BLACK STATIC 49
The cover art is Do Not Feed The Animal by Martin Hanford
Dirt Land by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
Up on the mountain, not everything that gets born is human. Or at least, human enough. That’s just the way it is. Some of them are kept, if they look close enough, but a lot are taken down to the river before they get big, and drowned. Shaken out of a blanket. If you go downstream, you’ll find all kinds of dead babies bumping against the gray river rocks. Stiff limbs, open mouths. Getting picked at by fish. Of course, up on the mountain, the people who live there catch that fish, like they catch all fish. Fry it. Eat it. That may be part of the problem.
Going To The Sun Mountain by Thana Niveau
illustrated by Vincent Sammy
We buried the first body in the woods behind a bar called the Nite Owl. I don’t like when they do that – make the spelling of words wrong on purpose. It shouldn’t be allowed.
Glacia bought the shovels at a hardware store and no one asked her what she wanted them for even though it was almost dark outside. She was going to say we had to dig up a tree stump if anyone asked. But no one did. Nobody cared.
The Toilet by Stephen Hargadon
Down in the neon gloom of the Toilet, among the mumblers and dribblers, the dead souls with their dead dreams, Rio Snagg indicated, with a buyer’s nod, that he wanted the same again; the same again being a pint of the celebrated local brew, Knicker Sniffer, a fierce and sooty fluid cited as the malign inspiration behind many a Friday night coshing and bludgeoning. The Toilet was Snagg’s least welcoming local. Here it was always dusk. Good times were bad times, bad times were good times: it made no difference down here. The shadows consumed him, the minutes became hours, and each pint constituted the arrival of a new world, a new day. To refuse a pint was to be against life.
Gramma Tells A Story by Erinn L. Kemper
illustrated by Martin Hanford
Gramma began haunting the little casita a few weeks after Nissi moved in. At first there was a faint smell of smoke puffed through the shuttered windows, enough to make Nissi’s heart race. And a sound she felt, more than heard – there, then gone – accompanied by a rustling in the grass roof.
The Ice Plague by Tim Lees
I pick him up in x-ray. Forty-two years old, Hispanic male, balding and rail-thin, already laid out on the stretcher, waiting for me. He’s a talker. Maybe half of them are talkers, I’d say. Mostly they talk about themselves. Even when they ask a question, it’s still about them: How do I look? or, Will I be OK? Or else some piece of fractured nonsense from whatever bits of memory they still have access to, if they’re really far gone. A few will try and tell their life stories. As if they mean something. As if I’ll go away, remember them, maybe even write them down. As if I’ll care. But this guy’s different. I wheel him down the hallway and his voice is thin and scratchy and it sort of scrapes at me, just on and on, even when it gets so quiet I can hardly catch the words.
“He’s here,” he says. “He’s here. Look! Here…”
The Climb by Simon Bestwick
There was mist round the hill-crest when Bryan got off the bus, but as he walked up the tiny village’s main street it began to disperse. A brook wound down through the fields and trees, past a row of houses and under the street; a footpath ran up along one bank. He stepped onto it, and started walking towards the hill.
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
MIRRORS FOR EYES (PART 2/2)
Thinking about Humans and the dead unfathomability of the robot gaze (which I explored last issue) makes me consider another hit series which has not just pushed but torn to shreds the envelope for television horror – and that is Hannibal.
Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker
YOU THINK I'M A CLOWN?
Humour and horror. They go together like – well, like pancakes and syrup or pancakes and prawns, depending on your point of view. It’s a somewhat facile observation that setting up a scare and setting up a joke can be remarkably similar if only because this suggests that both are little more than the rough equivalent of jump scares, with the same mechanism of tension and relief. It’s one way of scaring someone or telling a joke, but it is by no means the only way, and it ignores the rich palette that both humour and fear have to offer. When either goes wrong, though, it can segue into the other: a bad joke can horrify, a scare that falls flat can provoke laughter.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
THE WORLD’S HAPPIEST NIHILIST: NICOLE CUSHING
The Mirrors, Mr. Suicide, plus author interview
Orpheus on the Underground and Other Stories by Rhys Hughes, Strange Tales V edited by Rosalie Parker, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings by Angela Slatter, The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
Blackout by Tim Curran, A Shrill Keening by Ronald Malfi, Facial by Jeff Strand, In the Shadows of Children by Alan Ryker
The Sad Tale of the Deakins Boys by Will Hill, These Last Embers by Simon Strantzas, There’s a Bluebird in my Heart by Gary McMahon, The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee
The Canal, Hard To Be A God, John Wick, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, Gotham Season One, Bones Season Ten, Insidious Chapter 3, Wer, The Naked Prey, Pay The Ghost, The Skull, Final Girl, Blood Moon, The Houses Of Halloween, The Passage, A Christmas Horror Story, Deadly Virtues, Vampires, Knock Knock, Let Us Prey, Howl, The Messenger and others
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Black Static 50 is out in January 2016, with new stories by Georgina Bruce, Ray Cluley, V.H. Leslie, Tim Casson, Tyler Keevil, and Gary Budden. Subscribe now!
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