Originally published in Keeping Track. Johnny didn’t smoke. But like all the boys who lived darkly, who wore black and let their hair grow long and straggling into their knowing eyes, he always carried matches and a Zippo lighter, its silver case engraved with serpents. We sat in the quad after school while he did…

Even now, when someone asks me about where I’m from, I feel a surge of panic. It’s like I still haven’t escaped from that awful place. I’m back there, trapped in the darkness of that night forever. I blink, and that jet-black patrol car pulls up alongside me. They lean over and open the door.…

If you’re ever looking for a literary drinking game, you could do no worse than picking up a number of books, articles and essays on Shirley Jackson, and taking a shot each time someone mentions how little Shirley Jackson is written about. You will not last long. Yet as pervasive as this assertion may be,…

The Marginalisation of Shirley Jackson

The very first time Aliyah slipped away visiting, I could tell. There was something different about the pattern of her curls under the lunchroom lights, the amount of time she spent on words, and she pulled the pickles out of her sandwich. I didn’t ask her what was wrong. I asked her where she’d been.…

  • Dancing Sober in the Dust

    Steve Toase
    Originally published in To Drown in Dark Waters. The inside of the masks are rough with nails and wire. I push my hand inside. Raw metal snags my skin, adding new blood to old. I place the head-mask to one side and take the leg piece out of the wooden trunk. Built from cardboard and…
  • Coral, Again

    E. M. Linden
    Originally published in Dangerous Waters. The night she died I lay awake for hours. At some point, finally half-asleep, I heard the tap running in the bathroom. Thought, oh that’s just Coral brushing her teeth. I barely had time to remember she was gone before she slid into bed with me. Cold despite the hot…
  • Bone Deep

    Wailana Kalama
    My wife once told me the most scared she’d ever been was after her D&C. That's where they go into your uterus to scrape out excess tissue with a spoon. In her case, leftovers from an early miscarriage. It's a creepy experience, the way she tells it—lying unconscious in nothing but a bedsheet, practically roofied,…
  • African American Horror Authors and Their Craft: The Evolution of Horror Fiction From African Folklore

    L. Marie Wood
    Originally published in Conjuring Worlds: An Afrofuturist Textbook. Fiction provides an escape for the mind. It creates another world to visit without ever leaving your seat. Horror fiction abides by this premise, transporting readers to a world where the uncertain is commonplace, where the surreal is reality. Storytelling dates back to the beginning of human…
  • The Things We Burned

    Originally published in Keeping Track. Johnny didn’t smoke. But like all the boys who lived darkly, who wore black and let their hair grow long and straggling into their knowing eyes, he always carried matches and a Zippo lighter, its silver case engraved with serpents. We sat in the quad after school while he did…
  • The Marginalisation of Shirley Jackson

    If you’re ever looking for a literary drinking game, you could do no worse than picking up a number of books, articles and essays on Shirley Jackson, and taking a shot each time someone mentions how little Shirley Jackson is written about. You will not last long. Yet as pervasive as this assertion may be,…
  • The Lack

    Even now, when someone asks me about where I’m from, I feel a surge of panic. It’s like I still haven’t escaped from that awful place. I’m back there, trapped in the darkness of that night forever. I blink, and that jet-black patrol car pulls up alongside me. They lean over and open the door.…
  • Otherwise Aliyahs

    The very first time Aliyah slipped away visiting, I could tell. There was something different about the pattern of her curls under the lunchroom lights, the amount of time she spent on words, and she pulled the pickles out of her sandwich. I didn’t ask her what was wrong. I asked her where she’d been.…