Edited by bestselling, award-winning anthologist John Joseph Adams, NIGHTMARE is a digital magazine of horror and dark fantasy. In its pages, you will find all kinds of horror and dark fantasy, from zombie stories and haunted house tales, to visceral psychological horror. Every month NIGHTMARE will bring you a mix of original fiction and reprints, and featuring a variety of authors: from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven't heard of yet. When you read NIGHTMARE, it is our hope that you'll see where horror comes from, where it is now, and where it's going. The NIGHTMARE podcast, produced by Grammy Award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki of Skyboat Media, is presented twice a month, featuring original audio fiction and classic reprints.
Do not make friends was not actually an explicit Rule, but it was implied by some of the others: do not do anything to draw attention to yourself and do not bring anyone to the house and do not stop anywhere between home and school. As a little kid, Kyle had thought his dad was a psychic. It was middle school before he realized that basically half the teachers in the school were just spying on him. It was high school before he realized they were doing it with the best of intentions, rather than entering into a vast conspiracy. | Copyright 2018 by Caspian Gray. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
On August 4th, 2014, a researcher at the British National Archives came across a sealed envelope entitled “The Leather Apron.” It had not been opened in over 125 years. The envelope contained many elements of a closed investigation into the famous Jack the Ripper case. Among the items was the written testimony of the twenty-one-year-old son of Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, the woman considered by many to be the first official victim of Jack the Ripper. | Copyright 2016 by G. Neri. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Her name was Robyn Howlett, and she was twenty-two years old. Robyn was an alien creature to me, product of conditions wholly at odds with those that produced my kind. She spoke in a language I had never heard. Nevertheless, I understood everything she said. It is the nature of my kind to understand everything that is spoken in our presence, a necessary adaptation given that we are often summoned by creatures as alien to us as we are to them, creatures who often cannot expand their minds enough to even perceive us. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 14th • 57:25
This is how Hakim Shafi gave away his life: First, he closed his shop. Next, he sold his house. “What in the name of God are you doing?” I said. Shafi grinned. That grin raised the hackles on my neck, sahib. “Burning bridges,” he said. I looked at him closely. In the four weeks since I’d told him about the qawwals, he had shaved his thick mustache and lost ten kilos. He was always thin, but now he looked like a needler at the end of his days. His temples were wasted, the flesh of his face pulled taut across the blades of his bones. | Copyright 2018 by Usman Malik. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 7th • 39:53
Jee Inspector Sahib, he came looking for a missing girl in Lahore Park one evening in the summer of 2013, this man known as Hakim Shafi. It was a summer to blanch the marrow of all summers. Heat rose coiling like a snake from the ground. Gusts of evil loo winds swept across Lahore from the west, shrinking the hides of man and beast alike, and Hakim Shafi went from bench to bench, stepping over needles rusting in bleached June grass, and showed the heroinchies a picture. | Copyright 2018 by Usman Malik. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Oct 17th • 34:08
Mother would have never taken the bus. She had specific prejudices---the train yes, the bus no, taking The Lord’s name in vain, no, calling someone an asshole, yes. It was often hard to follow her dictates; the safest route was to just not say anything or do anything unless directed. Mother had no say in the matter now, and although Miriam wasn’t big on bus travel herself, it gave her an adventuresome frisson to be doing something in such bad taste. | Copyright 2018 by Halli Villegas. Narrated by Claire Bloom Benedek.
Oct 3rd • 23:03
Madeline had a plain, dull face that only a mother could love, even though hers hadn’t. She’d been a clever child, clever enough to realize early on that fairness was a fairy tale, and clever enough to realize that it wasn’t her mother, really, who was to blame, even if she couldn’t help but blame her. Whenever Madeline’s stepfather had told her to get out of his sight, her mother had repeated the phrase in a ghostly echo. When Madeline emancipated herself at sixteen, she figured that was the end of that, and she looked ahead to a future of possibilities. | Copyright 2018 by Joanna Parypinski. Narrated by Bonnie MacBird.
Sep 19th • 9:28
He cut off her arms and threw them on the side of the road. They wanted a boy. Her uncle taught her how to play the game. The last time anyone saw her she was dancing. She was drunk. She was flirting with everyone. She was wearing a short skirt. She had a lot of eyeliner on. She got into the car, which anyone knows is a stupid thing to do. She was stupid. Actually, she was very intelligent, but had no common sense. It wasn’t her fault. But what was she thinking? | Copyright 2018 by M. Rickert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Sep 5th • 50:19
Some houses never have a soul. It’s not their fault. It’s just the way it is. For a soul to be born to a house, almost too many things have to happen. Three or more families have to have lived there. Someone has to die in the house. Blood has to be spilled. And something, even if it’s just an idea, has to be born in the house. You can always tell when a house has a soul because of the small spiders. They’re everywhere, non-obtrusive, and ever watchful. The small spiders are the eyes of the house, watching those who live in it much like a great beast would observe its own fleas. | Copyright 2018 by Weston Ochse. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Aug 15th • 34:42
My brother was hanged on a Monday and two days later I followed him. When the trapdoor opened for the short drop, the sharp stop never came: instead, my soul slithered loose from my body and I fell through darkness, landing with a crash atop a mountain of junk. Odd battered shoes, gimmicked dice and prosthetic notes---the cheat’s cast-offs, the swindler’s knick-knacks. It all reeked of piss. I pulled the sackcloth off my head. A square moon in a black sky shed some light, but not much. | Copyright 2018 by G.V. Anderson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Aug 1st • 1:00:21
Nita: So you thought I made you sign a release as, what, foreplay? [Laughter.] Voice: I was, like, four tequilas deep by the time you walked in and probably at five when you waved that paper in my face. I would’ve signed my soul away to . . . uh, I didn’t actually sign my soul over, did I? Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir, Susan Hanfield, Justine Eyre, Stefan Rudnicki, Cassandra Lalechou, Jim Freund.
Jul 4th • 42:21
I hear the sound before I open my eyes. Someone is eating, though I should be alone in my room, and it’s too loud, too close. When I look, I see the cat---the one we’re all supposed to adore, that’s meant to have us all therapeutically laughing, lowering our blood pressures by stroking its soft grey fur. I tried once, but it felt to me as soft as cobwebs, as dust, as decaying flesh. The cat is sitting on the shelf wheeled across the bottom of my bed. It’s eating my breakfast. | Copyright 2018 by Alison Littlewood. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 20th • 27:18
Have you ever found yourself on a midtown sidewalk on some warm July day when a plummeting body splattered on the pavement, directly in front of you? Close enough to feel the explosive shockwave of hot liquid air, pelting your trousers with meat pellets the size of quarters? Have you ever staggered backward, sodden with gore and spitting out substances you could not stand to identify, half-blinded because some of it got in your eyes, the screams of other pedestrians rising all around you, the smell of blood and shit hitting like a second assault almost as bad as the first? | 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 6th • 40:30
3 Harvest: Arcon Glass came to dinner in my cabin tonight. A rarity; he has declined all previous invitations on pretext of work. Over dessert, First Mate Law asked him if the Guild of Natural Philosophers’ purpose in sponsoring this voyage is to research a solution to the overfishing of the whale-routes. Law has been my First Mate for a decade now and I bear the man a great affection, but he has a dockhand’s lack of tact for all that he wears an officer’s badge. Glass did not seem offended by the directness of the question, and answered that it was exactly as we had surmised. | Copyright 2018 by Nibedita Sen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
May 16th • 21:04
It’d been a warm, sunny spring afternoon. The grass in the cemetery was green, the roses and lavender in the wreaths fragrant. Iqbal’s funeral had been a quiet affair, all things considered. Our circle was getting too old for the type of soap opera drama that had marked our younger years. We’d lived for enough decades that my friends and I had settled into some kind of rhythm, had dared to allow some of our sharp edges to be burnished smooth. So by the time of Iqbal’s funeral, Grey had long since given up staging drunken screaming matches in parking lots with Jésus. | Copyright 2018 by Nalo Hopkinson. Narrated by Nalo Hopkinson.
May 2nd • 26:33
Such a beautiful boy, Cornelius Clay. Pity no woman’ll marry him. And to think it ain even his fault, sweet baby, born into money and beauty both, like the good Lord couldn’t part with his blessings fast enough. Lord, this boy. Skin so bright he looks anointed, hair straight as an Indian’s and black as molasses. There’s four generations of freedmen in that skin and hair, and he can name every single one of them. He got a body so fine, even the angels cryin out: silver screen silhouette in a tailored suit and two-toned wingtips, hat brim so crisp its shadow slices butter. | Copyright 2018 by Stephanie Malia Morris. Narrated by Stephanie Malia Morris.
Apr 18th • 15:00
The horde is attracted to bright colours, so when you put together your bug-out bag, you pack the drab outfits you’d sworn never to wear again once you’d finally, breathlessly, emerged as your true, radiant self. You pack a heavy hunting knife, because what you carry looks valuable. You’re glad that your arms are gym-strong and intimidating, because the idea of hurting someone, even in self-defense, makes you want to vomit. You leave behind your old name. You try not to wonder if you’re the only one left who remembers it. You don’t know how you’d feel if that were true. | Copyright 2018 by Emma Osborne. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Apr 4th • 44:25
The mansion is a study in architecture at war with itself. It’s not just the windows that don’t match and the turrets that don’t overlook anything and the roof that sits flat here while looming at impossible angles there. Nor is it just the exterior walls that, seen from one angle, seem rotted and decrepit and about to collapse, and seen from another, gleam like jewels. Nor is it the gnarled skin of the columns that support the overhang at the front entrance, or the glistening scarlet door that seems poised to open until you see that it’s not a real door at all. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Mar 21st • 24:50
Taina crawls underneath the shack to unearth her wooden cigar box. She opens it and places the items in front of her: a piece of leftover mundillo lace from an unfinished handkerchief, an ivory ribbon she stole from Don Victor’s store, and the rosary beads given to her by Abuela. Everything is right where she left it. She carefully places the items back and covers the box with dirt. “Shhh,” Taina whispers, hugging the dog Choco. Choco licks the side of her cheek and nuzzles his cold wet nose on the crevice of her bony elbow. | Copyright 2018 by Lilliam Rivera. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
Mar 7th • 40:01
Six-year-old Violet Wellington was the only child to come out of the swamp. The boys were gone forever. She sat on the side of a muddied dirt road, digging her nails raw against the gravel; her jeans and pink t-shirt were damp but clean. She had a scrape over her left eyebrow and her hair smelled of mildew. Unharmed, otherwise. Dogs and professionals and volunteers spent days trying to find the other bodies. Violet couldn’t help. She wouldn’t draw pictures, she wouldn’t answer questions, she wouldn’t be cajoled with sugar. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
She’s born in a pine-wood cottage, birches tangled over its roof, snow burying the log pile. When she’s still young, her father disappears in a war of musket-shot and horses screaming into the gunpowder dark. Her mother scrapes a living by stealing flowers from the gardens of the fine half-timbered houses round the fountain and hocking them in the market. Mornings, the girl accompanies her mother, the armfuls of pilfered calla lilies leaving pollen-smears on her skin. Afternoons, the girl returns to the cottage to sweep the front step with a crooked willow-broom. | Copyright 2018 by Emily Cataneo. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Mill—a charmer and a rake of no respectable talent whatever—insinuated himself into the home of the widow Annie Holcomb and her seventeen-year-old daughter, Alice. But Mrs. Holcomb turned him out, once she realized he’d been gallanting Alice as much as her. Mill spent the next four nights chanting obscene tirades under her window and left a dead rat in the mail slot on the fifth. Night patrols chased him off park benches; friends robbed him. Sleepless and humiliated, he broke into the house and strangled Mrs. Holcomb with her tin necklace, and when it snapped, with a pajama cord. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
Jan 17th • 13:49
Turn the crystal knob on your kitchen faucet and shut off the water. Step back. Wave the air in front of you, cough, snort, pinch your nose, do whatever you must to clear the repulsive smell clogging your nostrils as if you’ve just inhaled rotten meat. Think of the dead crab you found when you were ten years old, its body washed to shore in Rhode Island, and you brought it home and kept it all summer long in an empty pickle jar on your dresser, even as the crab’s shell turned a sick, dark grey and erupted with crawling pink worms that scavenged the flesh, until one day in August when you opened the jar. | Copyright 2018 by Vincent Michael Zito. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
This is not about the movie. The movie that launched her career, where she played the pretty wife of a headstrong cop. Pretty, blonde, smart, convincing. Unhappy. The dutiful wife, killed, dismembered, beheaded. Just like the only other woman in the film, the fatal object of sin manifest. How ironic was it that The Actress first made such a strong cinematic impression with her portrayal of a character whose severed head does indeed end up in a packing crate in the middle of a field so that The Actor—her boyfriend at the time—can have a crisis of conscience? | Copyright 2018 by Lori Selke. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Dec 20th, 2017 • 42:55
She stands on the side of the road in the dewy high grass and waits. She wanders among the tangled weeds heavy with crickets, and waits. She drifts among the gathering fireflies blinking their yellow-green light into the darkening forest. And waits, and waits, and waits. They will come, she knows. They will come and see her and take her away from this dreadful place. They will clothe her and feed her and wrap her in a warm blanket, and everything will be perfect again. She knows it’s only a matter of time. | copyright 2017 by Matthew Kressel. Narrated by Judy Young.
Dec 6th, 2017 • 16:23
Everyone knows and loves the Super Little Dead Girls™! These feisty girls are all gutsy, gallant, and gung-ho about fighting monsters and undead menaces, but they’ve got their distinct personalities, too. Take our quiz to find out which Super Little Dead Girl™ is your super alter-ego! (1.) On a Friday night, where could a potential murderer or evil spirit most likely find you? | Copyright 2017 by Nino Cipri. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 15th, 2017 • 37:59
I met you in the summer when the butterflies began to dance. You were missing your nose, your right eye, and the top of your lips. Some of your teeth. It made conversation a sort of whistle. The war had taken half of your face. It had burned your skull into spotted pink and black, like the underbelly of some amphibious creature. Before the war you were classically beautiful, with classic emerald eyes and a classic strong jaw and classic full lips, but none of these descriptions do you justice. I want to say you were perfect, but it was the imperfections that made you so. | Copyright 2017 by Karin Lowachee. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 1st, 2017 • 14:52
This is the murderer of the two teenagers last Christmass on Lake Herman Road and the girl a few weeks ago in Vallejo. I phoned a lady dispatcher at the Vallejo Police Department, but she didn’t take me seriously. So as not to risk that now, I shall reveal the following details not available to the public: 1. The brand name of the ammunition for the Christmass killing was Super X. I fired ten shots, leaving the boy on his back with his feet to the car and the girl on her right side and her feet to the west. | Copyright 2017 by Will Ludwigsen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Oct 18th, 2017 • 20:55
After years of searching, he found the castle on a remote forgotten world in an abandoned corner of the unknown universe. Castles littered the cosmos like dead stars, relics of the ancients. Each one of these monuments to Ozymandias divulged the secrets of its womb with labyrinthine corridors or arresting garrets, grown mausolean with the passing of ages. A bloated sun swelled over a third of the enflamed sky, casting vegetation and ruins alike in ominous red. | Copyright 2017 by Joanna Parypinski. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Oct 4th, 2017 • 20:19
Stories are mongrels. It don’t matter whether they were lightning-cut into stone or whispered over the crackle of a dying flame; no story in the world has pedigree. They’ve all been told and retold so many times that not God himself could tell you which one came first. Yes, every story in creation. Including this one. Especially this one. You might have heard it before. There was a girl once. Her name was Sally. It could have been any other name, really. But let’s go with Sally. It’s solid. Round-hipped and stout, the kind of Midwestern name that can walk for hours and don’t mind it much when the sun burns its skin red. Copyright 2017 by Cassandra Khaw. Narrated by Judy Young.
Sep 20th, 2017 • 52:45
He took a wrong turn on P.M. Road and found himself face to face with it. “Devi,” he said, touching his forehead in the Hindu genuflectory gesture similar to crossing oneself. And took a step back. Then another. It was a small temple. A shrine, really. Perhaps seven feet high and five feet broad. Built, like most temples in India, at the base of a tree. Two tiny marble arches framed the front portal. An elaborately carved bunting ran around the top of the roughly squareish structure. | Copyright 2017 by Ashok K. Banker. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
Sep 6th, 2017 • 13:41
Yellowed bones tangle with jade necklaces and gold bracelets in the depths of the cenote, where blind fish and crayfish swim. She stands near the edge of the waterhole, observing its beautiful depths, her hands clutching her long skirt. At her feet there is a burlap sack. A pig squirms and squeals inside. She ignores its protests. She is a novice at a convent near a small town baked by the harsh sun, a town south of Mérida; a town where all buildings are painted yellow and white. | Copyright 2017 by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Narrated by Roxanne Coyne Hernandez.
Aug 16th, 2017 • 17:26
It was the twenty-hour flight on which neither Gordon nor Melissa slept a wink, and the strong Greek coffee at the Athena Tavern they both chugged down at Melissa’s request, and the long-seeming walk in the plish across Kelvingrove Park at Gordon’s insistence that took them to the museum. A wayward cinder got into Melissa’s contact lenses, and she was exhausted, and jittery from the caffeine, and excited to finally be meeting her lover’s parents, and it was her first trip to Scotland. | Copyright 2017 by Nick Mamatas. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Aug 2nd, 2017 • 16:28
The boy grew up in the tangle of the bayou, in a township known as Rue Moret. His mother had married a farmhand, but his father wasn’t the same man. The boy told himself that these things happen when life loses its luster and we create complications to bear it. He wore a small woven hat wherever he went, and he went many places for a boy of his age. He walked to school most days, alone because his half-sister had been lost in childbirth. The boy still spoke to her. | Copyright 2017 by James Rabb. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 12th, 2017 • 25:41
Junior wasn’t even forty-five minutes into the trees when his son Denny called him on the walkie, to meet back at the truck. Denny was twelve, and Junior could tell he’d got spooked again. He wasn’t going to get any less spooked if Junior called him on it, though. So, instead of staking out a north-facing meadow like he’d been intending, waiting for the sun to glint off some elk horn, Junior tracked himself back, stepping in his own boot prints when he could. | Copyright 2014 by Stephen Graham Jones. Originally published in THE CHILDREN OF OLD LEECH. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 5th, 2017 • 37:24
It was a freezing day in January, so Cody was surprised when Tay answered the door to his apartment without a shirt. His wet hair was still slicked down from the shower. “Um, hey,” said Cody. “It’s good to see you.” “Huh,” said Tay. “Come in, I guess.” Cody expected the scar in the middle of Tay’s chest. It was raised and shining, a ragged knoll that Tay crossed his arms over as soon as he noticed Cody looking. What Cody hadn’t expected was the other one. | Copyright 2017 by Caspian Gray. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 21st, 2017 • 26:10
It was her zipper that drew me to her. She was beautiful enough, according to what most people seemed to consider beauty. She had a black buzz cut, the kind of body that gives the impression of lankiness even on someone petite, a complexion pale as milk, and an overbite that made sure that a sliver of teeth was always visible even when her bee-sting lips were mostly shut. Everything about her face seemed tentative, as if placed there by a designer who knew just how much any given feature needed before it gained enough prominence to overpower the others. | Copyright 2017 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 7th, 2017 • 28:45
You know how this story goes: the girl was kissed in the womb by the devil. When she emerged into the too-bright world, she was missing half her face where his teeth tore it off. The doctors did their best; they grafted skin over the left side, added collagen in her cheeks. “Smile,” they said, tickling her feet. But she could not smile, and so no one smiled at her. A girl is supposed to be beautiful. A girl is supposed to have rosy red cheeks and a laugh that makes men wilt to think of her bright future. A beautiful girl will have a beautiful life. | Copyright 2017 by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
May 17th, 2017 • 20:05
Diego packs more insulation into the walls. The work’s itchy as hell and the insulation isn’t enough to cut out the whine of the Sound, not entirely, but he likes to think it helps. Behind him, he can hear Liv move about the apartment, rummaging through the totes they’ve never fully unpacked. A year later and they still live like they might have to flee. “I thought we agreed that the comics would go next,” he says, the Sound like a drill boring into his temples, pushing his voice near to yelling. Not that he wants to remind her what to sell on eBay, but the old X-Men comics might be worth something. | Copyright 2017 by Charles Payseur. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
May 3rd, 2017 • 27:59
If you see the mouthless girl rise from your bed sheets you must never look her in the eyes or she will kiss you. “Is that some sort of urban legend?” I ask. The bloke with the eye-patch grins. He’s been stalking me for some time before coming to the bar and offering me a pint. I had been peering at the busty brunette two stools down when I became aware of his eyes---or rather, of his one eye. I got the impression he was like a human hound, sniffing out some secret scent I didn’t know I had on me. When he walked up to my stool, he leaned over and in a deep voice said he had a story for me. | Copyright 2017 by Giovanni De Feo. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Apr 19th, 2017 • 24:03
I ate the child and fell in love with the mother; I didn’t want to, but I didn’t know, I was new to town. The placenta tasted like raw ahi fed only on honey and dandelion. Inside it was pomegranate, was roe, was blood orange, was lymph. If I could regurgitate his love (my love, our love?) I would, but I can’t. Lacticifer sold his children at the Tenhen farmers market. I was hungry from moving into the house on the hill and rode down on my bike, the brake pads worn thin and worthless. He was short and wore mismatched socks, clogs, and Carhartt overalls. | Copyright 2017 by Jenn Grunigen. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Apr 5th, 2017 • 38:40
There was a young girl whose grandma loved her fiercely, and so made for her a suit of skin. Her grandma brined the skin, scraped it free of fat and flesh, and soaked it in a brainy mash until it was soft and milky as a baby’s breath. She crafted an opening in the suit with leather cords to tie the flaps. “Promise me,” said the girl’s grandma, while she adjusted the fit, “that you’ll always wear this when you go outside.” The girl shook her arm and the skin waggled. “It’s still loose.” “That way you won’t outgrow it. Now promise me . . .” | Copyright 2017 by Eric Schaller. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Mar 22nd, 2017 • 35:33
A ghost town lived down the road from us. Its bones peeked out from over the tree line when we rattled down Highway 51 in our cherry red pick-up. I could see a steeple, a water tower, a dome for a town hall. It was our shadow. It was a ghost town because there was an accident, a long time ago, that turned it into a graveyard. I used to wonder: what kind of accident kills a whole town? Was it washed away in a storm? Did God decide, “Away with you sinners,” with a wave of His hand---did He shake our sleeping Mt. Halberk into life? | Copyright 2015 by Nadia Bulkin. Originally published in AICKMAN'S HEIRS, edited by Simon Strantzas. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Mar 1st, 2017 • 45:28
Sitting at the minefield’s edge, I held Dana’s hand and tried hard not to break it as we waited for the sunrise. Despite the barbed wire crossing back and forth in front of us, we kept a good view of the horizon. Another five, maybe ten minutes, the sky would turn purple and then red and then orange before gold washed over the trees and grass. Dana wrapped a hand around my bicep, squeezing as much as she dared, and rested her head on my shoulder. “Thanks for meeting me.” | Copyright 2017 by Nate Southard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Feb 15th, 2017 • 56:26
There’s nothing more awful than watching a child you love dying. Janey tosses a handful of sand onto my bare belly. She must’ve noticed me brooding. “Auntie, don’t be glum! It’s my birthday. I’m thirteen. So be happy, or else I’ll bury you up to your neck!” She smiles her big, toothless smile. Myra’s paid good money to have sets of dentures made for her, but Janey complains they hurt her gums. Getting her to wear them regularly is as hard as getting other teenagers to clean their rooms. Her eyes are still the same sparkling gray-blue color they were when she was born. But they’ve developed the beginnings of cataracts, and they’re surrounded by wrinkles now. | Copyright 2017 by Andrew Fox. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
Feb 1st, 2017 • 22:29
At first it was a fireman. A fireman was leaning over me. “Do you know your name?” Yes of course I know my name, what kind of silly question is that? But I couldn’t speak. I was in a vehicle, lying on my back. Oh, it’s an ambulance. But then I’m not there at all; I’m in a hospital. “Didn’t you used to be a writer?” asks the nurse, leaning over me, or is she a party clown? She’s wearing bright lipstick and her face is too close to mine and she smells of cigarillos. “Weren’t you a writer?” and I replied, “I used to be a writer.” She said, “Then what are you now? What do you do now?” | Copyright 2017 by Jessica Amanda Salmonson. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
Jan 18th, 2017 • 33:06
Three poor sisters lived in a cottage at the edge of a wild place. The elder, Rose and Lily, started each day in a furious bustle, storming around the kitchen before dawn preparing for the day, frying bread for breakfast, slicing cheese for lunch, scrubbing the table, which was already clean, and pestering the youngest, Violet, about her chores. Had she collected the eggs yet, had she milked the cow, had she made sure the iron and rowan were still above all the doors to protect them from the Fair Folk so the hens would keep laying and the cow keep giving milk? | Copyright 2017 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Jan 4th, 2017 • 18:25
This is how you live forever. You cup your fingers under your chin, dig your nails into the soft meat and peel your skin away. First up and over your head, letting it fall on your back like a hood, and then sliding your fingers beneath the skin on your clavicle and slipping the lifted layers of tissue over the curve of your shoulders. You squirm and shimmy and writhe, curling your skin away from the sticky braids of muscle on your arms, your ribs, your stomach, your hips, your thighs. You let the wet membrane fall in a heap, stepping out of it like clothes. | Copyright 2017 by Cadwell Turnbull. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 21st, 2016 • 1:02:27
Translator’s note: these are the only extant, unburned, and legible (for the most part) pages retrieved from what was apparently the diary of one Lilianett van Hamal, an American girl who apparently lodged at the Grand Béguinage shortly before the Great Summoning of 1878 that left much of the city of Leuven in ruins. No other items from before that event have been recovered from what is now the Leuven Exclusion Zone, which as of this date remains permanently off-limits to the outside world. | Copyright 2016 by Livia Llewellyn. Narrated by Justine Eyre and Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 7th, 2016 • 44:23
Before Miss Ferguson found Maude Lewis’ body in the school gym, none of us believed in the teenage werewolf. There had been rumors, of course. There always are. But many of us viewed Miss Ferguson’s discovery as confirmation of our worst fears. Not everyone shared our certainty. There had been only a fingernail paring of moon that late February night, and a small but vocal minority of us argued that this precluded the possibility that Maude’s killer had been a lycanthrope. | Copyright 2016 by Dale Bailey. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 16th, 2016 • 16:34
The first rule is that the company has no name. It has no website or social media presence. It does not pay taxes or Social Security. In a crowded bar near the Providence train station, you drink a beer with the guy who recruited you and neither of you refer to your employer. The Old Ones listen to everything, and their torture racks are hungry for victims. Remember Rodriguez? Raise your glass but don’t say his name. The second rule is that the company will not pay in checks or direct deposit. A stranger will slip a moldy envelope of cash into your pocket when you’re walking in a crowd. | Copyright 2016 by Sandra McDonald. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 2nd, 2016 • 51:19
Jazmine woke beside her fiancé, Cal, and nearly vomited from his smell. The nausea began with the scents she knew---garlic from the prawns he’d sautéed for dinner, salty-sour underarm musk, oil from his hair follicles. She tried turning away from him in her bed, but she couldn’t escape the newer smells, the ones she couldn’t name. Was she pregnant? That thought made her sit up and gasp aloud, but she talked down her panic. She’d been on the patch since college, and it would not have failed her. | Copyright 2016 by Tananarive Due. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Oct 19th, 2016 • 54:01
“Tell us a ghost story,” said one of the women, the pouty one, the one named Melissa. She was the nice, friendly one for now, the one asking questions, the one who wanted to stop at every little roadside fruit stall and pose next to every possibly rabid monkey, but Dimas knew this kind of tourist. Eventually, she was going to exhaust herself, and then—fueled by a high metabolism and the vengeance of unmet expectations—she was going to become his worst enemy. | Copyright 2016 by Nadia Bulkin. Narrated by Vikas Adam.
Oct 5th, 2016 • 33:55
You’re not the kind of person who shows up late to work, but today was a piece of shit, so it’s seven thirty and your mom is finally dropping you off at the movie theater. It’s a weeknight, only one person in the box office selling tickets, so you shame-walk past a line of your fellow high school grads enjoying their last summer break before college. You hope you can sneak in without anyone noticing and grab some popcorn, because you missed dinner and you’re starving. Nope. | Copyright 2016 by Valerie Valdes. Narrated by Mirron Willis.
Sep 21st, 2016 • 59:23
I was fourteen and at a sleepover when the cult drank poison. The sleepover mom turned on the TV and said “Oh my lord, Mary, would you look at this? It’s the feds is what, and a bomb, right out there where you come from.” But it wasn’t the feds, and it wasn’t a bomb. It was us. We were destined to die. I watched it burn, and listened to the news call us a cult, which was not what we called ourselves. We called ourselves Heaven’s Avengers. I watched it for a while, and then I threw up hamburger casserole. | Copyright 2016 by Maria Dahvana Headley. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Sep 7th, 2016 • 26:07
This is your haunted house. The realtor was very perceptive the day you first came by, looking for a home that would provide more than mere shelter, a haven that would instead be an expression of your love of eccentricity and strangeness for its own sake, a place special and unique. She saw in the two of you young professionals a pair of people with the right proportion of rationality and imagination, the kind of folks who would be delighted by spooky old legends without being frightened off by them. | Copyright 2016 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Aug 3rd, 2016 • 55:36
Nan Walker doesn’t mean to fall asleep. She never does. But tonight the creak of the ceiling fan lulls her. Evie curls warm against her side, one long leg thrown over hers. Nan’s eyes sag, her fingers relax, and her worn paperback slides onto the bed. Sleep strokes gentle hands across her eyes. The nightmare waits, constant, unchanging: muddy water, stale wet air. The car shudders in the torrent as the flood rushes past outside. | Copyright 2016 by Amanda Downum. Narrated by Judy Young.
Jul 20th, 2016 • 1:09:20
When she comes into the loft, she glares at me with the bright-eyed, serpentine resentment of the dead. In the dry attic, water drips from her hair and pools at her feet. Her lips pull back. I’d forgotten that I used to grimace like that---teeth bared like an animal’s. I’m not her and she isn’t me. When I say “I,” I might mean either one of us, but that’s not precise. I have no past, so I took her memories. I have no name, so I took her name. I had no body, but I have hers now. | Copyright 2016 by An Owomoyela and Rachel Swirsky. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Jul 6th, 2016 • 34:10
This is the story you remember. The girl lost in the woods. How they find her after eight days, the mud smeared on her arms and legs, clumped in her hair and under her nails. Through the rain she sees the policeman running, lifting her up in his thick brown jacket, driving her back down the jagged lumber road towards the highway in his truck. She won’t answer his questions, won’t untangle her thin ten-year-old limbs. She runs her tongue along her broken tooth and the cop hits the sirens to run the stoplights, the world flying by in a haze of streets and rain. Copyright 2016 by Gavin Pate. Narrated by Claire Benedek.
Dec 16th, 2015 • 37:00
Uncle Reggie couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland to find a selkie wife, so instead he drove across the country to Carmel-by-the-Sea and came back with a selkie queer. I was fifteen then, and so ready to get out of Perrysville that California sounded like paradise. | Copyright 2015 by Caspian Gray. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 18th, 2015 • 48:08
I first saw the demon the Sunday after you died. It was 11:53 p.m. Just seven minutes until I would have grabbed my knapsack and biked home to Mom and bed and a life of sound sleep. That night the flurries were drifting down like nuclear ash. | Copyright 2015 by Matthew Kressel. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Jul 15th, 2015 • 32:11
Hand in hand, your family and some friends stand in a circle around your father. Ten seconds have passed since his last breath, and you’re counting, wondering if it was his last breath or his last breath. Your eyes lock on his face, and you try to remember when he last opened his eyes and looked around. Days, at least. The memory blooms in your head, something like a flower or a drop of ink expanding in water. | 2015 by Nate Southard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 17th, 2015 • 41:06
They took shelter outside of Boulder, in a cookie-cutter subdivision that had seen better days. Five or six floor plans, Dave Kerans figured, brick facades and tan siding, crumbling streets and blank cul-de-sacs, no place you’d want to live. By then, Felicia had passed out from the pain, and the snow beyond the windshield of Lanyan’s black Yukon had thickened into an impenetrable white blur. | Copyright 2015 by Dale Bailey. Narrated by John Nelson.
Nov 5th, 2014 • 1:01:43
Since we were little, Oona’s collected Victorian photographs. A certain subset of people love them, but I got a library book of them once, just before I met her, and I’ve never not been appalled. I don’t know what a book like that was doing lost in our local library. It’s exactly the kind of thing that would normally have been removed by a logical parent. | Copyright 2014 Maria Dahvana Headley. Narrated by Judy Young.
Jun 4th, 2014 • 47:53
Something in the lab smelled like nectarine jam. I looked up from the industrial autoclave, frowning as I sniffed the air. Unusual smells aren’t a good thing when you work in a high-security bio lab. No matter how pleasant the odor may seem, it indicates a deviance from the norm, and deviance is what gets people killed. | Copyright 2014 by Seanan McGuire. Originally published in THE END IS NIGH, edited by John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Kate Baker.
Dec 4th, 2013 • 26:25
1. Because it would take the patience of a saint or Dalai Lama to smilingly turn the other cheek to those six savage boys day after day, to emerge unembittered from each new round of psychological and physical assaults; whereas I, Jared Shumsky, aged sixteen, have many things, like pimples and the bottom bunk bed in a trailer, and clothes that smell like cherry car air fresheners, but no particular strength or patience. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Oct 2nd, 2013 • 56:08
The boy isn’t very large. The way things are these days, he figures that’s a plus. He is less of a target at night, and for this reason he has come to trust the darkness. Strange to trust darkness in a world overrun with nightmares . . . but that’s the way it is. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Sep 11th, 2013 • 48:35
She was dressed like a private detective from a low-budget TV show—a pair of slacks, modest high heels, and the most ridiculous trench coat I’d ever seen, one of the shorter ones, that hung just above the knees. I couldn’t help but laugh, and it was obvious my reaction annoyed her, but she did her best to hide her feelings as she pressed a finger to my lips, quieting me, and gently nudged me back inside my apartment. Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
Jun 26th, 2013 • 29:30
The men went out in boats to fish the cold waters of the bay because their fathers had, because men in this village always had. The women waited to gather in the catch, gut and clean and carry the fish to market because they always had, mothers and grandmothers and so on, back and back. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
May 15th, 2013 • 1:05:56
Folscyvio saw the Thing in a small cramped shop off the Via Silvia. In fact, he almost passed it by. He had just come from the Laguna, climbed the forty mildewy, green-velveted steps to the Ponte Louro, and crossed over to the elevated arcades of the Nuova. Then he glanced down, and spotted Giavetti, who owed him money, creeping by below through the ancient alleys. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
Apr 24th, 2013 • 47:57
He stared bleary-eyed at the broken glass studding the land. This was his crop, seeded over the span of four weeks, irrigated from the residue of Napa Valley grapes, sun-kissed until it glistened like dew. It was the bounty of his desperation, and now was the time to harvest. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Mar 27th, 2013 • 28:54
The cook didn’t like that the eyes of the dead fish shifted to stare at him as he cut their heads off. The cook’s assistant, who was also his lover, didn’t like that he woke to find just a sack of bloody bones on the bed beside him. “It’s starting again,” he gasped, just moments before a huge, black, birdlike creature carried him off, screaming. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Feb 6th, 2013 • 53:53
Clara Maloney peered down the long Brooklyn block. She and baby Sally had been waiting in the cold for twenty minutes, and still no sign of Pop. Figured. Even to pick out his wife’s casket, the old man was late. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
Dec 26th, 2012 • 19:25
Some things you can’t figure out. Not even with a whole heap of scratch paper and a ribbon of data from a chattering teletype machine. Not before time runs out. And time is like progress—she’s not stopping for anybody. The answer is out there, though, in the weather. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 28th, 2012 • 48:40
Randolph hadn’t expected the map to misrepresent the route to the motorway quite so much. The roads were considerably straighter on the page. The high beams roused swarms of shadows in the hedges and glinted on elongated warnings of bends ahead, and then the light found a signpost. It pointed down a lane to somewhere called Lorn Hall. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 14th, 2012 • 27:45
I have this persistent sleep disorder that makes life difficult for me, but still I want to keep it. Boy, do I want to keep it. It goes back twenty years, to Vietnam. To Graves. Narrated by Bruce Turk.
Oct 10th, 2012 • 1:10:09
Night descended on Interstate-90 as I crossed over into the Badlands. Real raw weather for October. Snow dusted the asphalt and picnic tables of the deserted rest area. The scene was virginal as death. Narrated by Dave Robison.
Oct 1st, 2012 • 1:07:45
The house was occupied, but no one lived there. That’s how Malcolm Crow thought about it. Houses like the Croft place were never really empty. Like most of the kids in Pine Deep, Crow knew that there were ghosts. Even the tourists knew about the ghosts. It was that kind of town. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.