Volume I, Issue II: Haunted Holidays
The King's Hallow'een Gala, by Hart St. John
The village market on Pickle Street bustles with minstrel music and the motion of shoppers and vendors selling their wares. Making my way through the lanes, I’m searching for a meal fit for a king—or should I say, the king.
Din-Din (A Parable), by John Jeffire
Cleo’s mother reaches across the dinner table, some errant dry flakes of decayed skin fluttering into the gravy boat. She smiles, happy to have her family gathered at her table, a brownish drizzle of drool seeping from the corner of her mouth.
Meredith's Confession, by Sherry Fowler Chancellor
The unnaturally thin woman with the white hair and eyebrows pointed to the façade of the old castle. “There it is. It’s been in my husband’s family for over six-hundred years. What do you think?”
Welcome To The 21st Century, Mr. Claus, by Frank Talaber
His contorted face will haunt the rest of my life, they all do, as his blood splatters adorned the wall in a macabre painting adding to the festive colors of the yuletide season. Making sure my contract was fulfilled I pumped two more silenced bullets into his body
A Clearing, by Gavin Boyter
Running saved me. It sounds hyperbolic but I wouldn’t still be here, engaged in the banal act of assembling an Ikea bookcase (or avoiding doing so, if I’m honest), if it weren’t for the simple act of putting one foot in front of another, at speed, through the English countryside.
Vampire, by Reina Skye Nelson
I sing that you might know me.
Though I do not
do it well, my voice is
The Right One, by Mark Towse
Bubbling, blood-filled screams surround us as the permanence of flesh-tearing, limb-snapping sounds bore their way through into my mind.
Whitechapel Nights, by Scott Harper
Stifling brown fog filled the streets of Whitechapel, diffusing the flickering yellow light of the ambient gas lamps and masking the radiance of a new moon. Few pedestrians were out this Samhain Night to celebrate the beginning of the darker half of the year, for terror had come to Whitechapel.
Our First Thanksgiving on Earth, by Austin Treat
You toss the spare key on the table when you get inside, the one you found yesterday when you didn’t have a house for Thanksgiving. You don’t care for the local customs but she does.
Unlikely Presents, by Chet Gottfried
Tom Whelan looked through the single window of his too small office and saw the green sky of Regina, a planet designated for agricultural development.
Writing Lines, by J.L. Royce
Meister Meed staggered back from the blackboard as the beast erupted from its surface. The Dobhar-chú snarled, a face of fur and fangs, then swung a massive paw.
FROM THE PERIODICAL, FORLORN ARCHIVES
The Ghost of Christmas Eve, by Carlisle
Stillwater never looked its best at Christmas. The river, on the banks of which the town sat, ensured that seasonal storms brought not a blanket of snow, picturesque as a Currier and Ives print, but cold rain.
Fool's Silver, by Danger Callahan
“Why do they call you Danger?” the man asked.
He wasn’t really interested in my story, but in the attention of the women hanging around the bar like flies around rotting meat.
Appearing in this Issue:
Tantalized by our collection of dark holiday tales?
Get hung up on every spine-tingling word.
Hart St. John:
Hart St. John lives on a 13 x 13 plot of land in a remote area of New England. Dedicated to the preservation of history and books, and spends a lot of time in bookstores, collecting out-of-print books that are later hidden (buries) for future generations. Lover of traveling the Appalachian Trail and meeting people who share a love of book preservation. Their work has appeared in 365 Tomorrows and Strange Horizons.
For more from the author, visit: https://hartstjohn.carrd.co
John Jeffire was born in Detroit. In 2005, his novel Motown Burning was named Grand Prize Winner in the Mount Arrowsmith Novel Competition and in 2007 it won a Gold Medal for Regional Fiction in the Independent Publishing Awards. Speaking of Motown Burning, former chair of the Pulitzer Jury Philip F. O'Connor said, “It works. I don't often say that, but it has a drive and integrity that gives it credible life....I find a novel with heart.” In 2009, Andra Milacca included Motown Burning in her list of “Six Savory Novels Set in Detroit” along with works by Elmore Leonard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffrey Eugenides. His first book of poetry, Stone + Fist + Brick + Bone, was nominated for a Michigan Notable Book Award in 2009. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine called the book “a terrific one for our city.” His most recent book, Shoveling Snow in a Snowstorm, a poetry chapbook, was published by the Finishing Line Press in 2016.
For more on the author and his work, visit http://www.writeondetroit.com/.
Sherry Fowler Chancellor:
I am a practicing lawyer in Pensacola, Florida and enjoy living on the beautiful Gulf Coast when it isn’t being attacked by a hurricane or tropical storm. I enjoy writing stories to keep my mind off legal cases when I am not at the office. Photography is also a hobby of mine.
For more from the author, visit: https://www.facebook.com/sherry.f.chancellor/
I tweet under a pen name: https://twitter.com/JillianChantal
Enter the literary world of Frank Talaber. A natural storyteller, whose compelling thoughts are freed from the depths of the heart and the subconscious before being poured onto the page. Literature written beyond the realms of genre he is known to grab readers; kicking, screaming, laughing or crying and drag them into his novels.
Frank Talaber, Writer by Soul.
Frank Talaber’s Writing Style? He usually responds with: Mix Dan Millman (Way of The Peaceful Warrior) with Charles De Lint (Moonheart) and throw in a mad scattering of Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues).
PS: He’s better looking than Stephen King (Carrie, The Stand, It, The Shining) and his romantic stuff will have you gasping quicker than Robert James Waller (Bridges Of Madison County).
Or as is often said: You don’t have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.
My novels on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Talaber/e/B00UC407R0
My Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5ki4gpdokN-9KAIZzu53w?reload=9
My newsletter sign-up page: https://www.facebook.com/FrankTalaber/app/100265896690345/
Gavin is a Scottish writer and filmmaker living in London. He has published two travel memoirs about running ludicrously long distances, Downhill from Here and Running the Orient. The latter, to be published in August 2020, charts his 2300 mile run from Paris to Istanbul, following the 1883 route of the Orient Express. Gavin’s stories have recently been accepted for publication by Constellation, Bluing the Blade, DIAGRAM, Riptide, The Closed Eye Open, Bright Flash and The Abstract Elephant. He is also the writer-director of the 2015 independent film Sparks and Embers.
For more from the author, visit: https://www.gavinboyter.com
Follow him on Twitter: @gavin_boyter
Reina Skye Nelson:
Reina Skye Nelson is an undergraduate student at The Evergreen State College. She is currently working on her first chapbook of poetry and a collection of original art and fairytales. She has been published in several literary journals and anthologies including The Alexandria Quarterly, SAND Journal, Great Weather for Media and The Underscore Review.
Mark Towse is an Englishman living in Australia. He would sell his soul to the devil or anyone buying if it meant he could write full-time. Alas, he left it very late to begin this journey, penning his first story since primary school at the ripe old age of 45. Since then, he's been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Cosmic Horror, Suspense Magazine, ParABnormal, Raconteur, and many anthologies, including the newly released Midnight in the Pentagram from Silver Shamrock Publishing. His work has also appeared three times on The No Sleep Podcast and many other excellent productions. His first collection, 'Face the Music,' has just been released by All Things That Matter Press and is available via Amazon, Dymocks, B&N, etc.
For more from the author, visit his website: https://marktowsedarkfiction.wordpress.com/
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkTowsey12
Or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/towseywrites/
Scott Harper’s stories have appeared in a wide variety of speculative fiction venues, including Space And Time, Weirdbook and Best New Vampire Tales. Inspired by the works of such seminal authors as Bram Stoker, John Steakley and Marv Wolfman, Scott’s writing combines aspects of horror, dark fantasy and superhero fiction. He lives in California with his wife, son and two mischievous dogs.
For more from the author, visit his Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Scott-Harper/e/B07F5DKMK4?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1603930196&sr=8-1
Austin Treat is a freelance writer from the United States. His previous publications include The NUHA Foundation, Scribe UMass, and Everyday Fiction, where his war story, "Coke Bottles Over Golan," might hold the record for Spiciest Comments Section. For business proposals, email him:
For more from the author, follow him on Instagram: @a.u.treat
Or on Twitter: @treatum
Living in central Pennsylvania with my wife and cats, I am either photographing nature or writing/exploring humor in stories and novels, of which my most recent novel is Into the Horsebutt Nebula (ReAnimus Press, 2016).
J. L. Royce is a published author of science fiction, the macabre, and whatever else strikes him. He lives in the northern reaches of the American Midwest. His work appears in Allegory, Ghostlight, Love Letters to Poe, parABnormal, Sci Phi, Stupefying Stories, Utopia, etc. Some of his anthologized stories may be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/jlroyce.
For more from the author, follow him on Twitter: @AuthorJLRoyce
Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJLRoyce