Lapsed Reality

Lapsed Reality

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge October 2019 {[Image 4]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work for the fourth and final image here:

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October 21st – Final Tryst by E.A. Black

October 23rd – Gateway to Fulfillment by Marge Simon

October 25th – Forever Grave by A.F. Stewart

October 27th – I Have Promises to Keep by K.R. Morrison

October 29th – Sacrifice by Lisa Lane

October 31st – Cemetery Gates by Suzanne Madron

November 2nd – The Zombie Apocalypse That Wasn’t by Sheri White

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge October 2019 {[Image 3]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work for the third image here:

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October 21st – Maggie by Michelle Joy Gallagher

October 23rd – Sobbing Rock by Elaine Pascale

October 25th – Land Mind by Angela Yuriko Smith

October 27th – Black, Red, Black by Scarlett R. Algee

October 29th – Rock Faces by Loren Rhodes

October 31st – Bhuidseach by Karen Soutar

November 2nd – The Wasteland by Christina Sng

November 3rd – The Ones Before by Asena Lourenco

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge October 2019 {[Image 2]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work for the second image here:

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October 20th – The Birthday Present by Mary Ann Peden – Coviello

October 22nd – Donation by Naching T. Kassa

October 24th – Sunspot by Sonora Taylor

October 26th – Election Day by Melissa R. Mendelson

October 28th – A Seeing Night by Nina D’Arcangela

October 30th – Unknown Filth by Lydia Prime

November 1st – Making Quota by Bailey Hunter

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge October 2019 {[Image 1]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work for the first image here:

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October 20th – Wrath of the Gods by Ela Lourenco

October 22nd – You’re Invited to the Ghost Ship Halloween Party by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

October 24th – The Admiral by Kathleen McCluskey

October 26th – A Strange Sort of Mutiny by Terrie Leigh Relf

October 28th – Shocking, Isn’t It? by Rie Sheridan Rose

October 30th – Goliath by Lori R. Lopez

November 1st – Rising Before Dawn by Sumiko Saulson

November 3rd – Missing Mother by Selah Janel

Damned Words 41

 

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Triton’s Curse
Marge Simon

Though banished and beheaded, a godling never dies. Now his face is frozen in a scream of rage. In his teeth, an iron bar barrister. Beside him, mouths drawn back as if still breathing flames, his dragon comrades of the seas. Visitors are struck with awe, so alive appears this sculpture on the rail.

Son of Poseidon, once his name was legion. He ruled the ocean winds. His conch could trumpet hurricanes or becalm merchant ships. It’s said that at the sound, goliaths fled in fear of dark leviathans, such was the power of his horn.

A woman was involved, as women are so often blamed for the folly of both gods and godlings. Some say she was a mermaid, gifted with a Siren’s voice for song. Others claim she was a silkie and half human. They say she walked on land to do her business, was no better than a whore. At any rate, she stole his heart.

Gods do not tolerate such alliances, though allowances were made among their own. Their children had no such right to privilege, and thus the punishment was swift and cruel.

He thinks her body lies within the bricked-in door behind him. He believes she died for love of him, believes he guards her crypt. Surely they would leave him that, but it’s not so. His scaly tail and torso lie within the wall. Her soul became the phosphorous light known only to the denizens of stygian depths.

In a place beyond the myth, she visits him in dreams.


They
Charles Grammlich

They are always watching you—the figures with hollow eyes and hungry teeth. Some look like faces, some like dragons, some like men and some like monsters. They hang on fences, stand in parks, squat on the roofs of cathedrals. They are very still. You never see one move. No human can pay attention long enough to do so. But what about when your head is turned, when your gaze is diverted? Think of that the next time you feel a touch that shouldn’t be there. Think of it when you hear the sounds of life but there is no life in the room but you.

Perhaps you believe the figures are made of steel or stone. They are not. They are a strange flesh, the fruit of alien loins. And they multiply. There are more today than there were yesterday. Tomorrow that total will increase. How many will there be in a year, in ten years? When will they outnumber us? What will happen then?

I know. Don’t you? Don’t lie to yourself. You feel it the same as I do. You recognize the wrongness in them. You shrug it away. You laugh. You call the very thought of it silly. Yet still you shiver in the feral night.  Still you cry out after dreams you cannot ‘quite’ remember. Still you pull the sheets up tight beneath your chin. None of that will save you.

I know exactly how you feel. Do you wonder how? It’s because I’m watching too. Right now.


Sanctuary
A.F. Stewart

In this world, we still exist.

In the corners, in the shadows, in the icons and the ornamentation. The images the humans created have become our places of refuge. Where we fled when the world changed. When the humans took what was ours, killed our kind.

Once, we were dragons, shapeshifters, worshiped as powerful creatures. We flew amid the clouds, breathed fire and lightning, swam the seas, walked and loved among the humans, even taking their form.

We ruled as gods.

Until our hubris become our undoing.

Pandora seemed so docile, subservient, yet she let our secrets into the world and laughed as we fell from power. One small woman gave the humans the power to destroy us.

Now, though, after millennia, those secrets have been forgotten.

I am Zeus, watching the world from my wrought iron sanctuary. Each day I can feel my strength returning, hear the voices of my fellow dragons. We are angry, ready.

And I am tired of hiding.

It is time for the dragons to rise and reclaim what is ours.

It is time for the humans to bow to their gods once more.


Dark Boys for Dark Girls
Mercedes M. Yardley

If he had said,
Let me be the Donnie to your Marie or
the sprinkles to your sundae or
the warm sand under your feet
I would have walked away

But no
He said
Let me be the Hades to your trapped Persephone
the chains that draw your body to the floor of the sea
I’ll be the rope around your neck so when you swing
you won’t swing alone

He said
You don’t need trinkets and parties and balloons
You need somebody strong enough to climb into your casket
and close it over us both.


Mixture
Mark Steinwachs

I stand slightly behind the emissary my client sent me and the man leans in closer, drawn to the intense depth of darkness. It’s the only one in my showroom, which is set up as meticulous as the piece itself, the lighting and background designed to mimic a sunny day.

“How did you get the coloring like that? Will it be the same on all your pieces? It’s remarkable,” his voice quiets and his last sentence is almost said to himself even though it’s only the two of us in the room. He inspects the dragon closer.

“It took me years to get the mix correct. The sacrifices I made, but when I got there …well, I would say it’s worth it. And now that he sent you as the down payment I can begin.”

“He didn’t send me with any down payment,” he says and starts to turn.

I grab his head and slam it against the dragon’s ear, the slurp sound of bone and flesh splitting fills the room. I pull back and finish the job. I drag the lifeless body from the room to the basement where I can drain him for my next batch.


A Waited Burden
Lee Andrew Forman

Within the cage rests not a full being, not a complete form of limitless power, only the tip of infernal intent born for destruction. Both head and spine intact are encased in the solid prison. One wonders if thoughts of fire and death still linger within. A life so mighty cannot be so easily undone even in post-severed condition. The lives of all which surround it know nothing other than its ornate appearance. None but myself and few others remain to guard it. The world around it may have grown, but our coven retained its youth, its knowledge. Each day we question when time will wither its unnatural enclosure and free this Earth the burden of life.


The Sky, The Song
Scarlett R. Algee

It’s never not been raining, at least not in my lifetime.

We build up and up, brick and concrete and iron, and every year the city sinks and sinks, the sea gnawing at the land from below, the sky weeping it away from above.

Everyone knows the story, wrought as it is on almost every fence and railing: the scowling god, the snarling beasts. How the god our ancestors worshiped lost his two daughters to the wrath of a spurned siren, who sang them into dragon-like fiends that fled their father’s countenance. How he, mad with grief, gutted the sky with his trident and tore the siren’s voice from her throat.

How the spell-song remained unbroken, the sky did not mend, and the daughters did not return.

It sounds ridiculous, on its face: a legend, a fairy story. And I thought as much myself until the day the package arrived, jagged shards of unearthly metal that gleamed like spilled oil, that I pieced together on my dining table into the shape of a massive three-pronged spear.

Until I read the letter, and learned that sirens have daughters too.

Maybe, at bottom, it’s still just a story. Maybe it’s a stranger’s idea of a prank.

Or maybe the grief of a god can be mended, and skies made whole again, and sisters sung back home.


Drowned
R.J. Meldrum

They huddled together, watching the cracks spread as the waves splintered the wall sheltering them.  The levees had already been overwhelmed, now it was just the wall holding back the ocean.  This was it, the last piece of terra firma, the last piece of land not covered by the rising oceans.  The rich had taken to vast floating palaces, while the poor drowned.  John and the others had sought higher and higher ground until they were at the top of the world.  On top of the peak that people had died to reach, the small group sat, protected only by the wall…and now it was collapsing.  John stood.

“I’m going to die on my feet.”

The others joined him.

Just for an instant there was the sparkle of blue water at the top of the wall, then the mortar gave way and the water consumed them.


Caged
Nina D’Arcangela

Iron mask; unyielding carapace that stifles. Crown of thorns; the lock upon an opaque prison. Eyes blinded; no sight – ebon madness encroaches. Lips shrouded; no utterance escapes. Ears aware; the slush of bodily fluids draining. A hiss heard left then right:
Sissssss… …terrrrrrrr; the sound slithers.

 My guardians keep watch; vestigial, vile.


There’s Always Tomorrow
Lydia Prime

Cursed to an eternity with the most bothersome creatures imaginable, I try to stay my tongue, but their incessant complaining makes me pray for reprieve. Perhaps a building inspector will come to condemn the land we sit upon with bulldozers and wrecking balls that dance until I am finally set free from their infantile chatter.

Good lords, do they whine and mutter constantly. Someone leaned on me! Something just shit on me! Boo-fuckin-hoo, you little twits. Their disgust at these events immediately falls to my ears, “Can you believe the audacity!?” they croon, indignant to their pathetic little cores. Fools! If only they knew who they were speaking to.

I was a sorcerer once, one with great power known for aiding in the conquest of lands further than today’s world remembers. Now, well, what am I? Trapped, that’s what, in this accursed metal tomb by those I’d have considered friends... Friends, what a notion. I should have slaughtered them all and taken their breath as they have ensconced mine.

I wipe away my thoughts as the day draws close to its end. My knight in mismatched orange and blue polyester will soon be here to shelter behind me – his cart of belongings reeking as much as his body. A brief evening’s worth of reprieve from the vapid serpents, his babbling I understand; war, famine, the pang of thirst. I watch as the world winds down only to await the next morning in false death, seeing nothing more than darkness and concrete before me. I’d kill for a new view…

There’s always tomorrow.


Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author and may not be reproduced without prior consent. © Copyright 2019

OPEN SUBMISSIONS: The Sirens Call – issue 47 ‘Deeds Most Foul and Unnatural’ | #Horror #OpenCall #ReprintsWelcome #fiction @Sirens_Call

 

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For the forty-seventh issue of The Sirens Call eZine, we’re looking for works of horror and dark fiction. As it is the Halloween issue, feel free to write something ghastly to shock even the most heinous of tricksters!

We’ll be accepting short stories, flash fiction, drabbles, and poetry provided they fit within the horror/dark fiction genre. We welcome reprints as long as you hold the copyright to the piece.

Your piece can be scary, sullen, emotive, freaky, elegant, bizarre, have a dark-humor edge to it, or be flat out creepy as hell!

The basic rules:

  • Write the piece well.
  • The piece must be primarily horror/dark fiction.
  • Don’t break our set-in-stone taboos – NO pedophilia, NO bestiality, and NO descriptive rape scenarios.

We’re looking for a mixture of pieces that speak to the season, as well as some that are just damned good writing. So, be creative, be bold, show us what you’ve got, and if it fits our criteria, we’ll offer it up to our readership of approximately 35,000!


REPRINTS ARE WELCOME

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2019

Circulation: Approximately 35,000

Short story word count: 1,000 – 2,500 (limit of one submission per author)
Long flash fiction word count: 500 – 1,000 (limit of one submission per author)
Short flash fiction word count: 200 – 500 (limit of three submissions per author)
Poem length: minimum 10 lines; maximum 50 lines (limit of five submissions per author)
Drabbles: 100 word prose (limit of five submissions per author)

Reprints are acceptable as long as you currently hold the copyright.

Full page/single book cover ads for individual authors are available at $10 per ad.
Please contact Nina@SirensCallPublications.com for advertising information.

All story, flash, and poem submissions MUST be submitted to:
Submissions@SirensCallPublications.com for consideration.

Please visit our web site for further details:www.SirensCallPub.com

The Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge August 2019 {[All Authors]}

This amazing Picture Prompt challenge has been hosted for the last 3 years by our lovely, Nina D’Arcangela. She selects four pictures and distributes them out to all the women authors who sign up to play along. Check out everyone’s work here:

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August 20th – Monster Apparent by Angela Yuriko Smith

August 22nd – The Marauder by Kathleen McCluskey

August 24th – Carni-Val by Lori. R. Lopez

August 26th – Childhood Nightmares by A.F. Stewart

August 28th – If Only We Had Listened by Melissa R. Mendelson

August 30th – Earth and Air by Sabrann Curach

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August 20th – Lock the Cellar Door by Sonora Taylor

August 22nd – The Hogs Ate Ashes by Elaine Pascale

August 24th – Hell Hath No Fury by Tiffany Michelle Brown

August 26th – They Didn’t Listen by Rie Sheridan Rose

August 28th – A Cat’s Paw by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello 

August 30th – Storm Child by Christina Sng

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August 21st – Echoes by Naching T. Kassa

August 23rd – Blame by Kyra Starr

August 25th – A Safer Place by Terrie Leigh Relf

August 27th – Descent by Suzanne Madron 

August 29th – Wrong Turn by Bailey Hunter

August 31st – {Untitled} by Asena Lourenco

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August 21st – Strong as Marble, Warm as Blood by Scarlett R. Algee

August 23rd – I Spy by Ela Lourenco

August 25th – Eyes of the Beholder by Marge Simon

August 27th – The Other by Michelle Joy Gallagher

August 29th – Death March by Lydia Prime

August 2019 Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge: Death March @LydiaPrime

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

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Death March
by Lydia Prime

Eyes of amber reflected a raging fire. From toe to fingertip the infection bred as black veins trailed through her alabaster form. It’s said that looks can kill, but for her, a single touch was enough. Victims could do nothing but watch as their flesh bubbled and melted from bone. Her skeletal army building to an unfathomable mass, she collected any creature that crossed her path.
Armada in tow, she made her way through the veil and massacred those who stood against her. Fallen enemies lay in her wake as the true target of her death march emerged. Her diseased hands wrapped around his throat with a strength he’d never known. While his fury turned to dread, sinew slowly boiled away. At last, his cry of outrage ceased. Euphoric, she beheld the pitiful carapace of a once fearsome ruler.
The legion of dead drew near and watched in terror as she took her throne. She smirked as her gathered rabble bowed in supplication before her.
Fiction © Copyright Lydia Prime
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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July 2019 Ladies of Horror Picture Prompt Challenge: Next Meal @LydiaPrime

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

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Next Meal
by Lydia Prime

“Hello?” Whimpering from the darkness startled cautious visitors; their footsteps came to a standstill. “Is, is someone there?” The voice asked weakly.

Twenty feet from the opening, they huddled close together, not sure where the voice had come from. A summer breeze blew through the open room, wafting the scent of fear and sweat toward the damp chasm.

“I can hear you, please, help me,” the voice pleaded and the feet crept closer, certain a little girl was calling to them. Heel to toe, they made it to the edge and peered down, their flashlights just barely able to penetrate the darkness; perhaps a trick of the light, but one was certain something skittered across the ground from one corner to the other.

“Hurry, please!” She called out again; her voice was beginning to sound impatient and less distressed. The men looked at each other before deciding which one of them would go down there and save the girl. With a heavy sigh, the smaller of the two began his descent into the darkness.

CRACK. CRUNCH.

“Help me!” He shouted to his friend. The sound of flesh tearing from bone echoed through the cavernous pit; a scream from below drove right through the man trembling above. Hesitantly, he shined his light below and saw his friend scattered all over the floor and walls. His breath caught in his throat, Where was the … thing that did this!?

Rapid scraping against metal; it was coming. His mind blank, his body failing to remember how to move, to scream; helpless and frozen he stayed as a white creature exited the concrete opening. It had the horns of a stag and the face of a decomposing ram; its slender body turned, showing the butchery that covered its matted fur. Tears began to well in the man’s eyes as it showed off knifelike claws, tapping them together and watching as the crimson bits dribbled from each one.

“Delicious, but still…” came the warbled female voice, as its red eyes locked on its next meal.

 

Fiction © Copyright Lydia Prime
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Voyeur

My mentor had done this procedure countless times but he was getting on in years, it was now my turn. As we entered the room, I turned to be sure he’d noticed. The subtle scent of overly ripe fruit in a room with no such dressings;  the aroma of an expiration past due.

I walked over to the patient and examined her pale clammy skin. Her pulse weakened, her breath shallow. No wonder Death visited this room. I gulped and returned to my mentor’s side.

Our patient let out a faint whimper that neither of us could decipher. At the word of my aged tutor, I began administering treatment. An injection of morphine to calm her, ease her into bliss, followed by several well placed leeches to suck out the monster who held her soul captive.

***

“Quickly, quickly now!” His harsh whisper scratched through my ears.

“But… she just… and…” I managed to stammer.

“Yes, yes. A horrible tragedy all that, a grievous state.” His head hung low for the briefest of moments until his hands found their way back to tidying up. I couldn’t move, just watched while he placed the tools back into his bag. “Don’t just stand there boy!” His raspy voice coached me. I grabbed up the blood-soaked sheets and tossed them into my own bag…

“Get the leeches boy, the leeches!” His voice rang in my head. I turned, knocking my bag to the floor. The leeches had grown fat, too fat, as they continued their suckling while the patient withered. Plucking the engorged creatures off her tore sheets of wallpaper flesh from the desiccated carcass. I glanced at my guardian through terrified eyes; he himself shook at the horror before us. This wasn’t the way it was meant to be.

I ran to the wooden basin and flung them in, foolishly assuming I’d have time to dissect them later. Before I could blink, they swirled through the cracks, found each chink to slither through. No! No! No!  With bare hands, I tried pulling them back but they were already gone.

Exhausted from the struggle, I turned from the useless pail only to find a figure standing behind my mentor. I tried to warn him but my voice escaped as quickly as the leeches had. I watched as it sliced through his torso, dropping meat haphazardly to the wooden floor. I wept as it devoured our patient one glutinous gulp at a time. I howled with fear as the figure turned its attentions toward me.

Perhaps Death wasn’t only a visitor but a voyeur…

∼ Lydia Prime

© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.
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