by G. Allen Wilbanks


Morty loved decorating for Halloween. He was especially proud of the graveyard display he erected on his front lawn every year.

Marble headstones, skeletons, body parts and decomposing corpses covered his yard every October 31st. Kids and adults came from miles around to admire his handywork and ask him how he made his props appear so realistic. Morty would smile and accept the praise, but he never answered their questions. It was best to keep them guessing.

He didn’t want anyone else to make a display that might rival his own.

He also did not want to go to prison.


G. Allen Wilbanks

G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and has published over 80 short stories in various magazines and anthologies, including publications with Black Hare Press. He is the author of two, story collections, and the novel, When Darkness Comes. For more information, please visit


Riddle of the Sphinx

by Shawn M. Klimek


“Domesticated dogs came into being after generations of cavemen cross-bred wolves willing to be petted,” Keller lectured. “Two millennia later, wolves are a separate species. Evolution takes practice.”

“But why a chimera?” Larkin challenged hotly. “A lion’s head, goat’s body and a serpent tail? That’s not just playing God, that’s a lunatic Zeus!”

“The chimera was just an extreme proof of concept” Keller defended. “A necessary step before proceeding to human trials.

Larkin strained against his restraints and wept.

“Fortunately, we made the reproductive system human compatible,” said Keller, uncapping a syringe.

 “Ready to solve the riddle of the Sphinx?”


Shawn M. Klimek

Shawn M. Klimek is the middle child of seven creative siblings, a globetrotting, U.S. military spouse, award-winning author and poet, and butler to a Maltese.  More than one hundred of his works have been published since 2018, including stories in BHP anthologies, Deep Space, Eerie Christmas, and a full five stories in each of the first six books in the internationally best-selling, Dark Drabbles series.

Find his books on Amazon: Shawn Klimek; a complete index of his publications (plus bonus reads) at A Jot In The Dark; and follow his ongoing writing adventures at


Here Comes the Knock

by Paula R. C. Readman


Streetlights darken.

Laughter fills the air.

Eager fresh faces dart everywhere.

“Trick or Treat,” echoes in porches.

I drop the grubby net curtain. Anticipation races through me. Ghosts from my past gather.

I wait in the shadows. The razor in my hand gleams.

Here comes the knock.

Laughter bubbles in my throat. Haven’t their parents warned them about stranger danger?

“Trick or Treat, Mister?”

The blade bites as it finds its mark.

How sweet and warm is the spray of blood as it runs down my face. Young flesh is far sweeter than their sugary sweets.

“My treat, I think!”


Paula R. C. Readman

Paula R. C. Readman taught herself ‘How to Write’ from books which her husband purchased from eBay.  After 250 purchases, he finally told her ‘just to get on with the writing’.  Since 2010, she’s had 29 stories published and is now busy editing her novel again.



The Wackiest Star Ship in the Space Force

by John H. Dromey


A doorbell rang. A door creaked open. A cloaked figure stood on the porch.

“Who’re you?”

The apparition answered, “A ghost from your childhood past. When you pushed me into the deep end, you knew I couldn’t swim.”


“Yep. Trick or treat.”

“Scram! You’re not real.”

“Are you sure, Spaceman? I have lots of tricks up my sleeve.” The hand and wrist bones of a skeleton emerged. “See? Lots of room.”

The astronaut clutched his chest.

The hologram figure faded.

The pranksters on Earth had turned off the switch. “Curses! Our Holo-ween trick backfired. We scared him to death.”


John H. Dromey

John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri, USA. In addition to contributing to the Dark Drabbles series of anthologies from Black Hare Press, he’s had short fiction published in 50-Word Stories (Tim Sevenhuysen’s website), Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Stupefying Stories Showcase, Thriller Magazine, Unfit Magazine, and elsewhere.


Anniversary of the Mask Murders

by Joshua D. Taylor


Chris and Sara stared at the abandoned and dilapidated monster mask factory.  The windows were shattered and forgotten police tape flapped in the chilly October breeze.

“I can’t believe twenty-three people were stabbed to death here last Halloween,” Chris said.

“I know, and that masked maniac is still out there somewhere.  Just waiting.”

“The police think it’s someone from town.  It could be someone we know.”

“Maybe.  You should have seen this place, all over covered in blood.”

“What do you mean?  You weren’t there.”

“Wasn’t I?” Sara asked, plunging a knife into Chris’s throat then pulling on her mask.


Joshua D. Taylor

Joshua D. Taylor is an author from Southeastern Pennsylvania who never stopped playing make-believe.  He lives with his wife and a one-eared cat. He loves to mix-n-match things from different genres and story elements to achieve a madcap hodgepodge of the truly unexpected.  


A Family Hallowe’en

by Connie R. Watson


With a final slice, Jace completed his carving. He wiped the blood off his knife and stepped back.

Dad looked really cool. The lit candle inside his hollow head cast an eerie light through his vacant eye sockets and gaping mouth.

Jace smiled, turning to the pumpkin they got at the patch that morning. “How’s it look, Timmy?”

“Great job,” Timmy said. “One more to go.”

Jace nodded. He gave the rag he’d used on Dad a quick sniff. There was still enough bleach and acetone mixture to take care of Mom, too.

This would be the best Hallowe’en ever.


Connie R. Watson

Since she was a teenager, Connie R. Watson has enjoyed writing fantasy stories, but recently discovered a new love for sci-fi, folktales, and poetry. You can find out more about Connie and her work by visiting her website


Party Favours

by J.S. Carnes


Cindy manoeuvred through fake cobwebs lining the maze. As much as she loved creating haunted houses, tearing it down became tedious in the holiday’s afterglow.

“Of course, no one stays to help.” She combed through the twists and turns dropping decorations in boxes, the loose trash would have to wait for tomorrow.

Stacked boxes marked 10/31 gradually replaced haunted gimmicks.

She reached the final room.

Fake cobwebs covered a crucified clown above bowls of candy corn. Smeared makeup and blood dripped down coating the treats and filling the bowl.

Cindy sighed, “I told them not to kill the neighbours.”


J.S. Carnes

J.S. Carnes is an emerging author. He uses his love of imagination, conversation, and exploration to inspire his creative exploits. Keep up-to-date via Facebook:


Head of the Class

by Raven Corinn Carluk


Master found me on the streets when I was five, offered to train me as an assassin. I was starving, weakened, waiting to be snatched up by the pedos.

What other prospect did I have?

By seven, I surpassed the other orphans my age. By ten, no one could beat my times on the obstacle course. By twelve, I was given a puppy to assist in my final training.

What could possibly hold me back?

At fourteen, Master said I was ready for missions, if I passed my last test: kill my dog.

What could I do without a master?


Raven Corinn Carluk

Raven Corinn Carluk is an indie author of dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and whatever other dark themes catch her interest. Find updates about her and enjoy free reads at RavenCorinnCarluk.Blogspot.Com


Tali’s Future

by Susanne Thomas


Heralds pronounced the fate of the world at Tali’s birth.

The crown took instant action. Powers greater than theirs protected the child from murder.

But they isolated her and starved her to stunt both growth and strength.

And Tali grew up weak and small.

But when there was a momentary crisis in the castle after the queen’s hunting accident, Tali found herself alone long enough to slip her skeletal body through a gopher hole that the gardener had forgotten.

And Tali foraged and thrived, alone and angry. Until finally she had gained enough strength to return and fulfill her destiny.


Susanne Thomas

Susanne Thomas reads, writes, parents, and teaches from the windy west in Wyoming, and she loves fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, poetry, children’s books, science, coffee, and puns.


A Deal is a Deal

by Crystal L. Kirkham


Tonight, they celebrated her granddaughter’s sixteenth birthday. An adult by the standards of the ancients. Now, the river spirit demanded its sacrifice for the deal that Marie had made.

“Annalise?” Marie’s voice cracked with emotion. “Can you fetch some water?”

“Of course.”

Marie watched her leave before calling to her granddaughter. “Let’s go inside.”

Neither of them needed to hear the screams. Her granddaughter may be an adult, but Marie would watch over her and her daughters after her. She’d protect them all until they came of age and their mother had to be sacrificed so Marie could live on.


Crystal L. Kirkham

Crystal L. Kirkham resides in rural Alberta. She’s an avid outdoors person, unrepentant coffee addict, part-time foodie, servant to a feline, and companion canines. She’s a multi-genre speculative fiction writer who believes in following the story where it takes her.  

Find out more on her and her work at