Trembling With Fear 11-26-23
Hello, children of the dark. Over on the other side of the pond from me today, as I write this, it’s your day of gratitude. We don’t do that whole thing over here, nor where I grew up, and truth be told I’m far too awkwardly British to express emotion in that way. Still, let me take this moment to say I am thankful to Stuart for continuing to run (and fund!) this here site, to my TWF predecessor Stephanie Ellis for vouching for me taking over from her last year, and to you, dear children of the dark, for continue to show up every week to read and celebrate some of the best emerging writers in dark speculative fiction. We may not have many of the big and famous names, but we have a strong and vibrant community of writers who do this because they love it and they want to share. I love that we can provide a platform from which to emerge into the darkness, kicking and screaming and trying to make voices heard. Thank you, all of you. (And if you want to show your own thanks to Stuart, consider becoming a Patreon—it really does make a difference to us!)
Now, before I need to go and shower off all this emotion, let’s move to this week’s edition where Rodney G Hatfield is dealing with an influx of strange critters. Then we’ve got three fabulous tasty morsels:
- Nika Anuk relives some childhood scaries,
- Lionel Ray Green just wants some attention, and
- Alan Moskowitz has ghost troubles.
Special congrats to Nika—she tells me this is the first time she’s been published in English, her second language!
And just finally (in case you missed it), here’s a quick recap on the new processes at TWF Towers:
- Drabbles, serials, and unholy trinities are still open all the damn time, and we still have an insatiable need for them
- Short story submissions will only be open in 2-week seasonal windows, and you can find those details on our submissions page; next one opens on 1 January
- Special editions submissions are still open in their own seasonal windows, and again the details are on the submissions page
Over to you, Stuart.
ATTENTION YOUTUBE WATCHERS: We’ve had some great responses so far but are open to more ideas – What type of content would you like to see us feature? Please reach out to [email protected]! We’ll be really working on expanding the channel late this year and early into next.
Invasion, by Rodney Hatfield
“Society is filled with pride,” Mr. Johnson said with a sigh, his eyes focused on the busy streets of the city down below as he addressed the room. “In the most common understanding, individuals tend to feel secure. They hold the belief that they won’t be impacted by the dangers that hide in the shadows.”
He shifted to look at Mrs. Anderson, his companion. She showed her agreement by nodding, her face deep in thought. “Yes, it’s almost as if everyone takes for granted that everything is identical everywhere,” she replied. “They grow content, assuming there’s no requirement to exercise caution.”
Mr. Johnson shivered, a sensation of coldness traveling down his back as he leaned in closer. “However, things aren’t uniform in all places,” he murmured, his manner conveying a blend of amazement and apprehension. “They emerge suddenly, deformed and unpleasant beings born from our own actions.”
Mrs. Anderson’s eyes grew wider, her words just a breath above silence. “Regrettably, there was no awareness while they were being crafted. We only realized the truth when it was already too late. These creatures tend to materialize overnight, arriving without any forewarning.”
As they gazed out at the oblivious city, Mr. Johnson shook his head in dismay. “Society is blind to the dangers,” he stated gravely. “Nature is unbound by rules and regulations, and yet people remain careless about what they are creating.”
Mrs. Anderson sighed deeply, her concern etched on her face. “It’s a perilous path we tread. We must find a way to open their eyes before it’s too late.”
Mr. Johnson leaned against the windowsill, furrowing his brow. “Indeed, change starts with awareness. If only we had a point of origin.”
His gaze fixed on the bustling activity below.
“From the shadows, they will emerge out of nowhere, my dear,” Mrs. Anderson whispered. “And they will engulf everything in their path.”
Mr. Johnson was in somber agreement. “Their sole purpose lies in growing larger and stronger, until everything, including the human race, has disappeared from the face of the earth.”
“Everything is beginning to change,” she murmured, “and the unknown has begun to plague the people. They are desperately searching for hidden insights and ways to end the relentless growth of these creatures.”
Mr. Johnson’s eyes widened as he listened intently. “They will appear in the corners of your room, beneath the bed, and within those elusive spaces,” he cautioned. “Prudence is essential as you navigate through these areas, for they represent the breeding grounds where these creatures multiply the most.”
Mrs. Anderson took a deep breath, her voice trembling as she spoke: “No one knows exactly how they are created or how they act,” she confessed, “but anyone who makes contact with them is destined to be changed.”
With the weight of uncertainty settling in the room, Mr. Johnson leaned forward, his brows knit in thought. “We mustn’t succumb to fear,” he urged, his tone resolute. “Our understanding might be limited, but our determination to find answers is not!”
Mrs. Anderson nodded, a glimmer of determination in her eyes. “Agreed. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to confront this challenge. Perhaps collaboration is the key—pooling our knowledge, sharing our observations.”
“These creatures,” Mr. Johnson murmured, his voice filled with a mixture of awe and trepidation, “are nearly impossible to defeat. They are like an ethereal force, the very essence of life in the universe, but devoid of consciousness or control.”
Mrs. Anderson nodded grimly, her eyes reflecting the weight of the situation. “It is a force of nature to be feared,” she admitted. “People are left to fight back on their own, and some even resort to hiring professionals in a desperate attempt to rid themselves of this scourge.”
A heavy sigh escaped Mr. Johnson’s lips. “They attack indiscriminately, everywhere and everyone,” he lamented. “Babies, children, adults, and the elderly are all being bombarded. No one is safe from their relentless assault!”
“Truly, these creatures haunt people from every region,” concluded Mrs. Anderson.
Mr. Johnson’s voice trembled as he recounted the harrowing events. “This morning, I woke up to the screams and shouts of other survivors,” he began, his tone filled with a mix of fear and disbelief. “They were all panicked, their voices filled with sheer terror, as the creatures assaulted them relentlessly.”
Mrs. Anderson’s hands flew to her mouth as she gasped, her eyes widening in horror. “The attacks… they’re increasing in intensity and frequency?”
Mr. Johnson nodded, his eyes haunted by the memories. “Yes, indeed.” His voice was weighted with the gravity of the situation. “It was as if the creatures had escalated their campaign, as if they were pushing the boundaries of their own malevolence. And then, amidst the chaos, one of the survivors shouted fiercely the words that I know will not be the last time I ever hear their words… ‘DUST BUNNIES!‘”
I wish someone had told me that the monsters in my room didn’t exist—that it was only a chair covered with clothes, and that the human brain makes up monsters to protect us.
I wish my parents warned me about the faces I saw in the tree branches—that they were never real, that it is this strange thing we people do, create faces and human forms…
I wish there was somewhere I could read that the mummies were created a long time ago and they couldn’t hide under my bed. Now it’s too late.
It’s all real now.
Nika Anuk (she/her) has been writing for the most of her life, trying out different things before settling down in horror. She comes from Poland and is trying to marry her Polish roots, ghoulish interests, and queer identity into her stories. She currently lives in Wales with two demonic chihuahuas.
My husband Paul never noticed me anymore.
He never noticed that our thirteenth wedding anniversary was last Wednesday.
He never noticed that he stopped kissing me good night before we went to sleep.
He never noticed that he stopped saying “I love you” at the end of our conversations over the phone when he had to work late.
He never noticed the smell of another woman’s perfume on his T-shirt.
He never noticed the white powder dissolving in his glass of sweet tea.
Now, he’ll never notice me ever again.
Lionel Ray Green
Lionel Ray Green is a horror and fantasy writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. His work has appeared in more than 30 publications, including Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2, which debuted as the #1 New Release in the Philosophy Reference Category on Amazon. He ironically loves Bigfoot and hobbits and believes Babe is the greatest movie ever made. Lionel writes a column for HorrorAddicts.net titled The Bigfoot Files and is a senior contributor to MalevolentDark.com.
When they saw the ghost sitting on my couch watching reality TV, my wife and children ran screaming from my home.
If I turn off the TV, he howls, terrifying the neighbors until I turn it back on.
A psychic made mental contact and had a nervous breakdown. A ghost hunter zapped him electrically but only managed to scorch my couch. After a three-day exorcism, the Priest quit the church.
I poured gasoline into every room. I was about to ignite it when someone was knocking at my door.
A man willing to pay to see the ghost.
Recently un-retired from screen and TV writing, now living in Denver, Alan Moskowitz also creates short genre fiction for fun and sanity.
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Lauren McMenemy wears many hats: Editor-in-Chief at Trembling With Fear for horrortree.com; PR and marketing for the British Fantasy Society; founder of the Society of Ink Slingers; curator of the Writing the Occult virtual events; writers hour host at London Writers Salon. With 25+ years as a professional writer across journalism, marketing, and communications, Lauren also works as a coach and mentor to writers looking to achieve goals, get accountability, or get support with their marketing efforts. She writes gothic and folk horror stories for her own amusement, and is currently working on a novel set in the world of the Victorian occult. You’ll find Lauren haunting south London, where she lives with her Doctor Who-obsessed husband, the ghost of their aged black house rabbit, and the entity that lives in the walls.