Trembling With Fear 10/22/2017

‘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

The Marionettes


The humid summer air weighs heavy with the sound of my name.

Melanie… Melanie…

My kinfolk call for me as father’s coach winds through endless dark copses. Near, I swing behind draping curtains of moss. Oaks groan and bend o’re my body. Below, the brook gurgles.

The sweet voices draw near, but I cannot speak. Broken teeth splinter my lips and still my tongue.

Melanie…Where are…you…?

A howl. A sorrowful call from one of the dogs unleashed into the woods echoes through the trees, but rain dampens the earth. The baying hounds can find no scent.

Swiftly, a man’s voice rises in melody, calling for me. My body stiffens. Thomas.

Thomas’s voice joins the wails of the hounds and cries of those who loved me, all of them drawing nearer and nearer.

Scalawag, I want to say. I want to tell them. I want to warn my sister, my pretty Dottie, who took a shine to my beau same as I when he came to town – a carpetbagger, true, but handsome and so charming that even father consented to his courtship of me. Dottie was hurt, but I was older, and father said there was time yet for her to meet a suitor but nownow…

I want to scream. I cannot draw breath.

All I might do is swaysway

We all sway beneath the groaning bridge.

Dolls surround me. Once lavished with affection, their lips are frozen in an eternal yawn, parted and blue. Sparkling tokens adorn their fingers as their hands dangle limp by their sides. Cheeks sunken, bones pearly, skin weathered and worn, eyes fodder for the crows

And I am now one of them. I am a part of the collection.

Tethered by ropes around our throats that silence our voices and still our limbs, we sway.

Wooden wheels clack. The voices are so near that I could extend a hand and touch one of the hounds as the creature bounds past, but I will never be found. The crows scatter, cawing and fleeing from beneath the bridge in a murder. Flesh clings to their beaks.

Dottie and Thomas call my name into the cavernous valley of foliage and dank mud below the bridge. The movement of my father’s carriage o’er the wooden planks rocks our bones.

Below, we marionettes dance on our strings.

Carolyn A. Drake

A Jersey Shore native, Carolyn A. Drake currently resides in Howell, New Jersey, where she works as a Promotional Review Editor for Bristol-Myers Squibb. In 2016, her first short work of fiction was published in the Three Rooms Press “Songs of my Selfie” anthology, and most recently, her work “The More Things Change” was accepted for publication in the “Utter Fabrication” anthology published by Mad Scientist Journal.


November eleventh was once Peppero Day: after the thin stick candies. There were a lot of days in celebration of candy or fast food or carbonated drinks, back when conglomerates dictated such arbitrary things. And didn’t the kids adore all those days filled with the sweetest of sweet things?

I should be grateful to them, given that it made the children easier to chase down, all jiggling bodies and softness.

I unshoulder my pack and unwrap a fleshy sliver like an ancient leather sole. It’s not great – lean meat makes the best jerky – but it keeps me going.

James Appleby

James Appleby is a struggling amateur author striving to become a struggling professional one. He writes horror and sci-fi, mainly, but will try his hand at anything. His work has appeared in anthologies by Dark Chapter Press, and Iron Press.


Far too late.
You can scrub all you like, drown it in bleach until the fumes get you, but it’s far too late.
That black, oozing patch, isn’t the mould growing.
Not for this species.
This is the decaying remains of its fruiting bodies; the spores long since expelled into the air.
You sent your kids away for the weekend to a friend’s house and moved you and hubby to sleep downstairs.
You called in a specialist to clear it out.
But it’s wasted effort.
You lean over it, with your face mask and Marigolds on, but you’re already coughing.

Sian Brighal

Sian Brighal currently lives and writes in Germany. Making use of her science degree and experiences as a trainee teacher she naturally went into flashfiction horror writing, where she has seen her stories feature in Paragraph Planet, Twisted Sister Lit Mag and Ellipsis Zine Lit Mag. Her interests include drawing, reading, baking and various other crafts.

You can follow her work at

The Eye

I came to the darkest corner of the land looking for answers. The great well of knowledge, presided over by the shadowy beings, stands before me.

I ask for truth.

They respond in ephemeral voices that “Nothing in this life is free.” A translucent appendage reaches out and tears my eye from me. For a moment, I can see myself in the void as I writhe in agony. I am now allowed to imbibe the well’s secrets. I drink deeply, and hear their laughter at my irony. I have become the fool … some things are best left unknown by men.

B.B. Blazkowicz

B.B. Blazkowicz is a carbon-based human male from planet earth, just like all of you. He writes horror fiction for the entertainment of his fellow humans and has been previously published in Horror Tree, Horror Writers and Bloody Disgusting. He enjoys ingesting the native plants and animals through his mouth hole for nourishment. His hobbies include breathing and lying in the dark with his eyes closed for eight hours a day.

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