Tag Archive for: great outdoors


by Sean MacKendrick

Drifting flickers of lights greeted the campers as dusk settled over them. The tiny fireflies pulsed and danced through the air like sparks from the small campfire. Or like the twinkling stars above.

A thousand additional lights flared into existence, in one giant bloom. Another ten thousand joined those. Laughter and conversation became concerned murmuring; then murmurs grew into screams as the glowing pinpoints swarmed. Screams turned into gagged silence as campers choked on fistfuls of light.

Afterward it was quiet and dark once again, only the occasional popping ember to light the moonless night. Soon those faded as well.

Sean MacKendrick

Sean MacKendrick splits his time between Colorado and Texas. He works as a data engineer.

A Forest Lich

by Coby Rosser

Sounds emanate from just beyond the thicket of trees enveloping the clearing on which your campsite rests. You hear those noises. Twigs snapping. Ululations of nocturnal creatures. Wind rustling leaves. But you just roll over, snug in your sleeping bag, content in the safety of your warm firelight. Fire is your luminous shield against tenebrous nightmares, why you heartily stoked the flames before turning in, but there is no sight beyond the immediacy of a campfire. Night collapses in, an ocean of darkness full of unknown things.

I am soundless as you snore—as I snuff out your precious light.

Coby Rosser

Coby Rosser is a weathered computer analyst that lives in an extraordinarily old house in the middle of the woods somewhere in the southeastern US. Time permitting, he writes speculatively, shoots bows and arrows, and plays classical guitar.

Chattering Teeth

by Tim Tobin

The desert sun burns my skin even as my teeth chatter.

Life drips from the two bullet holes while the shadows of death sail across the sun, swoop on thermals and wait.

Hooves shatter the quiet.


But my murderer steps down to mock me.

The hiss of a rattlesnake spooks the horse and strands another man in the desert, in the heat, sun, and sand.

“Shoot,” I plead. “Finish it,” I beg.

The killer draws his gun; salvation is at hand.

His head explodes. The buzzards descend. His eyes go first.

I crawl towards the gun, my teeth chattering.

Tim Tobin

Mr Tobin holds a degree in mathematics and retired. Eighty-five of his stories/poems appear in print and online. Most recently, a collection of his childhood poems appeared in the Poet Magazine and a drabble, “Fiendish”, appeared in Black Ink Fiction.



The Hike

by Leigh Kenny

The hike was gruelling, the woods unforgiving. Jessie huffed and grumbled as she walked. She’d started complaining early into the trek. Conor rolled his eyes, tired of her already.

“At least you don’t have to do the return trip,” he snapped.


Conor froze, realising too late what he had said. He turned just as Jessie began to scream. In her haste to retreat, she dropped her pack, tripping over the jumbled straps and twisting her ankle in the process.

Sighing, Conor pulled the long blade from his bag.

“I guess we’re starting early,” he said coldly, stepping towards her.

Leigh Kenny

Leigh was born and raised in the garden county of Wicklow, Ireland. She is the mother and proud protector of two wonderful boys, a black Labrador, and a three-legged cat that hates people. You can find out more about Leigh’s work and any upcoming releases on her social media: @LeighKennyWrites



She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

by C.L. Sidell

I recite the phrase while plucking the dandelion’s petals, one by one.

“What are you doing?” Chandra asks, reaching for a wine glass. It’s a lovely day for picnicking—birds tweeting in a slight breeze.

“Consulting,” I reply as the last petal detaches on ‘not’.

“But…Travis, you know I love you.”

Wordlessly, I wrap my hands around her throat. She bucks and claws, but her strength is no match against mine.

Only when her body stills and her eyes glaze over do I let go.

“I really do hope the next one loves me,” I say with a sigh. 

C.L. Sidell

A native Floridian, C.L. Sidell grew up playing with toads in the rain and indulging in speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in The Dread Machine, Factor Four Magazine, F&SF, Martian Magazine, Medusa Tales Magazine, and others.

Website: crystalsidell.wixsite.com/mysite/publications



Wisps on the Moors

by Corinne Pollard

I raised my knickers, my bladder no longer full, while the lilac heathers bobbed in gratitude.

Ready to continue our hike, I spun round, but his tallness and backpack had vanished. I yelled his name, but the roaring wind snatched them.

Dark clouds were massing as my feet grew heavier.

Follow us. Blue lights floated like hopeful lanterns in the darkness. He went this way.

The orbs flew, and my feet followed, leading me in the opposite direction. Their lights calmed my troubled heart. Their gentle, fairy-like faces soothed my loneliness. I didn’t see their glistening fangs until too late.

Corinne Pollard

Corinne is a UK disabled horror writer who loves to dabble with drabbles. Follow her online: @CorinnePWriter


Day Three

by Kristin Lennox

The sun slunk over the horizon, blood-orange and violet flame, flooding the sandstone formations with morning majesty. Wind whispered across the still-grey canyon floor, rustling through dead grasses, around cactus silhouettes.

Jake never tired of the desert sunrise—O’Keeffe, come to life.

Its gonna get so hot, though.

“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat,” said the cow skull, in a slow, Texas twang. It stared at Jake with its bleached eye sockets, half-buried in the sand. Jake laughed hoarsely, through cracked lips. “Good one,” he croaked.

Chucking his empty canteen, he left the weathered sentinel to trudge east this time.

Kristin Lennox

Kristin is delighted to have had several drabbles published by Black Hare Press. She’s also a voice actor, and when she’s not talking to herself in her padded room (home studio), she tries to get the voices out of her head and onto the page.

The One Thing You’re Not Supposed to Do

by Russell Nichols

Don’t look down, you repeat to yourself, abseiling deeper into the mouth of Olympus Mons.

The static rope feels thin as spaghetti.

Which is exactly what you’ll look like if you take one wrong step.

The tour guide—included in the caving package—hollers: “See anything?”

Don’t look down. “You hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“That rumbling …” You freeze.

There is it again, coming from under you.

Don’t look down. The rope shivers. “Like the volcano’s about to erupt.”

“We’re not picking up any fumarolic activity.”

Then something yanks at your ankle.

Something cold.




(You looked down.)

Russell Nichols

Russell Nichols is a speculative fiction writer and endangered journalist. Raised in Richmond, California, he got rid of all his stuff in 2011 to live out of a backpack with his wife, vagabonding around the world ever since. Look for him at:

Website: russellnichols.com

Biter, Bit

by Liam Hogan

The mosquitoes ignored Claudette. They feasted on the rest of us, whining in ears as we slumbered uneasily beneath nets. We begged for her insect repellent, her face and arms porcelain white, and were dismayed to discover she didn’t use any.

One night she cut her finger on broken glass. What reluctantly seeped out was like rust rather than blood.

“I’m anaemic.” She shrugged.

In the morning, Jodie didn’t wake up, puncture wounds at her neck, polka-dot body pale and cold.

That evening, Claudette sat pink and glowing before the fire, a constellation of mosquitoes circling her, awaiting their share.

Liam Hogan

Liam Hogan is an award-winning, London based, short story writer.

Website: happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk

Into the Wild

by Andreas Flögel

Oh, Darling, now I understand your love for nature’s beauty and loneliness.

Sparkling dew drops on the grass, the song of birds, rustling trees.

I was a fool to miss out on that, all the many weekends, when you took your hiking boots and knapsack to enjoy the outdoors, while I stayed in the city to tour the pubs with the boys.

But this time I followed you. And I really appreciated your affinity for these deserted landscapes, when you and your lover finally fell asleep and I, without fear of being seen, entered your tent to cut your throats.

Andreas Flögel

Andreas Flögel would prefer to join his friend on weekends.

Website: dr-dings.de