2018 is almost upon us and already that dreaded question ‘what New Year’s resolutions have you made?’ is being asked. Once upon a time I would make a resolution at New Year and try and keep it but I invariably failed. Now I make my resolutions throughout the year and depending upon the way life is going, I adapt accordingly. There is no point in setting yourself up for failure, life will trip you up from time-to-time, and all you can do is go with it. Be kind to yourself. So the writing resolutions I have made in the past few months (or rather hopes I have for the future!) are, in theory, simple: to self-publish a collection of my own short stories (a mixture of previously published and unpublished work), to edit and publish another Infernal Clock anthology, to write 6 new short stories and send out and finally – to meet more of my online writer friends in real life. There are other things I could add to the list but I’m not going to, what I have listed is something I have already started and, I feel, achievable. By all means set yourself goals, but never, ever beat yourself up over it and please, please … continue submitting to Trembling With Fear. I love reading your stories and am constantly amazed at your creativity.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, prosperous and happy New Year,

Steph’

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

‘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

Barfight

Todd awoke on his back in a puddle of beer and broken glass with his ears ringing and his vision blurred. He lay still, watched the ceiling fan spin lazily without seeing it, and thought about nothing. A few seconds passed and he sat up. He closed his eyes tight and waited for the room to stop sliding around, the colors to stop smearing. Finally, his eyes came open, focused, and looked without expression at overturned tables and overturned chairs.

 

There was a dull ache on the side of his head. With tentative fingers, he found a ragged shard of glass protruding just above his ear. With a shaking hand, he gripped the shard and pulled. Warm blood streamed, sticky and purple, over his fingers and soaking his hair. The blood joined with the suds on the floor, and turned pink. Todd held the glass shard close to his face and gazed at it. Now squinting, he looked past the shard and discovered a big man standing over him, his hand gripping the neck of a broken bottle. It was then that Todd remembered.

 

“Wanna go again?” the big man sneered. He wore a denim vest with no shirt beneath. His nose was bloody and gruesome, smashed over to one side.

Todd looked at his own right hand, found its knuckles slick and red, and smiled. With a torn voice, he said: “I’m good.”

 

The big man’s eyes glittered. “You ain’t that good.” He tossed the bottle neck to the floor and left. The crowd parted to let him through, Todd noticing their presence for the first time. A red-haired woman with green eyes and freckles appeared with a white terrycloth towel and squatted beside him on her haunches. The vertical green and white stripes on her shirt told him she was a waitress. A name tag told him she was Becky.
“Ambulance is on the way,” Becky said, wiping his bloody ear and dabbing at his sopping hair. “I called the cops and gave them that guy’s description.”

Todd blinked. “Ambulance? I don’t need an ambulance.”

“Yes. Yes, you do. Hey now! Stay still and let’s talk a little until they come.”

 

Todd went to stand but his tennis shoe slipped in the beer and he sat down with an awkward splash.

“See?” Becky said. “You can’t even stand up.”

 

Todd’s eyes were big and white. “What time is it?”

 

She blinked and put a crease between her eyebrows. “I don’t know, nine-fifteen? Sit still a minute.”

 

Todd got his feet under him. He wobbled and stood. “I’m fine. I’ve gotta go now,” he said, batting the towel away.

 

Becky took his arm and pleaded with him. Two middle-aged men who appeared to be customers came over and folded meaty arms in front of their chests like bouncers. Todd watched the men but spoke to Becky. “Head injuries always look bad. I’m fine. I have to go.  I can’t be here when the ambulance comes.”

 

The middle-aged men exchanged a glance. One of them said: “Sorry, buddy, we can’t let you go. You might as well take a seat at the bar and relax.”

“You’re kidnapping me?” Todd demanded.

The second man shrugged. “For lack of a better word.”

Todd’s shoulders slumped and he exhaled, defeated. He shook his head slowly and bolted for the door.

Becky let out a small scream and the two men sprang. Todd stumbled halfway across the room before they caught him. The crowd came over now and encircled them and worked as one to walk Todd slowly back to the bar. Someone slid a chair behind his legs and he sat.

 

At the bar, Todd sobbed bitterly into his hands. His whole body shook. Finally, his wet face came up, his eyes crazed. He screamed: “You don’t understand! The moon is full tonight! I will gut you all!”

 

A murmur passed through the crowd, as people expressed to one another a muted concern for Todd and his obvious head injury. Becky patted his arm soothingly and sirens drew close.
One of the middle-aged men reached in with an icepack but Todd pulled away. He threw back his head, and howled.

Fred Rock

Fred Rock lives in a small town in Wisconsin with his wife and two kids. Specializing in pulp and noir, his stories have been featured in Disclaimer, Scaffolding, Speculative 66, 101 Words, and others. Fred Rock is currently writing his first novel: Danger in Rush City.

You can follow Fred’s work at http://fredrockfiction.com/.

Dad

“Wha?” Bobby shook his head, still groggy.

 

A nightmare. Screams, and a heavy, wet, thumping sound, then silence.

 

He opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the darkness, and gasped when he saw the tall silhouette standing between his bed and Jimmy’s bed.

 

As the figure turned, Bobby relaxed. It was just Dad, probably came in to check on the boys. Maybe he’d yelled in his sleep?

 

As Dad turned, he lifted Jimmy’s baseball bat, which looked different somehow. It was darker, and looked wet in the dim light. Bobby saw a grim smile on his father’s face.

 

“Now, you…”

G.A. Miller

G.A. Miller is a new voice in the chorus of horror authors, drawing his ideas from every day, commonplace events that take unforeseen turns down dark corridors, often with horrific consequences.

His published tales include:

“Bequeath” – Hinnom Magazine 001, Gehenna & Hinnom publishers.

“Shower Time” – The Edge: Infinite Darkness, Patrick Reuman publisher.

“Ear Wax” – Year’s Best Body Horror Anthology 2017 – Gehenna & Hinnom publishers.

“Nightmare” – Horror Bites Magazine, November 2017 Issue

“Just A Little Bloob” – Horror Tree Website, November 5th, 2017, Trembling With Fear column

“Rough Draft” – Evil Podcast Website, November 20th, 2017, November episode

G.A. lives where Lovecraft lived, due south of where King lives. Perhaps there’s something in the water in New England? One wonders…

http://gamiller.info/

http://gamillerdotblog.wordpress.com/

The Hanging Lights Sway

We explored the house with some reservations. The realtor insisted we would love its historical charm. Stained walls and dust-coated surfaces filled our hearts with dread. We were prepared to make our escape when I spotted them. Two amber globes hanging from a tarnished brass chain, swaying slightly above the hallway. Nothing special about them but yet I couldn’t look away. Back and forth they pulled me in closer. My companion’s voices drifted into the void. My body went numb until a car horn forced me to return. My gaze traveled down to the crimson liquid dripping from my hands.

Andrea Allison

My work has appeared in No Rest for the Wicked Anthology and Flashes in the Dark Ezine. My bio is as follows: Andrea Allison currently resides in a small uneventful town located in Oklahoma. She is an author who enjoys writing horror of all varieties.

Not Even a Mouse

The tiny Christmas tree was beautiful; flocked with snow and gilded with gold and silver ornaments. Its perfectly fanned boughs sheltered presents gently arranged on a bed of snow.

Tina’s eyes swelled with tears as she stared at it.

She knew she would never celebrate anything as long as she was with her husband.

He heard her sniffle and yelled for her to stop being a sentimental cow.

She wiped her eyes on her sleeve.

He was right. She was too sentimental.

So she bashed his head with the little Christmas tree snow globe.

This year, Christmas would be merry.

 

Ruschelle Dillon

Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres.
She often is found knitting bikini bottoms for shrimp and chumming the ocean with wieners for nothing in particular.
Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online zines. Her collection of short stories entitled Arithmophobia has just been published. Ruschelle also interviews authors for the Horror Tree website. Be afraid. Very…afraid.

You can follow her work at: www.ruschelledillon.net.

Redundant

“Our time has come at last,” said the first horseman, urging his mount through the fiery gate.

Across vast, frozen lands he rode with his three companions, only to find tanks already in place and dissension rife. Turning towards hotter climes, he discovered camps swarming with refugees and famine flourishing.

As the group looked around in dismay, a figure galloped towards them, handing a letter to each. ‘We regret to inform you that you are now surplus to requirements …’

Man did not need the Four Horsemen to bring about the End of Days; he could manage on his own.

Stephanie Ellis

Stephanie Ellis is a TeachingAssistant in a Southampton secondary school but previously worked for many years as a technical author. Her genre fiction short stories have found success in Massacre and Sanitarium magazines as well as a variety of horror anthologies. She is also an active member of theFlashDogs flash fiction online community where most of her contributions are of the darker kind. Also, co-curator and co-editor at The Infernal Clock.

You can find out more about Stephanie at: http://stephellis.weebly.com/.

Tristan

Tristan knew his lineage but until he was eighteen it never seemed real.
A normal life by day and a student of darkness at night.
As a child, he believed his wards knew his place was to usher in the end of humanity.
At thirteen he realized that were bat shit crazy and ran away.
Life on the streets was hard but he was smart
He adapted, his upbringing left him morally flexible. He thrived.
Until he was eighteen.
When the prophetic dreams began.
His wards hadn’t lied.
He was destined for greatness.
Tristan was meant to end the world.

Stuart Conover

Your friendly neighborhood Horror Tree Editor!

(But if you don’t, you can find out more at my homepage!)

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