Trembling With Fear 5-26-24

Greetings, children of the dark. This has been an up and down week at TWF Towers and I’m feeling super drained, so I’m mustering the last of my energy to send this missive before I collapse in a heap for the UK long weekend. The good news? The next edition will be the first of the official summer in this part of the world. The sun has been out more than not, and I’m soaking up all that vitamin D every time I can.

This week’s speculative fiction offerings are a mixed bag, kind of like the London weather has been this week. Our main course from Harris Coverley is a short but deeply gothic offering that ticks all the right boxes for me. That’s followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Bernardo Villela’s lupine wonderings,
  • Melody E. McIntyre’s desperate humanity, and
  • Trevor Steel’s terrible consequences.

Finally, a quick plug for the next edition of my Writing the Occult events: we’re talking about connection to the land on 15 June. There will be land myths, ritual landscapes, and spirits of place; how to use the land to spark fantasy creations or be the driving force in your story; how to connect when it’s hostile as well as beautiful; and we’ll ask how the climate crisis is impacting the writer’s connection to the land. I’m super excited about the line-up that’s assembling; it might even be our biggest one yet! All details, etc, over at—tickets are on sale now! We meet on 15 June, starting at 1pm UK / 8am ET. (Sorry, Antipodeans, but it is all recorded for ticket holders to watch back at more convenient times)

Over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

First things first, please support our latest sponsors!

First: Order a copy of Backwaters on Amazon! “Like Flannery O’Connor, but with toxic mermaids and body horror.” — CARLTON MELLICK III, author of Full Metal Octopus and The Haunted Vagina

Second: Get 99 horror stories that range from quiet horror, hinting at the things buried there in your psyche – the thing that will come out to play after dark, and visceral horror that leaves no doubt what lies in a bloody heap in the middle of the floor. This UNHOLY TRINITY combines three of L. Marie Wood’s horror collections, Caliginy, Phantasma, and Anathema.

Order a copy today directly from Mocha Memoirs Press or Amazon!


Well. I hope that Holley or myself have reached out to all of the authors involved. Our initial announcement came a bit early as Shadowed Realms is OFFICIALLY ready for pre-order and you can order it from Amazon right here! I wanted to get this into the newsletter for Friday so it went up a bit early though it is super exciting to share that this is out in the world. It was Holly’s dream to put together her favorite indie horror from a year, and I’m thrilled that she tapped me as her co-editor on this one. We’ve got it at a special lower pre-order discount price before it goes fully live, so save while the saving’s good! (On release day, the digital copy will go up a few dollars.) 

And, for anyone who missed it, we once again ranked in the top websites for authors as recommended by Writer’s Digest! WHEW! 

Now, for the standards:

  • We have Patreon who raised their monthly donation; THANK YOU! The more Patreons we get the closer we are to lowering even more the amount of ads we have to display! WHEW! (We should also be cutting back when the new theme eventually gets launched.)
  • Belanger Books has a cool new Kickstarter worth checking out! They’ve previously had some neat open calls that we’ve shared so wanted to let the authors and readers who follow us know about it!

Offhand, if you’ve ordered Trembling With Fear Volume 6, we’d appreciate a review! 🙂

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Harris Coverley

Along with previously in Trembling With Fear, Harris Coverley has had more than a hundred short stories published in Penumbra, Hypnos, JOURN-E, and The Black Beacon Book of Horror (Black Beacon Books), amongst many others. He has also had over two hundred poems published in journals around the world. He lives in Manchester, England.

The Daguerreotype, by Harris Coverley

The girl writhed upon her bed in grotesque psychical agonies, her long auburn hair tangled, greying at eighteen.

With her two sisters idle near her bedroom door, her mother leaned over her, but did not touch her for fear of her thrashing.

Without ceremony, the doctor was led in by the footman and stood on the opposing side.

“Good day, Mrs Carrington,” he crooned, setting his bag on the dresser. “No improvement I see?”

Mrs Carrington scowled at him: “What is the point even of your presence doctor? My Annie has been enraptured by some terrible evil and none of your prescriptions have granted her even the slightest relief!”

Please, Mrs Carrington,” the doctor said as he tried to roll Annie onto her back. “Your daughter’s condition is one of the mind, and only through good talk, married with patience, can we hope for a palliative.”

He held Annie at the shoulders and looked into her eyes.

“Is he still here Annie?” he firmly asked her.

 “H-h-h-h-he is!” the young girl stuttered, shivering in the warm room.

“Within this very place?”


“Is he the same? Dark and oleaginous? Just as he was at the lakeside?”

The girl choked as she nodded, her eyes rolling upwards.

“Doctor!” shouted Mrs Carrington. “What could come of all this repetitive questioning?”

The doctor was ready to berate her for interrupting when the footman poked his head through the door.

“Mr Hunt is here, madam,” he said with deep reticence.

“Send him in!” Mrs Carrington snapped.

Mr Hunt came in uneasily, confusion upon his thin features.

“Mrs Carrington, I don’t know—” he began, but the old woman cut him off: “It is all your fault, Hunt!”

“Madam?” asked the doctor, turning away from Annie as she twisted back over.

Mrs Carrington pointed at Hunt: “It was his device, his picture-box contraption, that did this!”

The doctor could not help but laugh: “Come now, Mrs Carrington…”

“I will not have this!” protested Hunt. “I have a reputation to uphold! My daguerreotypes are the finest in all England!”

 “I sold my daughter’s soul for a mere visage, an imitation in silver!” Mrs Carrington wailed and rushed at Hunt.

As the doctor and the two other daughters pulled them apart, Annie screamed, “The square! The square of light!


Colin stared at the daguerreotype of the long-dead beauty that hung on the wall. Her hair was pale in the leaden image, but not quite blonde—auburn perhaps? He usually thought of women before the 20th century as being hopelessly ugly, but her fair and untainted looks warmed his heart.

He pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose and read the minute inscription:

Anne Leonora Carrington
April 1846

He had yet again been dragged into the antiques shop by his mother after the café. He felt exposed, having at that point neglected to shower for three days, his hair and skin left exceptionally greasy.

Still, he slid his smartphone out of his pocket and flashed a picture of the picture.

“Please don’t do that sir,” hoarsely breathed an elderly assistant suddenly at his side. “It can affect the image…”

“Sorry,” Colin mumbled. He put his offending instrument away, and then hurried off to find his wayward parent.

Blood Beads

I awoke beaded in blood. Startled, I stood and looked in the mirror. No visible cuts. 

“Am I sweating it?” I wondered. Tim didn’t prepare me for that. 

Checking the calendar, I saw the moon was full. My first since I was changed. Tim taught me well, but didn’t mention this. 

Images from the night before flooded my mind: plaid hunting jacket, shotgun, a man’s terror, canine jaws snapping, blood spraying my coat. When I changed back, blood slid off my retracting fur like oil off a dipstick. 

I wiped my hand across my chest and licked my fingers clean.

Bernardo Villela

Bernardo Villela has short fiction included in periodicals such as LatineLit and in anthologies such as There’s More of Us Than You Know. He?s had original poetry published by Exist Otherwise among others and translations published by AzonaL and Red Fern Review. You can find some of his other works here.

Best Friends Forever

Axxon-45 placed a fedora on its top.

“Look Frank, I’m a human!” It released a series of chortling beeps, and Frank forced himself to laugh along.

When Frank programmed the Axxons to be man’s best friends dedicated to human happiness, he’d miscalculated. They interpreted “best” as “only” and immediately eradicated all rivals for their chosen human’s affections. When their humans despaired, the Axxons eliminated anyone who was unhappy.

Frank learned to laugh, despite being dead inside. And when Axxon-45 placed a matching fedora on his head, and said “Best friends?”, Frank responded, with tears stinging his eyes, “Best friends forever.”

Melody E McIntyre

Melody E McIntyre lives in Ontario, Canada and writes short, speculative fiction that has been published by several small presses including Air and Nothingness Press, Black Ink Fiction, Brigids Gate, and Hiraeth Publishing. She is also an avid reviewer who writes reviews and articles for The Horror Tree, as well as on her blog. Melody is a member of Sisters in Crime and is the secretary for the Ontario chapter of the Horror Writers Association. She earned her Master of Arts studying Ancient Greek and Roman Studies and often infuses her work with elements of Greek mythology. Her day job is being a legal assistant and in her spare time, she loves reading, embroidery, and martial arts. More at her blog, Facebook, BlueSky, or Linktree.

Terrible Warnings and Consequences

Suzy put the knife down on the marble countertop, the blade away from her.

She turned the iron handle set in the old oak closet door.

“I told you I would. You were warned,” she said to a silent reply. “Now I’m going to have to clean this up,” she tutted as a single crimson droplet dripped onto the crystalized stone surface.

Reaching in, she drew out a red bucket and mop. She placed the bucket in the sink. Twisting the tap, clear water flowed hissing into the plastic container, which appeared to change color almost as a mocking prophecy.

Trevor Steel

Trevor Steel is an expat from the UK and splits his time between Maryland and Western Central Pennsylvania. He writes both fiction in the genres of horror and fantasy, with a leaning toward the quirky twist. After a career in software, he has lurched toward a more creative bent. Trevor’s interests and inspiration for fiction often come from the myths and folklore of the British Isles, where he was born and grew up.

You may also like...