Thanks to Steph, we’re pretty well caught up on what has currently hit our inbox! Ideally, by the time this goes out everyone who had sent something in prior to this last Monday should have heard back in one way or another. As always, we could use more drabble but we’re at least a bit further out and more organized than we’ve previously been!

Things are looking up!

‘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

Arrogance

My mind argues that I didn’t know.  How could I know that reading the book would actually end the world?  But no.  Let’s not lie.  I am a man of science.  I have lived my entire life logically, and have made it a point to refuse being ruled by superstition or emotion.  I have challenged and successfully debunked mystics, soothsayers, and all manner of supernatural mumbo jumbo without any real effort.  So when I saw the book on the shelf in the used bookstore, how could I not read it?  How could I not challenge it?  There has not been a single time in my life when I have not been able to disprove the proposed “truths” of the gullible and the foolish.  I suppose this would be pride then, wouldn’t it?  Pride is listed among the seven deadly sins after all.

No!  No.  I will not give in to this.  Even now.  Even… at the end.

The book was sitting all by itself.  No other copies.  “The end of all that is” the book’s title read.  And the author was listed simply as, “I AM.”  Please.

I purchased the book, brought it home, and sat down in my study to read it.  Opening the book I was insulted.  Ink dark enough to be the void of space, printed on a page so white that it seemed to glow; but as if it were written for children, only a single phrase was printed in the middle of that page.  “A storm shall come.”

I rolled my eyes.  Storm season was already upon us, and we’d been promised a big storm this very evening.  So I thought nothing of it as the wind began to blow.  Each page that I turned revealed only another, single, solitary sentence.  They described the storm covering the world, along with earthquakes, and flame.  I live in Los Angeles.

The earthquake didn’t surprise me, and we have wildfires of varying intensity every year.  I was fairly certain there’d already been a wildfire burning when I began reading, so to smell it’s smoke did not overly bother me.  I listened for sirens telling me to clear out of the area, and hearing none, I went back to reading.  The fact that these things occurred while I was reading the book meant nothing more than coincidence.  But as I continued reading about men on horses, and clashing forces of good or evil, I began hearing things I could neither explain, nor discount as coincidence.  Horses are common enough in this area, but the screams of my neighbors are not.

I read on, determined to prove the book wrong, and I heard homes stripped from their foundations, saw the detritus which used to be the world I knew fly past my parlor windows; and all of it backlit by the flames of annihilation.  I felt the tremors of giant footsteps, and heard things which do not sound or smell human enter my house.  Part of me suspects that they may well be behind me as I speak; smiling, reading over my shoulder, waiting for me to turn.  Stopped from taking their action only by the fact that I haven’t read their actions yet.

There is nothing beyond my windows now.  I hear a low wind whistling past the place where my stairs used to be.  I’ve turned to the last page, but I won’t read the last word.  I can’t.  I know what it says, and can see it’s shape even through my tears.

“Die.”

“End”

Bryan Nickelberry

Bryan Nickelberry is a short story writer raised in the rain water of the Pacific Northwest. He searches in bookstores, under rocks, and through people for stories, and now he’s begun to tell his own. Some of the anthologies he can be found in are on Amazon, and Smashwords.

The Countess

Today, my servant brought me the youngest meat I ever dined on.

I remove layers of skin and fat, my sharpest knife easily cleaves through, until I have a whole cut of meat, the rump being the sweetest.

Blood seeps from every orifice but I need not worry, china bowls are there to collect the delicious crimson fluid, which I insist is warm before I bath in it. What I despise are the muffled screams these girls expel when their meat is carved to the bone. I am so damn mad… I slice their pretty little necks wide open. Ha!

D.J. Doyle

D.J. Doyle is a horror / thriller author with a published novel, The Celtic Curse: Banshee, and novelette, Hades’ Gate both available on Amazon.

If you would like to know more about D.J. Doyle and other projects she is working on, please click the links below. D J Doyle Website

Picture Perfect

His photos were famous. Traveling anywhere he pleased, people rarely questioned a man with a camera and confidence. Most found it flattering to have a professional take their picture. They had no idea. No one ever did. He enjoyed immortalizing moments in his photos; keeping them safe from the passage of time. It was the dimming light in their eyes, as death claimed them, that he savored the most; even more exciting than finding, taking, and killing them. In every city he obsessively roamed the streets, looking for the next person to add to his collection. His picture perfect someone.

Catherine Berry

Catherine Berry lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When she isn’t working, she’s spending time with loved ones or satisfying her varied hobbies. Her work has previously been published in Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear.

More of her work can be found at www.caterinaberyl.blogspot.com

Roadkill

He waited on the side of the road for a ride back to college. For every car that sped past he hoped the next one would stop to pick him up.

As evening strong armed the light, his chances for a ride waned. He knew no one would pick up a stranger in the dark.

Who could blame them?

Scary people are out there.

With luck on his side, a car stuffed with college kids stopped.

He hopped inside but scrutinized each smiling face, making sure there wasn’t a serial killer in the bunch.

There wasn’t.

But there was now….

Ruschelle Dillon

Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres.  Ms. Dillon’s brand of humor has been incorporated in a wide variety of projects, including the irreverent blog Puppets Don’t Wear Pants and novelette “Bone-sai”, published through Black Bed Sheet Books as well as the live-action video shorts “Don’t Punch the Corpse” and “Mothman”.
Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online zines such as Strangely Funny III, Story Shack, Siren’s Call, Weird Ales- Another Round and Women in Horror Anthology to be released. Her collection of short stories, Arithmophobia, will be out in the Fall of 2017.
Ruschelle lives in Johnstown with her husband Ed and the numerous critters they share their home with. When she isn’t writing, she can be found teaching guitar and performing vocals and guitar in the band Ribbon Grass Acoustic Group.
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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!