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From the Editors

Welcome to our third issue of The Dread Machine. This quarter’s issue features original fiction by Brian Low,  P.G. Streeter, Avra Margariti, Caleb Stephens, Ephiny Gale, Mark Towse, and many more. We’ve also curated a breathtaking reprint from Lauren C. Teffeau. You’ll find ecohorror flash from Anthony Cain and Maggie, a disturbing glimpse into addiction from Solon Kro, and an unsettling employment handbook from Gordon Sun.

Our Q3 Stats are now available! You can see them here.

On this page, you’ll find summaries and links to every Issue 1.3 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 1.3 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 launched our Kickstarter for Mixtape: 1986! Alin put together a book trailer, too!

The cover art, designed by Luis Carlos Barragán, can be viewed on our campaign page. Interior formatting is officially in progress. Proofs should be ordered by October 1st. We hope to send out ARCs by October 15th.

Backers will get exclusive weekly updates, so check out our campaign page and consider backing Mixtape: 1986 today!

Darkness Blooms

We have completed the selection process for Darkness Blooms and are excited to announce the Table of Contents. Once all writers have signed our publication agreement, our subscribers will get the first look! Be sure to follow us on Twitter too!

EPUBS NOW AVAILABLE!

Hey! Alin here. Yeah, it took a while. I know. But guess what? Epubs are now available to all subscribers! We could not be more excited to give our readers another way to enjoy the stories we’ve discovered! All Access Passes now include the epubs. Cultists and Mechanists will receive theirs with their Secret Missives, so keep an eye on your inbox!

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).

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STORIES

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS HUNGRY GHOST?

by Brian Low

Read the tale that inspired this quarter’s cover! In a story that combines traditional Chinese culture with futuristic technology, the protagonist searches for a deceased friend but carries sinister designs for their reunion.

Meet the Author

Brian Low lives in Malaysia and writes fiction when he’s not crunching numbers at his day job. His work has appeared in The Dread Machine, Ombak Magazine, and Electric Spec.

No Regrets on fourth street

Lauren C. Teffeau

Marco always said skins are an information courier’s best weapon. Constantly changing, they allow us to stump the cameras and operate safely in plain sight. He said it would be enough.

He was wrong.

Meet the Author

Lauren C. Teffeau was born and raised on the East Coast, educated in the South, employed in the Midwest, and now lives and dreams in the Southwest. When she was younger, she poked around in the back of wardrobes, tried to walk through mirrors, and always kept an eye out for secret passages, fairy rings, and messages from aliens. She was disappointed. Now, she writes to cope with her ordinary existence. Her novel Implanted (2018, Angry Robot) was shortlisted for the 2019 Compton Crook award for best first SF/F/H novel. Her short fiction can be found a variety of professional and semi-pro speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. To learn more, please visit laurencteffeau.com

Moments Broken in time

DAniel W. Gonzalez

Hell is eternal consciousness.

Escalation

Mark Silcox

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

ISO

Gordon Sun

Welcome to digital purgatory, where the lines between life, death, and what’s in-between blur.

Meet the Author

Gordon Sun is a surgeon exploring the intersections between healthcare and technology. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Daily Science Fiction, The Dread Machine, Please See Me, Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, Mad Scientist Journal, and other publications.

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Impurity

P.G. Streeter

Bill has spent a lifetime surviving in a desolate world by whatever violent means each day necessitates. Now he seeks a new life beyond the walls of the enigmatic Colony—but he wonders: What will it cost him?

Meet the Author

P.G. Streeter lives with his wife and two sons in Maryland, where he teaches high school English and philosophy.

Cherry-Blossom Droid

Parker Ragland

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.

Meet the Author

Parker Ragland is a writer who spends most days trying to convince people that artificial intelligence isn’t that scary (contrary to what his fiction might suggest). Currently, he works as a technical writer at a company that builds software used to analyze data. Previously, he served as Executive Editor of the Colorado Technology Law Journal. He lives near Denver with the most wonderful person he knows.

The Green

Anthony Cain

A man’s lawn wants him dead.

Spore

Maggie

“Federico” is a unique plant with a strange appetite.

no filter

by sean mabry

The love of Lola’s life, Terrence, was born blind. Thankfully, he has TruSight, prosthetic eyes that allow him to see. He prefers to keep the EaseFilter on, though, enhancing his surroundings—and Lola—by making everything look a bit better. “No Filter” is a story about love, perception, and self-acceptance.

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Meet the Author

Sean Mabry is a long-haired cryptid wandering the eastern edge of Los Angeles County. He is equally passionate about fiction and marketing, since both are important tools in his quest to unravel civilization. In its place, he anticipates something weirder, wilder, and kinder. His short stories have appeared in Lamplight, the Weird and Whatnot and elsewhere. His work has also won two Honorable Mentions and a Semi-Finalist award in the Writers of the Future Contest. Though he is generally considered docile, experts advise keeping avocado toast on hand in case Sean Mabry needs to be pacified. He is, after all, a millennial. Here are his links in descending order of professionalism:

The Architect

Avra Margariti

A young girl’s obsession with teeth escalates, until alien forces become involved.

Meet the Author

Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, The Forge Literary, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, SmokeLong Quarterly, and other venues. Avra won the 2019 Bacopa Literary Review prize for fiction. You can find her on Twitter @avramargariti.

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Do you remember a time before the Internet? Before we all carried lifelines in our pockets and before security cameras documented everything? Back when parents didn’t worry about their kids until after the street lights popped on? Do you remember how it felt to step into the neon-lit arcade on a Friday night, pockets heavy with quarters?

For our very first anthology, we’ve assembled 16 dread-inspiring stories that take place in 1986 and bring us back to a simpler, scarier time! These dread-full (ha!) tales feature themes of estrangement and loneliness, fear and acceptance, love and forgiveness, family and friendship, self-discovery and sacrifice.

Mixtape: 1986 features dread-filled stories about latchkey kids, monsters, housewives, gamers, murderers, truckers, spies, and more. Our table of contents has already been finalized, so this Kickstarter campaign will fund printing and production of paperback and digital copies of Mixtape: 1986, including compensating our contributors. If we hit our funding goal with time to spare, we’ll activate stretch goals!

Prices for all editions (e-book, paperback, hardback) of Mixtape: 1986 are specially discounted for this campaign; after this campaign ends, they will only be available at a higher retail price. 

 

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The Atoll

Caleb Stephens

We take shelter next to a low shelf of rock and watch the sun die a slow death on the horizon; an angry red eye drowned in a blaze of orange and yellow. Beneath it, the ocean is flat. A rippling, endless mirror, all of it one terrible display of beauty waiting to devour us like it did Hannah.

Meet the Author

Caleb Stephens is a dark fiction author writing from a rusty shed somewhere deep in the Colorado mountains. His short fiction has appeared in multiple publications, anthologies, and podcasts, including, The Wicked Library, Scare You To Sleep, and Suspense Magazine. You can learn more about him and his work by visiting www.calebstephensauthor.com

Uplift Day

Derek Austin Johnson

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

Meet the Author

Derek Austin Johnson has lived most of his life in the Lone Star State. His work has appeared in The Horror Zine, Rayguns Over Texas!, Horror U.S.A.: Texas, Terror Tract, and Campfire Macabre. He lives in Central Texas. Find information on his website at derekaustinjohnson.com Twitter: daj42 Instagram: daj42

Traces of Us Hot enough for dinner

by Ephiny Gale

On the anniversary of her fiancee’s death, our protagonist finds herself in a time loop where demons flood in every night and tear everyone to shreds.

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.

Marc and his Maman

Claude Lalumiere

Marc wants Maman to be perfect, but the transfer is a delicate process.

The Bedroom Window

by Mark Towse

As I look over to where his bed used to be, I feel a rush of overwhelming sadness. I could have done better—been a better brother, I mean.

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Meet the Author

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 the likes of Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dread Machine, Cosmic Horror, Suspense Magazine, ParABnormal, Raconteur, and his work has also appeared on many exceptional podcasts such as The Grey Rooms, No Sleep, Creepy, Tales to Terrify, etc. https://twitter.com/MarkTowsey12 https://marktowsedarkfiction.wordpress.com/ https://www.instagram.com/towseywrites/

The Pounding Little skull nails

Solon Kro

Fred Rowe sits in his darkness and waits for the pounding little skull nails.

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