A secret revealed. A legacy undone. A horror immortalised. For generations, the Berdeaux family name had been synonymous with hospitality and distinction. But that all changed in the summer of 1979, when Dewey Berdeaux’s “hobby” came to light. It was a revelation that stunned the town of Barrville, and ever since then, the Berdeaux family mansion has stood as a grim reminder—with its fair share of ghosts, if rumour is to be believed.
by Jean Martin
My husband always said I was foolish. “There’s nothing in the basement at night that isn’t there in the daytime.”
Our basement is a cellar, not a carpeted play space—even with the lights on, you can’t see what’s in the corners when it’s dark.
I don’t like it. It scares me.
My husband went down the basement last night to get a screwdriver.
I found him this morning at the foot of the stairs, with his throat torn out.
Once the estate is settled, I’m selling the house. Meanwhile, I’m living at my sister’s—she doesn’t have a basement.
A long-time fan of Sherlock Holmes, Jean Martin is a single lady, currently stuck at home in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, which is in the Monongahela Valley. She has been writing fiction for longer than she cares to admit and has talked to channellers, psychics, vampirologists, Anne McCaffrey, and some lesser-known authors.
by Tracy Davidson
No locals use this bus shelter at night. Few use it in the daytime. Something about these three urine-stained, graffiti-marked walls drives them away.
Some smell decay. Some hear voices. Some see shadows dance. And some feel sharp slashes across backs and bellies, though no wounds appear.
Such sensations deepen in the dark. Only out-of-towners stop here then.
Like this one. He looks lost. Lonely. We like them lonely. They don’t get missed.
He shivers, despite the humidity. My invisible sisters surround him, begin their games. I let them play. It’s been a while.
Tomorrow, another shadow will dance here.
Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire, England, and writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including: Poet’s Market, Mslexia, Atlas Poetica, Modern Haiku, The Binnacle, Artificium, Shooter, Journey to Crone, The Great Gatsby Anthology, WAR, In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights.
by Evan Baughfman
The door creaked open. Kellan took a deep breath and stepped into the shadowy classroom.
Inside, no children chuckled. No teacher taught. Silence suffused like creeping fog.
Cobwebs clung to ceiling corners. Darkness enveloped desks.
Toppled chairs and abandoned assignments lay scattered on the floor.
Very little was as Kellan remembered. He’d been a student here years before.
As he approached his old seat, he heard soft cries. Figures huddled, hidden in gloom.
Kellan’s rifle lifted toward the trembling targets.
“Boo,” he said, though he wasn’t a ghost.
He’d become something far more monstrous the moment he returned to school.
Evan Baughfman is a middle school teacher and author. Much of his writing success has been as a playwright. A number of his scripts can be found at online resources, Drama Notebook and New Play Exchange. Evan also writes horror fiction and screenplays. More information is available at amazon.com/author/evanbaughfman
by Jodie Angell
Souls never leave St Mary’s Hospital for Insane. They wander the hallways, linger in the mirrors for too long, and hide in the walls.
Their screams still echo against the high stone pillars. Two-hundred dead still roam the grounds, eternally searching for peace that won’t come.
A broken doll lies on the wooden floorboards beside an old hair comb—belongings of a girl long since passed. Moonlight cascades in through her old bedroom window, illuminating the leather restraints and the sheets still stained with blood.
Her face appears in the shattered mirror. Blood spills from her eyes as she grins.
Jodie Angell grew up in South Wales, United Kingdom. She started writing at the age of eleven, entering children’s anthologies. She wrote her first novel when she was fourteen and went onto write five more by the age of twenty-four. Her first book, an adult High Fantasy, is due out in March with Champagne Book Group. Twitter: @JodieA_Author
by Susmita Ramani
Waking, I’ve never experienced such absolute darkness and silence. Peeling apart my clasped hands, I feel around. Above me and to my sides is wood. Below me is satin. I smell fresh earth. I can’t stop sweating and shaking, feeling waves of heat like I’m being dipped into boiling water. I take deep breaths and hold them, focusing on each inhale, to avoid hyperventilating. I have an hour, maybe two. Positioning my hands, palms out, in front of my chest, I press upward. Nothing. Again. After some amount of time, I hear a sound: wood splintering.
It’s like angels singing.
Susmita lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with their husband and two children. Their work has appeared in The Daily Drunk, Nymeria Publishing (winner of March 2021 poetry contest), 50 Word Stories, and Vine Leaves Press, and will appear in upcoming issues of Short Fiction Break and Secret Attic. Twitter: @susmitabythebay
by Alyson Hasson
The doorknob slipped from her grasp as the oversized emerald door swung open, exposing the darkness within. Her heart pounded—the door should have been locked. Frigid water encompassed her feet as she stepped into the void. The walls leaned inwards around her, thick moss coating their surface.
The door slammed shut, casting her into blinding darkness. Her breath caught in her throat. The pungent scent of mildew filled her nostrils, and tinnitus stifled her hearing. A shrill scream escaped her lips as waterlogged walls draped around her. They bore down onto her, sucking the oxygen out of her lungs.
Alyson Hasson grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, where she obtained her biology degree and a love for nature based horror. Her interest in horror movies, combined with her background in biology, spurred a curiosity that led to the drafting stories of her own. Instgram: @Alyson.Hasson
by Kimberly Rei
The churchyard trembled at night. Pauly said that wasn’t possible. Pauly was full of shit. Stand off the property and it was fine, but so much as one toe over the edge and there it was. The ground was afraid. The old small church was scared right down to it’s last nail. If you listened closely, if you could get past the trees rustling, you could hear the pews tremble.
No one had attended mass there in decades. Centuries, maybe.
But they still buried their dead on that land. I know. I tended the graves. And I felt them quiver.
Kim has taught writing workshops and edited novels for Authors You May Recognize. She has three published short stories and has become a greedy beast, hungry for more. She currently lives in Tampa Bay, Florida with her beautiful, supportive wife and an abundance of gorgeous beaches to explore. studio-rei.mailchimpsites.com
by Dale Parnell
The nurse at the main desk said my father had been moved; G-ward, at the other end of the hospital. I had missed visiting hours, but they said the rules were relaxed for certain patients. I knew what they meant.
It’s surprising how quiet a hospital can be. Long corridors with cold fluorescent tubes flickering overhead. Naked, abandoned beds, stripped of warmth and comfort.
Once or twice I thought I heard footsteps, but I never saw anyone.
When I finally arrived at my father’s ward, the duty nurse gave me the news, and I understood whose footsteps I had heard.
Dale Parnell lives in Staffordshire, England, with his wife and their imaginary dog, Moriarty. He writes fiction, mainly fantasy, science-fiction and horror, along with the occasional poem. He has self-published two collections of short stories and a poetry collection to date, and is featured in a number of excellent anthologies. You can find Dale on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shortfictionauthor
“Do you know what happens when you stare into television static?”
“I don’t have a television.”