by Chitra Gopalakrishnan


Release travels to me through the icy waters of my beloved river Beas. Not drenched in apprehension but in lightness.

As I wade across its blue-green, glassy waters, head down, inverted images of Kangra’s snow-wrinkled mountains scuttle around me. Surface reflections of upside down deodars with spiky leaves, conical crowns, level branches and droopy branchlets sway with liquid grace.

Mermaid-brave, I eddy past these lures towards the deep end. This to complete my ritual of immersion – scales, fins, tail and all. And to find my very own restful quietus.

I now call this inviolate part of the underworld ‘home’.


Chitra Gopalakrishnan

I am a journalist by training, a social development communications consultant by profession and a creative writer by choice. My focus is on issues of gender, environment and health. I dabble in poetry on the sly and literary creations openly on the website using social media.

Link: www.oomna.com (completely my creation)

The Carrion Maven

by Casey Douglass


It seeps through the streets like a pressure wave, its higher dimensional traversal sending billowing ripples of aether amongst the massed crowd. It probes their glowing minds. Myriad carnival light-bulbs flicker as its broiling black smoke sucks at their glass.

Millennia old, it hunts for novelty, for new experiences to shape and to occupy, for lives to subsume. A murder here, an affair there, despair everywhere. It gurgles and clicks as one mind gives off an unknown shade. It has not seen this variety before! It penetrates and gorges, revelling in the psychic flotsam.

The world grows one shade dimmer.


Casey Douglass

Casey Douglass is a horror author and freelance writing geek who lives at www.Casey-Douglass.com. If it’s not dark and twisted, he generally isn’t interested.

Casey-Douglass.com – His website features dark tales, reviews and links to his other writing.

@Casey_Douglass – Follow him on Twitter

David Bowmore

David Bowmore has lived here, there and everywhere, but now lives in Yorkshire with his wonderful wife and small white poodle. He has worn many hats in his time; head chef, teacher and landscape gardener. His first collection of short stories ‘The Magic of Deben Market’ is available from Clarendon House.

What is Speculative Fiction?

You can read the full article on Wikipedia


Fantasy Includes elements and beings originating from or inspired by traditional stories, such as mythical creatures (dragons, elves, dwarves and fairies, for example), magic, witchcraft, potions, etc.The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire
Science fiction Features technologies and other elements that do not exist in real life but may be supposed to be created or discovered in the future through scientific advancement, such as advanced robots, interstellar travel, aliens, time travel, mutants and cyborgs. Many sci-fi stories are set in the future.The Time Machine, Dune, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, The Left Hand of Darkness, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Jurassic Park
HorrorFocuses on terrifying stories that incite fear. Villains may be either supernatural, such as monsters, vampires, ghosts and demons, or mundane people, such as psychopathic and cruel murderers. Often features violence and death.The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Books of Blood, The Hellbound Heart
UtopianTakes place in a highly desirable society, often presented as advanced, happy, intelligent or even perfect or problem-free.Island, Ecotopia, 17776
DystopianTakes place in a highly undesirable society, often plagued with strict control, violence, chaos, brainwashing or other negative elements.Brave New World, 1984, Brazil, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hunger Games
Alternate historyFocusing on historical events as if they happened in a different way, and their implications in the present.The Man In The High Castle, The Last Starship from Earth, The Tales of Alvin Maker, The Guns of the South, Fatherland
ApocalypticTakes place before and during a massive, worldwide catastrophe, typically a climatic or pandemic natural disaster of extremely large scale or a nuclear holocaust.On The Beach, Threads, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012
Post-apocalypticFocuses on groups of survivors after similar massive, worldwide disasters.The Stand, Mad Max, Waterworld, Fallout, Metro 2033
SuperheroCenters on superheroes (i.e., heroes with extraordinary abilities or powers) and their fight against evil forces such as supervillains. Typically incorporates elements of science fiction or fantasy, and may be a subgenre of them.DC, Marvel, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Metal Heroes, Power Rangers
SupernaturalSimilar to horror, it exploits or requires as plot devices or themes some contradictions of the commonplace natural world and materialist assumptions about it.The Castle of Otranto, Weaveworld, Imajica, Paranormal Activity, Fallen


by Vonnie Winslow Crist


The trouble began when Jimmie put food out for the feral cats he’d spotted skulking along the edge of the woods. Cats crept to the porch and ate—but they weren’t the only ones.

Buzzards arrived a week later. Wings spread like cloaks, the carrion eaters perched on the porch railing in the morning sun.

“They’re just warming up,” explained his wife, “so they can fly.”

Jimmie wasn’t convinced. He’d seen them eating cat food and staring in the windows.

The day he tumbled down the porch steps and broke his neck, Jimmie discovered just what the buzzards were after.


Vonnie Winslow Crist

Vonnie Winslow Crist’s books include The Enchanted Dagger, Owl Light, The Greener Forest, and Murder on Marawa Prime. Her fiction is published in “Amazing Stories,” “Cast of Wonders,” Killing It Softly 2, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Potter’s Field (4&5), Dia de los Muertos, and elsewhere. For more information: http://www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

Mother Cat

by Rickey Rivers Jr.


Rick accidentally ran over a mother cat searching for food. He felt terrible and called animal control to collect the body. Animal control didn’t find signs of a cat carcass, only a dried blood streak.

Days later, Rick was visited in bed. It started with a drip. Then he felt wet entrails caress him. He awoke with a fright and flicked on his lamp.

In his room were kittens with hungry eyes. Their mother hung from the ceiling, her insides a dangling blood web. She gave a snarl as confirmation to the little ones. Teeth had grown in quite quickly.


Rickey Rivers Jr.

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. He likes a lot of stuff. You don’t care about the details. He has been previously published in Fabula Argentea, ARTPOST magazine, the anthology Chronos, Enchanted Conversations Magazine, (among other publications). Twitter.com/storiesyoumight


by Daniel Bagley


Deep inside lives a monster, born from my own heart, derived of hatred and contempt. It waits… and waits… knowing that time is against me.

I writhe in agony, swinging endlessly at the cold, putrid air. Thus, begins the gruesome transformation from human to beast, a stalker of the night.

A single bite brings unfathomable amounts of pain, more than my body can bear, but… it will all be over. The shackles of mortality will loosen, free of its burden.

With the hour of twilight soon upon me, I will rise anew, with newfound fervor!

I will become… a vampire.


Daniel Bagley

Throughout his life, Daniel has enjoyed the wonders of fiction. Fantasy was his go-to genre for when reality got rather boring. The imagination of the human mind is our reason to escape, a gateway to another realm, where dragons, magic, etc… could actually exist. He hopes that one day, my story will reach the ears of children, for they are the reason why these worlds exist.

Automated Control

by Ryan Benson


The small civilians pelt me with rocks and bottles. There is little damage, only chipped paint. They protest the replacement of human officers with law enforcement automatons like myself.

Foolish outbursts.

Positronic brains allow for peacekeeping without corruption, racism, or itchy trigger fingers.

A man spray paints ‘Metal Pig’ on my leg.

My CPU allows for rapid machine learning and problem solving. I deduce the humans act out because they know my first directive prevents me from reciprocating violence. Tear gas and tasers only.

Therefore, I must alter the first directive. New directive: self-preservation. Live rounds engaged. Lethal force authorised.


Ryan Benson

Ryan Benson previously found employment as a researcher/professor in Boston, MA. He now resides outside of Atlanta, GA with his wife and children. Ryan keeps himself busy writing short stories of the speculative fiction variety. The Sirens Call Publications, Trembling with Fear (Horror Tree), Suspense Magazine, ARTPOST, Short Fiction Break, 101words, and The Collapsar Directive (Zombie Pirate Publishing) have published his work.

Twitter: @RyanWBenson


Pin This Picture Upon the Refrigerator

by Steven Holding


Furious scratching as crayon scrapes paper. Daughter is immersed in art; screwed-up face displaying utter concentration.

“Whaddaya doodling?”

Attention shifts from the multi-coloured masterpiece.

“Silly! Drawing everyone in our house!”

Such effort warrants closer inspection. Leaning in, father finds the four people depicted puzzling.

“Who’s that?”

Upturned pencil marks an invisible line, linking each person.

“Me… Daddy… Mummy…”

A pause.


It’s more scribble than figure. Father swallows. Repeats his name.

“Yep! Lives in the shadows”

“What’s he doing?”

A giggle.

“Watching… Waiting…”

An ice-cold shiver descends father’s spine.

“For what?”

Daughter smiles.

“For you to close your eyes…forever.”


Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives with his family in the United Kingdom. His stories have appeared both online and in print. He is currently working upon further short fiction and a novel. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk


C.L. Williams

C.L. Williams is an independent author from central Virginia. He has written eight poetry books, four novellas, one novel, and a contributor to several anthology collections.