorrow as the woman he had loved all his life struggled to breathe, her eyes filled with panic. “No worries my old girl, you won’t be alone for long.”  

He took off his mask, kissed her on the lips, breathing in her love and then sat beside her, and waited.  Her fear disappeared, and she smiled.

A Moment of Spite

Carla rushed breathless into the hospital room apologizing for being late. She chatted nervously about his grandkids to no avail.  He began his usual critique of her carelessness, her weight and her life.  The usual feelings of shame crawled over her.

Then the final barb, “Where’s your sister, she’s never late!”  Anger bloomed,  Carla retaliated, “Roby died years ago, Dad, remember?”

The old man burst into tears.  Carla sat silently satisfied as he cried away the afternoon.

The next visit he asked about Roby and Carla told him she was cooking dinner for his grandkids, and the day went well.

Sacrifice

The doctors surrounding the body were wondering what to do next.  An attending suggested sending it to the morgue.  Dr. Sturges scoffed, “So you want to lose your license, your career and your future?  Leave it to me.”

The team left with their tablets filled with unauthorized research that could provide a cure.

While rolling the body to the crematorium Sturges thought about the old guy’s long life, his love for his family, his losses and triumphs and his final selfless act.   

If his family knew they would probably be pleased at his contribution to the fight against the virus.

Alan Moskowitz

Alan Moskowitz is a retired screen and TV writer pursuing his passion for writing short genre fiction for his pleasure and, with hope, the enjoyment of others.

Trembling With Fear 07/18/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. We hope to reopen later in the year once we have caught up with the publication of those already accepted.

It’s been a quiet week in terms of anything happening, I’ve progressed my novella and started writing a short for a submission call I’ve on Horror Tree – and I’m still waiting on submission news. I’m reading an ARC of Coy Hall’s Grimoire of the Four Imposters and loving it and I’ve bought even more books recently to add to my TBR pile – the Waterstones in Birmingham (UK) is wonderful by the way!

As TWF moves forward, you will find Amanda Headlee, our specials, trinities and serial killers editor, becoming more involved in the day-to-day running of things, eg acknowledging receipt of stories. Amanda has been a terrific addition to the team and I value immensely the load she has taken on her shoulders. I will freely admit it’s stopped me turning into a gibbering wreck. If you would like to read any of her own work – she released a novel, Till We Become Monsters earlier this year – pop over here to find out more.

Now to this week’s Trembling with Fear. Our first story is House of Evil by Damon Sweeney which plays to the murder house trope and automatically triggers the impulse to shout ‘don’t go in there’ when you seen someone about to do just that. Sometimes though, evil doesn’t just live in a house – it takes a walk around the neighbourhood and calls you friend. Is anyone what they seem?

Life and Death by Ben Coppin gives a different perspective on life and death via this zombie tale. But who is the zombie?

Like a White Snake by Christina Nordlander has an ethereal, nightmarish quality to her lab reminiscences. Nice setup using ‘what if’.

Fly Tipping by April Yates sets a typical scene of something apparently dumped where it shouldn’t be, plays to assumptions and then throws in the unexpected.

 

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

The unpacking continues, interrupted only by children, my day job, my MBA program (yay, did well on my midterm!), and keeping the site running. So, basically, I’ll be unpacking for the next seventeen years 😉 

So, the latest update on the Trembling With Fear copies, the first two below are both digital and physical while “Serial Killers: Volume 2” is still digital only at the time of writing this update. Hopefully, soon! 🙂 

If you pick up a copy of any of the above or our previous anthologies, we’d truly appreciate a review on Amazon. 

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Party by Martin P. Fuller

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.

This little collection of drabbles is in part a nod from Martin to my recent move. He knows me so well – including my music tastes!  – Steph

Party, Party

Their move complete. Boxes emptied. Furniture unloaded. A new life in the town of Wrexham.
The husband relived at relocation success, decided on celebration. Beer, food, wine and loud, raucous music. After all, their nearest neighbours were firmly planted in the nearby churches cemetery.

The walls trembled to Metallica. Party-goers danced wildly. It was just after midnight a heavy knock at the door deadened festivities.

On the doorstep stood a rotting corpse, mouldering green skin and white bone. Grating words fell out of its mouth along with rampant worms.

“Please turn down the music. It’s enough to wake the dead.”

A Moving Story

She regarded her old house fondly, ghosts of happy times haunting every room. But time passes and her new house in Wrexham beckoned. The removal men had finished loading the large Victorian display case, minus its contents of course. She’d packed those treasures separately, and discreetly. 

She’d worried the new owners of her house may find the bodies under the rockery, but they were elderly;  happy to leave the garden intact. She would always have the collection of desiccated heads however, their smiles lighting up her new house. A collection she would add to, after she built a new rockery.

Welcome to Wrexham

Jasper Bottomley was determined to pay his respects to the new family now in residence at the house by the churchyard. The hour was late, true, but he would not tarry. A cordial introduction and a welcome to Wrexham. He mayhap be able to learn of news form the rest of the country and how parliament fared in the war before returning home his obligations complete.

It occurred to him as he clawed his way to the surface he might invite them to his abode if they were decent God-fearing people. After all, truly decent company was hard to find.

Martin P. Fuller

Martin P. Fuller lives in his shoebox house in West Yorkshire. He was in his previous exitances: –

 a beer salesman, a pall bearer, a car delivery driver, and oh yes… a police officer for over 34 years.  

He started to write in 2013 after attending a creative writing class and since then has become a writing course junkie. 

Discovering his dark side, Martin has had a number of stories published in Trembling with Fear and several other anthologies including Deadcades published by Infernal Clock.

Trembling With Fear 07/11/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. We hope to reopen later in the year once we have caught up with the publication of those already accepted.

After a number of rejections – like so many writers! – I’ve been able to announce this week my involvement in the A Silent Dystopia anthology, a collection which features stories set in a shared world originally formed by Dave Jeffereys in his A Quiet Apocalypse and related publications. With writers like Kev Harrison, John Palisano, Dave himself and a whole range of others, it’s going to be a great read.

This actually makes up for a continued wait for the Crystal Lake Classic Monsters Unleashed decision on my submission. I’ve got down to the last bit and the wait has whittled away my nails! Writers certainly need their share of resilience and patience!

I’ve read a few books lately and want to give them shoutouts. Ronald Kelly’s Fear is a big book but a wonderful page-turner, absolutely immersive and I adored it. Sarah J. Huntington is a newer writer and I picked up her collection Iron Maidens the other day. Her writing is exceptionally strong and original, enough to make me get her other collection Paint it Black and Other Stories. From the strength of the writing I’ve seen, I think she will be one to watch out for.

Yes, I pick up books I see others raving about but quite often I will see other voices trying to get their books noticed and I’ll take those as well. I know exactly how hard it is to get people to read your work – it’s still something I have trouble with! – and in doing so, I’ve made some wonderful discoveries.

Our first story this week in Trembling with Fear is The Midnight Tubes by Harris Coverley is a lovely dark tale set in the bowels of the hospital. Working in a morgue can have its upsides. And is this one of the few jogs where you can get away with murder?

Afraid of Freud by Mike Rader. Oh, how we hate the idea of Alzheimer’s and psychiatrists, the notion of being vulnerable and abused. So we take steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones will help. Won’t they?

Reared by Patrick Winters. This is such a tragic story but is testament to the maternal instinct across all creatures.

Tag at Night by Toko Hata. This centres on a dream, something I would normally baulk at publishing BUT take that last sentence into account and you can see why it was accepted, stepping it slightly out of the dreamworld and into possible reality.

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I’m officially moved into the new house. Now, I just need to find a new desk and finish unpacking boxes. SO MANY BOXES. This has been another crazy week with the move, a visit to my uncle’s lake house for the Fourth of July, my first day returning to the office (this coming week I’ll be back in two days a week), trying to unpack, trying to set up things in the house, helping pack up the old house, and my MBA program. WHEE. 

With all of that in mind, I hope you won’t hold any delays on getting things done for site changes against me.

Trembling With Fear digital copies should now all fully be available! I’ve resubmitted Year 4 for physical so it may be available at the time of reading this though it looks like we have some cover sizing issues on the other two which we’re currently working through and they may take a bit longer. 

I hope all of your reading and writing endeavors go well in the coming week! 

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Cosmic Emptiness by Margarida Brei

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.

I

Some think life insignificant, meaningless. Especially standing alone under a huge sky full of stars. Not me. At night, I shouted up at the cosmos, “I am here with my feet on earth, and you are all alone, light years away.” It was easy feeling safe when the earth was whole. But now? Only a few survived the apocalypse. Living scientists think earth was hit by a giant meteorite. What really matters is earth is dying, our resources are few. There is darkness and despair everywhere. Dystopia is a reality. Now I feel that I am nothing in the world.  

II

I am one. One alone after the apocalypse. It is hard not to feel insignificant when you are the only survivor out of your family. No one to live for. There is nothing to live for. What is the point of building a broken earth when few survived. The only choices are what to die from- starvation, boredom, hopelessness, disease? Out of necessity, I now occupy a beautiful ornate mansion. Oddly, it survived intact, when all around it was destroyed. Endless rooms, glamorous bathrooms, landscaped pool. It is a dream house, but so empty that it brings me no joy. 

III

Shortly after the apocalypse, I woke to mewing. My imagination, I argue and fall asleep. Depressing to be one of only a sparse number of survivors! Listlessly sitting, I hear a tiny weak sound coming from the servants’ quarters. So faint. In my hand a torch and in the other a baseball bat. The torch gives me more confidence in the dark. Amazingly, I discover the maid’s baby is still alive but alone and suspect the parent died during the apocalypse. 

“You will survive. Earth’s hope. I am here for you, always. Call me Mummy.” I sing to the baby.

Margarida Brei

As a female Senior gold,
I think in rhymes and inventive couplets bold.
From England, the land of cats and dogs showers, through Canada, I was chased by the snow-covered Yeti,
Now in Texas, the blazing sun and Vitamin D, in abundance, I getti.
My two naughty dogs inspire me.
From the perspective of a teacher, mother, wife, granny and animal lover, the world I see.
Horror Tree has published some of my Valentine drabble. My historical novel is on Amazon.
As the feature poet Scifaikuest is showcasing some of my ghazal, scifaiku, tanka and drabbun.