Gertrude | by Gianna Rosina

She often felt eyes on her. There would always be signs near her home, Don’t go out past midnight, don’t stand out, don’t show that you are resisting. When she would pick her flowers in her garden, an iris would stare back at her. Some would say she’s going mad. Her attire was only added with lace around the edges, never underneath, and she lived in a small home, maybe with no lurking eyes, made sure her nose was clean.

Am I going mad?

She thought,

I can’t have any thoughts.

Everything must be in order, nothing out of place. Eyes track her daily, don’t mess up, don’t mess up-

The clock chimed, the hands twisted and turned. 11:00 Continue reading “Gertrude | by Gianna Rosina”

He Looked Like James Dean | by Jacqueline Doyle

“He snickered disagreeably. ‘Me, no,’ he said, ‘me, I don’t hang around here after dark.’ Grinning, satisfied with himself, he stood away from the car … perhaps he will keep popping out at me all along the drive, she thought, a sneering Cheshire Cat, yelling each time that I should be happy to find anyone willing to hang around this place, until dark, anyway.”
                                                                                    Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House


     There will always be a Dudley the caretaker dispensing unwanted advice, undermining your resolve to go on that year-long safari, or ignore those travel advisories from the State Department, or explore that haunted house—give up your job, your apartment, and just take off without telling any friends. Maybe you consider your friends much too cautious, or have no friends you care about. You’re drawn to the dark. You crave the unknown, the thrill of finally leaving the ordinary behind.

     You’ve been invited to Hill House by some paranormal researcher you don’t know, your monstrous mother’s finally dead, you’re free to go. You’re haunted too. You’ve been having dreams where you run up and down stairways, out of breath, corridors twist and turn and you’re completely lost, no way to retrace your steps. You quicken your pace and your heart begins to pound. Whispers from the empty elevator shaft are getting louder. Is it your mother, come back from the dead? You peer down into the darkness, swaying on your feet.

     When you accepted the invitation to spend a week with strangers, you were thinking a real haunted house might dispel those dreams and memories. Or maybe you weren’t really thinking, just obeying your instinct to escape now that the door to your cage was open.
Continue reading “He Looked Like James Dean | by Jacqueline Doyle”

Three Demonologies | by Jennifer Wortman

Demon Hate

You clamp my head and say, “Demon, be gone.” You shake me and scream, “Come back, princess.” You flap your arms and dance madly. Your face flames; your eyes steam. My demon is sticky. How you must hate me. When my demon finally leaves, I leave with him. Continue reading “Three Demonologies | by Jennifer Wortman”

[a witch is made witchier by a weird dripping tree] | by Tim Lynch

a witch is made witchier by a weird dripping tree

& i’ve become a crow in the fog

capable of murder, laughing at the roots

under sweetness of dead peaches

endlessly stemmed, irregular drool

like a hand but never quite hands Continue reading “[a witch is made witchier by a weird dripping tree] | by Tim Lynch”

Other chances | by Angelita Bradney

I catch my breath when I see the spangled curtain of the night sky. When did I last see stars? With the vicious smog I’d almost forgotten they exist. I want to stand still, stare up, but it’s not safe. I must get back.

The roads are treacherous, more so in the dark. Dwellings loom on each side, hulks of black, for who can afford light, nowadays? The wind blows its warm breath in my face; I taste acid. I clutch my bag closer, with the meagre haul – coarse bread, roots – that will have to last till next week.
Continue reading “Other chances | by Angelita Bradney”

Two Poems | by Jack B. Bedell

[So He Picks This Spot Off I-55]

Traffic north of the spillway peters out
        and the moon offers no light at all,
so he picks this spot off I-55

to drop the bodies he collects
       in the French Quarter. The breeze
coming off the lake cools everything.

He can hear the water moving
         toward shore below the overpass,
can sense the tops of trees swaying Continue reading “Two Poems | by Jack B. Bedell”

Nurturance / small | by Angelo Colavita

Waves breaking waves breaking blue from the spectrum. Fallen angelfish falling prey to pyrosome glowing in the open ocean. A zooid tactic: congregate in funnels and tunnels in colonies; clone, reproduce and replicate. Lucifer! Lucifer! with a pulse of blood and fire, bless this festival of lanterns released into the atmosphere.

The undertow navigates, give to its guidance. Swallow the current — it moves through you, it feeds you. Weightless and waiting (an adult an adolescent an infant an embryo) for the world much larger and marvelous within the amnion, until once again the water breaks and drowned into nurturance by flood of mother’s milk and daily toil. Continue reading “Nurturance / small | by Angelo Colavita”