Trembling With Fear 07/04/21
More settled in the new place. I’ve got a desk! The chair has also turned up but needs to be put together. Won’t be long before I’m gazing out at the cemetery seeking inspiration 😊 Our internet has also be activated after recent shenanigans and life is almost normal. I’m even back at a gym, though this does now involve a bus ride rather than a 10 minute walk down the road.
The craziness has reduced so much I’ve been able to return to writing a novella, edit a story for a sub call – which I almost missed(!), and provide a critique. Finally having a more productive writer’s life! And having some lovely evening walks to boot!
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.
Our first story this week in Trembling with Fear is The Chasm Between Us by Eric S. Fomley. This is a beautifully tragic love story filled with both hope and despair. You never give up on those you love, even if it demands the ultimate sacrifice. Horrific and, as I said, beautiful.
Dr Vale’s Inn by Kevin M. Folliard is a great poem, a great rhythm used to describe some gory goings on.
Elixir by RJ Meldrum appeals to the vanity of humans and how this could so easily catch them out. Be careful what you wish for.
Little Porkies by Scarlet Berry is a morality drabble told mainly through dialogue, don’t we love it a bit of comeuppance.
Enjoy our stories and send in yours!
By the time that you’re reading this. We’ll be fully moved into the new house! Well, our stuff at least, we’ll probably be setting up for the next 3-6 months. Moving is the worst.
At any rate, it has been a busy week. We’ve started to update the calendar view for the site. It is still a work in progress and some of the biggest changes will be later in the year when we can hopefully afford the paid version of the software that allows for it and more customization. Unfortunately, they are doing away with the standard layout we had. The new one WILL be more customizable (especially when we upgrade) but isn’t there quite yet.
When it comes to Trembling With Fear I am thrilled to share with you that all 3 of the digital pre-orders are now available and the full physical copies will be launching shortly after they go live. For those who like digital, please hit the links below!
- Trembling With Fear: Year 4
- Trembling With Fear: More Tales From The Tree: Volume 3
- Trembling With Fear: Serial Killers: Volume 2
For those of you also in the states, I hope you all have a great fourth of July!
The Chasm Between Us by Eric S. Fomley
I crouch in a dark corner of the old Moscow Metro and watch as Anatoly sates his thirst on fresh human blood. Crimson stains my lover’s face and the marble around the corpse. The disease took him from me. His body is a mess of grey hair, claws protrude from fingertips, and fangs from curled lips.
Memories return when I see him, a painful flood. Anatoly and I laughing in the lab as we developed the serum, the armor we stole from the lunar military, our mission to save the people abandoned to the disease. The moment when too many creatures attacked and his suit breached.
“They need us, Nikita,” Anatoly had assured me when I shared my doubts.
Now he needs me.
I double check the integrity of my nanofiber armor and swallow hard, desperate to forget. In one hand I clutch a syringe with purple serum, in the other a modified magnum. I stalk toward Anatoly. Dread settles in my stomach. I love Anatoly, but if I fail, I can’t let him live like this.
My footfalls echo through the tunnel.
Anatoly’s head swivels from his feast to me, red eyes locking mine with feral hatred. He hisses, drops to all fours, and springs.
I don’t have time to react.
“Ana–”A gasp escapes my lips as he hits me and I grunt when I hit the ground. He climbs on top of me, tears at me with claws and fangs, and strikes my gun. My magnum clatters on the floor across the room.
His hisses turn into a sinister laugh.
I try not to scream as red prompts flood my visor. The suit locks up and my body stiffens as the nanofiber suit tightens. It takes several minutes for Anatoly’s attacks to come to a halt. When he does, he just sits there, eyes abundant with cold, calculating fury.
The suit has done its work–I’m alive, unharmed.
He’s still staring into my eyes when I sink the syringe into his neck, draining the reservoir. He falls to the floor, eyes wide as the serum gives him temporary paralysis, a symptom as the cure does its work.
I stand and retrieve my magnum, then return to look into my lover’s eyes.
It’s him. I can see the change. The animalistic glare is gone, replaced with recognition.
“Nikita,” he whispers.
Relief flutters my stomach and excitement lifts my spirits. I drop to my knees and put my head on his chest. I remember us, the night we met on moon base. Dinner at the Columbus Cafe, under the lunar stars. Our first kiss.
Tears well up and I feel the stress leave my shoulders. I’ve never loved for real. Not before him. He stirs and I lift my head, expecting to find his face restored. Instead, there’s hatred.
The serum didn’t take, it failed to overtake the disease at the highest dosage I could give. He’s too far gone.
I scramble to my feet and point the gun between those demon eyes as he sits up. I pull back the hammer and rest my finger on the trigger. My heart feels as though it’s broken in half and all I want to do is scream and cry or smash my fist into a wall. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to kill him.
My finger tightens on the trigger and I look away. Hot tears streak my face as I sob.
I lower the gun.
I’m human, and he a monster. Two cliffs with a chasm between us. There’s no chance at a life together with our differences.
Anatoly starts to rise, the paralysis is almost gone. It’s now or never.
Life without him flashes through my mind, the loneliness splashes over me like a tidal wave. I throw the gun across the room, unable to pull the trigger. The chasm won’t separate us any longer.
I prompt my suit and the nanofibers relax enough for me to pull back a sleeve and expose my flesh.
In the months away, I modified the serum and made it possible to keep it in my bloodstream. There’s enough cure in me for the disease to never take. I’ll die when he drinks my blood, but the amount of serum in my body will stop his heart.
“We’ll be together again, my love.” A smile tugs at my lips as I close my eyes and wait for the sharp twinge of vampiric lust to bring us together forever.
Eric S. Fomley
Eric Fomley is a member of SFWA. His work appears in Daily Science Fiction, Flame Tree, and Galaxy’s Edge.
Doctor Vale’s Inn
The old house speaks
In floorboard creaks
And the fretful shrieks
Of forgotten freaks
It tells the strange tale
Of Doctor Vale
Stitched and re-fixed
The parts of young men who had gone adrift
He cobbled vagrants into spidery dreads
With too many limbs and multiple heads
He sewed their mouths so they could not protest
Sold vital organs and dissected the rest
In the name of science, he tested their brains
To see how long they could linger in pain
Today the house stands as “The Doctor’s Inn”
Where guests feel needles threading their skin
Kevin M. Folliard
Kevin M. Folliard is a Chicagoland writer whose fiction has been collected by The Horror Tree, Flame Tree Publishing, The Dread Machine, and more. His recent publications include his novella “Tower of Raven” from Demain Publishing, his 2020 horror anthology The Misery King’s Closet, and his YA fantasy adventure novel Grayson North: Frost-Keeper of the Windy City coming from Dark Owl Publishing December 2021. Kevin currently resides in the weterun suburbs of Chicago, where he enjoys his day job as an academic writing advisor and active membership in the La Grange and Brookfield Writers Groups. When not writing or working, he’s usually reading Stephen King, playing Street Fighter, or traveling the U.S.A.
It was marketed as the next big thing in skin rejuvenation. Only one clinic offered it and only the super-rich could afford it.
“Just one drop. Swallow. You’ll notice a difference by tomorrow,” gushed the technician, placing a single red drop onto her client’s tongue. Her client followed the direction.
Afterwards, the technician walked to the back room.
“How many today?” asked the creature, carefully filling vials from an open vein.
“Twenty-seven. Over four hundred this week.”
“Excellent. My blood will turn them into the undead within days. Soon, I will have an army.”
“Yes, and all with perfect skin.”
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.
“Look at all the little pigs!”
“They’re so cute!”
“Can we pet them?”
The petting zoo attendant smiled at the children. “Yes, you may. Just be gentle and respectful.”
“This is the best pig.”
“Mine is the prettiest.”
“This one looks sad. Poor piggy.”
Suddenly, one of the pigs let out a squeal. The attendant saw a boy twisting a pig’s tail. She shouted, “Stop that!”
“What? I didn’t do anything!”
The attendant pulled the boy aside.
“Children who tell little porkies become little porkies,” she whispered menacingly.
“Oh, look! Here comes another pig!”
“It’s oinking loudly.”
“It looks familiar.”
Scarlet Berry is a Yooper. She’s been married over forty years to the same man and they raised four children together. She writes for the joy of it and has contributed to Trembling With Fear
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
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 and Reborn, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused. Her novel, The Woodcutter, is due for release via Brigids Gate Press in 2023. 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 is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org, on Twitter at @el_stevie, Instagram stephanieellis7963 and also somewhere on Facebook.