The Capital D

by A.L. King

 

I’ve seen Death. That’s with a capital D.

I mostly spotted him by the hospital, located conveniently beside a senior care facility (makes for a short commute, I guess). Any time he started looking my way, I would quickly turn my head. I wish I could say I’ve always averted his gaze, but I know otherwise.

I’ve seen Death. In fact, I see him now. He’s standing outside the window of my classroom, staring at me and the other students.

The bell rings a dirge, and then—gunfire.

The smile on Death’s face grows. I know he loves his job.

 

A.L. King

A.L. King is an author of horror, fantasy, science fiction, and poetry. As an avid fan of dark subjects from an early age, his first influences included R.L. Stine, Edgar Allan Poe, and Stephen King. Later stylistic inspirations came from foreign horror films and media, particularly Japanese.

He is a graduate of West Liberty University, has dabbled in journalism, and is actively involved in his community. Although his creativity leans toward darker genres, he has even written a children’s book titled “Leif’s First Fall.”

He was raised in the town of Sistersville, West Virginia, which he still proudly calls home.

 

O Fear and Fortuna

by L.P. Melling

 

They rained from the sky, shaped like fortune cookies, contrails combining to spell a dark message.

Their ships shuddered, separated, a mirror-like liquid spreading between each hemisphere.

Launch codes entered, within-range weapon systems locked on.

Alien quicksilver flared with colour, showing images of destruction. But it wasn’t them destroying our planet, it was us.

Then they left quickly as they’d come.

Governments and families would pay for the military mobilization: for the missiles that had rebounded to Earth, wiping out millions.

Everyone thought humanity’s fortune was written when they arrived. Instead, they reminded us fear will always shape our future.

 

L.P. Melling

L. P. Melling currently writes from the East of England. A Writers of the Future finalist, his short fiction has appeared in such places as Tales to Terrify, Kraxon, and ARTPOST. When not writing, he works for a legal charity in London that advises and supports victims of crime.

 

Singer

by Steven Sheil

 

She fell backwards into the crowd and felt their hands take her weight. Sweat-slick fingers pressed into her body as the strobe-light jittered across their faces in time with the pulse of the snare drum. She sucked in a breath as the last line of the song began its journey to her lips, the final animal howl of release, the pinprick that would pierce the membrane of the moment she had created.

It never came, stayed caught instead in the sinews of her throat, as the grasping hands pulled her flesh to wet pieces and their mouths fell to devouring.


Steven Sheil

Steven Sheil is a writer and filmmaker from Nottingham. His works include the horror films ‘Mum & Dad’ (2008) and ‘Dead Mine’ (2012). He is also the co-director of the long-running Mayhem Film Festival, which specialises in horror, sci-fi and cult cinema. His fiction has previously appeared in Black Static magazine.

Lady in White

by A.R. Johnston

 

I slowly walked toward the river, fireflies dancing in front of me. The magic on the air—it was almost tangible. I loved it and I wanted more.

The moon reflected off the river as I approached, the mist rose from it. I watched as the mist started to take form. I was spellbound as a woman in a white dress came to be. The most gorgeous figure I had ever seen.

I knew things would never be the same. I smiled, she smiled back holding her hand in offering. She was a signal of death. Mine was upon me.

 

A.R. Johnston

A.R. Johnston is a small town girl from Nova Scotia, Canada. Her style of writing is considered Urban Fantasy.She participates in NaNoWriMo, won a Live Write and a contest for a “kiss scene” included in a novel of a best selling Indie author in 2018. Lover of coffee, horror flicks, and reader of books. She pretends to be a writer when real life doesn’t get in the way. Pesky full time job and adulting!

 

The Butcher of Redcreek Farm

by Zoey Xolton

 

Jacob shivered in the cage, naked as the day he was born. He curled into a foetal position for warmth. The hay on which he lay, pricked and irritated him. His eyes flitted around the slaughter shed. Cages lined the opposite wall, tear streaked faces peered out from each.

In walked The Butcher. His bloody apron flapped as he walked, machete in hand. Jacob closed his eyes and prayed. He felt a sting in his rear and then blissful numbness. The world turned upside down, and then warmth spilled over his face to pool on the cold concrete floor below.

 

Zoey Xolton

Zoey Xolton is a published Australian writer of Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. She is also a proud mother of two, and is married to her soul mate. Writing is her greatest passion. She is especially fond of short speculative fiction and is working on releasing her own collections!
www.zoeyxolton.com

 

Excalibur’s Prelude

by Dave Ring

 

Emrys and Fatou le Fay had been practicing their lines in this damn cave for hours.  Their first mission: find the stone, swap the swords, get out.

“Stop fussing with the hilt, Fatou.”

“It doesn’t look right.”

“No one’s going to notice.  They’re going to be busy laughing at me for saying thee instead of thou.”

A brutal gust of wind snuffed out the candles.

Something growled in the darkness.

“Was that your stomach?” Emrys asked.

Fatou drew her sword.  “No.”

The beast pounced on Emrys.  The transponder crystal shattered beneath her.

“Shit.”

Getting out just got a lot harder.

 

Dave Ring

Dave Ring is the chair of the OutWrite LGBTQ Book Festival in Washington, DC. He has stories featured or forthcoming in GlitterShip, The Disconnect, and A Punk Rock Future. He is the editor of Broken Metropolis: Queer Tales of a City That Never Was from Mason Jar Press. More info at www.dave-ring.com. Follow him on Twitter at @slickhop.

 

Grandma’s Gift

by JD Bell

 

Weathered hands work the long braid of the witch’s ladder with deft skill.

“My dear grandmother taught me how to use this ladder.” Gnarled fingers tied the first of several knots.

“And her grandmother taught her of its magical powers.”  The woman’s granddaughter studied the pattern.

“Now, I’m teaching you, Lucy.” The woman gave the ladder to Lucy.

“You must concentrate on your intention, wish very hard, and tie the final knot.”

Lucy focused her energy on the ladder, then tied the last knot. Moments later, the man who kicked Lucy’s dog tumbled down his cellar stairs, breaking both legs.

 

JD Bell

JD Bell is an award-winning, internationally published, author of flash fiction and short stories. He recently retired from the world of writing advertising copy and is now enjoying the universe of creative fiction.

What Squirms Beneath

by Paul Alex Gray

 

Chunks of muck splattered Ernie as he blasted the fatberg with his hose.

“Bloody idiots,” he grumbled. “Flushing leftovers and nappies and God knows what down the drain. Here I am, swimming in it!”

He aimed the spray at a stubborn glob that hung from the sewer walls, smiling with a grim satisfaction as it peeled away. Unravelling, it drew itself up, a squirming snake of glistening fat.

“What the-?” said Ernie incredulously, dropping the hose.

The putrid fatberg lashed out, a revolting maw of muck wrapping around Ernie’s face, suffocating him as it forced its way down his throat.

 

Paul Alex Gray

Paul Alex Gray writes linear and interactive fiction starring sentient black holes, wayward sea monsters, curious AIs and more. His work has been published in Nature Futures, Andromeda Spaceways, PodCastle and others. Chat with him on Twitter @paulalexgray or visit www.paulalexgray.com

 

They Hang

by John Saxton

 

They hang; some in bunches, others alone. Umbilical cords connect to maternal branches. The progeny sway in the breeze. Sun bakes the forest floor.

Footsteps! In soft grass. The man salivates, eyes glazed. Pauses; inhales; snarls through discoloured teeth. Bloodshot eyes swivel toward a succulent hatchling. Unsheathes his knife.

The scions sense danger. Scream. Agonisingly.

He falls to his knees, knife dropped. Ears covered, bleeding through fingers.

Foetal leeches jump, cords elastic. Countless needled jaws affix. His death is slow torture. They drain him. Withdraw. Bloated. His alabaster corpse stinks in the calescent sun.

They hang.

Until the next feed.

 

John Saxton

John Saxton hails from Yorkshire, UK, where he is happily married, with two sons.  He has had over 50 short horror stories published in the independent press, including his own collection: ‘Bloodshot’.  He writes mainly after dark…

Find him on Twitter @jsaxtonwriter.