Tag Archive for: magic and mayhem


by Ryan Van Ells

The stew looks delicious. My stomach rumbles. I look at the babysitter.

“Not yet,” she says. “It needs mandrake root.”

I hand her one. “Now?”

“Not yet. It needs sage.”

I hand her the bottle. “What about now?”

“Not yet. It needs lizard guts.”

I reach for the lizard, his stomach already slit open. I struggle to reach it with my feet tied, but I reach it and hand it to her. “Now?”

“Not yet.”

“What else do we need?”

“The eyes of a young boy.”

I look around the kitchen. I don’t see a young boy. “Where are those?”


Ryan Van Ells

Ryan Van Ells is a queer lawyer and author of dark fiction from Wisconsin. Their work has appeared in October Screams and other anthologies.

Just Dance

by James Rumpel

“It’s a huge crowd,” stated AJ, nervously.

“Of course. You’re famous,” replied Cecil, handing AJ the tip jar.

AJ moved into position, greeted by raucous applause.

Cecil pulled out a small doll and began to manipulate it surreptitiously.

With each twist of the voodoo doll, AJ performed a matching break-dance move, amazing the crowd with his uncanny balance.

Cecil was preparing to spin the doll for AJ’s big finish when someone jostled him. The doll flew from his hand into the middle of Bourbon Street.

AJ landed with a thud. He looked up just as a car flattened the doll.


James Rumpel

James Rumpel is a retired math teacher who enjoys spending some of his free time trying to turn some of the odd ideas in brain into stories.


by Don Money

The book cover made of tree bark grabbed Elroy’s attention, but what intrigued him more was the title, Dark Magic of Appalachia. The horror the spells inside promised gave rise to a dark idea.

A gluttony incantation and the moonshine from Elroy’s still became something people couldn’t live without. The desire consumed every person who fell under the spell of the moonshine. The money poured in as the desire grew, the demand more than Elroy could satisfy.

Craving the needed drink, the crowd descended on the still. Elroy’s pleas for more time went unanswered as the horde tore him apart.


Don Money

Don Money writes stories across a variety of genres. He is a middle school language arts teacher. His stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies and magazines.

Immortal Investment

by Chris Clemens

“Last chance. Are we completely sure he’d want this?”

“His will is clear: immediate resurrection. Mr Kocher spent a fortune on this nekronomi-whatever book. Careful, the cover’s falling apart.”

“It’s just… LOOK at him.”

“I won’t. It’s gross. Now start chanting!”

Hissing forbidden syllables, the assistants shuffled around concentric pentagrams they’d etched on the runway tarmac. Dark energy sizzled through the private jet, converging beneath the dripping turbofan engine where the regrettable fatality had occurred.

Deep within the crimson pile of shredded slurry that had once been billionaire Reginald Kocher, a wet orifice resembling a mouth began to scream.


Chris Clemens

Chris Clemens lives in Toronto, surrounded by raccoons. His stories have appeared in Invisible City Lit, Apex Magazine, and elsewhere.

Eternal Flame

by Ria Hill

The patch of stone he kneels on is as bare as it is holy. He has done the unthinkable and sought immortality. That achieved, he waits in chains before the only few who could revoke that gift.

His final sentence is a shock that stiffens his spine.

“Keep your eternity,” the priestess says. “Be our guiding light.”

The flames roll over his flesh, consuming him with a hunger that will never be satisfied.

Prayers tear his throat to shreds only briefly before it stitches itself whole to scream again. His ever-mending body is a fuel that will never be exhausted.


Ria Hill

Ria Hill is a writer, librarian, and nonbinary horror. Chances of them devouring you on sight are very low, but never zero. They can be found online at riahill.weebly.com and on various social media platforms @riawritten.

Website: riahill.weebly.com

Bargained the Light

by Akis Linardos

Ethereal chains binding you to your wife rattle as you trudge onto the porch. To the cold indifferent desert night. Heads of men that once voted you bounce across the barren road, ensnared in tumbleweeds.

Crackling paper pleasure, you roll another cancer-stick—a brief respite from the mental anguish of your sins.

Hopefully hell claims you sooner. You offered your town to the devil, to revive a wife that never wanted a husband but a fat-wallet mayor.

Her reanimated corpse shrills beside you, and you cry because you know: Once you used the grimoire’s spell, sunlight would never shine again.


Akis Linardos

Akis is a writer of bizarre things, a biomedical AI scientist, and almost human. He’s also a Greek that hops across countries as his career and exploration urges demand. Find his fiction at Apex, Dread Machine, Apparition Lit, and visit his website for other dark surprises.

Website: linktr.ee/akislinardos 

The Crimson Tome

by Kai Delmas

I scoured the oldest libraries and their secret texts. I uncovered clues that were lost or thought destroyed.

Hidden away behind a sealed brick wall, the tome was clasped in a skeleton’s hands upon an altar.

Now it’s finally mine.

I leaf through the pages to find them… empty. Nothing. Nothing at all.

My grip tightens against my will. Pain courses through me. The pages fill with words and symbols. Red, crimson ink spreads through the book on every page.

The power of the tome has been set free, and my blood was the price to pay. Every last drop.


Kai Delmas

Kai Delmas loves creating worlds and magic systems. His fiction can be found in Zooscape, Martian, Crepuscular, and several Shacklebound anthologies. His debut drabble collection, Darkness Rises, Hope Remains, was published by Shacklebound Books. You can support him at: patreon.com/kaidelmas and find him on on Twitter and on Bluesky @kaidelmas.bsky.social

Twitter: @KaiDelmas

The Student

by Christina Persaud

This damned dissertation.

Loose leaf papers threaten to take flight. Books stacked upon books, most if not all on the occult. My bleary eyes strain to read one in particular: The Sworn Book of Honorius. It’s old. Language too ancient to ask for help. So, I read aloud, sounding out syllables, hearing myself.

“Angeli domini vos excitent qui vos venire constringant…”

My feet stagger, making a mess of chalk symbols on my wooden floor, summoning angels, maybe demons. The room tilts dangerously, and I shake.

All in the name of research.

From the shadows, something moves, and black wings spread.


Christina Persaud

Christina Persaud is a Horror Writers Association member and Ladies of Horror Fiction Grant winner. Having parents who immigrated from Guyana, she grew up enjoying Caribbean stories, especially folklore. Today, she resides in Florida with her husband and a ferociously sweet yorkie named Kaiju. Find her at:

Website: www.ChristinaPersaud.com

Ophelia’s Damnation

by Freya King

Ophelia stared at Grimgran’s sunken cheeks in the casket. The townspeople, who’d called Grimgran a witch and shunned her, attended like vultures.

Ophelia raged.


     Ants in their pants

     Punish everyone here

     To their graves, make’em dance”

To her delight, this time it worked.

Fire ants marched up legs and toes began tapping. Mrs Moore did the Charleston. Mean old Mr Percival did the macarena and Mr Clopp, from the village shop, did the bop. Ophelia giggled.

Even as blood dripped and ants gnawed bone, the enchanted townsfolk boogied.

Ophelia flicked an ant away. More came.

She did say everyone.


Freya King

Freya King is a creative writer who is most at home exploring the dark and twisted nature of humans. She has won various awards for her short stories.

Hard Bound

by Kristin Lennox

Amelia discovered the book in the thrift store behind a stack of Readers Digests. She was a sucker for old tomes, and this one checked all the boxes. The pages crackled like delicate insect wings, revealing handwritten passages in some long-dead language with oddly sensual illustrations.

Tucked into her wingback with a cup of chamomile, Amelia carefully turned the pages. Stopping on an intriguing image of a beefy lad with reddish skin and horns, she slowly sounded out the caption beneath.

And until the demon cleared his throat, she never noticed the fiery portal to hell churning in her credenza.


Kristen 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.