Black Static 21 Out Now
The art on the cover is a crop from Ben Baldwin's illustration for 'Cushing' by James Cooper.
Ulterior Design by V.H. Leslie
illustrated by Paul Milne
Daniel couldn’t see beyond the impenetrable wall of brambles. In the distance he could make out serpentine vines gloating, as they curled their forked shoots around tree limbs and branches, suffocating the very life that anchored them. Bursting from these curving stems were crimson buds. The edges of deep red petals rose to sharpened peaks so that they resembled the barbed briars from which they sprang. The blossoms were both familiar and strange, as if a number of exotic flowers had been fused to create the finest and most deadly hybrid. Long yellow stamen protruded from the centre of these plants, the tips such a vivid yellow you could anticipate the powdery pollen on your fingertips. Hovering around the nectar, butterflies in all manner of colours fluttered from one bud to the next like insincere lovers. Bees, too, crept from one sweetened platform to another. Exotic birds perched on thorny arbours, displayed wings that appeared to be gilded with gemstones, waiting to snap their beaks at the buzzing harvest that floated just out of reach. All about was movement and life and the incessant beating of wings.
Pins and Needles by Ray Cluley
illustrated by Rik Rawling
“Prick.” / James plunged his hands deep into the pockets of his coat as if he’d stepped aside voluntarily instead of being pushed from the queue. Others shouldered past him, knocking him with bags, and he had to duck quickly, sidestepping, when an elderly lady lowered her umbrella as she clambered on to the bus. / “You coming on, mate?” the driver called out to him. / James shook his head – the bus was too crowded – and the doors closed with a stuttered cough. With a tired exhalation of exhaust the vehicle merged slowly with the rest of the traffic, leaving James behind at the bus shelter. / “Prick!” he said again, louder this time. An elderly man seating himself on the narrow beam of a bench looked up with a scowl then busied himself rearranging the shopping in his carrier bags.
Water by Maura McHugh
The pot lids hopped and fizzed when Mark’s mother laid the wooden spoon down calmly, opened the back door of the kitchen, disappeared into the overgrown garden, and drowned herself in the river that flowed past their house.
Extraneus Invokat by Ed Grabianowski
illustrated by Dan Henk
None of these little incidents meant anything to me at first. I drew no connections. It started in the middle of a fall afternoon, sunny and crisp. / We were packing up the apartment to move. After two years in the same tiny space, we were making a little more money and moving to a slightly nicer neighborhood. The living room was a maze of cardboard boxes, stacked and taped and labeled, or hanging open, half filled with the bits and pieces of life we’d collected over our few years together. Laura’s boxes were neatly arranged in rows of paper-wrapped dishes, carefully catalogued books, tidily folded hand towels. The boxes I’d packed were filled with slowly growing mounds of old magazines, bits of electronic equipment, guitar picks.
Cushing by James Cooper
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
I remember just what it was like, even after all these years. That feeling of being cast adrift in my own home; separated from David’s cool devotion and the intensity of my Mother’s gaze. Something I barely understood at the time, and of which I have only the faintest appreciation now. That’s how it worked back then. There were things you simply didn’t understand and were never meant to. You just accepted whatever snagged you as you floated past. A boy’s family was only as normal as the people in it, chasing love and happiness and some undefined sense of themselves. This is what I lived with every day; I just didn’t realise it at the time. My family was like a broken wheel, the daily vibrations transforming us, showing us why we were different, why we would always be the same. This is how I spent my childhood. Watching the future unfold. Listening to the distant roar of David’s silence. Learning why we didn’t work, as the days went on and on.
horror news compiled by Peter Tennant
Electric Darkness by Stephen Volk
Interference by Christopher Fowler
Night's Plutonian Shore by Mike O'Driscoll
Case Notes by Peter Tennant
book reviews: for Women in Horror Recognition Month, every book reviewed is written or edited by women. Includes interview with Angela Slatter
Blood Spectrum by Tony Lee
DVD/Blu-ray reviews and giveaways
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