Trembling With Fear 2-25-24

Greetings, children of the dark. I have returned from the land of ghosts and hauntings much refreshed and inspired. The UK Ghost Story Festival last weekend was a triumph once again—I even got roped into speaking on a panel on the final morning, talking all things “grand reveal” with Sarah Jackson and Simon Fairbanks, two fantastic indie writers you should check out. 

I’ve said a lot here about my struggles with the muse (I often feel so damn egotistical about all my complaining!), but I do feel like I’m starting to let go of the big picture stuff, the lofty goals, the far-away objectives so that I can focus and enjoy the here and now. Last weekend helped by just getting me out of my head and scribbling during workshops. I proved to myself that I might still have some life in the ol’ creative mine. It’s time to just remind myself why I always wanted to be a writer—because, reader, I never had an undying dream to write sales copy or business blogs, strange as that may seem! Let’s recapture that ghost of our internal passions, yes?

It seems fitting that we’ve chosen a haunting for this week’s trembling main course: a spectre that’s taken almost everything from Peter J Larrivee’s dying man. That’s followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Jonathan Worlde’s foreign fight, 
  • Lionel Ray Green’s mycophilic monstrosity, and
  • SG Perahim’s impish influencer.

Over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Another week of catching up on a lot of reading of TWF submissions. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes progress happening lately. Also, I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been getting more writing in as well! 2 short stories completed this year, 3 outlines started, and 2 poems written (which, I feel aren’t great.) Still, I feel like I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. After I get a few more shorts completed (or at least first draft finished,) I plan on revisiting some of my novels and novellas that were getting close to being done prior to the start of pandemic and the beginning of the MBA program I enrolled in shortly after. 
Don’t forget – Trembling With Fear Volume 6 is out in the world, and if you’ve picked up a copy, we’d love a review! Next year, we may be looking to expand past just the Amazon platform. If we do that, what stores would you like to purchase your books from?

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.

For those who are looking to connect with Horror Tree on places that aren’t Twitter, we’re also in BlueSky and Threads. *I* am also now on BlueSky and Threads.

If you’d like to extend your support to the site, we’d be thrilled to welcome your contributions through Ko-Fi or Patreon. Your generosity keeps us fueled and fired up to bring you the very best.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Peter J Larrivee

Peter J Larrivee is a horror and weird fiction author who hails from the land of the infamous H.P. Lovecraft. His books are available online on most major book and eBook platforms. Coming from a background in Journalism and Craft Beer, he now writes tales of terror and his latest book, ICON, is available both digitally and in print form. More on his website.

Perhaps Tomorrow, by Peter J Larrivee

Only overcast days greeted his old, half-blind eyes as he coughed and sputtered beneath old linen. Every day his nurse would part the curtains, utterly oblivious to the hunched figure waiting in the window’s dull gleam, allowing in wan sunlight and a view of pallid sky. 

His hand moved by startled reflex to the ancient coin that dangled from a chain around his neck, clutching it with a dessicated, grayed hand. In times past, he would rant and rave, screaming obscenities and defiantly insist he would not give it up, for it was the last thing he owned. But he knew the specter would not react. His words meant nothing to it.

The hunched figure would simply wait, staring with empty eyes at the sick, dying old man. When his eyes were better, he could see the jaw of rotting teeth, the pale translucent flesh, and each tear in the venerable rags the figure adorned itself in. He could not tell if it had been male or female when it was alive, if indeed it had ever been alive, or even real. Its morbid visage was for him, and only him, even as his ability to see it diminished over the years, for he was sure it was taking his eyesight as well. And he could tell those empty blackened sockets were latched onto the glittering gold just beneath his throat.

Clutched in a papery hand, he met the thing’s gaze. He would never give it up. He would take that trinket to his grave. This creature, spirit, perhaps delusion or manifestation of dementia, had taken every penny he’d ever had in his entire life. His company, his vast fortune, his stocks, properties, piece by piece, value was leeched from everything he owned. It would appear in windows, mirrors, reflections in gleaming black limousines or distorted refractions in the bottom of glasses and bottles that he sought solace in, and every time a piece of his fortune, reputation, or even his loved ones would be taken. His wife, a vain and ugly creature with the face of a starlet, was the first trophy he lost. That was the first night the visage appeared to him, in a glance, for a brief heartbeat in a stainless steel reflection, as they argued in the spotless, barely-used kitchen. This was the first week after he’d purchased his special little charm.

The antique coin had cost him a meager thousand dollars at an auction in his carefree youth, and since then it had taken a hundred times that and more every year, demanding interest upon interest. He’d been born with a fortune, and now he clung to the very last coin. Even now, he tasted the metallic copper of his own blood on his tongue, promising very few days of defiance left. He sensed the thing leaning forward, ever-so-slightly.

“No,” he coughed, “No… You can have all the rest… but not this… Damn you, not this!”

The thing remained still, patient, waiting. He tried to tell himself it was some fever dream or madness, that the horror lurking in the window was not some vengeful soul looking to take the last symbol of his wealth that he had greedily clasped in his necrotizing hand. Decay claimed all of his things.

It would not have his prize. He would eventually die, despite the efforts of the compassionate souls that ran this fetid little linen-draped corner of Hell; he would die with his last prize clutched in his hand.

For it could have taken the prize right away, and he’d have been happy to give it up. But instead it took his inheritance, it took his position, his prestige, his home. This was all he had left, and if nothing else, his spite kept his old heart beating again and again. It wanted to play games. Well, he could play games, too. And ultimately, he was going to win. His death was inevitable, but he would make the thing wait as long as he could. He would drag out its anticipation. It was the only move he could make in this sick game, and he wasn’t going to back down now.

It brought a smile to his lips.

This deathless thing played against him, and lost, for it could never take his King, could never secure that final victory. Perhaps it would sweep in and take the coin when he was dead, but that wouldn’t be today.

“Perhaps tomorrow,” said the dry old lips to the hunched darkness in the window. He smiled, and flakes of lip broke away. 

He closed his eyes, still clutching his future barrow coin.

“Perhaps tomorrow.”

The Interlopers

The elegantly-dressed woman and her twin girls exited the Washington Square subway at rush hour. 

Karlos followed a few paces behind, prepared to fire. His orders were to strike before the Venetian Interlopers lurking inside the children could join their clandestine colony on Whiteface Mountain.

The woman suddenly pivoted, lobbing a pulse grenade in his direction. Immunosuppressants slowed his reflexes.  Knocked off his feet, dazed, he felt his internal membrane rupturing. Exposed to the toxic air, his Jovian essence shriveled. Hurried pedestrians stepped around him. A dark cloud was descending. So far from home, never to see his family again.

Jonathan Worlde

Jonathan Worlde’s novel Latex Monkey with Banana was winner of the Hollywood Discovery Award. He has had over 30 stories published in various journals, most recently Mystery Tribune, Stupefying Stories, Daily SF, and Cirque Journal.



Matthew halted and scanned the cave system’s hidden secrets with his headlamp.


He followed the faint voice to a chamber.

“Here,” he yelled.

Stepping forward, Matthew felt something snap on the ground, echoing in the darkness like the loneliest sound in the world.

He looked down.

The headlamp revealed bones all around him … and a pulsating crimson-capped mushroom.


Is it the mushroom?

Matthew stooped for closer inspection.

The mushroom’s cap hissed as it released a paralyzing puff of spores into his face.

Incapacitated, Matthew fell.

He heard skittering among the bones and rocks before whispering, “Help.”

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 stories have appeared in more than two dozen anthologies. He ironically loves Bigfoot and hobbits and believes Babe is the greatest movie ever made. More at

Glitter & Decay

The idea sparked while watching a documentary about a Tibetan monk pre-mummifying to attain nirvana. 

Her influencer career was stalling. She started promoting asceticism. 

Diet culture sponsors jumped in. 

It worked for a while. She adapted the light ring to compliment the greenish tones of her decaying skin. Life wasn’t expensive now that she’s stopped eating or moving much at all.

Her videos gathered millions of views, disgust and awe pouring in the comments. The press got involved. Then reality TV. Doctors said she was clinically dead. 

Yet undying. 

Her fake sanctity unwanted by irate gods. 

The first recorded zombie

S.G. Perahim

Stéphane G. Perahim is a middle-aged French lady who lives in Belgium and teaches English for a living. When she’s not surrounded by her young, charming yet snotty students, she writes detective novels and short stories, plays with rather lifelike and creepy dolls, runs half-marathons or works on improving her nascent skills at capoeira. Find her on Instagram @Nefisaperahim.

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