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Horror

The Zombie of His Early Days

Every morning Bobby visits Chuck. He goes down to the basement and rattles Chuck’s cage with his cane. Chuck only snarls and spits, and grinds the rotten stubs of his teeth — gnish, gnash, gnish, gnash. He’s a real codger, Chuck is. Should have seen him back in the day, though. World ain’t got zombies […]

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Fool’s Fire

It’s the cold mud that wakes me, and the taste of duckweed in my throat. In my mouth, my nose, my ears. It fills my lungs, creeps behind my eyes. I burst through the slime with a half-formed scream. I retch until I feel empty, hollow, withered. Stagger to my feet, knee-high in the sticking […]

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Memory

In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree. And within the depths of the valley, where the light reaches not, move forms not meant to be beheld. Rank is the herbage on each slope, where […]

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Becoming Normal

I haven’t showered in ten days. My scalp fosters a family of bacteria, but the table of party food — chunks of chicken, weenies slathered in mystery sauce, and eyeballs — has been sitting there for two days. Its smell leaves mine in the dust. “Nance, we’ve practiced this.” Mom yanks on her matted clumps […]

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Childhood Fears

Charles took a moment to look at the houses on his street while the last bit of sun vanished. Broken windows and kicked-in front doors stared back across overgrown brown lawns. Rusting cars slumped on driveways. Weeds pushed through cracks in the sidewalks. He ran through his checklist: backdoor secured, garage door bolted, storm windows […]

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Despair

O’er the midnight moorlands crying, Thro’ the cypress forests sighing, In the night-wind madly flying,      Hellish forms with streaming hair; In the barren branches creaking, By the stagnant swamp-pools speaking, Past the shore-cliffs ever shrieking;      Damn’d daemons of despair. Once, I think I half remember, Ere the grey skies of November Quench’d my […]

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Notes on Writing Weird Fiction

My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.), ideas, occurrences, and images encountered in art and literature. I choose weird stories […]

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Banshee Lullaby

The night my daughter sings my death, I am sitting in the living room floor, sifting through old pictures. I’m on my second glass of wine, white wine because the carpet is new. In this one photo, Emily is lying in her crib, staring up at a mobile that Aunt Linda made for her. Tiny, […]

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Meditation for the Dead

When you start this meditation, keep in mind that you’re not doing it to feel alive, or relax, or avoid decomposing. You should simply experience whatever is going on in your corpse. From moment to moment. Gently focus your full attention on your breathing. Maybe you can find a hint of a breeze going past […]

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A Purple Heart

“Patrick McMahon died two months ago, defending his country,” Father Cunningham intones. Most of us in the church look over at Patrick, where he sways in the first pew, to see if he reacts. He doesn’t. Patrick has not spoken a word since the two army nurses led him, with a tight grip on each […]

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