Emma works her knife over the jack-o’-lantern’s flesh, tapers the leering, accusatory mouth, widens empty eyes. Her stepmother’s features, just so.
She draws the gleaming blade between unhearing ears.
A centred candle bursts into flame.
“Proof of the destructive power,” Master Carver has forewarned.
Soon father will be hers alone.
Gary Thomson resides in Ontario, where he enjoys country drives through fiery autumn colours and strolling amongst early pioneer cemeteries. None of his published work matches the poignancy of mossy inscriptions on weathered grave markers.
We didn’t have enough bullets for everyone, so we had to draw lots. I lost. Typical.
“You should be glad,” they said. “You’ll get to live longer. In a way, we are the losers, right?”
Joke’s on them: I’ll eat their faces as soon as I turn into a zombie.
Rodrigo Ortiz Vinholo is a Brazilian fiction writer based in São Paulo. His short fiction work has been featured in over a hundred collections in Brazilian Portuguese, exploring a wide variety of genres. His latest books are ‘Sinônimo de Rancor’ (2018, self-published), ‘Os Dias em que Rubia Viveu no Futuro’ (2019, Lendari), ’33’ (2020, Casa Literária) and ‘Poemas Chatos para Pessoas Ruins’ (2020, Darda Editora). See more at rodrigoortizvinholo.com.br (in Brazilian portuguese)
Humans, givers of food, thought the large dog, bounding to the man sitting against a wall. Since the time of the great light, the wind and fires, it had eaten little.
But the human had no food and was very weak.
Humans are food! thought the dog, trotting contentedly away.
John Young is an old chap grappling with themes of limits, longings, and finitude. He lives in St Andrews, Scotland, an ancient town with an ancient university, home of golf, home also – allegedly – of many ghosts. (He has not met any yet.)
The gate swung easily. The elderly couple on the porch chatting quietly. He glanced around. A perfect lawn. No weeds anywhere. Roses blooming everywhere. The house looked immaculate. Who called social services? Quick check and I’ll be gone.
“Excuse me, can we talk?”
The couple turned. Glowing crimson eyes glared.
Bob is retired and busy caring for his 5 dogs. After retiring, he began bartending but has since switched to writing. It may not yet be as financially rewarding but there’s a lot to be said about sitting and writing with a good cocktail! Bob is a big sports fan that lives outside Philly. A website is coming.
Waves lap the shoreline. Palm trees rustle, muffling the snores of the men round the spit-roast, whose spices linger in the salt air. Logs flicker. The last captive looks out from his cage and prays.
Then clouds part, and the full moon’s light glides over him. He grins, fangs lengthening.
Michael B. Keane is a London-based writer of dark fiction.
Slurping. Groaning. Mud in your eyes and mouth. Teeth aching.
Clambering onto the riverbank, you cough up a whole fish then a beetle.
Your reptile skin slithers off, glinting iridescent in the sunshine.
You shove and jostle into your human frame and shuffle on trembling legs towards the silver city.
Dettra Rose writes flash fiction and tiny poems.
Her pieces have won and been shortlisted/longlisted in a number of esteemed competitions, including: Bath Flash Fiction Award, Reflex Fiction, Retreat West, the Australian Writers’ Centre and TSS Publishing. Dettra is working on her first novel. A born-and-bred Londoner she now lives in Australia and calls both places home. Find her at Dettrarose.com.
The roofs appear first, small grey peaks breaking through the water as the drought slowly reveals the village last seen seventy years ago.
After the forced clearance of the villagers, the valley was flooded, the reservoir built.
We descend, excited explorers discovering cobbled roads, abandoned cottages. A shotgun. Bleached bones.
Brian Maycock lives in Scotland. His short stories have most recently been published in The Drabble and 365 tomorrows.
While I’m stooped and wrinkled, my body savaged by plague and illnesses, reduced to just a brittle twig, know that once I dominated Roman society. Senators were drawn to me like hummingbirds to nectar, my grace and beauty halted conversations, and when I regain strength, my lash will fly again.
Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife Jane now live in Texas. Joe’s stories have appeared in more than 100 magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, and Shenandoah. His novels, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story (2015), and Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller (2017) were published by Harvard Square Editions. Rogue Phoenix Press published Drone Strike (2019) and his short story collection, Stories and Places I Remember (2020). Joe was among 100 Italian American authors honored by Barnes & Noble to march in Manhattan’s 2017 Columbus Day Parade. Read the first chapter of Joe’s novels and sign up for his blog at joe-giordano.com.
Is it the moon or sun bookended by the trees on either side of the road? The fiddler’s been walking so long he’s lost track of night and day. Dusk or twilight, the orb marks the crossroads, and he promised to play the devil a tune a long time ago.
Pippa Phillips wrote this story.
I can notch no more on my Colt, yet one still eludes me.
Through rain and snow and rugged terrain, I’ve finally hunted him down.
Outside a bar, in Tombstone, I called him out to end it.
The last notch was etched on my wife’s and two daughters’ headstones.
Warren Clyde wrote this story.