BLACK STATIC 52
NB: This issue is at press and will mail out early May
The cover art is by Ben Baldwin, for 'Wetwork'
Wetwork by Carole Johnstone
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
Most of the streetlights have been smashed, so at first it doesn’t look like the inside of a slaughterhouse. Then one of the choppers does a noisy, lowdown flyover, and the whole courtyard lights up red like a fucking flare. I’ve enough time to count upwards of a dozen bodies before the chopper wheels around the East Tower like a big ugly buzzard, leaving us in near darkness again.
Deep Within The Marrow, Hidden In My Smile
illustrated by Dave Senecal
I wear you in my bones.
No one else can see you, but I know you’re there. I feel the weight of you within the shape of me, like a tumor, a disease. If I look too long in the mirror, I’m afraid I’ll see you staring back.
Sometimes late at night, when the house is quiet, I whisper your name, but you never answer.
The Oestridae by Robert Levy
illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe
White dust rises from the road like tobacco smoke, followed by the grinding of car wheels on dry Pennsylvania dirt as a silver compact rumbles into view, up the hill on its way to the house. “Who’s that?” I say, but Dara only shakes her head and continues to chew at her hair. The spit-wet strands fall from my sister’s lips, her gaze lifting until she rises, pulled from the Adirondack chair as if hefted on a rope. It’s an August scorcher, the space between us and the road shimmering with heat as we wait for the sky to shift like a sieve and let the rain tumble through, the air a thick wool blanket. It’s been humid like this for a month now, ever since our mother disappeared. And just when I think I’ve finally run out of hope, one last drip of it leaks out to ruin everything.
My Sister, The Fairy Princess by Michelle Ann King
I leave my rental out front, next to Mom’s old pickup. I don’t bother locking it, since the plan is to do this fast: get in, get it done, get away. I’m sure the house and whatever money Mom had will be going to Daisy, so it should be easy – sign any paperwork, maybe pick up some random piece of jewelry as a memento, and shoot back to the hotel. Then, after I’ve shown my face at the funeral, I can get back to forgetting this place exists
Trying To Get Back To Nonchalant by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by Joachim Luetke
The waiting room was quiet. Aquarium bubbling against a wall.
Hal made sure the front door shut behind him. Went across the carpet to the receptionist’s window.
The same dark-haired beauty who was always there. Thirtyish.
Looking up, she smiled. Which she didn’t do that often. Not that she was ever cold towards the patients who came into this room. But maybe sometimes a bit too professional? Of course, she might need that emotional distancing, given most of these patients didn’t last long?
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
TO BEAT THE DARK, OR THE DISQUIET MAN
Christmas Day, 1972. The world turns, in blue and beige. The distinctive and comforting BBC logo. But what is about to follow will be anything but comforting. I have no idea it will change my life forever.
Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker
THEATRES OF BLOOD
Over the past year, I had the opportunity to write a short play, or rather, a playlet, as part of a larger anthology horror piece, and see it produced on stage in London. The entire experience from start to finish made me think about how horror manifests in different mediums, how creators create that sense of fear and how we receive it as the audience. I’ve also realised that theatre offers some exciting possibilities for horror storytelling, partly due to the work of young British playwright named Alistair McDowall.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
FRACTURED REALITY: PAUL MELOY
The Night Clock plus extensive interview with the author
Insect Literature by Lafcadio Hearn, Teeming Terrors edited by Christine Morgan, Creeping Crawlers edited by Allen Ashley
THE SILVER SCREAM
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film edited by Danel Olson, The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead by Lee Karr, Film Gutter Volume 1 by Alex Davis, Halloween by Murray Leeder, The Curse of Frankenstein by Marcus K. Harmes, The Blair Witch Project by Peter Turner
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Gary Couzens
The Ninth Configuration, Symptoms, Audition, Yakuza Apocalypse, Martyrs (2016), The Green Inferno, Ghoulies, Ghoulies II, Scream Park, Anguish, Emelie, The Hallow, Dark Signal, Jeruzalem, Backtrack, I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, Bloodsucking Bosses, Fire City: End of Days, Exposed, The Forgotten
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