BLACK STATIC 56
New subscribers can get this issue free by using "BS56" as their Shopper Reference during checkout.
The cover art is 'From Hell' by Joachim Luetke
The Green Eye by Scott Nicolay
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
The seven o’clock sign was our siren song. I read about sirens in the Ulysses book I got from Scholastic. My dad said that book was not the real Odyssey but I liked it all the same. I mainly liked the monsters. The cyclops and the squid monster. And the sirens.
Smoke, Ash, and Whatever Comes After by Eric Schaller
illustrated by Vince Haig
There’s nothing special about the bureau. It’s waist-high, has four drawers with round knobs for handles, and is painted a cheery yellow. Peter painted the bureau three years ago, smothering the earlier blue coat with a color of his daughter Tracy’s choosing. Ursula used stencils to add flowers, each composed of blade-like leaves and a stem that supports a many-petalled bloom.
Border Country by Danny Rhodes
illustrated by Richard Wagner
The road to the campsite was steep and dark. Rob dabbed his foot on the brake pedal. With good reason. Half-way down the hill he passed a gouged trunk, crushed vegetation, a wilted garland of flowers. Amongst all of this was a fading photograph in a plastic wallet.
What We Are Moulded After by Eugenia M. Triantafyllou
illustrated by George C. Cotronis
Every day I wake up beside Eleni, my wife. It is autumn and the air comes from the bedroom window brisk and fresh. My wife still sleeps on her side of the bed. She is not really my wife, any more than I am her husband. But it is written so across my chest along with my name. Andreas, husband. I wake up without truly having slept. I still don’t think I’m doing it right because dreams never come to me. Unlike Eleni who tosses and turns, sweat collecting on her forehead.
The Solitary Truth by Charles Wilkinson
Agnes is standing in the hall and looking down at the cat flap. I’ve told her repeatedly nothing can get through it when it’s locked – a simple truth she finds unacceptable. A month ago I’d have remonstrated with her, but now I pick up the newspaper from the side table and walk into the living room. From the picture window, you can see the sweep of the valley, the bristling rows of pine trees dark on the slope, and in the distance the tilt of cloud against the sharp edge of the escarpment. At the bottom there’s a little farm that spends half the winter tucked up under the mist. Today you can make it out easily: low white buildings, a ruined courtyard, the barn with a corrugated iron roof and a few damp acres. Higher up there are two wind-bitten fields just below the line of the forest. One has been set aside for sheep; the other yields a scratchy crop in summer. The view from the front of the house is a great deal worse. We’ve lived here in folly for thirty-five years.
The Maneaters by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Death, the tarot card read. On its surface the reaper leered from a sycamore forest. Grandma peered at me across the table. Her apartment’s patchouli musk made me wheeze.
Stanislav in Foxtown by Ian Steadman
At night, lying in my bed, I sometimes fantasise about murdering Mr Sharples. If he were less imposing I might strike out, solving with violence what I can’t verbalise in my clumsy English. But Mr Sharples isn’t the kind of man you start a fight with. His hair is cut close to his head, his nose swerves left towards a stubbled cheek. His polo shirt stretches tight over his chest, the stitched puma leaping across his pectoral muscle as if it’s scaling a mountain. Next to him, I look as if I am built of chicken bones. My arms are thin like twigs, my ribs visible like a brittle hand stretched across my chest. Loose flaps of skin hang under my arms.
Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker
WRITING IN THE DARKNESS
Earlier this week, I had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in several months, a fellow writer and expat American. It wasn’t that we kept circling back round to that topic, the US election, over and over, it was that we couldn’t seem to leave it. “We have to stop talking about this!” she said at last. “What are you working on?” “Nothing!” I said. “I’ve been too upset to write any fiction!” And so on.
Into the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore
new regular column
THE PERISHABILITY OF METAPHORS
The other day while Mary and I were changing our bed sheets, tossing pillows sideways, cats scattering, resentful, I tried to remember a Nabokov metaphor.
Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
SEEKING TO SUBVERT: STEPHEN VOLK
Review of the story collection The Parts We Play, plus in-depth author interview
Uncertainties volumes 1 and 2 edited by Brian J. Showers, Six Scary Stories selected by Stephen King
IN SMALL PACKAGES
Cape Wrath by Paul Finch, The Harlequin by Nina Allan, The Lost Film by Stephen Bacon & Mark West, The Booking by Ramsey Campbell, The Damage Museum by Vincent Sammy, What They Find in the Woods by Gary Fry, Stag in Flight by S.P. Miskowski, The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley, The Grieving Stones by Gary McMahon, Muscadines by S.P. Miskowski, The Doom That Came to Whitby Town by Gary Fry, Eat the Night by Tim Waggoner
Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Gary Couzens
I Am Not a Serial Killer, Donnie Darko, The Driller Killer, The Shallows, Long Weekend (1979), Howling II…Your Sister is a Werewolf, Rupture, Lights Out, Demon, The Lure, Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Fright Night, Creepy, Beyond the Gates
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