BLACK STATIC 39
Wraparound cover art is War by Ben Baldwin
Kebab Bob by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by Vincent Sammy
Even in a tropical paradise, a person can be unhappy.
The dim light and rumbling conversations of The Cracked Coconut Bar. Kebab Bob sitting in the shadows at one of the booths against the wall with, of course, The One on the Right, The One on the Left, and The Other One on the Left. Smell of pineapple and licorice. Bongos and vocals drifting over everyone’s candle-lit faces. A dark waitress with white teeth floating over, bright green dress. Bringing him his latest drink. Which will be his last drink. He has the poison in his pocket. A sense of power. He, alone of everyone in this bar, knows when he is going to die. In about five minutes.
Hot Feet by Tyler Keevil
illustrated by David Gentry
I was the guy who found the first one, down at Spanish Banks. You may have heard about all this, on the news, but I’ll tell you some things you didn’t hear. This one was shoed. Is that the word? I mean, it had a shoe on it. Some of the others were bare. Not this one. These are the kind of details you wouldn’t know about, unless you were there, like me. Unless you were part of it, right from the beginning.
The Brack by Vajra Chandrasekera
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Hanni, eating, finds the stone in his mouth. His gorge rises like brackish water in his throat before he spits it out. It clatters, unexpectedly loud.
Osane is watching him. Osane is the ghost. She sits across the kitchen table like she used to when she was alive, the wound in her head gaping red. Hanni can’t tell if her hair is wet with blood or from the river. She sometimes makes faces at him, playfully. She seems so much more relaxed now that she’s dead.
The Toyol by Joel Arnold
illustrated by Dan Henk
1 — Bogalay, Myanmar
After cyclone Nargis, things were never the same. It was a beast of wind, rain, debris and bodies, sucking the corrugated walls of Zeya’s hut away, sweeping her mother and brother away. Zeya’s father directed her to crouch into the hole where they stored their food. He placed two cinderblocks on top of her to hold her down. The blocks bit into her soft skin, pressed flesh hard against bone, but they held her as the cyclone roared over them. She watched through the cracks as it flung her father into the air, devouring him in its dark maw.
Editor's note: the cyclone Nargis is spelled correctly here but incorrectly in the magazine. Apologies for the error.
The Broken and the Unmade by Steven J. Dines
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
The German SS arrived in December 1943, and announced that our deportation would commence the following morning. In our schools that evening, the teachers gave us no homework.
Mothers stayed with young children, washed them from head to toe, hung their wet clothes on barbed wire. I was fourteen and big for my age. My mother busied herself cooking the last of our food and packing a suitcase. My father, unable to look at either of us for very long, sought without success that level of drunkenness that might allow him to forget the coming morning. I went for a walk.
Everywhere, the dark, bare soil was set with Yahrzeit candles. The camp like a mirror held up to the late night sky. I wandered among those stars for hours before I finally returned to my parents.
We prayed and wept all through the night.
House Party Blues by Suzanne Palmer
He settles into the house like a new layer of skin, this fresh shell with room to grow and thrive, for a little while. He makes the pipes in the walls sing with his own heartbeat, dresses himself in the wallpaper, clothes himself in rug and woodwork, adorns himself with knicknacks and old family photos full of forced, unconvincing smiles. A husband, a wife, arms around each other, but space evident between.
Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
Ray Bradbury, in a speech just before his death, had sage advice for writing students. Unashamedly tell people you’re a writer, he said, and if they put you down, or by some belittling remark show they don’t have faith in your dreams – get rid of them! The audience laughed. He said, “I mean it! Phone then now! Tell them, ‘You’re fired!’”
True, you can do without those who weigh you down. But there are others, many others, whose encouragement and support is invaluable. The enablers, I call them.
Blood Pudding by Lynda E. Rucker
This is not the column I intended to write this month.
I originally wrote a first draft for a different column for this month’s issue of Black Static. But it is February, which is also Women in Horror month. That month has passed by the time you are reading this, of course, and I hadn’t originally intended to write an article about the month at all.
You see, I get tired of being a Woman in Horror. I just want to be a writer who writes horror, just like the guys get to be.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
Mortbury Press: The Tenth Black Book of Horror edited by Charles Black, For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska; Dedalus: Uglybugly by Lars Ramslie, Saturn by Jacek Dehnel; Pendragon Press: Bite by Gardner Goldsmith, Fade-Out by Gavin Salisbury; Hippocampus Press: At Fear's Altar by Richard Gavin, Uncommon Places: A Collection of Exquisites by W.H. Pugmire, Portraits of Ruin by Joseph S. Pulver Sr, The Wide Carnivorous Sky & Other Monstrous Geographies by John Langan; Australia, Mon Horreur: The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2012 edited by Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, The Year of Ancient Ghosts by Kim Wilkins, Everything is a Graveyard by Jason Fischer, Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar, Prickle Moon by Juliet Marillier, The Bone Chime Song & Other Stories by Joanne Anderton, The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin, Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter.
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee
Dracula: The Dark Prince, Vikings Season One, Alice Sweet Alice, Banshee Chapter, Dolls, Dead of Night, Phantom of the Paradise, We Are What We Are, In Fear, Muirhouse, Nothing Left to Fear, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, Paranormal Xperience, Skinwalkers, Bloody Homecoming, Memory Lane, The Black Water Vampire, Hatchet 3, Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz, Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero, Evidence
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