Kingdom of Ash and Soot

Outside the window, a strange midday fog rolled in. The outline of Prague and its proud castle had become more mysterious and ethereal, and I wondered if it was really real, too. Before, everything about the city had a celestial touch to it, as if I could walk down a street and suddenly find myself in Heaven. In that moment, I could not say that; paradise was suddenly full of poison, and I had to wonder what parts of my life it had touched. I entered the room, confronted with the terrible sadness of this reality. I flopped onto my … Continue reading Kingdom of Ash and Soot

True Places

True Places by Sonja Yoerg Her thoughts turned to Iris, alone in the forest for so long, neither wandering nor lost. Such freedom was foreign to Suzanne, and she wondered if her attachment to the girl was born of fascination with Iris’s independence. Growing up, Suzanne had been at the mercy of the tangled misery of her parents’ marriage; she’d had no agency and little love or attention as compensation. College was an escape route, and like a perennially captive animal, Suzanne had needed those years to begin to understand the mechanics of psychological freedom. Finally, believing in love at last, … Continue reading True Places

Mary B

Though a child, I already saw, unfolding before me, a life lived ingratiatingly in the shadows, of sitting like an old gargoyle at dinner tables while, some few feet away, the living laughed and exchanged stories. I would have no stories to tell. No estates to run. No children to speak of. I would not be blessed with the holy rites of matrimony and would this be compelled to live my years beholden to the loveliness of one of two older sisters, who would, by their charity, ensure that I always had food to eat and a roof over my … Continue reading Mary B

Broken Things

The woods were deep and quiet with snow. Our footsteps plunging through the film of surface ice disturbed crows from their perches, sending them screaming toward the sky. Summer was in a good mood. She hardly seemed to notice the cold and kept urging us to hurry up, go on, just a little farther – past the shed, past another creek, down into a kind of gully where birch trees stood like ghostly signposts, frightened by some past horror into the same stripped whiteness. This was the prima ballerina Summer, the dazzlingly beautiful one, the one we could never refuse. … Continue reading Broken Things

Daughters of the Lake

His wife’s cries awoke the new father who, rushed, horrified, to the side of his first daughter’s crib in the nursery, an alcove just off what was now the master bedroom that Simon and Jonathan had renovated into a spectacular master bath, complete with a steam shower and Jacuzzi tub. It was Simon’s favorite thing, lazing in the scented water, enjoying a glass of wine and a good book. He had no idea that his great-grandmother had begun to lose her sanity in the exact spot where numerous water jets now massaged the kinks in his back. Although he had … Continue reading Daughters of the Lake

Classic Monsters: Vampires in Kostova’s The Historian

On the side of it, in the deepest flesh on the muscular throat, were two brown scabbed puncture marks. Not fresh, but not fully healed, as if he had been stabbed by twin thorns, or mutilated at knife points. I stepped back from the table, thinking I had lost my mind with all my morbid readings, that I’d actually come unhinged, but the daylight was quite ordinary. The man in his dark wool suit perfectly real, down to the smell of unwash and perspiration and… something else, under his cologne. Nothing disappeared or hanged. I couldn’t drag my eyes from … Continue reading Classic Monsters: Vampires in Kostova’s The Historian

Classic Monsters: The God of Death in Dubeau’s A God in the Shed

“I see it,” Jonathan confirmed in a whisper. “What is it?” “Not a bear. The eyes are too close together,” Eenis said. “They look almost… human.” Nathan dropped his arms but forced himself not to run away. “We should go,” Jonathan said, voicing what the others were ashamed to admit. “Pleeeease… stay.” The words had been issued from the cavern, piercing the air with a sound that soothed the soul and eased the mind. As the voice dissipated, a body crawled from the shadows of the cave. At first, it walked on all fours, awkwardly scuttling on the ground like … Continue reading Classic Monsters: The God of Death in Dubeau’s A God in the Shed

Classic Monsters: Sapkowski’s The Last Wish – It has a little bit of everything!

“Well, then Adda gave birth. And now listen, because this is where it all starts. Only a few saw what she bore, but one midwife jumped from the tower window to her death and the other lost her senses and remains dazed to this day. So I gather that the royal bastard – a girl – was not comely, and she died immediately. No one was in a hurry to tie the umbilical cord. Nor did Adda, to her good fortune, survive the birth. “But then Foltest stepped in again. Wisdom dictated that the royal bastard should have been burned … Continue reading Classic Monsters: Sapkowski’s The Last Wish – It has a little bit of everything!

Classic Monsters: Zombies in Grant’s Feed

The world was a weird place before the Rising. After the Rising, with an estimated 87% of the populace living in fear of infection and unwilling to leave their homes, a new breed of reality star was born: the reporter. While you can be an Aggregator or a Stewart without risking yourself in the real world, it’s hard to be an Irwin, a Newsie, or even a really good Fictional if you cut yourself off that way. So we’re the ones that eat in restaurants and go to theme parks, the ones who visit National Parks even though we’d really … Continue reading Classic Monsters: Zombies in Grant’s Feed

Classic Monsters: Witches in Passarella’s Wither

But Abby still wasn’t afraid, she was curious. And when she found the gravestones, she ceased to be simply a visitor to this place – she knew she’d found a home. They lay in a tumbled heap, three stones so old they almost seemed natural rock. Abby kneeled down to peer at the first name carved into the green face of the first stone. She read the letters eroded by three hundred seasons of wind, rain, and snow. SARAH HUTCHINS CONDEMNED WITCH HANGED THIS DAY 1699 –Wither by J.G. Passarella Wither by J.G. Passarella Wither is a horror novel about the … Continue reading Classic Monsters: Witches in Passarella’s Wither