I sit up in bed, my heart jittery, sensing something bad happened to my little brother. I whisper-cry, “Jacob?!” but he doesn’t answer me so I know I am alone.
Touching Jacob’s space next to mine in the bed we share, I feel the wetness so perhaps he’s just in the bathroom cleaning up. I pull the blanket off me and get out of bed. The left side of my underwear is wet from Jacob’s piss spot. I drop my underwear to the floor and pull on my jeans. Cold darkness envelops me, swallowing me like a snake.
I quietly move from our bedroom and walk to the bathroom downstairs. He isn’t there, but the back door is agape. I walk out into the darkness and whisper-shout his name, but all I hear is my own voice coming back to me. It must be midnight as the full moon is high in the sky. I see lightning bugs flash by the hundreds, in symphony with the chirping of crickets; I slap at a mosquito. My fear causes my skin to tighten, pulling closer as if to protect me from something darker than the darkness. Continue Reading
If you’re going up into the back country, I have just one word of advice for you. Watch out for the Conjure Man.
Now, don’t you look at me like that. I’m not fooling. The Conjure Man isn’t just some old haint story. He’s for real. They say he lives up in those piney woods somewhere. They say he talks to voodoo gods. They say for a price, the Conjure Man can make you sick, or he can make you well. He can lift a hex, or he can place one. And if the inclination takes him, some even say that the Conjure Man can raise the dead. I’m telling you the God’s Honest truth. Don’t you doubt me on that.
Alright, I’ll tell you the story. But you keep this to yourself, understand? This is a story I never told your momma, not in all the years we’ve been married. I’ve never told it to anyone, and when I get to the end you’ll understand why. Continue Reading
A red shower of concentrated low voltage electricity sprayed the inert body from head to toe.
Kones Treloar number 4287 screamed. It wasn’t an audible scream. It was an internal, silent scream that left his nerve ends tingling. Audible screams, known to be a form of stress release, didn’t help the reform programme. Audible screams were repressed by sensor wave instigation, a simple operation carried out by Robot Assistants.
When his body stopped convulsing, Kones Treloar knew therapy was about to start again. He waited, nothing happened. Sometimes it was like that in Earth Prison-Ships. The Reform Doctors would wake you and wait, watching their monitors for prisoner-patient reaction. Kones was aware he must keep his mind blank. If he let his thoughts stray to the all-important revolution for the good old ways, painful therapy would kick in with a vengeance.
He understood Reform Doctors liked prisoners to meditate on their surroundings. ‘It was a step in the right direction,’ they informed him. Kones concentrated. He was inside a circular spotlight in a dark therapy room. The force-field walls of the spotlight restricted and imprisoned him with far more effect than handcuffs, shackles, or a twenty-first century cell could ever have done. Continue Reading
Submissions for our Robert E. Howard tribute have closed. We’ll be running Daniel Davis’ Piney Woods-inspired story “That Hollow Feeling” on Howard’s birthday, January 22nd. Congrats and thanks, Daniel.
Just a reminder, we are still accepting submissions for our February tribute to Cthulhu. Full details can be found here.
First the internet connection went out. They thought it was a temporary. The next day the televisions didn’t work. Her husband called the neighbors, his brother, and his parents. No one’s TV spoke anything but blue silence.
She went to work that day, but nothing got done. Customers, clients, and coworkers huddled around the newspaper like a sacrament. Dusty radios emerged from closets to sing on desks. Useless computers were shut down and pushed aside. The newspapers’ glee over the downfall of the net rubbed off like cheap ink on your hands. Telephones still worked, the buzzing electrons consenting to carry words at languid human paces, but refusing our frantic gigabits. Things were cautiously normal. They still thought it was temporary. But she hid from her coworkers, kneading a tasteless bagel in her teeth and kneading the fear in her stomach. She knew it was over.
February marks the 83rd anniversary of the original publication of “The Call of Cthulhu” in Weird Tales. This February 14th, instead of paper-hearts and dangerous winged babies with wielding sharp projectiles, we will be celebrating the High Priest of the Great Old Ones!
We are seeking submissions about Cthulhu. The best one will run on Valentine’s Day. Despite the date, the stories do not have to be involve love in any way, shape or form. Those authors not selected for the special edition but found suitable for publication will be offered to have their stories run at a later date.
Submissions for the Cthulhu Valentine’s Day story close February 12th. Please put “Cthulhu Valentine’s Day” in the subject line when submitting. Full submission guidelines can be found here.
Also, submissions are still open for our Robert E. Howard tribute. Further details can be found here.
Thomas thanked God for his skill and begged forgiveness for what he knew he must do with it. He had volunteered, after all. Despite Church propaganda, he knew the war with the vampires was going poorly and he had given up his Parrish for this. He had no wish to fight, but he could and that is what it seemed that God needed of him.
“Ready,” he said, brown eyes fixed on the empty, stone chamber beyond the iron gate. Torches flickered uneven light across his strong face and his long frock coat stirred in the cool breeze that blew through the catacombs beneath the Vatican.
A gate at the back of the chamber opened and Thomas and three other young priests solemnly entered. Each wore crusader’s robes, more ceremonial now than anything, silver collars and red scarves. Each carried a silver crucifix dented and scarred with nine hundred years of these ceremonies. Each priest took up a position in a different quadrant of the chamber according to the crimson Roman numeral emblazoned on his robe. Thomas was number three.
Thomas looked at the mirrored wall on the other side of the room, but it did not reflect him because of the angle. It was more than a little unsettling to cast no reflection in a mirror. He could not see them, but he knew that four cardinals stood behind that wall of glass, prepared to give last rights in such an eventuality.
The gate at the back of the chamber closed.
Thomas had undergone rigorous spiritual as well as physical training. He had even been presented with the terrible things they might see in the field, the terrible things they might be forced to do.
This, however, was real.
The portcullis at the front of the chamber slid up into the stone ceiling. Beyond the doorway, only darkness lay. Continue Reading