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KILLERS

Aisling Campbell October 31, 2020

Swallow

A predatory young man chooses the wrong girl to follow home from the Halloween disco.

D. S. Ullery November 5, 2020

I, Beloved of Other

An isolated man undergoes an otherworldly – and sinister – experience after a meteorite lands in his back yard.

Thomas Gaffney March 9, 2021

Eve

Your vision gets clearer when you’ve been in the ground with nothing but time.

Dan LeRoy November 10, 2020

Smiles

“In the countries that are more uniform, people were more likely to smile to show they were superior to one another.” Can a smile really kill? One of these two men is about to find out.

Avra Margariti March 2, 2022

Soft Eternity

She relinquished her control
Into my steady hands, the untamed part
Of her that had split open throats
And hearts through heaviest of armors.

MONSTERS

Cody-Mower May 4, 2021

Satan’s Ridge

In this true story, Cody and his best friend Kyle spend their final summer before adulthood finding the secret shame of their tiny town in rural Maine—Satan’s Ridge, a haunted site purposely removed from the map. Sometimes forbidden places are forbidden for a reason.

Timothy Burkhardt May 25, 2021

Faerie Lanterns

Joey’s parents just built a new house in a pristine forest. On his first night in his new bedroom, Joey wakes up from a nightmare and is lured into the dark woods by a nature spirit posing as his mother.

Clay-McLeod-Chapman October 29, 2020

TAKE ME

A cardboard box on the curbside. A magic marker missive: TAKE ME. Free books for someone to take. But what if these books shouldn’t be taken? What if they’re haunted?

Mark Towse October 20, 2020

Forever Autumn

A crow stares at a man through the window of a cabin in the woods. What does it know? What will it do?

Kevin David Anderson December 15, 2020

A Breach in the Fence

An undisciplined rottweiler breaks through a fence into a neighbors’s yard where a young child plays, unattended.

PARANORMAL

Kevin M. Folliard April 15, 2021

Chickenscratch

Forced to live with unfriendly relatives on an Arkansas farm, Cooper accepts strange chicken feed from a sinister salesman that impacts the chickens in unexpected ways.

Clay-McLeod-Chapman October 29, 2020

TAKE ME

A cardboard box on the curbside. A magic marker missive: TAKE ME. Free books for someone to take. But what if these books shouldn’t be taken? What if they’re haunted?

Gourab Hazra January 14, 2021

MANGOES

The poem depicts the plight of Medieval villagers who have fallen prey to witches. They visited the hamlet guised as damsels and allured them into consuming the mangoes they had brought as an offering. The rural settlers were unaware of the fact that while they were enjoying this new delicacy, their beating hearts were growing as crops in the witches’ lair.

Avi Burton April 8, 2022

Bees on the Brain

“Your bees are in my brain, and they sing when I am asleep.” A sad, beautiful story about medical mistreatment, cancer, death, and grief.

Christina Ladd October 15, 2021

Mona Luna

If you never met her, you’d think she was a real nice lady, yeah. Good with kids, never kicked no dog. Never sang a hymn out of tune. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she works down at the shelter, handing out socks and toothbrushes.

I go barefoot in my boots rather than take a single thing from Mona Luna.

POETRY

Gourab Hazra January 14, 2021

MANGOES

The poem depicts the plight of Medieval villagers who have fallen prey to witches. They visited the hamlet guised as damsels and allured them into consuming the mangoes they had brought as an offering. The rural settlers were unaware of the fact that while they were enjoying this new delicacy, their beating hearts were growing as crops in the witches’ lair.

Avra Margariti October 29, 2020

Darkroom Liaisons

The poltergeists leave the darkroom the way they came: faceless. Read this beautiful poem by Avra Margariti, only on The Dread Machine.

Avra Margariti October 29, 2020

The Brides of Dracula Ponder the Manson Murders

(What are humans but an amalgamation
of meat and electricity?) Read this unsettling poem by Avra Margariti.

Colleen Anderson November 19, 2021

King’s Suit

You need fine clothes to make the man.

Jordan Hirsch October 20, 2020

Annie’s Alibi

These women and priests just don’t get it at all.

POST-APOCALYPTIC

Tiffany E. Wilson December 1, 2020

One Shot

What happens when a pandemic hits the failing US healthcare system? When Kiara becomes sick, she can’t afford to admit her infection and miss work or even go to the doctor to treat it. Failed by the system, she searches for any way to survive.

Davide-Mana December 10, 2020

The Taste of Ashes

After a global pandemic, collecting the dead and bring them to the burning pits is a legit way to make a living. On her first day on the job, a young woman needs to learn the basics, and learn them fast.

Mark Silcox July 20, 2021

Escalation

Two women – one old, one young – seated at a table inside a small room, playing a game. Overhead a black drone equipped with two cameras buzzes quietly. The women talk to each other in a friendly way and touch the game pieces tentatively, as though they are still learning the rules. The older one is dressed in all-black; the younger wears white. On each of their necks is a small red mark – perhaps an insect bite, or a wound that’s halfway to healing.

Outside the room the rest of the world watches, seized by terror but unable to look away.

Lynette Mejía March 4, 2021

A Gardener’s Guide to the Apocalypse

A story about disaster and how we endure in its aftermath, “A Gardener’s Guide” follows its protagonist and her partner through a year post-apocalypse; watching their garden grow as the world slowly dies around them.

Daria Lavelle November 20, 2021

Like an Itch You Scratch

The playground’s got this tunnel we figured we could hotbox. This was right at the start of everything, so it was shut down, caution taped, and Jen figured we might as well use it if no one else was gonna.

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Edith Lockwood May 11, 2021

The Silent Miscarriage

After being told she’s experiencing a miscarriage, a shocked woman is whisked away to the operating room to have the tissue removed. It soon becomes clear that the truth about her baby is far stranger than she could have imagined.

Evan James Sheldon February 18, 2021

From Underneath

The narrator’s baby son refuses to come out from underneath the bed.

Amanda Michele June 24, 2022

Wine and Spirits

Do you taste the cyanide sweet of amaretto?

AlexSobel January 21, 2022

The Other Me

I had a child and then I didn’t. That was their power, their strength. I didn’t just lose the baby, he was gone.

Warren Benedetto May 6, 2022

Blame

Read all the emails, chat logs, audio transcripts, Jira tickets, and other evidence related to the Kristie Breslin case.

SCIENCE FICTION

Calie Voorhis March 18, 2021

The Editor’s Eyes

The Editor Alice struggles to save her niece in a cyberpunk world of words.

Marc Joan June 17, 2021

Pieces on Earth

World leaders meet Mary Parraday’s miraculous children, who have been crafted through unique (and ethically questionable) genetic manipulation.

Derek-Austin-Johnson July 13, 2021

Uplift Day

In this lighter tale, Davis experiences an unexpected betrayal that leaves him single…again.

Parker Ragland September 17, 2021

Cherry-Blossom Droid

A common proverb is that time heals all wounds. That is true only for humans. For them, memories fade into dull generalizations. For us droids, memories are always reproducible with uncanny sharpness, and they stay with us for as long as we live: forever.

Melinda Brasher January 17, 2022

Silence

It’s not the silence that gets you—despite the dire warnings in the training sims. After a few weeks the silence becomes an ocean, a universe, and it’s all yours. You float within it, your lungs fill with it, it becomes you. Yes, you control the silence.

The problem is the noise.

STAFF FAVES

Avra Margariti October 29, 2020

The Brides of Dracula Ponder the Manson Murders

(What are humans but an amalgamation
of meat and electricity?) Read this unsettling poem by Avra Margariti.

Gwen Whiting June 3, 2022

The Natural Order of Things

As her infant daughter faces death, a mother must decide whether to upload the child’s consciousness into a robot body.

Andrew Giffin March 11, 2022

Punk’s Not Dead

Around me is complete chaos. The soldiers open fire, bullets everywhere. They’re better armed, but we’re out of our fucking minds.

E. E. King June 24, 2021

The Rediscovery of Plants

PS takes not only motion and sound; it takes everything. Every nerve, muscle, and neuron. Every thought, idea, and sentiment. By the time sufferers reach puberty, they are not human.

Larina Warnock March 2, 2021

Fringe Benefits

In a dystopian society where employees are covered by productivity insurance, benefits are earned by competing in deadly company picnic games. Unfortunately for Veronica, sleeping with the boss’s wife makes her a prime target.

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