Tagged: Drabble

Trembling With Fear 12/05/21

I am pleased to announce we are now open for the short flash stories which lead each week’s TWF! Refer to our submission guidelines for further information.

After waiting for months for the UK Ghost Story Festival in Derby, it’s been and gone! I had a really good time despite the weather affecting attendance and the schedule and met some lovely people, including authors Simon Clark and Tracy Fahey – please check out their books. I also survived my first panel experience and I met members of The Dracula Society – which I didn’t know existed! Wonderful people and hopefully we’ll meet up again at Chillercon in Scarborough next year!

Whilst we were away however, Storm Arwen hit our home and we returned to some damage – broken window and garden fencing and gates, a tile and guttering – but overall liveable with. I feel so sorry for those up North who are still without power or water or both whilst I write this. I know one of our writers, Jimmy Graves, was affected in this way and I hope he’s now got the water back on! For ourselves, we are still trying to get the insurers out. And on top of that we seem to have wildlife in the attic – either mice, bats or squirrel. I suppose our run of good luck following our move had to come to an end! I don’t mind if it’s bats though. They’re harmless – and they are protected in the UK.

In other news, I’ve been sharing online a little of a project I’ve been working on with Cindy O’Quinn, a really talented poet and writer. We’ve created a collection of found poetry, Foundlings, based on the work of Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti. It should be out in February and comments coming back from the ARCs have made us so happy. A new anthology, A Silent Dystopia, is also out from Demain Publishing. Set in the world of Dave Jeffery’s A Quiet Apocalypse, and edited by D. T. Griffiths, it includes a story from me alongside many familiar names on the indie scene. It was huge fun to write in someone else’s world!

The first story in Trembling with Fear this week is Hunted by Deer from Will H. Blackwell, Jr.  A monologue told in a slightly disjointed way following an accident, it brings with it an unawareness of their situation which adds a chill to the finale. It is also not a good idea to listen to that little voice in your head to justify your actions. The consequences can be disastrous! Excellent writing as always from Will H. Blackwell.

Genius by Patrick Winters reminds me a little of Jack and the Beanstalk where the slightly dim Jack doesn’t follow his mother’s commands. In this instance, a simple bit of wordplay turns the whole story in a similar manner. Neatly done.

Recipe for Horror by Mike Rader is a gorgeously gruesome take on Shakespeare’s witches from Macbeth. Wonderful parody.

Surprise by RJ Meldrum plays on the feelings of someone who knows they’re alone and anything else is impossible – or is it?

 Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As you read this, I’m down to the final in my current class for my MBA. Knocking this out means I have a month and a half of time to breath (and even more as the next class should prove to be much easier.) So, no real updates for here. I am hoping that this newly about to be found free time does mean that I’ll be able to knock out the new layout that I’ve mentioned previously for the site. I’m hoping to be able to make it a bit easier to navigate moving forward. Enjoy the fiction and the weekend my friends!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Prey and Predator by Corinne Pollard

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.

J.W.

Light swarms the overgrown graveyard without reaching the Norman walls or the oak tree. Deteriorated markers whisper initials. No one remembers them.

J.W. does not care; he doesn’t care about the quarrelling squirrels above or his fellow figures who dangle their skulls. He sits stiffly on his headstone, unfeeling, ignoring the castle’s visitors and rubbing his throat.

He was bound to his stone for eternity, gazing past this secretive yard and almost choking himself with his frequent nail gripping rubs.

The black burn stung his scrawny neck. 

Why wouldn’t it stop? Why did it rattle like a quivering puppet? 

 

The Hedera Haunt

The Hedera curtained the gravestone with closed scales. The curtain had climbed overnight; a fierce, forever foliage full of secrets.

Fred Willis, the rookie gardener, cracked his knuckles, ready for the challenge. The ivy had to go, even if poisonous. The shears sniped and tore at it as sweat poured down Fred’s elderly muscles. 

The ivy enjoyed the battle. It cut back with dagger needles, eager to splatter his blood. Under the miracle growth of the sun, it creeped while whispering a lost voice.

Let me sleep.

Fred’s efforts were in vain. It crawled back and hid his grandmother’s name. 

 

Upon a Hunter’s Moon

The blood moon blazed across the darkness; it bathed my hunting ground in a crimson glow. It was soon.

While my nostrils inhaled the rotting flesh, my pupils inspected the fresh mounds. One of them looked promising; my ears detected their juices were still a little warm and flowing. A little wooden cross marked their permanent home; it was thrown into a hedge as dirt was slashed and scattered. 

The sickly skin was marred by a red rash. It irritated me; at least let my prey be pretty. 

The moon overtook me. The boy’s heart squelched softly between my fangs.

 

Corinne Pollard

Corinne Pollard was born and raised in Halifax, West Yorkshire where a love for reading and writing of fantasy developed. As a new voice in horror writing, Corinne draws upon self-fears and forbidden desires to inspire and terrify readers.

Trembling With Fear 11/28/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. Please also remember to read our guidelines, especially on word counts!

By the end of the year, we will have caught up on all our short story publications for TWF. With that in mind, I feel it safe to reopen at the beginning of December – but please do not send before this!

I feel as though I’ve been talking a lot this week! From the live Youtube panel with Raul Reads about the What One Wouldn’t Do anthology, to a chat with Alyson Faye about our upcoming appearance at Derby’s UK Ghost Story Festival, to The Writing Sparrow podcast chat with Salina Langer, I haven’t shut up! It’s that other side of today’s writing career where you have to be more visible – but I will say that I enjoyed all, and I’m getting used to it.

I hope you all notice the Indie Bookshelf ‘specials’ appearing recently. One is a special promotion of the (2021) work of all patreons/sponsors/staff as a thank you for keeping the site running. If anyone reading this, fits this category and missed out on the call (Stuart alerted patreons and sponsors), let me know and I’ll add your work to the post. The other is a gathering up of the charity anthologies published in the past two years, to give a number of worthy causes a boost.

Our first story in Trembling with Fear is Settlement One by Hayden Waller an enjoyable sci-fi horror and the consequences for humanity when it attempts to settle other worlds. Can we start again or do we take our old problems and fears with us? We don’t get that many sci-fi/horror mashups and it would be nice to see more. And sci-fi doesn’t have to mean space either!

Rose-Coloured Cream by Claire Fitzpatrick is a tale of guilt and loss and with a gut punch of a last line.

Scurry by Natasha Lewington is one of those awful nightmares which you wake up dreading might be real. In this case it just might be!

The Long Walk by DJ Tyrer is a ghostly and very atmospheric drabble, nicely done.

 

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

For all of those who celebrated, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and have been celebrating what has become a time for gluttony and sloth. Now that you’ve recovered, we once again have a great line up of fiction for you to enjoy!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Rot in the Water by Saffron Roberts

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.

The connective tissue between these stories is a creature born of the author’s thalassophobia, and the plots themselves are inspired by both their current place of living, namely the Zanzibarian coast, and by their eternal love of the zombie genre. 

Penny’s Hum

They followed Penny into the water, warm waves lapping at their thighs.

“What’s wrong?” Lily called. “Say something, Penny.”

“Say you’re a fucking retard!” Jaden yelled. 

Penny hummed franticly. The group cackled. 

“Mummy ain’t here Penny.” Lily beamed, stone in hand. “Nobody is.”

The group fell silent. A noise swelled over the water; a song, gaunt and abhorrent. It rose and fell with Penny’s hum, filling their ears with blood. Lily opened her mouth to scream and found herself drowning.

Penny watched their thrashing bodies being dragged beyond the reef. A little prayer escaped her lips. She walked home, crying.

 

Voices in the Sea

“He’d come home blabbering about voices in the sea. When I saw his ears bleeding, I tried dragging him to the hospital, but–you know these oldies. Won’t be seen for nothing. I stayed in his room that night. Didn’t sleep a wink.

The next day, God I swear, he was fine. Eating, drinking, laughing…” He stared at the IV drip, fingers twitching.

“Woke to this snapping sound and he was hanging over my bed, jaws open so wide I thought they were broken. Got no memory from there Officer, I passed out after he started chewing on my legs.”

 

Swim With Dolphins

Louisa hadn’t woken at four AM to not see any dolphins. The guide took the group further out, apologising, as seawater sprayed Louisa in the face and deepened their frown. 

The stink, like rotten shellfish, hit before they saw it; a grey mass of human corpses, with skin so puckered and swollen it might have slipped from their bones, being tossed in the waves like salad.

They heaved. The guide yanked the vessel around and sped away as his passengers screamed. Louisa stared with wild eyes, watching a hundred rotten arms and legs convulse as the bodies tried to follow.

 

Saffron Roberts

Saffron Roberts watched Ridley Scott’s Alien at eight years old, much to the fury of their mother, and the horror never left their soul. As a queer, autistic writer, they have since stived to inflict the same fear onto others in as a colourful and neurodiverse way as possible. 
 
They can be found on Instagram @saffron_roberts reviewing and promoting books and other works of dark fiction.

Trembling With Fear 11/21/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. Please also remember to read our guidelines, especially on word counts!

By the end of the year, we will have caught up on all our short story publications for TWF. With that in mind, I feel it safe to reopen at the beginning of December – but please do not send before this!

This week I’ve been getting things ready for the UK Ghost Festival in Derby next weekend. I’ll be around for a panel and event but most of the time I’ll be at a table in the Quad (with wonderful husband, Geraint, manning it during any absence) selling books. If you’re around come over, say hello, perhaps pick up a book or two. Alyson Faye will be with me and we’re selling copies of Black Angel Press’ Daughters of Darkness I and II in addition to our own books which we’ll be more than happy to sign.

Reading has been Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard (almost finished!) and The Fiends in the Furrows II. The latter is an excellent collection of new folk horror stories which I really enjoyed. I’ve also been reading editions of Hellebore Magazine which deals with folk horror and the occult. It’s a lovely little mag, informative and interesting and I’d recommend.

I’m also looking at some special Indie Bookshelf Release Posts leading up to Christmas and I’m going to try and create a charity one. If you know of, or have been part of, any charity anthologies released this year – and I’ll say last year as well, due to covid – please let me know and I’ll add them to post.

Our first story in Trembling with Fear is The Rat Goes Underground by Rodolfo Boskovic is a grim tale recounting the consequences of selling people out. What was particularly enjoyable about this one was the ‘voice’ of the narrator, its fluid tone, the sense of being ‘in confidence’, which draws the reader in naturally.

Grandpa’s Girl by S.C. Fisher is a slightly ambiguous ghost story but one which reinforces a family bond from beyond the grave.

Reversion by Alyson Faye is a lovely gothic poem with some gorgeous imagery illustrating decay across the passage. Evocative.

Short Order Supervillain by Brian Maycock has an ending which equates human life in a shocking manner to an everyday product. This sort of blunt statement is a good trick to add in an extra level of horror.

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We’ve been having some huge issues with our mailing list the past two weeks. I believe it may be resolved this week. If not, I’ll likely be juggling around room in the budget to go back to our old newsletter provider. So, that’s been fun. Thankfully, there are some great stories to cheer us all up below!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Timmy by James Rumpel

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

I remember a day nearly fifteen years ago. When I got home from work and pulled in the driveway, I noticed the neighbor boy, Timmy, sitting on his stoop throwing pebbles at a toad. He was probably about seven years old at the time.

“Hi, Timmy,” I called. “How are you doing?”

“Okay, I guess,” he replied, not looking up from his target. “I had to bury my cat today.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” I said. “How did it die?”

Timmy finally looked up at me, a sheepish grin on his face. “I never said anything about it being dead.”

 

II

When Timmy was in his late teens, I was talking to him in the yard one Saturday evening. I noticed he was carrying a long, skinny duffel bag. Curious, I asked him what kind of plans he had for that night.

“I’m going to take out a girl at the mall,” was his reply.

“Don’t you mean you’re going to take out a girl to the mall.”

The same sly grin that had seen many times over the previous dozen years, once again, appeared on his face.

He chuckled, “I think I said it exactly the way I meant it.”

 

III

After the officer finished questioning me, I turned to watch the crime scene investigators carry shovels and a jack-hammer into the basement of Timmy’s family home.

Soon after, I was confronted by a reporter from the local television station.

“Tell us about the neighbor boy,” she demanded. “Did you have any clue that he was capable of such heinous crimes?”

I shrugged. “Timmy seemed like a nice kid. He had a keen sense of humor. I got along well with him. Heck, we even have the same hobby.”

I smiled to myself, hoping the reporter wouldn’t decipher my cryptic comment.

James Rumpel

James Rumpel is a retired high school math teacher who has enjoyed spending some of his additional free time trying to put some of the weird ideas circling his brain into words.

Trembling With Fear 11/14/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. Please also remember to read our guidelines, especially on word counts!

By the end of the year, we will have caught up on all our short story publications for TWF. With that in mind, I feel it safe to reopen at the beginning of December – but please do not send before this!

Another week gone far too quickly. Not much writing was done on my part, most of it was ‘around’ writing in some way and also in creating cover designs for some notebooks I’m putting up on amazon. One of my buys this year was an XP-Pen drawing tablet. It’s proving its value as I’ve used it for a few book covers now and hopefully will pay for itself one day. It is also great fun and a nice change from concentrating on the written word.

I’ve finished reading The Jewish Book of Horror, ed. Josh Schlossberg. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the sheer richness of tradition and history which comes from this culture made it a refreshing experience.

Our first story in Trembling with Fear is Critic by Alejandro Gonzales. This is a story of writerly obsession and thereby a warning to those who read it. A masterclass in how a writer should not behave!

Pristine Porch by Kevin M. Folliard is a perfectly painted picture of a story, so many little details adding nuance, plus a very alliterative last line – cleverly done!

Return Notification by G.A. Miller is a lovely bit of dark humour which touches the effects of lockdown.

Water Babies by Steven Holding is very dark and cleverly engages your sympathy for a character who may not be what you expect.

 Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Today’s first story is ‘Critic’ by Alejandro Gonzales and I’m going to have to give it a 1 star! (You’ll appreciate that after you read the story.)

Had a huge test for my MBA this last week so unfortunately wasn’t able to make much progress outside of that on the site. NEW UPDATES SOON! (I hope…) 😉

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 11/7/21

Please note: We are temporarily closed to short flash stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials. Please also remember to read our guidelines, especially on word counts!

By the end of the year, we will have caught up on all our short story publications for TWF. With that in mind, I feel it safe to reopen at the beginning of December – but please do not send before this!

Halloween has passed and suddenly the shelves are full(er) of Christmas stock. It started appearing a while ago but is now proudly showing its face – but still too soon, I say! That said, remember Amanda edits a Christmas Special for TWF so get those stories in – all forms, drabble, short flash, trinities – all welcome.

Some of you will be taking part in NaNoWriMo. I hope it’s going well for you and you’re having fun with it. I had thought I would be doing it this year now I no longer have the day job demands but for some reason, my time seems to be shorter than ever so I will be missing it. I am continuing to work on a couple of poetry projects but I’ve also been thinking about ideas for the cover and artwork for my next novella with Silver Shamrock. I’m not creating the cover thankfully, just making suggestions. The book should be out early next year – I think.

First up this week in Trembling with Fear is The Wrong Turning by Fiona M. Jones is a great little morality tale dealing with the horrors of an afterlife coloured by your behaviour when living. I really enjoyed the snobbish and manipulative character of Gwen – yes, she was awful, but oh, so believable.

Baby by RJ Meldrum makes you look at pregnancy in a whole new light. Be careful what you wish for!

Beasts on the Borderland by Mike Rader is a chilling revenge tale of war. I enjoy different settings and times. More historical horror please!

Swarms by Patrick Winters brings us a medieval flavour of horror which also has a nice revenge element to it.

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Last time I’ll be asking but if you could provide any feedback, I’d love if you could please share your thoughts on our video refresher posts

Also, If you run a website and would like to write an article about Horror Tree or Trembling With Fear, we’d really appreciate that! Please reach out with any questions for facts in the article (who does what, when sections were started, etc), any promotional artwork, or with a link once it is live so we can feature it on the site and on our social media.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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