by Amanda Bergloff

I sighed… hoping it would attract some sort of attention, but he was fixated on eating. I thought that dining al fresco tonight would spark interesting conversation, yet we ate our meal in silence.

I remembered how I used to be insatiable for our intoxicating exchanges. However, tonight I didn’t have much of an appetite.

He looked up and burped. “You ready?” he asked.

I nodded. I wondered if he realized I hadn’t even said one word during the entire meal.

During the walk home, I came to the conclusion that all relationships must have a life cycle. The beginning part was very exciting, but the end part was actually quite annoying.

Do not speak unless you can improve on silence.

Lucy Marti via Creative Commons

It was finally time to go to sleep. He lifted the lid for me.

“Good morning,” he said as he helped me climb in.

“You have some flesh in your teeth, dear,” I said, folding my hands across my chest.

He closed my lid with one hand as the other picked his teeth.

I listened to the sound of him opening and closing his own lid.

Before I drifted off to sleep, I thought, “I must talk to Wrenfeeld about moving my coffin to a different part of the abbey.”

Amanda BergloffAmanda Bergloff is a science fiction/fantasy writer who has had stories published by Darkhouse Books (Stories from the World of Tomorrow) and World Weaver Press (Frozen Fairy Tales.) She is also a surrealist artist who loves all things pop-culture, and the interior of her mind looks like 1950s sci fi pulp art. 

Writer’s Website:
Artist Website:

by Scarlett R. Algee

He swims out to the reef and waits for her, because hell is empty and all the devils are here and he has not yet learned to be afraid.

She comes: bare and white, hair and eyes and skin, flat feet and webbed fingers and thin mouth stretched in a too-toothed smile—

(the sky is lead and the sea is black and she is white save her gills and more secret places, fringed-rich-red, pulsing, waiting)

—and her mouth is too wide for proper kissing but he does it anyway, warm flesh to cold, his hands slotted into hers, short nails pulling at the membranes between her fingers.


Jack Flanagan via Creative Commons

She tastes of rain, of salt, of blood: and he has not learned to be afraid—

(he will be found in three days’ time, neck broken in three places, bitten through to porcelain shards of spine)

—and when she laughs quicksilvery he tips his head back, baring his throat, stars wheeling briefly overhead in his vision before blanking out, and there is hunger raw in the rows of her teeth but something in her eyes like kindness—

And he is not afraid, because hell is empty.

Originally appeared in Cthulhu Haiku II (2013) by Popcorn Press.

Scarlett R AlgeeScarlett R. Algee has most recently contributed to the anthologies A Shadow of Autumn, Zen of the Dead, and The Haunting of Lake Manor Hotel, as well as to Body Parts Magazine. Previously a teacher and librarian, she lives in the wilds of Tennessee with a Hound of Tindalos cleverly disguised as a beagle, and blogs at

by Daniel Lind

With an absent heart, my insatiable hunger is turning bones brittle. I fought for Britain, then a bomb blew my platoon into confetti. Some of us ramble in the twilight, but we’re unable to go back to Blighty.

Now we confine ourselves to outskirts, living off scraps and dirt. I don’t feel cold, the goosebumps days are gone. My uniform is unrecognizable. Eastern winds wither what’s left of my face, and the uneven soil fills the potholes in my feet as I stumble through the woods.

Twilight Silhouette

Tony Austin via Creative Commons

Perhaps we won the war: I notice an increase in coaches waving the Union Jack. People picnic in the open, drink tea and eat mince pies—unaware that we regard them with drooling mouths. The innocence in the childrens’ eyes betray them. They don’t know the horrors we’ve endured to allow them this privilege.

Snarling, I point my severed limb towards the family, and my squadron silently surrounds them.

Their fleshy insides are ruptured first. A surge of blood covers the blanket. We’re deaf to their screams; our hunger is louder, and their pleas only fuel our desire.

I put on the father’s stained overcoat, rip its medals off, and leave them behind in the scarlet grass.

With new clothes, and sated cravings, we retreat to await the evening.

Daniel is a Swedish teacher living in London with his wife and two children. He plays the guitar and changes diapers in his spare time. His work has previously been published with Zetetic: A record of Unusual Inquiry, Flash Fiction Magazine, and others. You may find him on Twitter: @lindhoffen.

by Brendan Foley

There’s a clearing in the forest, a clearing where you’ll find six stumps.

Study the gnarls of bark and discover the lines and woes of life. See what once were men.

a face in the woods

Anjan Chatterjee via Creative Commons

The world got to be too much. So they left. Went here. Went wodwo. Spent their wildness and came to rest. They wanted to be one with the woods. Now they are.

There’s one with lips still parted. His eyes still frozen half-lidded.

Listen, and you will hear his whisper.

He will tell you his name, for he alone among the circle still remembers his name.

He will tell you his grief, for he alone among the circle still knows what it is to hurt.

He will ask you a boon. Your heart will got out to the fading whisper and you will ask how you might help.

He will beg for death.

And you will have no way of giving this to him, save a fire that would only serve to destroy that holy place. And you will not commit such sacrilege, not for just one soul.

So you will back slowly away from the clearing.

His screams will be faint. You will hear them all the same.

Brendan Foley lives in Massachusetts, where he has made a habit out of not knowing what he’s doing. He’d like to make a career out of it. You can follow his ramblings on Twitter: @TheTrueBrendanF, or email him at Three years from now, it will be revealed that he was dead the entire time.

by Karen Bovenmyer

haunted-house-1124241_640An empty house lived at the end of his street. Trees like claws stopped other kids, as if they grabbed ankles and wrists and hoods of sweatshirts. He found a way there by looking somewhere else, sidewalk-crack-sidewalk, then dead grass. Up. White oval shapes lingered behind black windows. In. A slamming back door echoed staple-guns putting up his HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD posters. Three years later, after his classmates had grown into pimples and too-short jeans, he came out, hollow-eyed and shaking. He struck the trees, also, with a wet axe from the living house, his body now a man’s body, sweating hard. They took him to a hospital, depressingly white and clean and smelling like medicine, but he still saw the house by not looking. When the demolition cranes came, they were like hands that scooped shingles off the roof, the strange Victorian spires crumbled, broken plaster and creaking timbers screamed, undefined white shapes tumbled down in a cloud of dust. The house at the end of the street died. After, he went home with a face blank as a sheet of paper, something so normal and unwritten, and, in the night, his memories clutched at him, as if they grabbed ankles and wrists and hoods of sweatshirts.

This story originally appeared in Festival Writer and also appeared in Cavalcade of Terror.

Karen BovenmyerKaren Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and is the Nonfiction Assistant Editor for Mothership Zeta Magazine.

by Alex P. Grover

Left Behind

Omar Eduardo via Creative Commons

I still rub my eye a lot. 

I used to rub both of my eyes. I think that’s why the left one started to twitch. 

I’d always been worried something would get inside—I’d seen too many videos of botfly larvae removals, right from the crevice between the globe and the socket. I had a craving for that kind of macabre.  

I don’t know what I touched—what my finger captured, maybe under one of its deep grooves.

Go to the doctor.

It’s not too bad, I’d said. 

Because it wasn’t horrible at first. It’d happen after laughing at a joke. After sneezing. Innocent.

It took only a month. The twitch became unbearable. My left eye swelled up, ripe with hurt, always semi-closed. I couldn’t move without it stirring.

Go to the doctor.

Tomorrow, I’d finally said.

The night before my appointment, I slept. It was rare, but there were moments of rest in between the irritation. I was happy in bed.

I woke calmly to buzzing pain in my face. Then I screamed.

I could only see with my right eye, since the left was out of its socket, optic nerve pulled taut, the whole thing slowly crawling away on six legs.

Alex P. GroverAlex P. Grover is currently a digital production associate at Penguin Random House. His work has been published at Strange Horizons and A cappella Zoo, among other venues for the weird, as well as on the Quirk Books blog. Fortunately, his rational side left him long ago. You can visit or follow him on Twitter @AlexPGrover to find out why.

by Anne E. Johnson

Aquamarine crystal

Jim H. via Creative Commons

Gemma donned her protective glasses. After ten years together, that sight still gave Sylvia chills. “Oh, dear. Here we go.”

Her wife grinned under bulging plastic eyepieces. “It will be great.” In gloved hands, she held up a rough blue crystal. “Aquamarine. Prized by psychics. I want this rock’s power.”

Sylvia distrusted Gemma’s maniacal tone. “Why not simply make a crystal ball?”

Gemma cackled. “Why be simple, Silvery Silvia?” She used that nickname only at her most intense moments: lovemaking and scientific breakthroughs.

“Be careful, honey.”

To her left ear Gemma attached a cable clip, clipping another to a jagged corner of the rock. “I’ll transfer the stone’s soul to my mind.”

“Or you’ll electrocute yourself.”

Sylvia clenched her hands when Gemma flicked the switch. Sparks showered from the stone and from Gemma’s ear. A monstrous buzzing drowned out her screams.

At Gemma’s funeral, friends and family whispered, “Why does grieving Sylvia smile?”

In fact, there was no cause for tears. The experiment had worked in an unexpected way. In her palm Sylvia cradled a stone; her lover’s soul peered from the aquamarine’s glowing depths. With that crystal nestled into Gemma’s pillow every night, Silvery Sylvia could never be a widow.

Anne E. JohnsonAnne E. Johnson is based in Brooklyn. She writes speculative and historical fiction, both for adults and for kids and teens. Learn more on her website,

by Maureen Bowden

Vintage 70s Serbin Lime Floral Maxi Dress

Justine Carroll via Creative Commons

I regain consciousness in a room that smells of bleach. I’m lost, with no name, remembering Geraldine, needing only her. Behind my closed eyes, she stands with her back to me. Her dress is green. Geraldine in green: it sounds like a song, in archive footage of the Soul Music days. Synchronised guys with Afros and satin suits, sway and swirl, click their fingers, and sing of Nadine, Renee, and Geraldine.

“Turn around,” I call to her. “Let me see you, and the world will reassemble.”

A voice speaks. “The procedure is complete. Open your eyes.”  I obey. A white-coated figure holds a mirror, and says, “See for yourself.”

I blink to clear my vision. My heartbeat pounds in my ears, and I feel my ribs expand to accommodate air-filled lungs. The mirror holds a reflection of Geraldine’s face. I remember her image in the Body Catalogue. She had long auburn hair. Now her head is shaven. A row or stitches encircles her skull, indicating where it was lifted like a toffee tin lid. I know the stitches must run down her neck and her back. She would have been opened, so that my brain and spinal cord could be inserted.

The cut will heal. I’ll grow my hair long, and I shall wear green.

Maureen BowdenMaureen Bowden is a Liverpudlian, living with her musician husband in North Wales, where they try in vain to evade the onslaught of their children and grandchildren. She has had seventy-two stories and poems accepted for publication by paying markets, including ‘Grievous Angel’, ‘Third Flatiron’, Alban Lake’, ‘Mad Scientists Journal’, and ‘Unsettling Wonder’, among others. Silver Pen publishers nominated one of her stories for the 2015 international Pushcart Prize.

She also writes song lyrics, mostly comic political satire, set to traditional melodies. Her husband has performed these in Folk clubs throughout England and Wales.

She recently retired from a long career with HMRC, and in 2013 she obtained a First Class Honours Degree from the Open University. As well as Literature and History, the Degree included modules in Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing. She achieved a distinction in both.

She loves her family and friends, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Shakespeare, and cats.

by Erick Mancilla

The Metro can be a boring ride or an underground trip to Mars. Down there, people can be… anomalous. Going down, I was one of two riders and he creeped me right the hell out. While not staring, he kept shooting looks at me.

I focused harder on my phone. Thank God for game apps.


Daniel Roizer

Through my periphery, he began with odd gestures. For the most part, these guys are harmless, but right now, that’s no comfort.

Why does this happen to me? Stay calm, Diana. These things don’t always end badly.

It occurs to me to get off a stop before mine and wait for the next train home. Damn, his gesticulations have become more animated, frantic.

“Mother,” he gurgles.

I’m quick off the train as planned, leaving him riding on. I’m the only one on the platform, what a huge relief. Then, soft footsteps alert me to someone at the far end of the station.

He yells at me, “Mommy, don’t leave me.” His wailing keeps on and on until the train arrives.

Thinking of home, I jump in and pass him by.

Finally, at my stop and stepping off, a woman whispers in my ear a word that makes me sick.

Erick MancillaErick Mancilla works day and night trying to find the door to that Other Dimension. He writes short stories in the hope The Key will be found within one of them. He is a blogger at and can also be found @DeapGreanDream.

by Alyson Rhodes


katieb50 via Creative Commons

We were strolling around the cloisters when we first noticed the crow.

It was just perched on the stone wall with its head cocked. It seemed to be watching us.

A black garbed reminder of the legions of dead monks who’d prayed here.

“Shoo.” Mum flapped her hands at it.

Billy chucked a stone. Mum told him off. “Show some respect.”

Wherever we walked in the cathedral grounds the crow came with us. An avian shadow.

It made me feel goose bumpy and a bit sick. Billy of course made a game of it, talking about crow pie for tea.

We wandered inside to gaze at knights’ tombs and jewel like stained glass windows. Which was when I remembered Grandma telling me years ago, “The crows know.”

She’d been dead a little while by then. I had never really understood Gran’s sayings.

The memory grew and ripened though. That night while our little household slept I went to her wooden chest and unearthed her cloak of feathers. It was an heirloom; the birds’ plumages interwoven. Fabulously glossy light catchers.

The crow was waiting for me outside. I perched on the six foot garden wall, wrapped the feathery mantle around me and took flight towards the cathedral spire.

It’s a family tradition.

Alyson originally trained as a teacher/tutor who wrote children’s books/poetry as a hobby. Fast forward to 2016, she now lives near Bronte terrain in Yorkshire. She writes mainly noir Flash Fiction (some of it has been published on line) and spooky tales, and is also writing a Y.A. novel. She lives with her partner, teen son, and 3 rescue cats. Alyson is a confirmed chocoholic and still hopeless at maths.

Her work has appeared on Tubeflash; The Casket of Fictional Delights; Bunbury Press;; United Jotters; Paragraph Planet; and won 2nd prize in an ‘On The Premises’ mini flash contest. Flash fiction story appearing in Raging Aardvark’s Twisted Tales anthology in November; winner of Daggerville games monthly FF comp and shortlisted in other comps. Alyson is publishing her children’s book ‘The Runaway Umbrella’ on Kindle in the autumn.