Tag Archive for: genius loci


by N.E. Rule


Elle stares in wonder at the profusion of bright clothing draped throughout the forest. “Jamie, who dresses trees?” Some trunks were wrapped in shreds, others were more freshly clad. “Check out this!” A sapling grew straight through a pale pink onesie. Twigs sprouted from the armhole in a cheerful wave.

But a patch of red berries has caught his attention. “Mmm,” his mouth already stained.

“Those smell amazing.” She swallows a handful.

Wind surrounds them and sighs in contentment. Then Elle’s throat itches and a green vine shoots from her mouth to wrap around her neck like a fashion accessory.

N.E. Rule 

N.E. Rule attended Toronto’s Ryerson University for both creative writing and business communications. Her writing portfolio includes software specs, marketing copy, and training materials, however, her passion is fiction. The characters in her head are getting louder and refuse to wait for her spare time to come out and play.

Facebook: @NERuleWriter



Dirty Boulevard

by Steven Holding


Skid Row: rock bottom of the barrel and the bottle. A place where every kind of bad dream has been and gone. Here, the dregs dredge up their sins; beg to escape the pain of sadness, seeking absolution from a damned mad god that’s seen all a man is capable of.

The spirit of the street itself.

Under its sacred gaze the scared and scarred are cared for, tightly held within the deity’s embrace of hazy nights and crazier days. Who would willingly choose such confusion?

Perhaps those few who know that what we feel to be real is illusion.

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives in the United Kingdom. Most recently, his work has appeared in CTRL ALT DEL from Black Ink Fiction. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk


Sand Castle

by Gully Novaro


The sand castle occupied a vast area. Twisted towers, ornate walls, a deep moat. Hard to believe this architectural wonder came from a non-verbal five-year-old.

Andy didn’t need words, the beach communicated through thoughts and feelings. Those had always been enough.

Anger approached them; the beach grew alert. Andy sent a soothing melody.

Anger walked through the castle, destroying it along the way. The beach reacted to Andy’s sadness with rage. There was no soothing melody this time.

The sand opened beneath the teenager’s feet and swallowed them. Andy and the beach recovered their peace and started fixing their castle.

Gully Novaro

Gully Novaro is a non-binary writer from Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a love for all things out of this world. Their work aims to explore feelings of dread and solitude, in the genres of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. You’ll be able to read some of their work in upcoming anthologies Wyrms, Planetside and the Dystopian Showcase edited by Shacklebound Books. 

Twitter: @GullyNovaro


The Forest Never Forgets

by Andrew Anderson


Evie always walked alone in the twilight woods.

She would walk the trails, litter-picking and marvelling at the sounds of the evening. This was an ancient place, one she cared for, which in turn respected her wish for solitude.

Not tonight, though.

It had allowed someone else into her private domain—a man waited ahead in the clearing. She stepped forward to confront him when her foot caught an oak root.

It bought Evie enough time to see the silver flash of a knife in the half-light, and for the forest floor to open, swallowing the man into its soil.

Andrew Anderson

Andrew Anderson (he/him) is a writer of fiction from Bathgate, Scotland. His work has previously been published by National Flash Fiction Day Press, Sampson Low Ltd., Selcouth Station Press, The Drabble, Black Hare Press, Eerie River Publishing, Paragraph Planet, Steering 23 Publications and Blood Song Books.


Nothing Lives Under This Dirt

by Eric Clayton


They light their fires in a circle, an old wives’ tale ward to keep away they-know-not-what.

But in the darkness, the flames illuminate my sky, warm my back, reveal the presence of those who trespass upon my sacred temple. Every twig that snaps under their ill-fitting boots I deem a sacrilege.

But still, they come, these hairless, godless creatures. And the leaves turn brown.

When my wrinkled hand bursts up and through the stone and dirt, they know they’ve made a mistake. Their screams betray their cowardice. To run, or to bow down and worship?

I eat the worshippers first.

Eric Clayton

Eric Clayton is the author of the book, Cannonball Moments. His essays on spirituality, culture and parenting have appeared in America, NCR and more. He lives in Baltimore, MD, USA with his wife, daughters and cat, Sebastian.

Website: ericclaytonwrites.com


Tree Mother

by Kai Delmas


The girl crashed through the forest shrubbery seeking aid, refuge, salvation.

Her fear tingled my leaves and thrummed through the earth into my roots. Her gods were not going to save her, but I could.

I opened my trunk to let her slip inside. I absorbed her tears and hushed her whimpers, hugging her in my motherly embrace.

Men were on her trail. I slapped the pursuers with my branches, tripped them with my roots. They would not come near her or me.

Bewildered, they tucked tail and ran without finding her. No one would ever find my sweet child.

Kai Delmas

Kai Delmas loves creating worlds and magic systems and is a slush reader for Apex Magazine. He is a winner of the monthly Apex Microfiction Contest and his fiction can be found in Martian and is forthcoming in Tree and Stone and several Shacklebound anthologies. Find him on Twitter @KaiDelmas.


The God of the Gastropods

by Lisa Edwards


Ellie glanced away from the huge spiral covered wall. It made her feel sick and giddy.


She froze for a moment, then gently lifted her foot. Oops! Sorry, little snail.

A wet pop sounded beside her. But… she’d have noticed that stuck to the side of the wall, right? Snails can’t be that big.

A thousand sharp little teeth glinted on the long tongue.

It scraped the skin off her arms and face, and she sank to the ground, a wailing, writhing ball of agony and blood. And there she remained for hours since snails only eat decomposing matter.

Lisa Edwards

Lisa writes horror, fantasy, and sometimes comedy (occasionally on purpose). She’s written several indie horror films, including Siren Song, Zombie Wars, Mannequin, and the upcoming Zombikini.  She lives in Northamptonshire, England and has a border collie who’s scared of the wind.

Website: lisaedwards.me.uk



Friend of the Forest

by Tracy Davidson


They dare come here with chainsaws and guns? Chop down my children, frighten fauna, shoot for some sick sport, killing innocent creatures that would have done them no harm. I, however, can do plenty of harm.

I send whispers through the trees. Warnings of what’s to come. Some flee. Some watch.

My breath rips weapons from human hands. I make my own sport. Their laughter turns to screams and panicked attempts to run. How easily the teeth of saws cut through flesh. How bloody the outcome of bullets.

The forest floor opens, swallows up what’s left. Peace returns. For now.

Tracy Davidson

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, A Hundred Gourds, Shooter, Journey to Crone, The Great Gatsby Anthology, WAR, In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights.




by Liam Hogan


The goddess turned, restless in her slumber as warm blood soaked the cold, dark soil. The affairs of men, best left to the crows.

Something sharp, insistent. A sacrifice, the battle hanging in the balance. A child. Children grew into adults no less unworthy than their parents. But a sacrifice in her name?

It would be rude not to.

Wings black and terrible she rose, drawing blood from both armies, from living and dead, quenching ancient hunger.

Sated, the goddess slept again beneath her silent battlefield. For how long, none could say. But she knew there would be other wars.

Liam Hogan

Liam Hogan is an award-winning short story writer. He’s been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flame Tree Press, among others. He helps host Liars’ League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk



Broken Things

by Sophie Wagner


“Trash, trash, trash,” Garret grumbled as he sifted through the remains of the abandoned campsite.

Marcus grunted in response, pausing once to grimace as he pulled a bloody rag free from his pile.

“Everything’s broken, man. Let’s go, this place is a dump,” he groaned. He waited for Garret’s response, but only a low laugh rustled through the trees.

“Broken?” the wind croaked. “And what are you, little scavenger?”

Marcus screamed as he was thrown to the ground, invisible hands bludgeoning him until his bones splintered and his eyes went empty; just another broken thing.

Then, the wind went quiet.

Sophie Wagner

Sophie Wagner is an emerging student author who has had multiple short story and poetry publications. You can find her work at The Macabre Ladies, Black Ink Fiction, Eerie River Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, Black Hare Press and more. She hopes you have a horror-filled day!