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Bartender Lobotomist

by Jodie Angell

 

A sharp wind whistled through the forest. The abandoned bar’s shutters rattled. Leaves fluttered through the open door to join the broken glass. Fluorescent light flickered.

A blown transformer snuffed the last of the light.

The bartender downed a shot of Tequila, then descended into the cellar; her makeshift practise.

She grabbed her finest knitting needle and twisted it between her fingers.

Her captive fought against his leather restraints—his screams muffled by the wad of cloth in his mouth.

She clamped his head against the chair and pressed the needle into his eye. “This may hurt just a little.”

Jodie Angell

Jodie lives in rainy Wales, United Kingdom with her partner. She drinks lots of flavoured coffee—pumpkin spice is her favourite. She has a passion for the high fantasy genre, and her debut novel is due for release on April 15th with Champagne Book Group. She’s recently expanded her writing repertoire to cover dark fiction which she thoroughly enjoys. She’s now officially a part of the BHP family (yay!)—her first contribution was written for Hell. https://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Angell-Author-102185304807211

The Diner

by Tracy Davidson

 

Manager and monster struck a truce.

It was easy enough, in an out-of-town diner, to drug an on-foot drifter or a hitcher in between rides. Easier still to escort them out back, leave them unconscious in a dark corner, hidden from the highway.

Like this vagrant, tonight.

The manager retreats. He watched once. Never again.

The monster smells fresh meat. It’s hungry. No prey comes near his territory anymore. It prefers human flesh anyway, however seldom it appears.

It bites…slashes…gorges on gut and gore.

Before morning, the manager will clear the mess away. As a good brother should.

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.

Last Words

by John Lane

 

With zombie apocalypse nonstop on mainstream news, Don, terminal manager for Moe’s Truck Stop, unplugged the television.

Greg Watson staggered inside, repeatedly mumbling, “I can’t do this anymore.”

Outside stood Greg’s reefer trailer—the constant shaking was a red flag. Inhuman moans reverberated throughout the parking lot.

When Don walked over, he noticed the trailer side’s convex impressions of human-sized hands.

He peeked through the small rectangular door. Four stiff and slow, pale figures in torn clothes kept walking into walls.

Back at Moe’s, Don handed the keys back to Greg. Don’s last words? “I can’t do this anymore, either.”

John Lane

John Lane’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Hare Press, Ghost Orchid Press, Rejected Manuscripts, Dark Dossier Magazine, Trembling with Fear, The Drabble and other venues.

John’s story, “Dimension Traveler,” tied for Rejected Manuscripts’ third most voted entry out of 130 stories in 2020.

The Helpful Attendant

by Stephen Johnson

 

The neon bulbs flickered, casting a foreboding crimson shadow outside the isolated truck stop. I pulled to a stop on fumes, staring inside at the solitary light portraying only the back of a head visible in the store. Cautiously, I walked in and entered a surreal silence that engulfed me. I turned to the register to see a mangled bloody severed head staring back at me positioned on the counter with a devious smile placed on its lips. I felt a putrid cold breath slide across my neck and a gravelly voice whisper in my ear, “Can I help you?”

Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson is a retired Naval Officer serving 22 years on four different ships over his career.  He is married to his wife, Angelia, and they have two children, Logan and Isabelle. He plans to complete his first novel, The Fizz Prophecy, by the end of March 2021. He has published “The Hollow” in Eleanor Merry’s Dark Halloween Holiday Flash Fiction Anthology and “The Other Side of the Mirror” in Scare Street’s Night Terrors Volume 8.

Full Service

by Andrew McDonald

 

It was 3 a.m. when the 18-wheeler pulled into Phil’s twenty-four seven rest stop. Phil’s was a massive and all-encompassing set up—restaurant and store, gas pumps, car wash, efficiency units and showers—basically everything a trucker needs.

 Pulling up to the car wash area, an attendant ran to the truck and hopped up onto the wide step. The driver asked for the premium full service and went to shower and change his bloody clothes.

 The attendant removed the mangled corpse from the cab, to be disposed of later, before doing a deep clean. The driver tipped well, as usual.

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada with his wife and daughter. His short story “First Visit” was included in Pulp Science Fiction from The Rock by Engen Books.

Overgrown

by Jodi Jensen

 

“Would you look at this…” Ignoring the weeds growing in an abandoned truck at the derelict rest stop, Randall slid into the driver’s seat and gripped the gear shifter. “It’s so cool.”

A movement by his elbow caught his attention, and he turned to see a broad green leaf wrap around his arm. Razor-sharp edges cut into his flesh and blood dribbled down his wrist as another leaf wrapped around his leg.

Vines twisted around his chest, pinning him in the seat as a massive pod opened from the steering wheel.

Gleaming rows of bloody teeth gnashed, swallowing his screams.

Jodi Jensen

Jodi Jensen grew up moving from California to Massachusetts before settling in Utah. The nomadic life fed her sense of adventure and the wanderlust continues to this day. She has a passion for old cemeteries and historical buildings, and regularly uses them as story inspiration. Twitter: @WritesJodi

Safe Haven

by Michelle Brett

 

“Call an ambulance. Someone’s been hurt.”

Marcus burst through the doors of the gas station; the bright lights irritating his eyes. He laid Mary down on the tiles and pressed his jacket against her leg.

“It’s okay, Mary. I’ve found help.”

But she only mumbled in reply, her eyes closed and her face drenched in sweat. The blood, having already soaked through the fabric, now pooled onto the floor.

Marcus called again.

“Hello?”

No response.

Then finally, footsteps. A sign of life. Marcus felt a wave of relief.

Until another noise followed, metal against tiles. The dragging of an axe.

Michelle Brett

Michelle Brett is a New Zealand based author, writing horror, thriller, and speculative fiction. She has a Diploma in Applied Writing and is currently working towards a Bachelor in Communication. In her free time, she likes to question the choices of horror movie characters and report on historic crimes for a local paper.  Website: www.michellebrettbooks.com 

Black Dog

by L.J. McLeod

 

He’d heard other truckers talk about the black dog, but this was ridiculous. The fluffy mutt between him and his truck could’ve fit in his hand. It cocked its head to one side, eyes filling with white light. As it started towards him, he wondered where it had come from. Those eyes seemed to keep getting bigger. The light was mesmerising. It broke into a run, so close that those eyes were all he could see. Its mouth opened and a loud honk rang out. He woke up just in time to see the other truck bearing down on him.

L.J. McLeod

L.J. McLeod lives in Queensland, Australia. She works in Pathology and writes in her spare time. She has been published in several anthologies and has been nominated twice for the Aurealis Award.  In her spare time she enjoys diving, reading and travelling.

Scrapple

by Warren Benedetto

 

“I’ll have the scrapple,” I said.

The waitress glanced at the fist-sized bruise on my arm, then at Mike. I nodded. She jotted on her pad.

“Coffee.” Mike thrust the menu at the waitress. “Black.”

The waitress disappeared into the kitchen. Through the swinging doors, I saw her hand my order to the cook. He read it, then looked out at me. Eye contact. A small nod.

“What’s even in scrapple?” Mike sneered.

“Pork bits,” I explained. “Lips, nips, and assholes.”

The cook emerged from the kitchen. He approached Mike from behind, meat cleaver in hand.

“Mostly assholes,” I added.

Warren Benedetto

Warren Benedetto writes short fiction about horrible people doing horrible things. He has a Master’s degree in Film/TV Writing from USC. He is also the developer of StayFocusd, the world’s most popular anti-procrastination app for writers. He built it while procrastinating. Visit www.warrenbenedetto.com or follow @warrenbenedetto on Twitter.

The Lay-By

by Liam Hogan

 

I don’t like to stop. The cab fulfils my needs, from somewhere to sleep, to food and drink: coffee and instant noodles, a travelling kettle serving for both.

But you can’t resist a call of nature forever.

No need for a truck stop or gas station, not when there’s woodland either side.

By day, the lay-by would be busy with dog walkers, in summer with hikers and family picnics. On a damp April night it’s utterly empty.

Not dark though; not with a full moon peeking between the clouds.

I unleash a howl even before my paws hit the ground.

Liam Hogan

Liam Hogan is an award winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016 & 2019, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). 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 happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk