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Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.



All sorts of monsters live here, from Vampires and Werewolves to Selkie and the ever popular Zombies.

by Alex Acks
Look at the parking lot behind the movie theater. Just look at it. So deserted. Yours is quite literally the only car, and you've managed to park it under the only lamp that's dead. There are just those three employees left in the theater, and they've locked the doors behind you, and I think either they're torturing the popcorn machine to death or maybe that's supposed to be some sort of "techno" music. They won't hear you scream, and I doubt they'd care even if they could. Who sees a midnight horror movie? In a deserted theater? On New Year's Eve? Honestly!
Published on Aug 4, 2015
by David Afsharirad
Catherine shifted in the silk nightgown, worried that it was too much, too over-the-top-Romantic with a capital R. Floor-length and sheer, it made her look like something out of an old-timey movie. But it was periwinkle blue and cornflower yellow, the same as their wedding colors, and if she was honest with herself, she loved it. And because she loved it, Jim would love it too. She wanted this night to be perfect. The past seven months had been difficult, with the time they'd been forced to spend apart after her accident. Now, they'd finally be together once again--and so of course he had to work late. Well, the anticipation would make tonight that much more special. She cast her mind back to that day, one year ago exactly, when they'd stood at the altar and exchanged the vows they'd each written. Hers had been corny--more jokey than anything. But Jim's...
Published on Mar 29, 2016
by Edoardo Albert
So you think the world's become prosaic and dull? There's no mystery any more, no magic? You want enchantment, adventure? You want... monsters? You dream of feeling the downrush of a dragon's wings, of hearing a distant, metallic rhythm and slowly realizing that it's the sound of dwarves, marching, I know you do.
Published on Jun 27, 2012
by Ken Altabef
Gazing at the midnight sky, the stars so far above, my thoughts turn to the possibility of space travel. How easy it would be if you didn't have to breathe. How easy it would be if you didn't have to eat, if you had a spaceship and all the time in the world. "Nice night," says George, a fellow stargazer. "Beautiful."
Published on Sep 1, 2016
by Stephanie Ascough
The thing about being a girl is this: you are far, far more likely to be chosen. Darius says the fates decide. But no one can ignore the fear in our leader's eyes on the day of choosing. No one can ignore his rabid relief when a girl's name is drawn for the yearly sacrifice. On the day I am chosen, I can only feel the dull weight of inevitability. No one in this village, even after I’m gone, will ever truly feel relief. Only numbness. I guess in this way the victim is linked to those left behind.
Published on Apr 6, 2021
by Patricia Ash
It was only a little one. It followed her home.
Published on Apr 28, 2016
by Dani Atkinson
From Janey Doherty, 212 First St. West, Claresbridge, AB, T7H 0T0 Phone: 403.555.0186 Email: jdoh@fauxmail.com
Published on Aug 11, 2014
by Matthew Bailey
I saw my first one in 'Nam after clearing an NVA machine gun nest near the Laotian border. We left the bodies where they'd fallen while we secured the area. By the time we returned, two of them were back on their feet, staring at us with heads cocked like we were an interesting, potentially delicious solipsistic problem to be solved. When they went for our throats, we explained that Cartesian philosophy had no place in the bush. I don't know if they ever bought our arguments, but the 5.56mm cartridges we used sure ended the discussion. After their bodies hit the ground for the second time, after Pvt. Higgs stopped saying, "What the fuck just happened?" over and over, after each of us had come to terms with the fact that apparently only taxes were a sure thing in life, we realized the third body, the one who'd originally gone for Connors with a knife, was nowhere to be seen. We looked and looked but never found him.
Published on May 31, 2016
by Elly Bangs
For a solid year I was riding high, getting my fix, partying all night and sleeping all day--just like Phinneas, cool and white as snow, who had mortals of all genders falling over themselves to be tasted; who had been twenty-something for centuries. I thought we'd surf that ruby-red high forever, me and him and the other Cool Kids, and I'd never have to suffer my own reflection again. But I woke up one night with an awful taste in my mouth, and when I brushed my teeth, there I was again in the silvered glass above the sink: hazy, translucent, but undeniably there. I almost screamed. "When's the last time you drank, Jason?" Phinneas muttered, stretching awake.
Published on Apr 9, 2018
by Anatoly Belilovsky
Behind her, she heard the rear door splinter. "You're back," she said. "Back from the grave to console the widow?" There were only shuffling noises in the darkness. "I wish I could say it's good to see you," she said. "But I can't. I can't see anything. As you darn well know." By touch she found the right kitchen drawer, reached for her husband's old revolver, and pulled back its hammer. "On the other hand, you know what they say about widows." The noises came closer. "A widow always knows where her husband is," she said, and shot the zombie.
Published on Oct 28, 2021
by Helena Bell
1. Hello, and thank you for tuning in to our 10-part series: Methods of Proving Neither You Nor your Loved Ones Are a Host of Demonly Creatures. If you have not done so already, please check to ensure that you are not attempting to write with a number 3 [Ed. -Bob] 2 pencil, as they have proven untrustworthy. For your convenience, a laminated printout of this update will be available for purchase at the following locations: a. Warehouse Liquor
Published on Nov 5, 2012
by Annie Bellet
To get: Bear mace (?) Dog food Garlic (40 cloves? check recipe) Lamb leg (enough to feed 5)
Published on Dec 28, 2011
by M. M. Bird
The warmest day of the year was shining upon us, all three of us giggling impetuously in the safe shadows of that building. It was one of our favorite games, daring each other to step out into that blinding daylight and stand for as long as we could endure. "Go on, get your pale ass out there," she wickedly taunted me, joined by the third, fat member of our group. Inundated by their callous cheers and provocations, in time I finally worked up the gumption to dash out of our shadowy refuge and immerse myself into those incendiary rays. Ever since the three of us were turned into vampires, our nocturnal proclivities have transformed days into a exhilarating pastime for us. The challenge was to stand out in the sun longer than the other two, my two comrades howling in adulation as I wavered and baked for an excruciating total of nine seconds. Blisters were already beginning to pop and sputter their gelatinous liquid all through my wheezing sores and down my clothes, legs snapping to thrust me back into the building's protective shadow. "Beat that," I was bombastic in the manner I challenged the woman of our party.
Published on Jun 3, 2019
by Laurence Raphael Brothers
The sorcerer stands in the center of a magic circle, a conservative gray business suit showing under his white ritual mantle, the traditional rod of blasting in his hand. I'm off to the side, in the triangle of summoning. "Come not in that form! I adjure thee. In the holy name of--"
Published on Jul 14, 2015
by Jen Brubacher
"You'll never believe what happened on the way over here." Bea fairly threw her bag down on the table as she arrived, throwing Gary's coffee mug into a spin. Brown droplets sprayed over his work shirt and dabbed the tabletop. Bea didn't notice and placed both arms right in the mess. "No, what did you see?"
Published on Feb 27, 2012
by Annie Bellet
***Editor's Note: This story includes mature and potentially disturbing themes. It is not for all readers*** Mai goes for her daily run, glad that spring has arrived and freed her from the treadmill. She usually makes a circuit down through the gardens but today she turns and runs uphill, toward the cherry orchard. At first, her calves feel like lumps of wood, but she warms up and finds her stride. When Love, who she has started to call Pembroke in her head as a tiny rebellion, told her to start running two years ago, she hated it. Now, this is her favorite time each day. This is also the only time she is allowed to wear pants.
Published on Aug 3, 2012
by Gina Burgess
"The zombie apocalypse won't ruin Christmas." My sister, Molly, flicked her pigtails as she decorated the tree. "The town is overrun with monsters, but Santa visits everyone, no matter where they live." "Grow up," I said. "Santa is pretend." I peeked between the curtains. Earlier, zombies had covered our lawn, but after turning off the Christmas lights, they'd disappeared into the night. "Even if Santa is real, he'd be a zombie now." Everyone was, except us.
Published on Dec 24, 2019
by Christopher J Burke
As the artist gave the canvas its final brush strokes, Lady Isabella sat frozen in the regal pose she wanted immortalized. She’d held that position since the Moon had risen into the night. Any discomfort would be worth it, though, if Genevieve could capture her essence. She wanted to be able to see herself the way the world saw her. Seeing oneself wasn't an easy task for a vampire.
Published on Jun 23, 2021
by Caroline Cantrell
The room at The Savoy had all the comforts of modernity: electric lights; a bottle of champagne sweating in a bucket of half-melted ice; and a vampire in the bath. The claw-foot tub was long enough to accommodate all six feet of her, and she lay perfectly still and completely submerged, clouds of dark curls floating around her face like seaweed. She looked like a sentimental portrait of a drowned woman. It was positively unnerving when she did that, Charlotte thought, wrapped in an old-fashioned velvet dressing gown. She'd fashioned a cold compress out of a thick linen napkin and ice from the champagne bucket and held it to the bite on her neck while Elena lay unmoving in her bath, steam curling above her. She barely disturbed the glassy surface as she climbed out, heedless of her nakedness and the water streaming onto the expensive rug as she walked across the room.
Published on Feb 28, 2020
by M.E. Castle
It never occurred to me to wonder why there are no more gods walking the earth. I've always known that there are. In the old days, gods were born to gods, and even when one was born of human parents, the adult gods took it and raised it as one of them. But the adult gods have disappeared. Now when gods are born--a rare event, else we'd be overrun--it is always to humans. If the young god is lucky and smart, it learns to curb its power and live among us. If it does not, then we puny humans must deal with it ourselves.
Published on Dec 20, 2010
by Ann Chatham
"It's not my rule," said the sorceress, crossly. "It's a rule of magic, child. If you want a thing, you must be prepared to offer something you value as much in exchange. If you take my advice, you'll forget about this nonsense and speak to the young man on your own." She leaned on her hoe and watched the girl over her garden fence. "But, mistress," said the girl, and began to offer some excuse she passionately believed in. The old woman sighed; there was never a drop of sense in them when they were fifteen and in love, or thought they were. Of course, if she'd had any sense herself at that age she wouldn't be living in this little hut on the cliff's edge peddling simples, so she tried to be kind. This latest girl was very pretty, although perhaps she didn't know it, with her gray eyes and skin a good deal paler than most of the people along this coast. She had probably been sickly and sunburnt as a child, and showed no sign of knowing yet that she'd grown into herself and could likely catch the eye of whatever man she wished.
Published on Oct 21, 2011
by G. O. Clark
Each night, at 12:05 sharp, the train whistle repeatedly blows a kind of Morse code warning to anything on the tracks up ahead in the darkness. It's a well-known fact that evil things are attracted to the sound, and wander down the tracks towards it, the engine's light pinning them like stage actors in the spotlight just before the final curtain.
Published on Apr 11, 2019
by C. A. Collins
"Here is good. Pull over," he says as Fogerty's voice fades back into static. You pull the car off the just-barely-a-trail dirt road, just in case there might be traffic. Nothing but dust and rock out here; the only illumination is your Eldorado's headlights. Tonight's moon is still only a faint glimmer on the eastern horizon.
Published on Oct 31, 2018
by Adam Colston
"Where do you do it, young man?" Peter glanced up from his book at the middle-aged woman--the only other occupant in the train compartment--and smiled.
Published on Dec 13, 2011
by Donald S. Crankshaw
Published on Jan 21, 2013
by Stephen Charles Curro
No one knew where the legend had come from; only that a beast called the Winged Terror would come one day, and on that day he would eat. No one took this old prophecy seriously. It was a story used primarily to frighten naughty children. That changed when a red comet streaked across the summer sky like a bleeding gash. As the red glow faded, people murmured that it was reminiscent of that old legend they'd all heard growing up.
Published on Aug 29, 2019
by Amanda C. Davis
The worst of it was, after long eons, I forgot my offense. I would creep through forests and hide in caves, moaning through my hideous lips and teeth, "Why?" I hunched in bogs sifting my gems of memory in search of the pitted stone of sin that might justify the pain. So few remained. A dress, a cat, a rose, a crown. Nothing to earn me the shape of a monster. I may have forgotten the sin, but the curse lived with me. Its scales on my skin. Its heart in my ribs. And its deep, wild hunger in my belly.
Published on Oct 12, 2018
by Amanda C. Davis
There were four men in the tintype studio, but only one was dead. The dead man sat propped in a wooden chair, strapped into place. A duvet across the room held the two "cousins" who had carried him in for his portrait. The older and smaller of them sat rigid as a poker. The younger, slouching beside him, said, "We ought to of put him in the ground straight away, Doctor Bern." "Phillip, your incuriosity is a constant astonishment to me," said the older one. He wore a neat tweed with just a few smears of blood and grave dirt on the cuffs. "I'd say you were entirely unsuited to this business if not for your talent with a hammer and stake."
Published on Sep 19, 2011
by Amanda C. Davis
"Never open the box," said Pappy, and since Pappy had been dead twenty years and no one ever came along to tell her otherwise, Dolly never did. She stood on the porch in her grandmother's dress, scowling at the sky. The clouds to the west had parted to show a gash of sunset pink. She'd been a little girl the last time the sky was anything but grey.
Published on Apr 25, 2012
by Gunnar De Winter
**********warning: Disturbing, ambiguous, adult story. violence.*********** I am a monster.
Published on Apr 9, 2021
by Kristi DeMeester
***Editor's Warning: Adult, disturbing, haunting tale. Please be advised***
Published on Mar 19, 2013
by Caroline Diorio
Ah, the Transformation. It's a different journey for every woman, but make no mistake, it's a journey we all must embark on, whether we're ready or not. One minute, you're fretting about the mundane trials of middle-age, trying to soften the marionette lines turning your smile upside-down and wondering when your breasts drifted so far away from your collarbone, the next you're plucking pellucid scales from behind your ears and craving a teatime treat of raw shark meat and panicked fisherman. The Transformation can be jarring for those of us with the strongest of stomachs, but fortunately, you don't have to go through this alone. I've compiled a brief list of tips for navigating your own unique journey through the terrifying, tempestuous, and yes, titillating world of the Transformation. Now let's get started, shall we?
Published on Sep 1, 2020
by Brian Dolton
There isn't room for us any more.
Published on Feb 28, 2011
by Sarina Dorie
No One Puts Baby in the Corner "I don't want a time out!" Josie screeched.
Published on Oct 16, 2017
by Sarina Dorie
I ran my tongue over my fangs, scanning the crowd, inhaling the scent of warm meat. The thumping of hearts around me drowned out the cheesy Dixie Chicks song. Then I saw her in vintage Gothic attire, her hair in a 20's bob. Crimson, horned-rimmed glasses sat on her nose as she sipped her Bloody Mary. With an outfit like that in a country bar, she was asking to be my dinner.
Published on Sep 6, 2011
by James S. Dorr
***Editor's Note: Adult Story, Mature Themes*** The last decision Ashleigh made under the influence of Rocky Road ice cream was to spike her hair and dye it bright blue. That and her turning to cannibalism. The combination seemed somehow right to her--people already thought her a freak, or at least a bit odd. And it solved the Rocky Road ice cream problem rather well too.
Published on Sep 1, 2014
by James S. Dorr
"There is only one solid truth in all that he has written, and for that I gave him the hint out of pure compassion for his absurdity." That was what Lo said, and so much for the notion I'd had that she and Valdemar might have been lovers. But I was interested, not so much in the fact that Ernest Valdemar had been considered a promising upcoming author by some whose tastes ran toward more outr subjects, but that I had known him years before when he had been a contributor to the Times-Picayune, the newspaper I work for as a reporter. And then Lo herself--I had only met her once before, at some charity event in the French Quarter--but it was Valdemar who had made the introductions. He and she had been at least on speaking terms then, which she did not deny, and possibly more although, as she insisted, nothing of a romantic nature. Yet, as a recent young widow, I could see that she possessed considerable charm as she still does now. In fact I remarked on it, "I met you, I think nearly ten years ago, and yet you look as youthful and beautiful as you did then."
Published on Apr 21, 2015
by James S. Dorr
Mignonette yawned and slowly pushed open the lid to her coffin, unsure what she would find. It was not her custom. But then her real name was not Mignonette either, not from her old life where she had had a name filled with consonants, hard for those in the West to pronounce, as in Paris where she lived now. But what was a name? She was what she was, and if she should call herself "Mignonette," the ones she consorted with seemed not to mind. "It fits you well, ma chrie," one had said to her only the past week. "Your delicate features. You say you had moved here from Eastern Europe. Does that make you a Communist?"
Published on Dec 21, 2011
by James Dorr
Manuel had to stop his truck for the sheer awe of it. He had never been this far north before--he had heard stories about it of course--but now he could see it with his own eyes! A gleaming line on the distant horizon, shimmering in the strong Mexican sunlight. Extending as far as the eye could see, to the left and the right, as he started his vehicle again, continuing north down the dusty highway. The American Wall!
Published on Dec 20, 2019
by Dana Dupont
"You must come," she says. "My son is sick." Her hands, worn and wrinkled, twist together in the dim light that filters into my room. "I'm not a doctor," I say.
Published on Jan 12, 2012
by Rebecca Fraimow
The monster slithered over the side of the ship when nobody else was looking. Hodel could have cried out, but she was more afraid of the other passengers than she was of the monster. It shivered and dripped water onto the deck from tattered seaweed fronds. It looked like an old peddler, stuffed with rags to keep warm. It looked like it might speak Yiddish. "You shouldn't be here," said Hodel. "You've got no ticket. And you might be sick."
Published on Aug 27, 2015
by Katina French
Dear Henry, I've been thinking things over since our argument, and I finally recognize the problem in our relationship. The problem is me. I know you've tried to deny it, tried hard to make things work, but it's time we admitted it's over.
Published on Dec 10, 2014
by Lyn C.A. Gardner
Lucy bent over the shoebox, sifting through curling paper and cracked photographs. So many secrets. She'd been too young when her mother died. All she had now were these scraps of life: birth certificates, faded letters, notes from her grandmother in French. Receipts for harpsichord supplies, though the harpsichord was long dead. Lucy's fingers stopped at the place she hated: her mother's death certificate.
Published on Feb 25, 2011
by Andrew Gilstrap
My shoe smudges the chalk markings and before I can lift my foot, it's over. The demon grabs Terrance Nygard, self-styled "Lord of Darkness and Master of the Damned," and devours him. Doesn't even chew; just pops open its toothy maw to a quadruple-jointed width that would make a Great White shark wince, and drops him down its gullet without a bite. Just as suddenly, the demon's in my face, pressing me against the wall. Somehow, the smell of Nygard's putrid cologne on the beast's brimstone breath makes the effect even more rancid.
Published on Oct 20, 2016
by Andrew Gilstrap
Mom snatches my notebook from my hands. "What the hell is this?" "It's a zombie story."
Published on Dec 1, 2016
by Elena Gleason
Karlen washed the flecks of blood from her face and patted it dry, and as she ran the towel under her chin, she realized she'd missed a spot again. The towel was already stained, covered in streaks and splotches from other evenings, and she knew the new red mark would darken to match soon enough. She never quite managed to get all the blood on the first try. Earlier that night, she'd left Peter with a kiss and a promise to be careful. Then she'd walked down to the park at the end of the block and sat under the big maple to wait, as she had every full moon for the past eleven months. Every full moon she would sit under the tree, take the folded snapshot out of her pocket, and remember the day the photo had been taken right in that spot. The tree had been bright orange with its fall foliage, and Wes had laughed as leaves were thrown into the air by sudden gusts of wind only to float gently down around them. He had been so happy that day. He had been happy, and so she and Peter had been happy too, all of them wearing silly grins with their hats and scarves, staring out of the photo with no clue that five months later Wes would be a monster. It was no wonder that Wes had been drawn to this place for his night of remembrance, the one night that he would recall who he had been. Remember his former life, and despise the memory.
Published on Jan 18, 2011
by Ari B Goelman
She wakes up scared in the morning. She wakes up scared almost every morning. Still, it's a nice day. Summer. Blue sky. She walks up the hill until she's downtown. It makes her feel better, having living people all around her.
Published on Nov 17, 2011
by Frances Silversmith
Laira stood in the damp cellar, stared at the narrow bed she had spent her days on for the last seven centuries. Seven hundred years, without once seeing the sun. "You'll get used to it," they'd said. "You'll love being a vampire."
Published on Sep 12, 2013
by Natalie Graham
I didn't know why it was only men who returned as zombies. Neither did anyone else. Scientists who studied the phenomenon (and weren't squeezed to death by zombies) were puzzled. Maybe DNA? said one. Duh, said widows collectively. And it was widows who said it, because only husbands came back, never boyfriends, or friends with benefits, or one-night stands.
Published on Aug 5, 2013
by Lynne Lumsden Green
There is one problem about being an immortal vampire that you never read about... you can't feed off your own descendants. I was turned when I was the father of seven healthy children, five of whom lived to marry and have children of their own. Back in the middle ages, people didn't travel far, and it wasn't long before I was the umpteenth-great grandfather to everyone in my village.
Published on Mar 29, 2021
by Michael J Greenhut
The sheriff asked me to believe that a telephone call turned Georgina Agravaine into a werewolf. Evidently, the caller suggested that she might be one, and that's when the trouble started. I sat in his office with my ankles crossed, sipping a triple tall latte. "What type of crime does a phone call like that fall under?" I asked.
Published on Mar 5, 2013
by Darrell Z. Grizzle
The passwords for my email and other accounts are in a little Moleskine notebook I keep in the center drawer of the desk in my home office. I also keep track of them in a Word file on my computer, titled "Passwords." My checkbooks and other financial papers are in the left-hand drawer.
Published on Mar 21, 2018
by Alexandra Grunberg
"Greg, we need to talk." "Oh jeez, listen Danny--"
Published on Mar 2, 2015
by Rachel Halpern
Aina watched the other humans crowd around the martyr's table. They pressed close to Evan as if they wanted to touch him, kept watching him even when they spoke to each other. Of course no one did actually touch him; the sacrifice had to be pure. The demon was going to eat him, after all, and its servants, their masters, would never give it sullied meat. The masters stood quietly lining the walls, dark robes and tall spears. Even now, after seventeen months of captivity, they looked to her almost like a clich from bad television, but without the comforting distance of black and white, which might have hidden the bloodstains on their clothes. Aina could see their eyes move, quick and deadly, saw one tense as little Martha who really knew better leaned slightly too close to the martyr when she passed him rice. Aina was more cautious, would keep her distance when she served the bowl of steaming broth that was her offering.
Published on Aug 28, 2012
by Michael Haynes
Star Wars XIII: Jar Jar's Redemption The latest entry in this shambling hulk of a franchise has the stench of decay around it. (Too soon?)
Published on Feb 23, 2015
by Kate Heartfield
It is 4:32 when Arabella's head smacks the top of the rocking chair and she wakes. She lets her facial muscles mimic a groan but risks no sound, nothing to disturb the warm weight in her arms. Gigi's face is a watercolor in pink and blue; her lashes sleep on her cheeks.
Published on Jul 3, 2015
by Chris Hobson
Dear Anna, This is the first letter I've ever written you, and it'll be my last. There's no other way of telling you what I have to say without endangering myself and my family. And anyway, I couldn't bear your look of revulsion if I told you in person.
Published on Jul 28, 2021
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Published on Apr 13, 2015
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
After a long night of vampire slaying, Helen was looking forward to some team-building with her TV. She showered and changed into her comfy home clothes, pink sweats with cute animals on them. What should she binge-watch to settle herself down and get ready to sleep the day away? Something not job-related. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Yep, that would do it. She went in the kitchen and stuck a bag of Orville Redenbacher in the microwave and hit the popcorn button. The doorbell rang.
Published on Jul 2, 2021
by Liam Hogan
"You traveling the Arkhan road?" the giant crowding my table asks as I move aside to make way for his tree-trunk thighs. As big as he is, his clothes are bigger. They hang loose everywhere except his expanse of belly; clothes made for muscles once even more impressive. This is a brute of a man, getting smaller. Getting old.
Published on May 3, 2019
by Liam Hogan
I was in a social bubble with a vampire. His name was--is--William Sadler. No European Count, he. No ancestral castle lurking in the rain-shrouded mountains of Carpathia. Wills was an Essex vampire, though he'd moved away when the neighborhood got reputable, a century and a half ago. I tried to convince him it had become dis-reputable again, but he wasn't keen to see for himself. Bad memories, apparently.
Published on Aug 31, 2021
by Eric Horwitz
The Queen has an obsession with figs. She knew that wasps laid their eggs inside of them and that the hatchlings ate their way out. This gave her the idea for how to arrange the baby's nursery, in a way that her child could grow into the kind of creature she greatly admired.
Published on Nov 9, 2017
by Marissa James
Every year the Christmas Zombie came, bringing not just the seasonal scents of pine and cinnamon, but also the aroma of fresh meat. Grrg had waited and waited; finally, fresh meat! Christmas morning was still hours away but already he imagined the warm flesh on his tongue, the juices flowing between his teeth. Last Christmas, his first in undeath, he'd had no hopes whatsoever--there was nothing in the world that he wanted except brains, and Santa Claus seemed unlikely to bring those. But the Christmas Zombie had come instead, and so he and his parents had feasted on a sweet (though leathery) little old lady.
Published on Dec 25, 2013
by Holly Jennings
A cry echoed through the cemetery. The ghoul stood in the graveyard, working mechanically, like the crankshafts on a steam train. His shovel cut through soil, digging holes and filling them. So many dead. So very many dead.
Published on Dec 31, 2012
by K.G. Jewell
Tabbitha was out of town. I turned off the light and stretched out over the entire bed. Was this a guilty pleasure? Was my loneliness supposed to quench my enjoyment of such luxurious space? I closed my eyes and dreamt of the barren vastness of Wyoming. A yank of my pinkie toe awoke me. I sat up and scanned the dark room. There, at the foot of the bed--two bloodshot yellow eyes.
Published on May 3, 2012
by Tom Jolly
The two men walked slowly through the graveyard, glancing at the five-or-ten word death-tweets carved on the stones. Roger Hartley seemed agitated as they passed more and more of the worn and overgrown headstones. They all seemed too old, few showing terminus dates later than 1900. "It's buried here, with the humans?"
Published on Feb 27, 2014
by Robert E. Keller
When I was a young boy, we used to take Dad's rusty pickup out to find the perfect tree. Dad always brought ropes because the wretch pines usually put up one heck of a fight. One time, a flailing branch ripped my cheek open so badly Mom had to stitch it up. I still bear the scar. With pride, I should add. As I grew older, Dad let me swing Fungbrom's Axe. I chopped down my first wretch pine. My arms were torn and bloody, but once the wretches are free of their roots you can wrestle them onto a truck pretty easily. Dad was so proud he gave me a sip of whiskey, and I managed to keep it down.
Published on Dec 23, 2010
by Joy Kennedy-O'Neill
Stairs. I remember what they are, but I can't get up them. I shuffle in front of the library and moan. My hunger has shrunk through the years into a fist. There's only one thing I want to eat, that I've ever wanted to eat. Well, two, and they're inside the building. My husband and the little tramp who's sleeping with him. Two women pause on the sidewalk, watching me. "They really weren't that scary when it actually happened," one says.
Published on Jan 1, 2015
by Catherine Krahe
***Editor's Warning: Disturbing, adult tale*** The beekeeper Alsah has battlemagic. When he fights, and he does so only rarely, he breaks necks.
Published on Jan 4, 2013
by Jamie Lackey
The widow Anatolia stands in front of her stovetop, her bare feet cold against the tile floor. She splashes water into a small pot without measuring, then dumps half of it down the drain. She stands over it while it comes slowly to a boil, enjoying the heat that wafts up and caresses her cheeks.
Published on Aug 29, 2018
by Mary Soon Lee
I was five years old when I met the monster under my bed. First I heard a muffled shuffling, like the noise the neighbor's dog made turning in a tight tail-chasing circle before he settled down for a nap. But we didn't have a dog. I clutched my stuffed rabbit, Sister Resistance, and told myself there was only a mouse under the bed. A friendly talking mouse, like the ones in the books Mom read to me.
Published on Jun 24, 2021
by Nathaniel Matthews Lee
Robbie killed monsters. He used a baseball bat, because they didn't give better weapons to ten-year-olds. It worked well enough. He'd cleaned out his room first, the slithering whispering things under the bed and the Chatterer in the closet. Then the attic, full of Flappers and Flutterers, and one that was more like a fog or a mist than anything solid. He'd poked holes in it with the bat, then swirled the bat around until the drifting fog-thing shrieked and funneled up through a crack in the ceiling like a tornado in reverse. The last monster he killed was in the basement, where the strongest monsters always live, down near the earth and the dirt and the rot and the dark. The monster in Robbie's basement was a fetid, swollen worm of a creature, with a mouth of flat, grinding teeth. He'd hit it right between where the eyes would have been and kept hitting until it was a pulpy mass. It had taken him three days to finish breaking it into chunks and burying it in the backyard. Robbie's backyard was peppered with mounds of dirt, some overgrown now with grass, others still fresh. His neighbor Mrs. Cotterly thought Robbie was just a spectacularly bad goldfish-taker-care-of. Robbie patrolled the backyard nightly to make sure the monsters weren't coming back.
Published on Oct 28, 2011
by Kalisa Ann Lessnau
They call mile twenty the heartbreaker for a reason. You're too far to turn back and too stubborn to stop after going so far, but it still feels like an eternity until you finish your race. Out at mile twenty it's just you, your determination, and a barren landscape filled with roving packs of hungry undead beasts that hunt you relentlessly. It would be easy for the beasts to take a slow-moving caravan; their wagons are weighed down with supplies, they're forced to travel the unprotected roads between towns, and the people who make the trip couldn't jog a single mile, much less outrun apex pursuit predators, but they always go after the solo runners. There must be some lingering instinct that compels them to chase after the one bit of prey foolish enough to break from the pack.
Published on May 11, 2020
by Marissa Lingen & Alec Austin
University of Washington Supernatural Philosophy Dept., Therianthrope Research Team field notes. Principal Investigators: Dr. Yue and Dr. Bjornson. Interview #1 - Werewolf
Published on May 29, 2012
by Marissa Lingen
One year at Midsummer there was-- Oh, I beg your pardon. There is word from my great-aunt Margit that this was not just once, but every year at Midsummer. My apologies.
Published on May 14, 2013
by Brian K Lowe
"I guess it's true then, Santos. All things come to he who waits." I sniffed and wrapped a claw-like hand around my glass and took a healthy sip. It burned going down, and I inhaled in surprise.
Published on Jul 20, 2011
by Bruce McAllister
When there's a full moon, my girlfriend gets hairy, her teeth get longer, she grows a snout, and kissing is nearly impossible. Even though her hands haven't yet become paws, she drops to all fours and jumps around the apartment--sofa to coffee table to big padded chair to kitchen counter. She has to get outside. She doesn't say this exactly--her throat and tongue have changed and the words are garbled--but it's pretty clear. She runs at the front door, hits it at full speed, and, shaking her head to clear it, turns and races toward the sliding glass door onto the porch (which is three floors up). If she could talk, I know she'd say, "Why couldn’t you have rented a unit on the first floor?" and "You knew it would be like this. I told you!"
Published on Aug 16, 2021
by Sandra McDonald
My mother was the most beautiful werewolf in Brighton Beach. Four legs, sleek silver fur, and rows of well-brushed teeth that could rip your throat out. My father was a Russian immigrant who started a janitorial company that at one time serviced every public school and city building on Coney Island. As their only kid, I inherited the worst of both worlds: my mothers were-curse and my fathers ruthless passion for cleanliness. Every month I transform into a magical creature who slinks along the city streets carrying a bucket and a mop. Yes. Im a were-maid.
Published on Oct 29, 2010
by Dafydd McKimm
"Why is your skirt wet?" The question never comes, though I often expect it.
Published on Jun 21, 2016
by Dafydd McKimm
At dawn on the first day of spring, I wake to the clamor of the gentlemen leaving the city on their horses, the morning sun glinting on the bright barbs of their hunting spears and the iron talons of their giant hawks. It is late afternoon by the time their triumphant bugles signal their return from the Waste. I open my workshop and prepare my tools--my scalpels, scissors, sewing palm, and stuffer. I will have a special commission this evening. Tomorrow, there will be a grand banquet to celebrate the slaying of a beast of the Waste and the lord who slew it. And, as has become the mode since the invention of the photographic technique, the lady of that manor will have her portrait taken with the creature before it's placed in an oak-paneled gallery to gather dust. To make the dead and eviscerated thing look alive again--that is my task, my craft. Some ladies like the beasts posed as loyal pets, the long, muscular bodies curling about their middles in a protective gesture. Others want them draped like babes so they may cradle the great horned heads in their doting arms. The beasts of the Waste are fierce creatures, with teeth the size of carving knives and clusters of spines as long and sharp as knitting needles bursting from their thick pelts, but the portraits always render them faintly ridiculous. A knock on the door of my workshop signals my commission has arrived. The messenger wears the livery of Lord Montgomery, and the instructions tell me that it is his youngest daughter, Clementia, not his wife who will be posing with the beast. She has requested the beast's horns be garlanded with flowers; it must be smiling, with its teeth pulled back from the gums and glossy with saliva; its lips must be red as a summer rose. She wants it to appear as her plaything--a grotesque teddy bear dolled up in bows and ribbons. If I had a moment to think, the request might turn my stomach. But I must get to work immediately if I'm to deliver the beast in time. I examine the damage carefully. This beast is a female. Blood cakes the coarse fur where the barbed spear found its mark and ragged gouges gape on her back where the iron talons took hold. A noble sport, the gentlemen call it. I am not wealthy or powerful enough to disagree, but I take a moment to place my hand on the beast's side, to honor the last of her warmth with a respectful touch. Beneath the fur, I feel something. A heartbeat. A tiny, faint pulse of life. With my sharpest scalpel, I make an incision in the abdomen, thrust my hands into the wound and pull out a pup. So close to being born. No wonder her wounds were so numerous. She must have fought fiercely, madly, to protect it, to the very end. I know what's expected of me. I should continue my work, throw the pup into the fire, but something in its blind whining gives me pause. It strikes me that I have only ever seen these beasts as corpses. This is the first time I have ever held one alive. My breath catches--rather than make something wretched and lifeless appear living, I could instead bring this tenuous life back from the brink of death. Failure to complete my charge will invoke intense displeasure from His Lordship and most likely be my ruin, but, to my surprise, the thought barely afflicts me. I rush to the linen closet for some blankets and set water to boil in the copper. I rummage through the pantry and find some thick cream I'm sure will nourish the poor thing. I return to the workshop ready to attend to my new task, but the pup's whines have stopped. I put down the blanket and the cream and rest my hand on its tiny body, feel its terrible stillness. Gently, I place it back inside its mother. To rob her of it now seems unthinkable. I sit for a long time. Until the candle gutters. Then I light another and resume my work. When I deliver the creature the next morning, the lords and ladies will applaud my craft, and Clementia will grin and giggle at just how well I have executed her instructions--no one will notice the difference, so subtle is it, between this beast and the others I have prepared in the past. But years from now, when she is grown, with her own circle of friends each as young and powerful and bold as she--when they look at her portrait, which she shows them passingly with mock embarrassment, they will not see the wild red eyes of a beast of the Waste, but the sad, desolate gaze of a mother who has lost her child. And perhaps that will be enough to spark something deep within them, to make them declare with clear voice and fervent conviction: No more of this. No more.
Published on Oct 18, 2021
by Amy McLane
***Editor's Warning: Disturbing, Adult Tale*** Nobody can do what I do. That's why they come to me. And I do what I do because I got to eat like everyone else. But I hate seeing one like her walking in here.
Published on Feb 26, 2013
by Garry McNulty
The hairy creature under Kevin's bed did not consider himself to be impatient. He knew how to lie in wait as well as the next monster. But, he grumbled to himself, this kid would not go to sleep! It was after ten o'clock, for crying out loud! The dust balls under Kevin's bed only added to the monster's aggravation. They were getting all over his hairy coat, and he was afraid he might sneeze. The monster despised a dirty bedroom floor and felt it showed a real lack of consideration for all under-the-bed creatures. Don't these people own a dust mop?
Published on Aug 3, 2021
by Melissa Mead
Published on Aug 26, 2011
by Melissa Mead
The Wardens claim it doesn't matter what Moonskin you wear, or which phase you're born under. They lie. A Full-phase Lion is respected even in their human skin. A descendant of the founding Lupines can eat someone's pet poodle while in wolfskin, and the Wardens will swear that a wild dog must've done it. They'd shoot anybody else. The Wardens claim to protect us from the Null world beyond our borders, where no one has a moonskin, everyone stays in human form from birth to death, and the Nulls can't tell the difference between an animal and a person in their 'skin. They start horror stories, like the one about the girl who crossed the border in rabbit 'skin and was trapped and stewed.
Published on Jan 4, 2019
by Lynette Mejia
***Editor's Note: Adult story, includes reference to domestic violence*** When you came back, they said it was a miracle. Dead three days like Jesus in the tomb, like Lazarus you rose and walked again among the living. Where you had been and what you had seen, that was between you and God, but it didn't stop the preacher from asking. I watched him look into your cold eyes, hard as blue marbles, and I saw what he saw: wherever you had been, it wasn't anything to share. The afterlife is best left to the imagination, I guess.
Published on Jul 14, 2021
by Wendy Nikel
People Face Trade-offs I face the PizzaPlace manager, Bennigan, who's pointing his instrument at my head. He pulls the trigger. It beeps.
Published on Mar 31, 2021
by Bridget Norquist
Dear Prudence, There's something going on with my daughter. I've found her bed empty and her window wide open every morning for the past few weeks. At first I thought she was just over at her boyfriend's, but then he asked me if I thought she might be "going through something." Well, obviously she is! My husband thinks it's drugs, but you should see the way this girl eats. The other night she stole my corned beef right off my plate and tore into it like a crocodile in a duck pond. And she's vegetarian! Or was. Now she has double portions, all meat--you should see my grocery bill! I don't know if it's the change in her diet, or what, but her hair used to be thin like mine and now it's super thick, as full as our Golden Retriever's but softer than alpaca. She also has a new obsession with nature videos and wild animals. Yesterday, she wallpapered her room with pictures torn out of old National Geographic magazines and Sierra Club calendars. You should see it, it's so eerie. All these animal eyes, staring at you from every direction. They look so... hungry.
Published on Feb 28, 2017
by Chris Ovenden
"I don't know that I'm comfortable with the whole zombie thing, you know." Sara laughs. "What, you scared they're going to eat you?" She's too busy counting out the exact change for her coffee to look at me.
Published on Sep 1, 2015
by Siri Paulson
Have you ever heard of an aquatic shapeshifter? Traditionally, we have preyed on divers, waiting in the guise of a clownfish or a piece of coral reef until they and their black clicking boxes come too close. Have you wondered how sharks can appear at swimming beaches out of nowhere, or why experienced divers sometimes fail to surface? Our talents go beyond shifting from one finned creature to another. We are the sudden riptide that draws you under and never lets you go, the rogue wave that sweeps you off the seawall or flips your boat. We follow lone yachters bent on circumnavigation, unwisely testing their will against the sea. We know why the Mary Celeste was empty and how Amelia Earhart screamed when she died. The monster shark you have only dreamed of, the creature of the deeps that will not come near the bathyscaphe's light--those were us.
Published on May 29, 2020
by Shannon Peavey
Published on Oct 10, 2014
by M. J. Pettit
July 12, 1865 Dear Mister Barnum,
Published on Jul 28, 2017
by Greg Porter
The cavern reeked of brimstone, blood and magic. Artor the Sorcerer, stained with ichor and blood mostly not his own, limped past the sinuous corpse of the treasure's jealous guardian to claim his prize. Gold coins up to his ankles were just an impediment to walking, piles of jewels merely glittering distractions, neither of them more than trinkets to a master of the arcane arts. But there, in the back of the cavern, there was the true treasure. As Artor approached, he sensed something wrong. Hesitating, he peered closer. Not magic, not threat, not traps, but... disarray. There, Grimwold's Gruesome Grimoire, bereft of pages, nothing left but a spine and empty bindings. The Beastly Book of Brell, thought indestructible, was apparently only nigh-so. Terach's Terrible Tome was recognizable only by scattered page fragments that nipped at his heels, barely worth the thought it took to immolate them. Scores if not hundreds of lesser volumes, tattered. An empire's ransom of irreplaceable lore, gone. Ruined, all of them.
Published on Apr 19, 2012
by Cat Rambo
Published on Nov 6, 2013
by Bonnie J Redding
Red: the hey-look-at-me color. Red is squirmy, breath-catching, unavoidable. It's the color of the roses the short-term boyfriends brought me. Not red: the blue tattered sailors by the side of the road that my husband loved to pick for me.
Published on Nov 6, 2014
by Jenn Reese
If you are brave enough to invite a dragon to tea, be warned: she might say yes. And now, instead of slicing cucumbers and cutting the crusts off bread, I'm roasting three sheep in an open pit and steeping nuggets of pure gold with the tea.
Published on Aug 6, 2020
by Luc Reid
Turning away my sister feels like stomping barefoot on a nail. When I was nineteen and the car she warned me about gave out near Denver, Alice drove out to get me and never said I told you. Alice was the one who hijacked me from my own bachelor party and made me promise not to marry the girl who later got arrested for throwing a brick at a two-year-old. Alice is the one who always looked out for me, but I can't return the favor. I can't. It's too much to ask.
Published on Apr 26, 2012
by Luc Reid
Dear Tim, Thank you for your application and for coming to interview with us this past Thursday midnight. While we appreciated your enthusiastic interest in vampirism, we regret that we cannot offer you an immortal existence as a cursed undead being at this time.
Published on Jun 29, 2016
by Luc Reid
* They have user names like Vlad1428 and IWontKillYouAndDrinkYourBloodNoSeriously
* Their Netflix binge-watching always stops at around 5 AM
Published on Jul 20, 2017
by Jen Rewell
I remember when they first appeared, they were horribly mistreated. Zombies had a bad reputation before they even existed, and it took a while for people to come to grips with the difference between the myth and the reality. See, too many people thought there'd be this fierce battle against the undead. That's why they got wiped out so quickly when they first started being Reborn--there was just this expectation of violence. But enough of them survived--s that even the right word? I'm still getting the hang of the PC lingo--so when the second wave started, more people stood up for what was right.
Published on Oct 30, 2017
by Rachel Rodman
1. "Brains!" he began--a low moan. "Brains!" "My name is Brianna," I corrected him.
Published on Jul 9, 2020
by Chuck Rothman
Rose knew the signs of death better than most. The second she stepped in the hospice room, she knew it was not far off. The man on the bed was pale and thin, his skin like tissue paper, his hair a few wispy strands that made him look like an ogre. There was a well-worn bible on the bedstand next to him.
Published on May 2, 2011
by Peter A Schaefer
He climbed into bed and turned out the lights, then said, "Darkness becomes you." "That's either really rude, or terribly metaphorical."
Published on Apr 30, 2014
by K.C. Shaw
Friedrich drew his knife over the block of chocolate. A thin strip formed behind the blade, curling like a dark rosebud. Perfect. He set the curl in the middle of the parfait glass, on top of the custard. It was beautiful but too studied, even with the ruby juice pooling around the edges. Friedrich opened a drawer and found the nutmeg grater.
Published on Sep 25, 2012
by Alex Shvartsman
It isn't easy being green, scaly, or abominable these days. Humanity turned the tables on the apex predators of the food chain, and has been exterminating us with extreme prejudice. We're still faster and stronger than they are, but we're prone to defeat by bad judgment. Heed the lessons of our vanquished brethren; learn from their mistakes and remain successful, extant, and satiated.
Published on Dec 22, 2014
by Indigo Smithson
"Mommy!" The bedroom door opens.
Published on May 21, 2020
by Eric James Stone
I finally pulled myself all the way through the apartment wall to find Dee had finished dressing in her Scarlett O'Hara dress. I always thought she was gorgeous even with her hair a mess and wearing that tatty robe Grandma Kinneson gave her, so seeing Dee dressed up like that would've taken my breath away, if I breathed anymore. Unfortunately, she wasn't dressed like that for me: it was for Raymond. He was Rhett to her Scarlett. But look how that turned out.
Published on Jan 6, 2011
by Patrick Sullivan
Amy finds a white suit in a jumble shop for her husband, Sam, principal of the local elementary.
Published on Jan 18, 2018
by Susan Taitel
1. You are not Closet Monster's first victim. Closet Monster has terrorized scores of other children before you. And will frighten many more after you. You are not special; Closet Monster will scare you too.
Published on Sep 10, 2020
by Leah Thomas
"Wait," Mother scolded. "We need to wind the bobbin first." Erin sat back from the sewing machine and crossed her arms over the seeping hole in her stomach. "Can't you do it for me?"
Published on Sep 10, 2012
by Lavie Tidhar
Published on Jul 23, 2012
by Lavie Tidhar
Published on Jul 24, 2012
by Lavie Tidhar
Published on Jul 25, 2012
by Lavie Tidhar
Published on Jul 26, 2012
by Lavie Tidhar
Published on Jul 27, 2012
by Lavie Tidhar
Susan don't like zombie. Susan don't like dead things. Susan likes sunlight and laughter and cream teas. She never asked for the job, she never wanted it. It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it.
Published on Jun 17, 2011
by Lavie Tidhar
"Ol Man Amerika oli gat sam problem naoia," Verity said. Brett said, "What do you mean the Americans are having problems now?"
Published on Aug 24, 2011
by Alisha Tyson
Once upon a time, when you were a little girl, your favorite monster was an ankle-grabber who lived beneath your bed. You met one night when your mother was too tired to escort you to your room. With a child's stumble you stepped toward the threshold before the darkness beneath your mattress. It is there that covers breathe. And you said to a sticky black hand by your toes, "Ha! I can see you, silly." The Ankle-Grabbing Monster revealed himself, so angry with you for messing up his act that he lectured you on unladylike behavior. He was a small monster with dark skin and an unkind spine that kept him perpetually bent and Sad.
Published on Sep 30, 2014
by Garth Upshaw
Zombies are stupid. Dumb as a box of rocks. Draw a line in the dirt and they'll go all glassy-eyed and follow it, shuffling along about two miles a day. "Gah, gah, gah." Mom says, Don't Make Fun. Says, It's Not Nice. Says, It Could happen to Anyone.
Published on Jan 17, 2012
by James Van Pelt
They came for me on a Monday morning when I was too exhausted to hear the backdoor caving in. Only when their hands were on me did I realize that all was lost, but the dead didn't consume me. They dragged me out of the house, shambled the three blocks to the school, holding me tight in their rotted hands, shuffling in that loose-limbed, broken way that they had, until they'd pulled me up the stairs, through the front doors with their glass knocked out, down the hall strewn with books and abandoned backpacks, until we came to my room. Here, too, windows were broken, and the Venetian blinds hung askew. Morning sun slanted through the uneven slats. They pushed me toward my podium. I clung to the top, sick with fear. When would they kill me? Would I become like them?
Published on Oct 31, 2011
by Marcus Vance
I left the bar when the sun started to dip under the horizon. The humidity hit me like a jealous lover, and threatened strangulation. My black oxfords clicked on the cobblestone roads of the French Quarter while warm beer moved my feet. I wandered like the wide Mississippi.
Published on Oct 10, 2019
by Sean Vivier
***Editor's Note: Adult language and situation. Be advised.*** "I'm sorry, sir, but you can't come inside."
Published on Feb 2, 2015
by Pam L. Wallace
After seven days and seven nights of fasting on a lonely moor, hunt during the dark of the moon in a secluded glade. Trapping a unicorn is an onerous and grueling task. It will lead you a merry chase; you must be motivated past weariness and self-defeat. Bring an image of your daughter to mind, when she was yet rosy-cheeked and full of giggles and verve. Do not be distracted by its dignified beauty. Harden your heart to the enormity of your crime. Do not consider whether it is the last of its kind. Pierce its eye with a silver javelin. Plug your ears so its scream will not shred your heart more than it already is. Ignore your soul.
Published on Aug 30, 2016
by Suvi Tausend
They bonded over zombies, while at a writers' convention. Perched on a settee near the hotel bar, she claimed legends of the undead spawned from historical fact, an ancient disease. He thought zombies would arise from hubris, like in a Stephen King novel. She was a biologist and amateur archaeologist, though, and he was a gentleman. He pretended to defer to her wisdom. But not until long after midnight, when everyone else had drifted off to bed. Are you wondering if they have names, he and she? Perhaps you want to confirm this story isn't about you or someone you know. Allow me the veil of anonymity. Names aren't important here. This isn't a love story.
Published on May 18, 2018
by Filip Wiltgren
The bravest thing my dad ever did for me was wave to me from the kitchen window. As a child, I didn't realize the courage it took for that heavy brown curtain to be pulled back, for that pale hand to wave even though the sun was already in the sky. If anything, I was annoyed by the flashes of fire when a stray ray of sunlight burrowed into my father's skin. Once, a car passed in the street, its flat windows reflecting the rising sun into our kitchen. There was a burst of light from our house that day and when I came home there smoke stains on the ceiling. Dad had tried to scrub them away with his red and blistered hands, but they hung there like a shameful reminder of how strange we were. It got worse when I became a teenager. Everything dad did was wrong. Mostly, I feared meeting my father when he was with his neighborhood watch buddies, feared my friends' snickers as they laughed at his orange day-glow vest and the seriousness on his pale face as he walked the empty street at the tail end of a group of senior citizens feeling brave by scaring away cats, dogs, and pranksters. I'd scream at him, cursing him for a blood-sucker, telling him to get the hell out of my life. Saying that I hated him, that he didn't understand what it was like to be alive. And then I'd slam the door to my bedroom ignoring the red trails of his tears as they flowed down his cheeks. Maybe it is the way with humans, that we do not appreciate what we have until we lose it. I know that I felt only relief when I finally moved away from home to study comparative religion at college. In the beginning, dad would call every night, asking about my classes, my professors, wanting to know if the food in the cafeteria was good, or if I'd found some boy or a girl that I liked. I'd give curt answers, then turn off the phone, glancing around furtively to see if anyone had heard. Still, I couldn't cut my bonds to him entirely. He was my father, the man who had raised me. I would come home for holidays and summer vacations, holding down summer jobs in the grocery store or the nursing home down the street. Ironically enough, I'd only get the graveyard shift, spending my nights calming the elderly who had lost their minds and their memories and were only alive because they were feared to die. Dad would wait for me those nights, to talk me through the difficult times when someone had yelled at me, or died on my shift. It helped, I think. We'd spend the mornings chatting over a cup of coffee and milk, about the frailty of life, about the willingness to survive at all costs and about what might come after. And I grew to appreciate him, to appreciate those heavy brown curtains moving as he would wait up for me past sunrise to so he could look for me and give me a hug after I shut the door. And we would talk a bit before we each went to our separate rest. I was coming home one day, my ears plugged by my headphones, oblivious to the world around me, and the car heading down the street. It's flat windows catching the sunlight, blinding the driver. Dad was waiting for me at the kitchen window, peeking past those heavy brown curtains. I didn't know he was there, didn't see the car until dad suddenly burst through the kitchen door, already on fire, the sunlight turning him into a magnesium flare that knocked me aside, inches from the car's fender. We landed in a heap, and by the time I fully realized what was happening, there was nothing left of him but a blackened skeleton, and the only thing truly his own were the fangs that slowly turned to dust in my arms. And sometimes, I wonder whether he knew that I'd come to appreciate his courage as a parent, and I look at the dark smudge left on the ceiling that I refuse to paint over, and I think that maybe he did.
Published on Sep 8, 2021
by Rodney Witherspoon
All five candles lining the pentagram went out at once as a sulfurous odor filled the room. A tall, cloaked figure slunk out from a corner where it hadn't previously been. "Well," said the demon, "you've got me. What do you want?"
Published on Oct 29, 2020
by Alan Wor
Pac draws the short stick. Pac goes out into the sideways ice. In a snowstorm, you lose your sense of direction. In an ice storm, you lose your sense of gravity. Everything is a razor rainbow about to shred your eyes or your tongue when you open your mouth to speak. Swirls of chewed diamond choke the air. Uneven shards of flying ice. We're out of masks. We're out of rope. Lost it in the last failure of an expedition to the main camp. 300 blind meters west. Compasses we have, but that's a false hope in the shifting world of ice. We're in a prep shed. Personal and equipment lockers, showers, and a tiny office with a broken radio. The whole place smells like old sweat and weak, Army surplus deodorant. The tunnel to main is gone, collapsed under the blast of ten sticks of industrial dynamite. I was proud of that one. I controlled the blast so it collapsed the tunnel and shot the excess force into main, with the crazies. Bloody mouthed and screaming God, a language none us can understand. Anyway, the tunnel's gone, and we keep the door closed cause it makes the place stink like sulfur otherwise, so someone has to walk it. Chase puts everything we've got into two piles on the floor. Extra parkas. Sleeping bags. First aid kits. Bottles of iodine. A hundred and one useless things. Photos of home and adventure journals and letters with faded ink and pay stubs and cash and everybody's ID cards. Smiling faces with names that are no longer familiar to me. Jason Fields. Mary Berch. Smile, click. Next.
Published on Dec 4, 2015
by Ed Wyrd
Doctor Victor Von Frankenstein entered his laboratory and froze. The lab was silent. The copper discharge spheres weren't sparking and the Jacob's Ladder was silent. The row of four glass tubes no longer bubbled. But what really caught his attention was the empty lab table. It still sat at its 45-degree angle, but the heavy duty leather straps were snapped and the monster gone. Was it terrorizing the villagers again? That's the last thing Victor needed. It had taken years to fix his reputation and get back his good name. A dim light flickered from his office. Quietly he entered. The monster was hunched over the doctor's desk.
Published on Mar 31, 2011
by Caroline M Yoachim
War came to my village uninvited. Demons who thought they were gods dropped a monster in our midst. The monster was Ao, a giant sloth of a beast with skin the color of carrots and eyes like rusted metal. My village chose me to lead the fight, though I was a farmer, not a warrior. There was no other choice. All of us were farmers. The road that wound among our homes was empty, and sunset painted the sky the color of mangoes and coral. Our fields, once green with tea and rice, were dead and dry, the entire countryside destroyed by Ao's wrath. In the window of my son's home, my granddaughter watched, her tiny three-fingered hands clinging to the sill. My son marched beside me. Born before the monster came, he held his axe with perfectly formed five-fingered hands. Time in our village was so clearly divided--there was life before Ao came, and life afterwards. Life, and death. We twenty who remained fought out of desperation.
Published on May 23, 2011