Trembling With Fear 06/27/21
And so the move is done, boxes are unpacked or at least in the loft or shed. Strangely, it feels like a holiday home at the moment as the days are unpressured and we have had some wonderful walks to explore. There is an ongoing saga of internet access with our provider making some awful mistakes, including sending an emergency connection minihub to our old address(!). All ‘should’ be sorted in that respect by the end of the month. But I can get online securely, though at a snail’s pace – phew. Not quite normal service resumed – but almost!
I had some good news also from Silver Shamrock Publishing with the acceptance of my story, ‘Unravelling’, for their latest anthology, Midnight From Beyond The Stars. I am particularly delighted because I appear alongside TWF’s co-editor, Amanda Headlee. I’ve also been following TWF’s Patrick Winters – a wonderful writer and contributor – and seen his post about taking on an editorial role for Black Ink Fiction’s Odd Playthings anthology. It’s been great to see his career develop. He deserves all the success! Horror Tree folk are taking over!
On a side note, if you fancy a folk horror fix, my collection As the Wheel Turns – More Tales from the Weald is now available here http://mybook.to/AsTheWheelTurns. Plus I believe our Horror Tree anthologies are almost at publication stage!
Before we go to the stories, here’s my usual weekly reminder to check out the submission guidelines for TWF. Also remember we are currently closed to short stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials.
The first story this week in Trembling with Fear is The Well by K.A. Moreno. Told in a child’s voice with their black and white understanding of the world, you start to feel somewhat uneasy about what is left unsaid. Is this child as innocent as she seems or is it her mother who has something to hide? The undercurrent of the story is very dark, as dark as whatever resides in the well.
The Bloodcoats are Coming! The Bloodcoats are Coming! by C.A. Chesse uses an historical event to nice effect. More historical horror please!
The Last Laugh by Liam Spinage is a nice bloody twist on news received too late.
Quarry is a short tale I penned after a visit to an abandoned limestone quarry in Minera. It is now a wildlife site with lots of tunnels to explore – places you really shouldn’t go into!
Enjoy our stories and send in yours!
As I mentioned last week, just like Steph, I’m preparing to move. As of the time you’re reading this, I’m under a week away from it being official. Terrifying!
That hasn’t slowed me down at all though. We’ve got the full Trembling With Fear covers in and are now in KDP. Pre-orders should hopefully begin during the upcoming week. Score! Also, I know that I mentioned we would be doing a site redesign soon. We just found a way to do so that will make the site even faster. While it will push the front page redesign back a little, it should increase the overall experience of the site for everyone. Hopefully! We’re also looking at a way to better read older Trembling With Fear stories for those who are just here for the fiction. I have a few ideas but it’ll be after the above mentioned redesign that it takes place. Thanks Ivalia for the suggestion!
Back to Trembling With Fear, I would just like to throw this out there for all the writers, we’re a bit low on drabbles at the moment so if you have a 100-word story that you’ve been thinking about sending in, now would be a great time! Thanks!
The Well by K.A. Moreno
I don’t drink the water from the well anymore. Not since Mama told me it comes from the government, and she always says the government lies. Sarah says Mama exaggerates but she just doesn’t like liars, and neither do I. One time in 1st grade, Connor Riley hit me for no reason. I didn’t even do nothing to him! I think he was mad ‘cuz his mom caught his dad being sweet with another woman. I hit him back, of course, ‘cuz Mama says not to be treaded on. ‘Cept Ms. Gallow saw me do it and when I tried to tell her Connor hit me first, he said he didn’t. He lied! And I got in trouble for it. I don’t like liars. So, I don’t drink the water from the well, on account of it coming from liars.
Buddy drank it once, on accident. Buddy’s my golden retriever, y’know. We was playing in the basement. That’s where the well is. We was playing down there and he was panting a lot. His big, silly tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth. When I pant it’s ‘cuz I’m thirsty, so he must have been thirsty. I’m not supposed to use the well anymore, but Mama locked the door because she was upstairs playing with her friend, and I can’t reach the sink down there. I didn’t think I could move the block off the lid, but I did! I filled one of Mama’s gardening buckets with well water and gave it to Buddy. He really was thirsty because he drank the whole thing, see! Mama was so mad when she came down and saw. I wasn’t allowed to play in the basement for a week, and Buddy ran away, then I had no one to play in the basement with. I used to play down there with Sarah, she’s my sister, but then she disappeared.
Anyway, Mama got another new friend. His name is Calvin and he’s a officer, just like you. I asked Mama if he works for the government and she said technically, but he’s a good one. I don’t think he is. I think he’s a liar. He’s sweet with Mama. He buys her things and gives her kisses on the mouth. They play upstairs. But one time I was on the bus and I saw him being sweet with another lady. They were kissing on the mouth just like he does with Mama. I told Mama about it and she called me a liar! But I’m not a liar! Calvin was so mad when he found out. He locked me in the basement, but I had no one to play with. I shouted and shouted until he finally came down those steps. That’s when I saw him with his belt tied up in a knot. He started hitting me, but Mama always says not to be treaded on. I pushed him and I think he tripped on that block, you know, ‘cuz next thing I knew he disappeared too, right down the well, just like Sarah. I don’t drink the water from the well anymore, it’s filled with liars.
K. A. writes from the window seat in New Jersey, USA.
The Bloodcoats are Coming! The Bloodcoats are Coming!
The townsfolk of Newpyre assembled as Paul Revere galloped into the square.
One lamp went up on the church tower. Two. So they were coming by sea. But then a third.
The British were coming by undeath.
A murmur of horrified shock swept through the colonials. Men removed tri-cornered hats, and work-hardened hands shook so badly that bayonets rattled.
The bloodcoats were coming. Even in death, those soldiers remembered their places. Shambling lines of staggering half-skeletons.
One old man steadily finished pouring lead for his bullets and said: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eye sockets.”
Her poetry and flash fiction have appeared in a variety of anthologies including More Alternative Truths, Alternative Theologies and in QSF’s Migration. She can be reached @CAChesse on Twitter.
The Last Laugh
A man calls the doctor. He says he’s angry and depressed. He says that life seems harsh and cruel and he feels all alone in a threatening world.
The doctor says, ‘For that, the treatment is simple. The great clown, Pagliacci, is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’
The man looks down at the murdered clown at his feet, blood still oozing among the smudged white make up and the bright yellow frock.
He hangs up on the doctor. He drops the bloodstained knife. Then he laughs. A maniacal, hellish laugh that lasts forever.
Liam Spinage is a former philosophy student, former archaeology educator and former police clerk who spends most of his spare time on the beach gazing up at the sky and across the channel while his imagination runs riot.
Rocks and boulders covered Minera’s abandoned quarry floor. Warning signs were dotted with regimental regularity around its nearby industrial kiln.
They say the land never forgets and Minera had grown used to warmth, to the fires of the kiln, but nobody fed her kindling anymore. She had to take what she could. Like hungry baby birds with ever open mouths, her tunnels called to walkers and they, driven by curiosity, entered.
Sadly, they blazed all too briefly. It didn’t matter. She could hear footsteps crunching on gravel, excited voices nearing, a match striking to see into the darkness—her quarry.
Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her latest work includes the folk horror collection As the Wheel Turns – More Tales from the Weald and is due to be published in Brigids Gate Press Were Tales anthology coming this autumn, as well as Silver Shamrock Publishing’s latest anthology, Midnight From Beyond the Stars. She is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on twitter at @el_stevie.
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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.