‘E’ Wing – Martin Gosling
2600 words Horror / General / Fantasy
Brogan is beginning a six year sentence for the manslaughter of a prison officer. He is unrepentant and is temporarily lodged in the derelict former execution wing of the prison where he is held. A battle of wills and wits ensues. He suspects that he is being subjected to an elaborate treatment programme designed to shock him into remorse and rehabilitation. But all is not as it seems.
‘Killing Senior Officer Stewart was murder, plain and simple. And we both know, Brogan, that you should have been given Life.’ Brogan glared his defiance at the Governor and sensed the unease of the younger of the two prison officers who had brought him from his cell. He almost spat his reply. ‘The point is that they chose to call it Manslaughter and six years is what I got.’
13 Superstition Drive – Peter Lingard
3000 words Fantasy / Horror
A long empty, seemingly benign house wants to again enjoy days of caring, warmth and happiness.
I’d had enough. My life was crumbling around me. At my peak, I was worth something in excess of a million dollars. That was before ‘the incident’; the incident that ruined my existence. The murders took place in 1946. Sam Clarkson came home from the war and found his wife living with Simon Christie, a man who had evaded war service and made a fortune dealing in rubber and petrol. Sam strangled Christie, caught his fleeing wife, strangled her and then committed suicide. I was an orphan from that moment. No one has cared for me since that day.
Algol Rising – Tia Reed
7500 words Horror / Fantasy
Jake Granit is taking a leave of absence to look after his orphaned niece. It’s more challenge than he needs while suffering from PTSD. So protecting his loved ones from marauding ghouls just might tip him over the edge.
Jake eased the battered Ford onto the overgrown verge, turned the key halfway and looked at Emily. She had her knees tucked into her black dress, the heels of her shiny black shoes on the worn, chip-stained seat. She was staring straight ahead at the wrought iron gates, not crying any more though the tear tracks down her baby cheeks rivalled tank tracks. “Emily, we’re here.” Her lip quivered as the radio news wrapped up the diamond robbery story to drone on about some inconsequential house fire which had left everyone halfway to all right in that family. She made no effort to unbuckle the seatbelt. Jake grasped his dog tags but they were fresh out of Dutch courage.
Be Practical – Damian Perry
Gary is a very practical man. A major annoyance in his life is that his wife, Louella, isn’t as level-headed.
Oh, and all of the damned zombies, of course!
Gary heard the low, mournful moan as he stepped out onto the porch. In the middle of his front yard, dampened by the early morning dew, lurched a lively corpse. Its flesh was loose and pale; its arms outstretched. It caught sight of him and, with an excited murmur, staggered towards its prey. “Louella!” Gary called over his shoulder. There was no answer. Where was the silly woman? Gary sighed and deftly do-si-do’d the zombie, trotting up to the mailbox to collect the mail.
Blood Agent – Martin Gale
720 word Horror Story
Making a Biological weapon is incredibly difficult. Making a Chemical weapon is easy…
Two people caught up in a Terrorist attack on a Shopping Mall
“Run”, he said. “Hold your breath and run for the car.” Pat looked at Terry in horror. They were in the Mall shopping. It was crowded because of the impending holiday, but they had been able to work their way from one end to the other, browsing, without too much trouble.
Bloody Fools – Prospero Pulma, Jr
An apartment becomes the battleground for Daryl’s obsession with zombies and Cindy’s light regard for his preoccupation with the living dead.
Toxocariasis: The Horseman of the Zombie Apocalypse. Daryl read the title and the red F occupying half the title page before tossing his biology paper into the dumpster. As soon as he flung the paper, he pulled out retractable knives from his pockets and swirled around, feet spread for balance, arms ready to bury the knives into a zombie’s skull. He had not watched a zombie attack someone by a dumpster before, but he could be the first.
Come Tomorrow – Martin Gale
1280 words Horror / Fantasy
Nuclear Terrorism – The Creme de la Creme of suicide bombings
Have you ever been frightened? I don’t mean nervous I mean that cold, empty dread that you feel when they tell you that you might have cancer. Wendy is being sick again but, so far, I feel normal. I have done my best to make the cottage airtight by using anything that comes to hand to seal the windows and doors. We are in what is known technically, I believe, as a Hot Zone.
Dry Wells – Perry McDaid
2000 words Horror
Two old friends – a writer and an Irish policeman/farmer are having a quiet weekend to de-stress after a rotten year. The TV shows that the former’s work has been plagiarised. The shared outrage is such that suddenly all the misery of the last year hits them. Enough is enough. Revenge brews.
The ‘Arts & Farts’ weekend was a title insisted on by Phil, which stuck because it was invariably held at his farm, a shrinking retreat in the hills of Ballyargus inland of Drung chapel, besieged by 21st century forces of property development. We’d settle down like proper critics to a selection of films by local and county talent and beers from ‘Special Offers’ shelves, to mull over their quality before exchanging views, compliments, good-humoured slagging, and serious advice on our own exploits. These sporadic meets had been founded on impassioned discussions over Leon Uris’s Trinity during their college years. It was on one of these pleasurable weekends that the fury struck.
Entropy – G. Lloyd Helm
6500 words Horror Story
The story is about a powerful, and less than scrupulous magician who lives in Zurich Switzerland about the turn of the 16th century. His name is Paracelsus. In this story the Patriarch of House Voluva, a family of metal crafters, wants Paracelsus to send him back in time to correct an error which has left House Voluva without an heir. Paracelsus tells him that the deed is dangerous and very expensive. Voluva decides that the deed is worth the risk and the money. There is some gore in the story because it concerns blood magic which is explained in the short prologue, but the gore is handled clinically rather than having the blood splashed around like paint.
“Paracelsus, I have heard rumors that you are able to control time.” The man sitting before me, Herr Dietrich Voluva, was completely covered with an expensive cloak and hood. No part of his body showed. Even his hands were covered with fine silk gloves. He sat hunched and his voice crackled like that of an old man, but I knew he was not elderly. “Under certain conditions, I have some control of time,” I said. “But it is very difficult—and very expensive.” “Expense is not a worry. I have plenty of wealth. What I do not have is an heir to carry the name Voluva down the ages.”
Fair-Haired Boy – Deborah Sheldon
2200 words Ghost / Horror Story
A boy discovers the truth about his relationship with his disturbed mother.
William tickled the downy clutch of fur under the tabby’s chin. Charlie was so soft, maybe softer than Bunny, and if he could only locate Bunny, he’d compare the two. He decided to look again in his room because surely his favourite toy must be packed somewhere inside one of those boxes. He rolled onto his back, drowsing in the autumn sunshine, and Charlie curled herself against him. Then she stiffened and screamed. William lurched to his knees, yelling, “Charlie! Charlie!” but she was already streaking to the cluster of birch trees at the end of the yard, and on her heels was the bull terrier from over the road.
For the Greater Good – Dorothy Davies
1300 words Horror / Historical
Burke and Hare were not the only bodysnatchers working – the London gangs were very busy. Ben Crouch and his associates supplied endless bodies to Barts …
‘Shut the damn door, Crouch!’ ‘What’s up, Joseph? Too cold for you? Get too hot in here and the stiffs’ll start to rot. That what you want?’ ‘ No, just some heat for them as are drinking, is all.’ Ben Crouch studied the belligerent face of the landlord, wondering what the problem was this night. He’d had his share of the advance paid out by the surgeons to get the bodysnatching season underway, what else did he want?
Griselda Gosh – Deborah Sheldon
1600 word Horror Story
A young girl’s fear of a ventriloquist doll has unexpected consequences.
Little Daughter was five years old and didn’t know about ventriloquist dolls so the thing sitting on the man’s knee appeared to be a deformed child. Its limbs hung slack and its mouth, frozen into a toothy grin, clacked open and shut like a beak. Little Daughter groped blindly for Mother, but Mother was sitting between her two children and was already holding hands with Big Daughter, and her free hand wouldn’t let go of her purse. Little Daughter hunched down in the seat. Mother leaned over and whispered, ‘You watch every second, these tickets cost money. Now sit up straight.’
Guilty – Sydney Drinkwater
1900 words Horror
GUILTY tells the story of two sisters who both look at the same tragic situation differently. While one sister attempts to save her sister through conventional means, the other takes spiritual matters into her own hands.
“I’ve been looking for you everywhere. I called the cops, Jillian. They’re coming to–” Jillian Andrews stands on the edge. Wind whips through her short blond hair as she gazes at the city street below. In the city a four story building is not that tall, but it is a long way to fall. “Get your ass down here. I have been up and down this building.” Samantha Andrews freezes, mid-step as she comprehends exactly where her sister is standing. “What are you doing?” “Hi, Sam.”
He Thinks He Smells Fox – Anthony Farmer
2200 word Horror Story
A dark tale about a young boy who grows up believing he’s a panther.
For the second day running the Bridgewater Bugle newspaper runs another story about a big cat on the loose. Farmers report sightings of a panther-like predator and provide further graphic evidence of lambs viciously mauled. Livelihoods must be protected; some are calling for the army to be sent in to hunt down and finally destroy the beast. The front door clicks shut and a ghostly figure slides away from the house. Street lamps cast pools of light at intervals along the eerily deserted road; the air is still and cooling. A dark form makes its way towards open ground pitched into deeper darkness by the contrast with light spilled from the street lamps.
I will Wait for You – Dorothy Davies
1900 words Horror story
The City of London sleeps at night – or does it? Who are the homeless who haunt the doorways and sheltered corners? Karl, fresh from a dispute with his fiancée, is about to find out.
Most cities never sleep, but this one does. This one closes down at night, leaving the rats and strays to haunt the narrow alleyways, the wide affluent streets, the banks of the great never sleeping river Thames. The vagrants shuffle into marked chosen doorways with their newspaper blankets and cardboard walls, which they zealously and jealously guard, newspapers, cardboard and doorways, that is, to settle down for the night, so much litter swept to one side, so much misery wrapped in paper and tied with string.
Irma – Prospero Pulma Jr.
1130 words Horror Story
A woman’s despair blinds her to a wealthy and mysterious man’s real nature.
Back to Moo’s Diner. Back to burns from spilled coffee and the smell of fries and burgers on her skin. Back to her apartment by the railroad. Irma kicked her suitcase at the thought and stared out the window. A woman was standing on the platform, warm in her mink coat and warmer from a man’s arms locked around her hips. While the shadows merging and breaking as people and objects moved on the platform were black, the couple’s shadows were gray. “Attention!” The PA system squawked. “The Cove City train will leave in 10 minutes. Attention! The Cove City train will leave in 10 minutes.”
Last Christmas – Henry Mitchell
Newt’s neighbors in Balsam Cove said he was a hermit. Some of them said he wasn’t quite human. One very old woman said he was a ministering angel. If the government man had an opinion, he kept it to himself.
Included in the collection Dark on the Mountain
Rain blew in around him as Newt Christmas came through his door. Three straight days of downpour had washed his yard smooth, erasing any track of his recent unwelcome visitor. Newt didn’t encourage visitors. Not that he discouraged them exactly, but he frankly preferred his own company to any else he knew. Newt closed the door with his back, dropped his slicker over his only chair, rummaged in his wood box for some splints to stoke his old iron cookstove.
Last Touch – Michelle Heatley
1900 words Crime / Horror / General fiction
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but when a woman undertakes a journey of revenge it is a dish served as cold as the grave.
Hold my hand. Skin touches skin. Your neatly polished manicured nails humiliate and shame my chipped pink varnish like broken gravestones. Nerves got the better of me. I use your hand, fingers and palm, to explore and caress every part of me. I haven’t examined it as closely before – perhaps if I had it might be different between us. ‘Shush my darling not a word.’ See the bird watchers dripping with oversized cameras and dressed in khaki and grey plumage. Drop hands. Pretend we are not holding each other.
Laura – Denise Jay
1800 words Ghost / Horror Story
It’s 1892. Séances are all the rage. An impoverished mother and daughter prepare to put on yet another table-rapping show to supplement their meagre income. But this time they conjure up a real spirit and with tragic consequences.
Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’
Laura first came to us at one of Mama’s soirées. That sitting in 1892 started like any other, but it is forever locked in my memory. It was the first time a spirit graced us with its presence and the last séance Mama presided over, for before the end of the following summer she would be dead, and not from any natural cause. There were only four at table that evening, the cold January weather having kept many of our regulars at home before their fires. I was not in the circle myself, but I did have an important job to do, nevertheless. In the absence of a real spirit, I played the role.
Life Changes – Dorothy Davies
1300 words Horror Story
What happens when a werewolf and a vampire fall in love? Sometimes the changes which come too soon can be disastrous…
The parking meter said there was still one hour of parking time left. The shame was the driver had gone, taking their ticket with them. One hour wasted. But the parking space was available, can’t have everything in this life. Slide the car into the slot, pay for a ticket, drop it on the dash for the ever intrusive traffic wardens to see, lock the door and go. To what? Why had he asked for the meeting? And in such a public place?
Losing Control – V. A. Warner
5250 words Fantasy / Horror
Adria has a secret. It’s something she’s disgusted with and would do anything to stop her fellow Vampire Hunters from finding out. But slowly, she starts to lose control of herself and dreads to thinks what she could do.
It hadn’t taken Adria nearly as long as she’d expected to find this one. There had been no effort to cover its tracks, so all she had to do was follow the trace that the vampire had left in its wake. Two hours after she’d started, she was standing outside the abandoned bungalow that it had taken refuge in. She circled the old building with only the light of the moon to guide her. She didn’t have to worry about the public. She was in the middle of a field with the glow of the town only visible on the distant horizon.
Oh Lucky Day – Martin Gale
1400 words Fantasy Horror Story
This is a post-apocalyptic story based on the Chem Trails conspiracy theory. One of the few survivors searches a derelict supermarket for food.
“The road to Hell” they used to say – when there were still more people alive to say it – “is paved with good intent”. Whatever the aim was it must have seemed like such a good idea at the time. I sat under a tree in the corner of the car park, watching and waiting. I thought I had seen someone shadowing me. It was just a feeling, a flicker in the corner of my eye. It was days since I had seen anyone, even at a distance. In these days of dwindling food supplies, people, the few people who were left, tended to hoard what they had and avoid contact with anyone who might steal from them – killing them in the process if necessary.
Preferably Rare – Perry McDaid
540 words Horror
The tour guide to Grianan was prattling on about legendary monsters. Some listened, some half-listened and eyed up the opposite sex. One was just ravenously hungry and needed to get home to feed the family.
The tour-guide was prattling on about some demon which prowled the area in and around the old fort, milking each coincidental disappearance for all it was worth. Marta had heard all these stories before and did not believe a word of them.
Snow dancer – Dorothy Davies
1100 words Horror
‘I will be back’ she told him, but he killed her, and now he waits, endlessly staring out at the falling snow, wondering where she is…
Snowflakes dance, don’t they, as they spiral down from the thick rich darkness of the clouds, pirouetting and sashaying and even tango-ing with the others as they fall. Blown here and there by the thermals, they create a magical image before sliding into the white death that is their fate, stacked one atop the other on any available surface, no matter how slender, there to rot until the time comes when they melt away, their final ending, returning to the matter from which they came.
Stay With Me – Dorothy Davies
1330 words Horror Story
The witch in the forest has a secret she has kept for a long time, the secret of the day and the time when Death came calling.
Why not stay with me a while? There is no need for you to go; the forest looms cold and dark at this hour. See, the flames of my fire leap high in the chimney to warm you, to entice you to stay. I have a story to tell, if you would care to listen. You need not be bored, restless or impatient while you keep me company. Let me tell you about the time Death came calling.