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.

 

 

Soul Food

by Mike Murphy

 

The eternal soul fluttered about the bedroom, waiting for instructions either to return to Heaven or the dying man. Joel’s family clustered around his bed, the lights from the blinking monitors casting off-and-on red shadows on their faces.

Finally, the soul got its orders and began the careful descent to its host. Seconds later, Gravy, with her incredible feline sight, pounced on it – snatching it from the air and pinning it down.

Joel’s blue-haired mother cried out as the heart monitor went flat. In a dark corner, the orange tabby ate happily, knowing she would soon have nine lives again.

 

Mike Murphy

Mike has had over 150 audio plays produced in the U.S. and overseas. He’s won nine Moondance International Film Festival awards in their TV pilot, audio play, short screenplay, and short story categories.

His prose work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies. In 2015, his script “The Candy Man” was produced as a short film under the title DARK CHOCOLATE. In 2013, he won the inaugural Marion Thauer Brown Audio Drama Scriptwriting Competition.

Mike keeps a blog at audioauthor.blogspot.com.

 

Ghulskelche

by Russell Hemmell

 

“Welcome to The Morgue. At 5 pm, we serve tea. In the evening, different drinks.”

Kelly glanced at the barmaid. The nightclub, hosted in a deconsecrated church, was freezing cold, but the girl, ghastly pale with naked shoulders, seemed unaffected.

“It’s midnight now.”

“And that’s champagne o’clock, sweety.”

The girl poured and Kelly took a sip. It tasted like champagne, bubbles and everything. Only the colour wasn’t right. Carmine red.

“Where?”

“In Hell.”

The barmaid’s face became opalescent, her eyes glaring white. The flute morphed into a snarling serpent, fangs plunging into Kelly’s wrist, blood-like tears on its snout.

 

Russell Hemmell

Russell Hemmell is a French-Italian transplant in Scotland, passionate about astrophysics, history, and speculative fiction. Recent work in Aurelis, The Grievous Angel, Third Flatiron, and others. HWA Active Member & Codexian. Find them online at their blog earthianhivemind.net and on Twitter @SPBianchini.

You can read the DARK MOMENTS archives here

Learn

by Belinda Brady

 

“Shapeshifters? Why are you reading about them? They’re not real,” my childhood friend, Joshua, scoffs.

 “You know me. I’m always learning something new,” I reply, glancing at the book on my table.

Like how I had learned Joshua was sleeping with my wife. That was new.

“You learn about dumb stuff, man,” Joshua laughs, getting a beer from the fridge.

The bottle shatters to the floor when he turns around and faces himself.

“You could learn a thing or two, man. Like how to stay away from a friend’s wife,” I seethe, lunging forward.

I never did get a reply.

 

Belinda Brady

Belinda is passionate about stories and after years of procrastinating, has finally turned her hand to writing them, with a preference for supernatural and thriller themes; her love of both often competing for her attention. She has had several stories published in a variety of publications, both online and in anthologies. Belinda lives in Australia with her family and has been known to enjoy the company of cats over people. 

It’s So Dark

by Stephen Herczeg

 

I wake. It’s dark. So dark.

My bed is tight. Snug on both sides. I reach up. There’s something a few inches above me. It’s hard, but covered in soft fabric. It’s like I’m in a box, with soft silk sheets all around. I’m wearing a suit, not pyjamas. Where are my shoes?

I’m falling. Slowly. Very slowly. I land with a thump. My bed is jostled, but I can’t fall out.

Something lands on top of the box, thud. Then even more thuds. I scream but I have no voice.

Then there’s only silence. I’m alone.

It’s so dark.

 

Stephen Herczeg

Stephen is an IT Geek based in Canberra Australia. He has been writing for over twenty years and has completed a couple of dodgy novels, sixteen feature length screenplays and numerous short stories and scripts.

His horror work has featured in Sproutlings; Hells Bells; Below the Stairs; Trickster’s Treats #1 and #2; Shades of Santa; Behind the Mask; Beyond the Infinite; The Body Horror Book; Anemone Enemy; Petrified Punks; Beginnings and Beside the Seaside.
Find him on Amazon

The Rich, The Poor And When Earth’s Time Is Up

by Aditya Deshmukh

 

An ashamed sun drags itself up the smoky horizon.

Humongous spaceships, built only for the rich, are leaving. The rich ones, the bright ones, the so-called pillars of the society, are leaving.

Their companies, their negligence, their money is what turned Earth into this foul breath, this disease, this nauseating smell of my father’s diarrhoeic stools. The air is black, the rain is acid, my neighbourhood is a graveyard because of them.

And yet they get to leave!

No, I cannot let this happen. I’ll unite my people. I’ll burn their spaceships. They’ll know the power of the working class!

 

Aditya Deshmukh

Aditya Deshmukh is a mechanical engineering student who likes exploring the mechanics of writing as much as he likes tinkering with machines. He writes dark fiction and poetry. He is published in over three dozen anthologies, and has a poetry book “Opium Hearts” coming out soon. He likes chatting with others who share similar interests, so feel free to check him out here:
Facebook : AdityaDeshmukhWrites
Instagram : DeepCrazyShit

 

The Hot Bunk

by Shawn M. Klimek

 

Lieutenant Kent ached. His leaden eyelids fluttered as he struggled to focus on the faces above him.

“How are you feeling, Lieutenant?” asked Doctor Horn.

“Dying,” Kent croaked.

“The symbiote is weakening, too,” said Horn. “Both of you are dangerously sleep deprived.”

“The symbiote has been communicating with us every night!” enthused Major Owens. “It has finally agreed to share Vancian technology!”

“They can’t both continue sharing the same body,” the doctor clarified.

“But this is a great opportunity for mankind!” pleaded Owens.

“Please,” said Kent, fading. “End this!”

“You heard him, Doctor,” said the major. “We have his consent.”

 

Shawn M. Klimek

Shawn M. Klimek’s stories and poems have been published in scores of e-zines and anthologies, including “Grumpy Old Gods, Volume 1”, Zombie Pirate Publishing’s “World War Four”, and “Gold: The Best of Clarendon House Anthologies, Volume One, 2017/2018. Find more, including links to all his published works at A Jot In The Dark

 

Quick Salvage

by Eddie D. Moore

 

I found the derelict in a degrading orbit around the fourth planet. With more time, I might’ve salvaged the experimental craft, but the computer gave me a forty-five minute window before it plunged into the atmosphere.

Smears of blood decorated the walls, and I tried not to look directly at the disfigured piles of flesh I stepped over to reach the bridge. I uploaded the memory core and grabbed what tech I could on the way out, while mentally tallying up the payout.

Safely aboard my own ship, I was watching the security video when something moved under my skin.

 

Eddie D. Moore

Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, Kzine, Alien Dimensions, Theme of Absence, Devolution Z, and Fantasia Divinity Magazine. eddiedmoore.wordpress.com

 

On the House

by Colleen Anderson

 

Jordan hated everything; wife left him for goddam grooming parlor, boss said he wasn’t meeting his quota.

He’d show them quota. He stormed into a bar, each person’s face hidden in the sins of their past.

 “Keep ‘em coming,” he ordered, slapping down his credit card. He would join the sinners.

The bartender snorted. “One rule. Don’t pass out. Never pass out!”

Jordan flooded his pain with whiskey shots and beer; then someone with too white a grin bought more.

Severe abdominal pain woke him. Straps restrained him, tubes leading to the bar.

The bartender smiled. “You’re on the house.”

 

Colleen Anderson

Colleen Anderson’s new and forthcoming fiction and poetry are in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias, By the Light of Camelot, Canadian Dreadful, Tesseracts 22 and others. In 2018, I edited the Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland anthology, and a collection of my dark fiction, A Body of Work, was published by Black Shuck Books (UK). www.colleenanderson.wordpress.com.

 

The 97-Year-Old Science-Fiction Writer’s Untimely Time-Machine Computer

by J. J. Steinfeld

 

The 97-year-old science-fiction writer began to type the final paragraph of his latest novel. In mid-sentence, a distinguished-looking gentleman appeared on the computer-monitor, replacing text.

“What the hell?” the writer growled.

“Greetings,” the monitor-gentleman replied.

“Who are you?”

“Herbert.”

“I don’t know any damn Herbert.”

“I travelled all this way to help.”

“Get lost!”

“I know about these things.”

“What things?”

“Time travel and writing…”

With his last breaths, the writer fought to get the intruder off his computer-monitor. H.G. Wells shook his head mournfully, saying he should have arrived earlier, but had been having trouble mastering electronic time-travel.

First published in Drabble Harvest #7

 

J. J. Steinfeld

Canadian fiction writer/poet/playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published 19 books, including Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2015), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2016), Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017), and A Visit to the Kafka Café (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2018). His stories and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals internationally, and over 50 of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in North America.