Easter is here, a tad early for my tastes as I associate it with the beginning of warmer days and bluer skies whilst currently the UK has yet to shake off its pretty horrible run of cold weather and general greyness … and don’t mention the snow … it’s supposed to be coming back. But for all that, it is still a time for a break, to be with your family AND to gift yourself some concentrated writing time. When out and about with your nearest and dearest, use those days in the countryside gazing at lambs gambolling down the hillside to inspire new storylines – how about a demented shepherd (note, I’ve never actually read a story with such a character, I think it would be interesting … hint, hint). Think of all those things you could do with fluffy bunnies or create your own recipe for a crème egg filling. Create horror from the cute and the traditional, sharpen your knives on Spring’s whetting stone and send us your results. Mint sauce, anyone?

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Happy Easter And April Fool’s Day!

To celebrate, we’re not doing anything for either! Basically, we didn’t do a push for stories that would include either of these two holidays so there is nothing special to include. Sorry! Both would have been prime candidates for fun to have. Maybe next year!

‘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

Big Bang Bobby

I met Bobby in the basement of the empty house on Wilten Street, where the police don’t look because the whole neighborhood has been abandoned—by God, at least, if not by the government. It wasn’t bright down there, in a same-but-different way from how he’s not bright. We almost didn’t see each other. He said I’m a glowing thing in a light world, and he was a shadowy thing in a dark one.

There were lots of shadows in the basement, but shadows are just not-light. He’s un-light. Bobby is a darkness so complete that if you look into his heart, you see stars.

We only met because my stomach growled. I’d curled up under a broken window, letting the cool breeze rock me to sleep, when my emptiness announced my presence

“Who’s there?” The voice had no substance—just an echo, infinite and hollow.

“I’m Alex… Are you Death?” Death came for my parents years ago. I’d been waiting.

“No. I’m Bobby.”

A shadow darker than any other peeled itself from the wall, stepping toward me. He smiled. I think I did too.

Bobby seemed okay. Just okay. When he didn’t want to be seen, he pretended to be my shadow, and when I didn’t want to be seen, he did something to people so they couldn’t see me. They’d get this glassy look, space out, look right through me and the whole world until they didn’t see anything. We used this trick to stay happy. Trick is, I was hungry. He was angry. So, so angry. I’d sneak a hot dog from a cart, or shove a pack of waffles under my jacket. He didn’t eat my waffles, though. We’d have fought if he did. No, he fed on… something else.

I don’t pretend to know what he ate, but every time he disappeared, and somebody got that spacey look on their face, he came back less angry. He came back sleepy and sated, like me after a big meal, while the person he’d possessed turned to scream at a cashier over expired coupons, or spank a child who just wanted to stop and look at some toys.

This made me feel bad, but not enough to stop him. For all I knew, they were fine again soon. I told myself it was temporary, the same way he’d calm for a little while, then the dark of his body would bubble like boiling ink and we’d set out into the world to find a new target.

Once, I hung around a bookstore where some science guy was giving a guest reading from his book. He said everything in the whole universe comes from The Big Bang, and that we’re all made from the scraps of exploded stars. I think Bobby is still burning.

We kept this up, me and Bobby, for weeks. A few months have gone by, but I keep getting hungry, and he keeps getting angry. There’s too much in him, and not enough in me, and there’s an ache in my chest for all the people I’ve seen screamed at after he gets involved.

The after effects started getting worse, too. One time, a mom turned right around and slapped her kid in the face when he asked if they could have chicken nuggets for dinner. Called him “a filthy little brat.” A food truck owner got so mad he punched his own grill, burning his hand. A priest wound up on the news later for killing one of his church members.

Anger might be temporary, but death sure isn’t. All this comes from just a few seconds with Bobby inside them. He only had the priest for five. Five seconds. Then someone died.

I’m looking up at Bobby now, and he’s looking down.

“What’s wrong?” His words never really seem to end, like each word lasts forever.

“I’m cold.” A little true, at least. My fingers are turning blue. “There’s no heat.”

He shrugs. He doesn’t feel cold. Only rage.

A week back, I stole an old woman’s phone. Had to. Needed the way to call other people. Tonight, I only have one call to make. I punch in 9-1-1.

“There’s a crazy guy. Kid, I think. He’s got a gun. 154 Wilten Street.” That’s all I need to say. Then I hang up.

“That’s where we are.” Bobby looks sad. Maybe for both of us.

“Yeah. I think… I think we should… That you should do, you know, that thing you do. To me. I’m not sure how to say it.” There’s a lot to say that neither of us can. He stares at me, unending, all the universe and all its stars within him, burning away. We both know this is it. He’s got everything within him, and I’ve been empty for years.

This is the only time I’ve seen him hesitate.

I insist.

Kevin Holton

Kevin Holton is a cyborg and fitness junkie from coastal New Jersey. He’s the author of At the Hands of Madness (Severed Press), as well as the forthcoming novels The Nightmare King (Siren’s Call Publications) and These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream (HellBound Books). He also co-wrote the short film Human Report 85616, and his short work has appeared with Sci-Phi Journal, The Literary Hatchet, Radiant Crown Press, Pleiades, Rain Taxi, Mighty Quill Books, and Thunderdome Press, among others. He is also a blogger for The Bold Mom, a columnist for Helios Quarterly, and a Game Master at Escape the Puzzle, which basically makes him The Riddler.

Links:

www.amazon.com/author/kevinholton

www.kevinholton.com

www.patreon.com/TheHoltoning

Blood Donor

It was shady, but he needed the money. A back street clinic. One liter of blood for $500. The elderly were clamoring for this latest age-defying treatment. Young blood injected into old veins. He could do it weekly, make a pile of money. Pay his debts.
He arrived at the clinic and gave the required code word. They strapped him down. He eyed the large plastic bag beside him.
“Seems too big for just a liter.”
“I guess you believed the lie, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here,” smiled the Doctor. “I’m sorry, it’s just too profitable. We take it all.”

RJ Meldrum

R. J. Meldrum is an author and academic. Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010 with his wife Sally. His interest in the supernatural is a lifetime obsession and when he isn’t writing ghost stories, he’s busy scouring the shelves of antique book-sellers to increase his collection of rare and vintage supernatural books. During the winter months, he trains and races his own team of sled dogs.

He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Digital Fiction and James Ward Kirk Fiction.

You can find out more about RJ at his homepage.

Tailor Made

Jared laid out his tools: needle, thread, silver stork-handled scissors, a thimble, a length of virgin white silk- intended for a wedding dress. As Jared sewed up the hem and arm holes, he knew no bride would wear it.
Upstairs he heard Eliza coughing. He must earn coin. The tailor worked through the night till his hands shook.
At dawn the black coach pulled up outside.

“Is it completed?”

Jared smelt the man’s arrogance; his hunger. Inside the carriage a woman lolled, bound and gagged. Jared handed over her shroud.

The fifth he’d stitched that year of our lord 1892.

Alyson Faye

Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her family and 3 rescue cats. She teaches creative writing classes, writes noir Flash Fiction and ghost stories. She is one of the writers in ‘Women in Horror Annual 2’, in Raging Aardvark’s ‘Twisted Tales’, her stories can be downloaded at www.alfiedog.com as well as being available on various sites like zeroflash/Tubeflash/101 words/three drops from a cauldron. Her flash fiction debut collection, ‘Badlands’ is out now from indie publisher Chapeltown Books – here’s the interview http://www.chapeltownpublishing.uk/2018/01/badlands-by-alyson-faye.html and is available to buy from amazon.

You can find out more on her blog- www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com

or at her amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01NBYSLRT

The Tale Of Fear Itself

He was the bump in the night; the thing under the bed. Now he was dead and being slowly pulled down a worn path. His face still frozen in absolute horror. Fear itself had been conquered. The others cringed and scurried away. An evil aura of the thing permeated the air. The only sound made was that of a dead husk being dragged to oblivion. The thing stopped in front of an old stone pile. Effortlessly, the shape placed the boogeyman’s body on the altar. Dark flames consumed the sacrifice.

Arthur Unk

Arthur Unk lives in the United States with his wife, son, and dog Chuzzle. He spends his days writing and playing video games. His primary influences include H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, R.A. Salvatore, and his grandfather. He is also a voracious writer and reader of all types of flash fiction.

Website – arthurunk.com

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About Stuart Conover

Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!

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