Nightmare Magazine - Horror and Dark Fantasy Story

Nightmare Magazine - Horror and Dark Fantasy Story

United States

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.

Episodes

Nadia Bulkin | Seven Minutes in Heaven  

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.

Nate Southard | Things Crumble, Things Break  

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.

Andrew Fox | Youth Will be Served  

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.

Jessica Amanda Salmonson | The Garbage Doll  

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.

Carrie Vaughn | Redcap  

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.

Cadwell Turnbull | Loneliness Is in Your Blood  

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.

Livia Llewellyn | The Low, Dark Edge of Life  

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.

Dale Bailey | I Was a Teenage Werewolf  

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.

Sandra McDonald | When You Work for the Old Ones  

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.

Tananarive Due | Migration  

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.

Nadia Bulkin | Wish You Were Here  

“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.

Valerie Valdes | A Diet of Worms  

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.

Maria Dahvana Headley | Little Widow  

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.

Adam-Troy Castro | Four Haunted Houses  

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.

G. Neri | The Hunt for the Leather Apron  

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.

Amanda Downum | Fossil Heart  

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.

An Owomoyela | Whose Drowned Face Sleeps  

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.

Gavin Pate | Red House  

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.

Marc Laidlaw | The Finest, Fullest Flowering  

A sour note shrieked from the limousine’s speakers, making Milston’s fingers curl in his lap. He took a moment to compose himself before rapping precisely, and with a now steady hand, on the glass separating him from the driver. The tone had droned into a hum that tunelessly dreamt of someday becoming hypnotic. “What is this we are listening to, and is there any way to turn it off?” “Down, sir, but not off, I’m afraid.” | Copyright 2016 by Marc Laidlaw. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

David Tallerman | Great Black Wave  

Staff Sergeant Walker steps away from the Ridgeback, wipes sweat from his eyes with a dust-grimed bandana, and tries to make sense of the scene before him. The heat has grown punishing. For a moment it twists the air, so that grey walls and desiccated bushes and sun-scorched faces above dark shalwar kameez all shiver unsettlingly. Walker wipes his eyes again and gradually the shimmering steadies. Yet still, the prospect doesn’t quite add up. | Copyright 2016 by David Tallerman. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

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