Tagged: Trembling With Fear

Trembling With Fear 04/03/2022

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!

Last Sunday saw the clocks go back and was also Mother’s Day (UK). My lovely family bought me a book. This was Thomas Tryon’s The Other. I’d already read – and loved – his Harvest Home, and have wanted this one for a while. I read it in one day. It really is excellent, unlike the British weather. After a wonderful week which was almost summery in nature, it started to snow as I typed up this editorial, sigh. I have however, kept to my writing routine and finished the first draft of my current novella WIP. I don’t do umpteen drafts, this one will probably just be a couple. I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone so far.

Other reading matter has included one of the most crazy – in a good way – books on the indie scene: The Wicked Rex of the West by Ward Nerdlo and Daron Kappauff. A mashup of The Wizard of Oz and Jurassic Park, it’s pacy and gory (I’m not normally one for lots of gore) and just really great fun. Which makes me think, could some of you give us a mashup or two for TWF? It’s something I can’t remember seeing here.

Our first story in Trembling With Fear is Under the Cover of the Night by Martin Lochman. Along streets you run, hearing the voice of the pursuer as he writes his script, imagines that of his prey until you realise someone else is directing the scene and it’s not what you thought. Cleverly done.

Hide by Quinn Parker takes us into the mind of a child, their concerns, their fears. Good choice of sentence lengths in this one to add to the sense of creeping dread.

Maggie’s Diner by Wayne Fenlon tells the story through dialogue, the tone and word choice reflecting the mood perfectly so that you can imagine the scene with absolutely no need for any description. Lovely work.

The Immortal by RJ Meldrum leads the reader in a completely different direction of thought and delivers a great punch line which I’m sure will make you smile.

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

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We have 4 biggist projects in the works right now that I’d really like to tease you on. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick the last week (not with THE plague but a cold nonetheless which has wiped me out.)
Just as a reminder that last week 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.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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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

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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…)

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.

 

Trembling With Fear 03/13/2022

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!

Good news from one of our contributors last week, Eric Fomley, who’s just put out his flash collection, Flash Futures. Eric has produced some outstanding work at TWF over the years so be sure to check out his book here. I’ve also added it to our weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases post – there’s nothing I enjoy more than being able to put the work of TWF writers on these pages! Remember this is a bit of free promo for writers, so if you have any upcoming releases to share, send me the book cover and link (if there is one, it could just be to a blog article about book if pre-order/order is not available).

My own reading has been varied lately. I’ve recently finished The Faithful Executioner by Joel F. Harrington. A recommendation to me from Coy Hall, it’s a great bit of historical non-fiction written in an extremely accessible manner. For a quick read, I’d recommend Rowan Hill’s In the Arctic Sun – a monster, isolation, vulnerability, paranoia, fractured relationships – what more could you want? I’m one chapter into Joe Koch’s The Wingspan of Severed Hands – and I am in awe of his use of language, a prose poem of wonderful weirdness!

First up this week in Trembling With Fear is Venison by Adrian Healy. An exploration of the food chain, it shows how it comes full circle and how in some cases you are literally, what you eat. With elements of self-delusion and ego feeding into the main character’s downfall, it illustrates perfectly man really can’t take his position at the top of the food chain for granted – there are other forces out that which are more than ready to put him (or her) in their place.

The Last Stand by SJ Townend has a touch of the War of the Worlds about it but in an updated environment. Some great imagery in this little slice of sci-fi – and with an important message at the end.

The Scream Machine by Quinn Parker takes us back to the fair and reminds me why I don’t like those rides. I’m always imagining what could go wrong and this one, well … at the end … I was cringing!

Trade Secret by RJ Meldrum shows it doesn’t pay to look too closely as to what goes into some things! The neat last line wraps it up without having to force the point. Word choice is everything.

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

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Whew. Just like last week, I was able to get some more work done on a novella this week! Still slammed with family stuff, schoolwork for my MBA, and work. Progress is being made though!
I’ve started reading through our drafts of the next Trembling With Fear anthologies and so far, so good! I’m hoping to be able to sign off on my testing by the end of the coming week. Fingers crossed!
I’m also discussing a few ideas with Holley, who has taken over our newsletter, about a few ways to expand that I’m quite excited about. More on one or more of those soon!
Finally, I’ve made a bit of progress with the site redesign. It looks like we’ll be aiming for a Q2 release instead of the first quarter.
Not quite as much progress as I’d like, but it IS being made! 🙂

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Nightshades by Deborah Tapper

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.

Liar

My big sister said if you tell lies, the bogeyman gets you.

He knows. And he’ll creep through the window in the middle of the night, cut your tongue out with an enormous pair of scissors and put it in his pocket.

But that’s not how it happened.

It was a bogeywoman, and she slid through a crack in the wall. She didn’t cut my big sister’s tongue out at all – she chewed it off with her long, sharp teeth. And she didn’t put it in her pocket, either: she swallowed it.

That’s the truth.

Because I don’t tell lies.

 

Debtor

Someone’s shaking him.

He jolts awake. Three hulking men surround his bed. ‘You owe her,’ one says.

‘Owe?’ He sits up. He doesn’t owe anyone anything.

‘Three. Plus interest.’

‘You got the wrong guy.’

‘Two molars and an incisor.’

‘Teeth…?’ he says. ‘You’re the Tooth Fairy?’

‘I collect for her. Three plus twenty years’ interest – that’s fifty.’

‘This is crazy!’ He’s angry now. And scared. ‘I don’t have fifty teeth!’

‘That’s okay. She accepts other things.’

They pin him down. Open a case. He sees pliers, saws, scalpels. The man chooses shears. Grins, blades ready. ‘We call it parts payment.’

 

Stalker

She’s under the bed again. He’s never seen her, but she whispers to him. He jams his fingers in his ears. Won’t listen.

His parents try therapy. Move house several times. It’s no good: she always finds him. He’s sixteen now, sleeping in yet another new room. He’s in bed when he feels her sliding in beside him. Bony hand on his chest. Her voice, whispering.

This time he listens.

The house is empty for months after he vanishes. Then another family moves in. Their son won’t sleep in that room. He hears things under the bed.

A voice.

Whispering.

Deborah Tapper

Deborah Tapper is fascinated by folklore and the supernatural, drinks too much strong coffee and watches too many old TV shows. She lives in the middle of nowhere with her understanding partner and writes at an old desk surrounded by five hundred pet bugs. If she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she’s probably either asleep or dead.