Finally some news, we have a new assistant editor for the Trembling With Fear portions of the website! Stephanie Ellis has signed on to help out and so far things have been going amazingly well. We’re ahead on drabbles and things are *gasps* organized! She’s been a huge help so far and as long as this continues we’ll be able to make some of the changes I’m hoping for next year to expand!
‘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.
Now I Lay Me Down
Cali finished her last gulp of milk before climbing into bed. After downing a mug of her own, Evelyn slid under the covers next to her five-year-old daughter and blew out the candle on the nightstand.
The milk made Cali sleepy. But she wanted to talk.
“Mommy when will the lights come back on?”
Evelyn could hear the tracks of the tanks in the distance chewing through the rubble.
Closing her eyes Evelyn whispered, “I don’t know.”
Cali reached under the blankets for her dirty but well-loved stuffed dog and kissed its frayed nose. She offered it to her mom.
“Candy wants a goodnight kiss.”
Evelyn heaved open her eyes and gave the ragged dog a half-hearted kiss before tucking it between them both under the blankets.
Cali yawned but continued chatting, fighting the urge to sleep.
“Will daddy be home tonight? He said he’d be home soon. ”
Evelyn brushed a stray blonde hair from her daughter’s forehead.
“I don’t know,” she sighed
The pillow under Evelyn’s head was worn and flat. She attempted to fluff it anyway. Cali helped plump the broken feathers before pulling out a particular one that had poked through the threadbare cotton. She rubbed the down against her nose, followed by a playful move to tickle her mom’s nose.
“Do you think I could play outside tomorrow?”
Evelyn snatched the feather from her tiny fingers and twirled it in her own.
“Just for a little bit,” Cali pressed.
But before Evelyn could open her mouth to answer, the room shook from the mortar fire.
Covering her daughters head as a thin layer of dirt and dust gushed through the house’s broken windows, Evelyn heard the men’s voices and knew they would be on their street soon. She hoped the barricade against the door would hold for just a little while longer.
“Mommy, Candy’s scared. It’s really dark in here tonight.” Cali whispered as she snuggled against her mom and kissed her cheek.
“Is this what it’s like to be dead?” she whimpered.
“I don’t know honey.”
Evelyn fumbled under the covers for a small handgun she had tucked in the pocket of her nightgown.
As her daughter breathed soft and steady the milk finally taking effect, Evelyn fought through her own milk induced haze.
She could hear the men and war machines outside her door as she pulled back the hammer.
“But tonight we’re going to find out.”
Now traffic news: there’s been an accident on the A45.
Oh-oh, Jason mumbled to himself.
A truck crashed into a car right before the exit to Birmingham.
Great, that’s my exit.
Witnesses say the car just stalled, as if it broke down suddenly. The truck behind it couldn’t avoid the crash. The right lane is now temporarily closed.
That’s strange. There’s no traffic jam.
The driver of the car didn’t survive the collision.
Okay, I’m nearing the exit. There’s no sign that anything just happened here. It’s – wait, why’s my oil light blinking all of a sudden?
The Day Was Hot The River Inviting
Joe was warned not to but the day was hot and the river inviting. He plunged straight in. Coolness quickly turned to tingling, followed by burning, and before he knew it his body was dissolving. His feet and lower half went first, then his torso, until only his head remained. It bobbed up and down on the water’s surface, drifting with the current, eventually washing up on the riverbank joining the row of other heads. Some must have been there a while. All looked in various stages of decomposition, yet for some strange reason, they were all totally compost mentis.
CR Smith is a student of Fine Art. She splits her time between art and writing and is aiming to combine the two at some stage. Her work has appeared both online and in print and she has a story in The Infernal Clock.
Hunting Him Down
As you spot the lusty beast through your rifle scope, the wolf howls at the full moon. It’s a wail of pain. You lift your finger from the trigger as its face contorts. Squinting through the lens, you see brown hair fall away like a porcupine shooting its quills, pointed ears curling down into lazy lobes. The creature tumbles in the soil and then stands erect, dirty, but bathed naked in moonlight. You wonder if the silver bullet you made from your ring will kill the monster or if you’d only be murdering the man.
Your prodigal fiancé waves hello.
Michael A. Arnzen
Michael A. Arnzen (http://gorelets.com) recently appeared in The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror (Comet Press, 2017) with his catalog of morbid fantasies, “55 Ways I’d Prefer Not to Die.” A recording of “Vampire Stories: Live from Transylvania” has also been published to http://arnzen.bandcamp.com. Arnzen holds four Bram Stoker Awards for his dark fiction and poetry. He teaches full-time in the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, near Pittsburgh, PA. His creative horror newsletter is a recipient of the Stoker — subscribe at http://eepurl.com/IY4o9. You can also check out Arnzen’ books on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sW2uTw
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