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

Nick Mamatas | The Spook School  

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.

James Rabb | The Devil of Rue Moret  

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.

Stephen Graham Jones | Brushdogs  

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.

Caspian Gray | Promises of Spring  

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.

Adam-Troy Castro | The Narrow Escape of Zipper-Girl  

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.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam | Secret Keeper  

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.

Charles Payseur | The Sound of  

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.

Giovanni De Feo | Kiss of the Mouthless Girl  

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.

Jenn Grunigen | Figs, Detached  

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.

Eric Schaller | Red Hood  

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.

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.

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