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!
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.
Under the Cover of the Night by Martin Lochman
He moves through the darkness like an apparition, his footsteps even and deliberate. He doesn’t bother sticking to the shadows, and why would he? The night is his domain, he is the predator, the thing lurking in the poorly-lit alleyways, the living embodiment of some of the worst nightmares. There is no room for dread or terror in his mind, but the two concepts are not unfamiliar to him–after all, he is the one inflicting them upon others.
The girl he is stalking is young and pretty, and well aware of his presence. With the heart beating in her throat and tears in her eyes, she tries to put distance between herself and her pursuer, yet her efforts are all but futile. She eventually breaks into a run, the subway entrance at the end of the empty street her finish line.
She can never make it there. He knows it, and when the same realization dawns on her, the panic weighing down her legs finds its way up and she starts screaming for help. By that time, he is nearly upon her…
The rest of the scenario rarely differs. Once caught, she will struggle at first, scratch and claw and punch, but he likes it when they struggle–it makes the whole act more exciting, more enjoyable. She will fight for her life with all her might, but her resistance will be quickly broken. And after he gets his fill, after he takes everything from her, then he will destroy the empty shell he’s turned her into.
Except none of that is going to take place today.
A split second before he tackles her, I slam into him from the side, instantly robbing him of balance and sending him tumbling down onto the cold, hard pavement. The girl doesn’t even notice his sudden absence and continues her mad dash towards the subway station.
He recovers fast–faster than I would have anticipated, considering the nasty fall. Fury dominating his features, he gets back to his feet, briefly inspects his scraped, bleeding elbow, then looks at me. At first, his surprise is barely discernible, but as the memories fall into place and the known confronts the real, the predatory facade cracks.
“You are dead,” he says, neither a question nor a statement. His voice is filled with disbelief, but there is no worry in it. No fear.
“I killed you,” he continues, and his eyes dart down to his hands. At that moment, we are both probably picturing the same thing: those hands around my throat in a vice-like grip, unrelenting, unyielding, purposeful.
“You did,” I say, and take a step towards him.
He doesn’t move, doesn’t flinch, clearly sure of his physical advantage, even in the face of the impossible. He does, however, regard me curiously as I stand directly underneath the light of the streetlamp.
“What are you?” he says slowly, cocking his head.
What am I indeed? The only thing I know with absolute certainty is that somehow I am not dead anymore, but I am not alive either–both my body and mind tell me that. Am I a zombie? Ghoul? Vampire? A spirit turned into a flesh and blood approximation of my former self? Is there even a name for what I am?
Looking into the dark abyss behind his eyes, I realize that the what doesn’t matter as much as the why. I am here for a reason. Vengeance? Justice? It’s both and much, much more.
He attacks without warning, just like he did then, but this time, the result of his offensive is fundamentally different. I break his body with unnatural ease, but I don’t feel anything as I do so. I don’t feel anything as he whispers, pain and fear permeating his words: “You are a monster.”
Perhaps he is right. Perhaps I don’t belong in this world any more than a fish belongs on dry land.
But what if only real monsters can stop those hiding in plain sight?
I am a Czech science fiction and speculative fiction author, currently living and working as a University librarian in Malta. My flash fiction and short stories appeared (or are forthcoming) in a variety of venues, including New Myths, Kzine, Theme of Absence, XB-1 (Czech SFFH magazine), and others. You can find me at: https://
Jackie stared out, hidden under covers, almost entirely, where no frightful beast lurking in such total darkness could find. Adults chattered below, loud from cheer and alcohol. Not really a party, just enough people to justify drinking that way.
This kid knew enough about when grown-ups got together. How they talked, laughed, moved, touched, smiled. Everything beyond their glass becomes irrelevant. No thoughts for closet creatures or abominations beneath the bed.
Footsteps sounded,Too close. Floorboards groaned, protesting, warning. Hallway light slipping beneath the door obscured by shadow.
Aunt Maria entered.
The monster had found its prey again.
“Just you and the wife alive?”
“Yessir, Officer. Pickup drove straight through the windah. I was having a couple shakes.”
“By the desserts?”
“Naw… the John, draining the weasel.”
“You being a wise-ass?”
“Your wife see anything?”
“Maggie ain’t seen my junk in years.”
“I’m talking about the truck, dammit — the plates. You catch them?”
“Plates got smashed. Cups, too.”
“Christ. I’ll ask her.”
“Go ahead. Tell him about the fella who ran, Maggie!”
“Maggie, did you get that guy’s number?”
“Hooee, I wish. Boy had the sweetest ass.”
BREAKING NEWS: LOCAL DINER DESTROYED. NO SURVIVORS.
Wayne Fenlon resides in Danderhall with his partner Liz, and their kids, Joe and Katie. He is the author of drabble collection: Scattered Little Pieces. If he’s not writing, he’s either reading or creating little animations for book covers.
They hoped their God would return. They prayed for his safe deliverance.
He will return to us!
He will bring great gifts of bounty!
He’d looked after them since birth. The legends told of him protecting their ancestors. He’d been a constant for many generations. The door opened.
He is here!
He has come!
We are blessed!
They were satisfied; they were still the chosen ones.
The man looked down at his dogs as he entered the house. He smiled at their eager faces and wondered, not for the first time, why they were always so happy to see him.
RJ Meldrum is an author and academic. Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010. He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Smoking Pen Press and James Ward Kirk Fiction. He is an Affiliate Member of the Horror Writers Association.
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Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.