Following on from my comment in last week’s editorial re how to encourage more from the LGBT+ community to submit their writing and, in effect, become part of the mainstream, it seems that others have also been mulling the same issue. Jim Mcleod of Ginger Nuts of Horror fame has been thinking along the same lines, although much more deeply, and to that extent declared January would be LGBT+ at Ginger Nuts of Horror and put out a call for others to join in. Horror Tree is linking up with Jim’s campaign and one of the things we have agreed to do at TWF is to run an LGBT+ Special in January (no need to wait until June!). So, if you are a dark speculative fiction writer (remember we publish fantasy and sci-fi as well as horror) identifying as LGBT+ send us your drabbles and flashes (500-1500 words but we can be a little bit flexible), serials (installments of 1500 words) and dark poetry. As with all other work published on TWF, these submissions will also be included in our yearly anthology.

I would like to say, however, that I really would like to see such submissions as a matter of routine and not just as part of a ‘Special’, although I think January would provide a great showcase and get the ball rolling.

For more details, and if you would like to get involved in Ginger Nuts of Horror LGBT+ Month in January, visit http://gingernutsofhorror.com/horror-promotion/ginger-nuts-of-horror-wants-to-diversify. Jim is also on twitter @GNHorror.

Christmas! Ugh, far too early to be thinking about it – currently having the annual family argument about when decorations should go up, youngest thinks 1st December, Me? Well, let’s just say I subscribe to the ’12 days’ tradition although as always we compromise. (Eldest is generally unimpressed with Xmas as it is her birthday on Christmas Day.) But this does bring us to TWF’S Christmas special and as well as still accepting Christmas stories, we would just like to say we are loosening the word limit just a touch, accepting stories up to 2500 words in length.

Speaking of the festive season (smooth link or what!), let me plug an anthology here 12 Dark Days: One Hell of a Christmas which contains stories loosely based on each line of a certain carol. Edited by Dean Drinkel and in which I had to do something with 10 Lords-a-Leaping, the stories are all horribly good fun.) And of course, there’s the Trembling With Fear Year 1 anthology – still doing well on Amazon. Remember to leave a review when you get the chance.

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and with it is the time left to send in holiday fiction! I apologize for the short comments this week, I’m massively behind this week and need to get back to scheduling posts and whatnot! 😉

‘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

The Box

I woke into a world of blackness.  Stifling, compressed blackness.  The air was dying as I gulped at it.  I was on my back.  My arms rose, my fingers searched, found wood.  My feet kicked out.  They struck wood too.

I remembered.  I was in a coffin.  Buried deep underground.

After they fried me in the chair, they buried me in the jail yard.  Not that I was dead.  People like me, with black souls, we live forever.

The judge said I was the worst he’d ever met.  Cruel, vicious, with no remorse.

Remorse?  Why would I feel remorse?  I killed only one man, and that was when I was crazy mad on ice.  I enjoyed driving the knife into his chest, cutting out his heart, planting the red shiny throbbing meat on his face.  No, I couldn’t feel remorse.

I wasn’t dead … the thought kept buzzing in my brain.

I was alive, in a box, underground, no hope of escape.  Hey, who said no hope of escape?  I had to get out.  Like, if I was alive I couldn’t stay down here forever.  My fingers dug at the wood.  My nails scratched, scratched, scratched.  I sucked out the splinters, spat them away, kept clawing.

Perspiration sprouted on my face.  It trickled into my eyes, down my cheeks, down my neck.

How long would the oxygen last in the box?

I kicked up hard with my feet, again and again.  I figured if I could smash a hole in the coffin, then I could claw my way up through the soil.  But the wood was hard.  It didn’t give, didn’t budge.  I tasted salt in my mouth, the sweat was pouring out of my skin.

I sucked at the air.  I could still breathe.  I was sealed in a box but I could still breathe.  Hey, maybe it was someone’s idea of torture.  First they fry you, then they put you in a box where the air never runs out.  Shit!  Now I was kicking harder, harder.  My toes were in agony.   I curled them over to lessen the pain, kept on kicking.  My hands were up now, my fingers scratching, clawing, scraping.  The splinters went in deeper under my nails.  I sucked them out.  They felt as long as toothpicks.  I spat them away, tasting blood mixed in with the salty sweat.

I figured they wouldn’t put a murderer in a fancy coffin.  Like, the coffin would be made of really cheap wood, right?  So I kept kicking.  Then I used my fists, pounding on the wood above my head.  I had superhuman strength.  I lashed out, fists and feet.  Sooner or later the wood would split.  Once it did, I could force my way out and claw my way to the surface.

The wood was solid as steel.

A voice laughed beside me.

“Well, Kincaid, together again.”

I punched the air with one hand, struck flesh.  I recognized the voice.  It was Webster, the man I’d murdered.

“What are you doing here?” I screamed.

“Those of us who die innocent, we get to make requests.  I asked to spend the rest of eternity with you, Kincaid, in your coffin.”

“Why?”

In the darkness I felt Webster’s body turning toward me.  I felt his hands groping my neck, my face, exploring its way down my body.  I tried to push him away.  I had no strength.  He shifted even closer.  His breath was foul on my face.  “Relax, Kincaid.  There’s nothing you can do.  We’re going to be in this box together for all time.  Now it’s my time to be a little crazy…”

Mike Rader

James Aitchison is an Australian poet and author.  He writes noir fiction and horror under the pseudonym Mike Rader.  As James Lee, his children’s horror stories have sold more than three million copies in Asia.  Visit his publisher’s website: www.flameoftheforest.com

 

Dead Ringer

“You look just like my late wife.”

She pocketed his money.  He wasn’t the first to seek out the doppelganger of a lost love.  She didn’t care.  They paid, she provided the service.

“That’s nice love.  What do you want?”

She hoped it was just conversation.  Sometimes that was all the widowers wanted.  She was tired, sore.

“I miss her so much.  I wish she was back with me again.”

She watched as he reached into his pocket.  He pulled out a knife.

“I wish she was here so I could kill her again.  You will make a good substitute.”

RJ Meldrum

J. 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.

Website: http://wolfstarpublishing.com/meldrum/

The Drabble

“What are you doing now?!”

“I’m writing a drabble to submit to Horror Tree.”

“So, basically nothing!’

She slams the bedroom door.

Jason stares at his computer screen.

He types:

After thirteen years of marriage, his wife had grown to hate him.

From his desk, he removes a small, plastic bag filled with white powder, a gift from his co-worker Fred.

“If you mix it with her wine, she won’t wake up,” Fred said.

“For the night?” he asked.

“Forever,” Fred replied.

Jason stops typing, his eyes now staring at the small, plastic bag of white powder on his desk.

Lionel Ray Green

Lionel Ray Green is a writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. His short stories have appeared in the anthologies “Fifty Flashes,” “How Beer Saved the World 2,” “Graveyard,” “Frightening,” “Tales from the Grave,” “In Creeps the Night,” and “22 More Quick Shivers.” His work has also appeared in the 2017 issue of “From the Depths” and on the Horror Tree website (“Trembling with Fear,” Jan. 14 and Jan. 28, 2018).

https://lionelraygreen.wordpress.com/

Word Of Mouth

Ezra regarded himself as a craftsman, catering to a specialist market. His raw materials lay on the granite-topped trestle table:- baby pearlies, a bloody wisdom, cider-stained molars. He tenderly polished a canine with a white linen cloth.
A pair of glossy incisors dangled from silver chains. Bespoke order from a Slovakian billionaire.
Ezra ran his fingertips over a filigree gold necklace, set with minute baby teeth. Tricky to source.
He collected his pliers and hunting knife, stowing them in his Nike backpack. Locking the basement door he headed out into the city’s underbelly.
There were pressing orders to be filled.

Alyson Faye

Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her family and 3 rescue cats. She teaches creative writing classes, writes noir Flash Fiction and ghost stories. She is one of the writers in ‘Women in Horror Annual 2’, in Raging Aardvark’s ‘Twisted Tales’, her stories can be downloaded at www.alfiedog.com as well as being available on various sites like zeroflash/Tubeflash/101 words/three drops from a cauldron. Her flash fiction debut collection, ‘Badlands’ is out now from indie publisher Chapeltown Books – here’s the interview http://www.chapeltownpublishing.uk/2018/01/badlands-by-alyson-faye.html and is available to buy from amazon.

You can find out more on her blog- www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com

or at her amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01NBYSLRT

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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!

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