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On the Edge of the Map

by Kaitlyn Arnett

 

It’s supposed to be a joke, marking the boundaries of space with a kraken next to the compass, or dragons curled alongside the edges of the page.

But the creature in front of them is real, solid, and there. It’s every monster they tell stories about, all dagger-like fangs and sharp claws. Its body wraps around a star, and when it speaks, its voice is that of a thousand people.

“You have seen something not meant for human eyes,” the voices call, “and you can stay no longer.”

It moves, and when it stills, nothing remains.

Nothing, but the unknown.

 

Kaitlyn Arnett

Kaitlyn Arnett is a teen author from Temecula, California. She primarily writes drabbles and short stories, specifically in the horror, fantasy, and sci-fi genres.

Sunset

by Trevor Jess

 

I toss another green log into the struggling fire. It sputters in protest. I’m only prolonging the inevitable.

The cold permeates my suit, licking away the little remnants of heat. I stare at the frozen lake.

It should be teeming with laughter, bodies splashing joyfully.

But it’s barren.

Almost.

Beside me, a human block of ice. Crystallised. Their skin like fine salt.

They didn’t last.

Neither will I.

I look skyward. Our once vibrant sun flickering in a death dance.

Not long now.

I sigh.

Will anyone wonder what happened to us?

A final ripple of light.

And I wait.

 

Trevor Jess

Trevor began writing twenty-five years ago. Always a pen or pencil in hand when he was young, he could often be found doodling. Doodling led to drawing. Drawing led to creating his own comics. Comics led to storytelling. Storytelling led to writing. He still enjoys all aspects of his journey.

Prospector

by Rich Rurshell

 

Buzzing filled the air as swarms of impregnators scoured the colony. The colonists were strewn around the settlement, paralysed, and riddled with eggs. Hosts to the next generation.

Sickly moonlight shone from the slick plating of the Prospector strolling through the chaos. It infiltrated the colony’s information network, accessing files documenting the colony’s eighty-seven-year history, before flying to the colony flagpole, incinerating the Fortuna Colony Flag with a pulse of energy, and constructing a beacon in its place.

Ascending to a vessel floating silently above the settlement, the Prospector left the swarms to prepare everything for the hatching.

 

Rich Rurshell

Rich Rurshell is a writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. From his home in Suffolk, England, Rich likes to ponder the existence of the sinister, the fantastic, and the downright terrifying. He likes to explore the darker side of life and what lies within us and celebrate the beauty in the world and what lies beyond.
Facebook: @RichRurshellAuthor

A Space Pirate’s Life

by Charlotte Langtree

 

The ship was like nothing Jasper had seen before. Porous walls secreted a strange substance, and the floor throbbed beneath his feet. Leading his men into a small chamber, he stilled as a sharp hiss erupted.

Liquid flew from the wall onto his arm, searing clothes and skin.

“This ship’s alive!”

He tried to run, but his boots stuck to the floor. With growing horror, he watched as his men were drenched in acidic ooze and devoured by the living ship they’d hoped to pilfer. When his turn came, death was a blessing.

Satisfied, the ship returned to its hibernation.

 

Charlotte Langtree

Charlotte Langtree is an author and poet from the North of England. Her work has been published by the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine, WPC Press, The Poet, Paper Djinn Press, and Black Hare Press.
You can find her on Facebook or online at www.charlottelangtree.wordpress.com.

Machinations

by Jen Mierisch

 

Back then, my job was to strip the corpses and bundle clothes for reuse. I tugged shoes and tossed them towards the heap.

On one shoe, a word was written, red dots against green: HELP. Our six-eyed Masters could not see colour.

Glancing around, I pried up the insole. The space held a key, an address, and a fervent request: deliver nitric acid to help build the weapon that would set us free.

Nowadays, I have all the sugar water I can drink, and a sunny apartment aboveground. The Masters may be ugly, but their rewards for loyalty are lovely.

 

Jen Mierisch

Jen Mierisch draws inspiration from science fiction, ghost stories, and the wacky idiosyncrasies of human nature. Her work has appeared in Horla, Dream Noir, 50-Word Stories, 101 Proof Horror, and elsewhere. She lives, works, and writes just outside Chicago, Illinois, USA. Read more at www.jenmierisch.com.

Artificial Favouritism

by J.M. Faulkner

 

Ceiling lights flicker. Our cutlery pauses over our plates.

The ship is dying, and so are we.

It’s coughed out our last, artificial meal for Dad and me; he calls it supper, so I guess it’s The Last Supper.

“Don’t be afraid of the dark, Stella.”

He thinks I’m frightened because I’m twelve-nearly-thirteen, but I’ve given myself to fate.

Nicolai, the ship’s AI, whispered that it favours my chances of rescue because of my age and the speed of intergalactic travel. Nicolai told me there’s backup power for one freezer and grill, and it’s identified one last source of meat.

 

J.M. Faulkner

J.M. Faulkner is a British English teacher living in Prague, Czech Republic—the perfect place to steep himself in the architecture and tumultuous history that fuels his curiosity. Outside of work, you can find him hiking in splendid, Bohemian forests with his beagle.

His works have been published by Liquid Imagination and Havok Publishing
Website: jmfaulkner.com

Sinlight Rising

by Kimberly Rei

 

Sinlight flickered around the planet below—a writhing, ancient welcome. It spiked in beautiful colours, beckoning us to visit. We’d been monitoring the activity for weeks, watching it grow. Two cycles ago, it began watching us. Now it was done watching. It was hunting.

I turned and ran down the corridor and around the corner, knowing nothing would save my body. Perhaps, I might be able to save the rest. Light exploded behind me. I leapt and felt a warm tendril grasp my ankle. With one desperate plea, I hurled my soul through an airless sliver of thought. To oblivion.

 

Kimberly Rei

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.

Silenced Night

by Constantine E. Kiousis

 

Colourful lights twinkled around the Christmas tree as muffled screams filled the darkened living room, Marie gawking from a corner as the hulking man stuffed her terrified mother into a huge linen sack before fastening it shut.

Hoisting the bag over his shoulder, he glanced towards the girl, moonlight glinting off his jolly eyes as he winked at her, a toothy smile across his soot-smudged, white beard. Turning, he ambled to the fireplace, the bag’s insides squirming, her parents’ stifled protests fading as he went up the chimney.

She couldn’t believe it.

Santa had gotten her letter!

No more bedtime!

 

Constantine E. Kiousis

Constantine E. Kiousis spends most of his time wandering through the worlds he has created, exploring every nook and cranny and constantly discovering new places and stories that need to be told.

He’s currently plotting ways to unleash the terrifying stories hiding in his mind upon the world, one word at a time.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KiousisStoryteller

On the Feast of Stephen

by Jean Martin

 

Under the old king, it would have been the Feast of Stephen, the second day of Christmas.

But our new king took us back to the Old Gods and the old ways.

As he decreed, nine men and nine women were offered in sacrifice that morning, in the woods, near the spring that had been named for Saint Agnes.

The snow lay roundabout deep and crisp and scarlet. There was steam rising in the frosty air from the hot blood.

One small page, lying still on the ground, his dead eyes staring wide and empty at the grey winter sky.

 

Jean Martin

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.

Cookies for Santa Claws

by Chanelle Loftness

 

“You better not cry,” the creature croons.

I lie on the kitchen table. The Christmas lights that bind me dig into my skin. They send colours dancing across the kitchen’s walls and illuminate the creviced face of the sharp-toothed and horned creature standing over me.

“You better not pout.” Its sharp talons cut another piece of my flesh.

Wide-eyed, I scream around the Christmas stocking in my mouth.

It places the flesh on the cookie sheet by the others, dusting them with cinnamon and sugar, before sliding the sheet into the oven.

It continues singing as it grabs another cookie sheet.

Chanelle Loftness

Chanelle Loftness is a Seattleite who spent eleven years in San Francisco and now calls Chicago home. She was adamant that she wrote fantasy until the kind readers in a writing workshop emphatically told her she was writing horror; she argues there is a lot of overlap.

Twitter: @chanelleloftnes