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From the Editors

Welcome to our second issue of The Dread Machine. This quarter’s issue features original fiction by Timothy Burkhardt, Selah Janel, Jeff Ronan, Keily Blair, Cody Mower, and many more. We’ve also curated reprints from Andrea Kriz, Benjamin Blattburg, Douglas Ford, and E.E. King. You’ll find poetry by Louis Evans, a beautiful creation myth by Ed Nobody, and our first interactive narrative by Louis Evans.

Our Q2 Stats are now available! You can see them here. (We’re big nerds for metrics.)

On this page, you’ll find summaries and links to every Issue 1.2 story, along with information about some of our featured writers. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll be able to access everything here. If you’re not ready to commit to a subscription, consider purchasing the V 1.2 Access Pack, which also includes the issue’s cover art (created by the talented Katrina Bellikova, aka Ninja Jo) as downloadable desktop and phone backgrounds.

Thank you so much for your support! 

NEWS & Updates

Mixtape: 1986

We’ve completed our first pass of every story going into Mixtape: 1986 and are midway through our second pass. Once we finish resolving the edits with the authors, we’ll burn right through the final pass and get to work on interior and exterior details.

What else? Check out our updates.

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Darkness Blooms

Submissions are closed for Darkness Blooms. We’re making our way through each story, taking our time to determine which belong together in the same anthology. Forming a collection is both a science and an art. Our cover designer is working hard and should have some options available for us to choose from soon! We are hoping to announce the TOC on August 1st (but don’t hold us to that; we still have a ton of stories to sift through).

Subscribe Today

Become a subscriber today to gain access to these stories, or (if you don’t want to commit) buy access to this issue

Subscribers gain a number of benefits, including access to secret areas of the site (and our Discord community), 10% off all purchases, and the ability to influence the direction of our anthology projects by participating in polls and project-related discussions. Issues are delivered in two formats each quarter: ebook (ePub) and virtual (what you’re looking at here).

STORIES

Watchhouse

by Ephiny Gale

Jenna Blythe is queer, so her family builds a Watchhouse: a long, thin building that runs parallel to the side of their primary mansion, with huge uncovered windows so there is limited privacy. From the mansion, they can see almost everything, including into the Watchhouse bathroom, which is strategically placed to not be visible from the street, even if the Blythe’s 6-foot stone fence fell down.

Then they bring in the pets: Alice and me, Class D members in the top 20% of wealth in the country. Wealthy enough that having us in the same rooms as Jenna wouldn’t cause a scandal; poor enough that a Class A family snatching us off the street wouldn’t cause one, either. Jenna is supposed to “love and protect” us, otherwise we’ll die. But it doesn’t matter because we’re definitely supposed to die while we’re in the Watchhouse, sooner or later.

Meet the Author

Ephiny Gale is the author of more than two dozen published short stories and novelettes that have appeared in publications including ‘Beneath Ceaseless Skies’, ‘Constellary Tales’, and ‘Daily Science Fiction’. Her fiction has been awarded the Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net award and the Syntax & Salt Editor’s Award, and has been a finalist for multiple Aurealis Awards. Ephiny lives in Melbourne with her wife and a small legion of bookcases.

Are You Still There?

Hudson Wilding

A woman entertains an unusual request from a disfigured paramour.

Meet the Author

Hudson Wilding hails from Upstate New York, where she spends most of the year waiting for October. Her work has previously been published in Menacing Hedge, Not One of Us, and The Crypt Online Magazine, among other literary magazines. More of her work is forthcoming in Foglifter Press and Uncomfortable Revolution. You can follow her on Twitter @HudsonWilding.

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GoGood

by Louis Evans

[INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE]

“GoGood” is a new app designed to support Effective Altruism-style donations. But its user logs paint a darker picture of a growing plague. Become a donor today!

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The Hole in the Top of the World

by Benjamin Blattburg

A mountain guide leading a Cthulhu cult to their death contemplates letting the end of the world happen.

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Twenty Seven

by Andrew Pissantchev

Linda Long, promising vocal artist, lives in fear of becoming a member of the 27 Club—a list of popular musicians who died at the age of twenty-seven. To ensure she makes it to twenty-eight, she takes off a year, but music is her soul, and she’s having a hard time resisting the stage.

Skin Deep

Gabrielle Harbowy & Leah Petersen

Although she suffers from serious allergic reactions, Indira refuses to get a med-tat. As a prosecutor who has won nine cases against the manufacturer of the implantable biotech, she knows better. But when epinephrine injectors are prohibited, Indira has no choice.

Meet the Authors

Gabrielle Harbowy is an author, editor, and anthologist. She has published over a dozen short stories and three novels, and is currently Submissions Manager for The Overcast fiction podcast.

Leah Petersen lives with their family in North Carolina, and is the author of the Physics of Falling series of young adult science fiction.

Tabula Rasa

Keily Blair

An old, salt-rusted Victorian with big dormer windows and a swooping front porch. A new house. A new town. A fresh start. A monster whispering through the wallpaper.

Predators

Keily Blair

Kyle has a new neighbor at Valley Acres Trailer Park—a strange, pale girl named Winter, who has an abusive father…and a rare allergy to the sun.

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Rainbow Crow's Heroes

Andrea Kriz

Superheroes band together to escape a concentration camp.

Meet the Author

Andrea Kriz writes from Cambridge, MA. Her other stories are upcoming or have appeared in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Cossmass Infinities, and Nature, among others. Find her at https://andreakriz.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @theworldshesaw.

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Scuttle

by Lester Clark

Our protagonist is gradually driven mad by perceived sounds coming from within his apartment walls.

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Chickenscratch

by Kevin M. Folliard

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.

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Mother’s Milk

by Melissa Elborn

Alone in a ‘smart’ house that her often absent husband controls, baby-obsessed Rachel develops an unhealthy addiction that she believes will make her pregnant, but at what cost?

The Rediscovery of Plants

by E.E. King

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.

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Meet the Author

E.E. King is a painter, performer, writer, and biologist – She’ll do anything that won’t pay the bills, especially if it involves animals. Her books include Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, Electric Detective, Pandora’s Card Game, The Truth of Fiction and Blood Prism.

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The Forever Friends

by Jeff Ronin

The Forever Friends is five-year-old Billy’s favorite show. He couldn’t imagine life without Lucy Goosey, Golly-Gee, the twins Tuck & Tick, and their leader, Hambone. If he’s lucky, he won’t have to imagine.

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GASHADOKURO

by Perry Ruh

An ominous apocalyptic poem about a slumbering god and the lost souls who eternally dance in the aether for Him.

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I Have Your Eugene

by Peter Emmett Naughton

When Martin receives an unexpected package with a smudged shipping label, his instincts tell him not to open it. He should have followed his gut.

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Satan's Ridge

by Cody Mower

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.

Faerie Lanterns

Timothy Burkhardt

Heloise’s mother has a secret locked away. When the strands holding that secret in place start to unravel, Heloise will do anything to stop her life from unraveling with it.

Meet the Author

Timothy Burkhardt’s fiction has appeared in Metastellar, The Horror Tree, Riddled With Arrows online literary journal, and more. He lives in the mountains outside of Asheville, NC with his two teenage sons and his cat, Keats. https://timothyburkhardt.wordpress.com/ https://twitter.com/TmthyBurkhardt

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The Undertones

by Mark Towse

Tinnitus is a common problem, but what if it’s more than just a physical condition?

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A Bucket of Chicken

by Mark Towse

A fried chicken-addicted off-duty cab driver with chronic acid reflux returns to his vehicle to find a cash-rich passenger in the back seat.

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The Skull in the Sky

by Ed Nobody

A beautiful, lyrical dark creation myth.

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Cousin Benny

by Justin Dill

Narrated in the style of Room by Emma Donoghue, a young boy grows increasingly frustrated when his cousin, who suffers from a mysterious illness, moves into his attic.

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Pieces on Earth

by Marc Joan

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

Mama's Hand of glory

by douglas ford

A woman has a planchette tattooed onto her hand before she dies, believing that it will permit her to talk to her daughter from the beyond. When the daughter discovers the hand defiled, something having taken a bite out of it, she must deal with the consequences.

Meet the Author

Douglas Ford lives and works on the west coast of Florida, just off an exit made famous by a Jack Ketchum short story. He is the author of a recent collection of weird fiction, Ape in the Ring and Other Tales of the Macabre and Uncanny. His short stories have appeared in such venues as Dark Moon Digest, Tales to Terrify, Weird City, along with The Best Hardcore Horror, Volumes Three and Four. His novella, The Reattachment, appeared in 2019 courtesy of Madness Heart Press.

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The Silent Miscarriage

by Edith Lockwood

After being told she’s experiencing a miscarriage, a shocked woman is whisked away to the operating room. The truth about her baby is far stranger than she could have imagined.

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The Fish Aren’t Biting

by Chris O’Halloran

When young Steven goes camping with his grandfather, the man who looks so much like him becomes tempted by the bad habits of his past.

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Strap Your Bones Right to the Seat

by Nathaniel Whelan

Mason Reed has never taken the bus to school, but after his family moves, he is left with no choice.

Give and Take

Selah Janel

It’s easy to forget the reasons for traditions, and unfortunately, just as easy to suffer the consequences.

Meet the Author

Selah Janel has written many e-books, including Mooner, The Ruins of St. Louis, The Inheritance, and Candles. Her work has appeared in anthologies including The Grotesquerie and The Big Bad volumes 1 & 2, as well as publications such as Electric Spec and Siren’s Call. An unrepentant theater geek, she worked for over twenty years in theater and entertainment building and designing costumes in regional theater, holiday events, amusement parks, and haunted events. Keep up with her and her work at www.selahjanel.com, www.facebook.com/authorSJ, or @SelahJanel on Twitter.

Stay informed