As one publishing year ends and a new one is about to begin at THE DARK SIRE, we would like to take a moment to celebrate the great horror authors that have graced our pages. Hopefully their stories and poems have made your skin crawl, made you look over your shoulder in a locked room, or just scared you silly. Reading horror is a wonderful release. Horror deals with themes of madness and cruelty, vampires, ghosts, demons and witches, but most importantly, good horror provokes an emotional response in the reader. At TDS, we have published some stories and poems that, we hope, have made you squirm.
To get things rolling, we published Gina Easton’s Tainted Love (Issue 1), a story that was guaranteed to push some if not all your buttons. There was murder, gore, cannibalism, and a sense of empowerment. “Mamma’s worn face was emotionless, but I knew how keenly she regretted her powerlessness, her failure through all those years to protect Zack and me from Father’s savage rages....” There was a darkness unleashed in the story that was sure to touch any horror reader.
Night Harvesters by Frances Tate (Issue 2) is a gothic-horror story in which we suffer with the narrator as her body is harvested for its parts. Teeth, hair, organs, all are within the reach of the Harvester, and our narrator is helpless to stop him... or is she?
In Amanda Crum’s A Metamorphosis (Issue 2), the reader has to decide who is the predator and who is the prey. “I think you can really see a person’s soul when you’re night swimming in a lake with them,” she said. “Every compulsion they have is written on their face.”
In The Mask (Issue 2), Carl Hughes takes the reader through time in a story of revenge. This gothic-horror tale embodies everything that you have come to expect from the genre. “Thunder had been rumbling for hours, at first only as a remote background mutter scarcely audible above the Atlantic waves that pounded this rocky corner of Scotland. Now it boomed mightily, and rolled across the moor with squalls of ice-tipped rain that slanted in sheets glimpsed through each eruption of lightning.”
In Sharps by Ian Richardson (Issue 3), our heroine is exposed to the kind of acupuncture that we hope to never be exposed to. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease, and as Mr. Richardson describes, payback is a bitch.
In Innards (Issue 4), Leilani Ahia takes the reader on a unique ride as she examines the horrific aftermath of a deadly accident from the most unusual perspective. Edgar Allen Poe would have loved it.
Skin Tight by Gina Easton (Issue 4) will make you question every time you scratch. “This poor woman has just lost her husband, the rational part of his mind declared. She’s in shock from the appalling circumstances. And yet... he was unable to suppress a shiver as he gazed at her too-bright eyes, her too-wide smile. It was as if Eleanor really wasn’t there...”
And of course, TDS gave you David Crerand’s The Village (Issue 1-4), a series of stand-alone vampire stories that was the subject of our Monday Creative Nook interview.
The poems in TDS were also chosen to raise the hair on your arms with goose bumps inspired by fear. In Gregory Kimbrell’s Haishutsuryou (Output) (Issue 1), the opening stanza set a gruesome tone:
He gave me the lower half of a man’s arm once, says Neurin.
I had no idea what
I was supposed to do with it.
But I was starving, so I chewed off the
flesh — at least.
Could the last stanza of Bartholomew Baker’s Silence (Issue 2) be any more horrifying?
The last sound was the dirt
hitting the top of the coffin.
Now — eternal silence
which I am unable to fill
with my screams.
And what could be more horrible than dealing with the aftermath of a suicide as in Dee Espinoza’s poem, Come Back (Issue 4):
The pain is too much
The screaming in my head thunderous
You’re gone and I am left to pick up the pieces
Home alone with the blood-stained floor.
These stories and poems were meant not just to scare you, but to cast the illusion of an insidiously elusive alternative reality that most of us would not dare to live in. We don’t mind reading about it, locked safely in our rooms with our backs against the wall and all the lights on. Looking ahead to our second year, THE DARK SIRE hopes to keep our readers shaking in their boots with a whole new collection of the macabre.
If you want more stories such as these, don’t forget to subscribe to THE DARK SIRE.