“The Voice of the People” a Creepy Story by Alison Moore, from Shadows and Tall Trees, Vol. 7, Undertow Books, 2017

The Voice of The People

Alison Moore, 2017

(This story originally appeared in Shadows and Tall Trees, Vol. 7, ed. Michael Kelly, IMG_4134Undertow Books, 2017)

***

On the day of the protest, Glenda decided to drive out to the retail park to buy weedkiller. She was just setting out, getting into third gear, when a pigeon dawdling in the road caused her to brake hard. The pigeon seemed oblivious, even when Glenda’s two-tonne car was virtually on top of it. Perhaps the car actually was on top of it, because having stopped dead, Glenda could not see the pigeon anywhere. She was just about to get out to look beneath her wheels when she saw the pigeon wandering to the side of the road. She watched its strangely sluggish progress, and then drove on, towards the edge of the village.

The garden was really Dougie’s responsibility, but work was taking it out of him these days. On his day off, he just lay on the sofa, with the cat asleep on top of him, or sometimes the cat fell asleep on the carpet or in the lengthening grass, wherever it happened to be. Dougie himself did not really sleep, he just lay there, with no energy for Glenda, or for his projects: at the far end of the overgrown garden, a half-dug pond had been abandoned; and the second-hand furniture that he had bought to spruce up was gathering dust in the spare room. The last piece he had done was the little table on which their telephone stood: he had spent weeks sanding and then staining and varnishing it, although Glenda hated it, the darkness of its wood, and its rickety, skeletal legs.

She had just got onto a faster stretch of road leading out of the village when another pigeon staggered out in front of her car, not even flinching away from the vehicle as she skimmed past. She wondered what was wrong with these pigeons; they were like zombies.

It was not just Dougie; it seemed to be everyone who worked at that factory. They had all lost their pep. No one in the village liked the factory, although the men needed the jobs; it employed hundreds of them. It was an ugly, stony-faced building, ruining what had been a nice stretch of riverside, at a spot where the locals used to swim—some still did, but not many. The women had been worrying about the factory’s emissions, about what exactly was going into the air. Sometimes the smoke that went into the clouds looked yellow. And was anything going into the river, anything that should not be? Dougie used to fish there, but he did not do that anymore. And there was that terrible smell, which had to be coming from the factory.

At the bend, where the road turned away from the river, there was a pigeon, flattened against the tarmac. Its grey wings were splayed around its crushed body. Its underbelly was turned up to face the sky, to face the wheels of the oncoming traffic. These pigeons reminded Glenda of the summer outbreak of flying ants, which did not fly off at the flap of a hand as houseflies did; or they reminded her of the houseflies themselves, the listlessness that came over them at the end of the summer, leaving them too slow to avoid the swatter. But she had never before noticed the phenomenon in birds or other creatures.

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Histoires terribles d’animaux, a Collection of Creepy Stories About Animals, TOC

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7 • Ménagerie fantastique (preface to Histoires terribles d’animaux) • essay by Jean-Baptiste Baronian
13 • Répertoire des auteurs • essay by uncredited
19 • Nos amis ailés • (1965) • short story by Philip MacDonald (trans. of Our Feathered Friends 1931)
31 • La maison natale • short story by Jean Muno
45 • À l’observatoire d’Avu • short story by H. G. Wells (trans. of In the Avu Observatory 1894) [as by Herbert George Wells]
55 • Le château • short story by Jean-Pierre Andrevon
63 • Le chat • short story by Gilles Bergal
75 • L’oracle du chien • [Father Brown] • short story by G. K. Chesterton (trans. of The Oracle of the Dog 1923) [as by Gilbert Keith Chesterton]
99 • Un regard innocent • short story by Vladimir Colin
109 • Les sermons du perroquet • short story by Douglas Jerrold (trans. of The Preacher Parrot) [as by Douglas William Jerrold]
131 • Adramelech • short story by Daniel Walther
151 • Huile de chien • (1965) • short story by Ambrose Bierce (trans. of Oil of Dog 1890)
159 • L’amante • short story by Jean-Pierre Bours
173 • Lettre à une amie en voyage • short story by Julio Cortázar (trans. of Carta a una señorita en París 1951)
183 • Puce-ma-puce • novelette by Gaston Compère
213 • Belzébuth • short story by Robert Bloch (trans. of Beelzebub 1963)
225 • Chat • short story by Pierre Dubois
237 • La main de singe • short story by W. W. Jacobs (trans. of The Monkey’s Paw 1902)

Australian Stories of Horror & Suspense from the Early Days, ed. Gordon Neil Stewart

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Table of Contents

vii • Introduction: About This Book (Australian Stories of Horror and Suspense from the Early Days) • (1978) • essay by Gordon Neil Stewart
1 • How Muster-Master Stoneman Earned His Breakfast • (1978) • short story by Price Warung
11 • Western Rebellions • (1887) • short story by W. H. Suttor
18 • Governor Ralph Darling’s Iron Collar • (1871) • short story by Marcus Clarke
29 • The Liberation of the First Three • (1978) • short story by Price Warung
41 • Vengeance for Ippitha • (1887) • short story by W. H. Suttor
49 • Tracks in the Bush • (1859) • short story by John Lang
58 • The Lost Child (excerpt) • (1903) • short fiction by Tom Collins (1843-1912)
71 • Crows • (1924) • short fiction by Dowell O’Reilly
74 • Chased by Fire • (1940) • short story by Nat Gould
89 • On the Land • (1901) • short story by Henry Fletcher
93 • Grear’s Dam • (1904) • short story by Morley Roberts
103 • The Doctor’s Drive • (1915) • short story by Mary Gaunt
113 • The Trucker’s Dream • (1898) • short story by Edward Dyson
118 • Wolf in Snake’s Clothes • (1967) • essay by Julian Stuart
121 • A Hot Day at Spats’ • (1906) • short story by Edward Dyson
128 • Judas: A Strike Incident • (1901) • short story by E. F. Squires
135 • A Stripe for Trooper Casey • (1901) • short story by Roderic Quinn
143 • Wanted by the Police • (1910) • short story by Henry Lawson
156 • Black Peter’s Last Kiss • (1895) • short story by Dowell O’Reilly
163 • The Revenge of Macy O’Shea • (1894) • short story by Louis Becke
169 • Five-Skull Island • (1897) • short story by Alexander Montgomery
173 • Enderby’s Courtship • (1894) • short story by Louis Becke
179 • Castro’s Last Sacrament • (1900) • short story by Albert Dorrington
186 • Swamp-Swallowed • (1897) • short story by Alexander Montgomery
191 • A Basket of Breadfruit • (1894) • short story by Louis Becke
195 • Fourteen Fathoms by Quetta Rock • (1910) • short story by Randolph Bedford
207 • The Tramp • (1896) • short story by Barbara Baynton
212 • The Last of Six • (1890) • short story by Ernest Favenc
217 • A Bush Tanqueray • (1900) • short story by Albert Dorrington
224 • The Selector’s Daughter • (1900) • short story by Henry Lawson
235 • Dead Man’s Camp • (1893) • short story by J. A. Barry
241 • The Bush Undertaker • (1892) • short story by Henry Lawson
249 • A Bush Singer • (1900) • short story by Albert Dorrington
252 • Scrammy ‘And • (1902) • short story by Barbara Baynton
269 • About These Writers (Australian Stories of Horror and Suspense from the Early Days) • (1978) • essay by uncredited

(ISFDB)

Year’s Best Weird Fiction Is Here to Stay! See the New Cover & TOC from Volume 4!

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Art: Alex Andreev. Design: Vince Haig.

Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s been FOUR years! I began following this series of anthologies with the publication of Volume One, edited by author Laird Barron. Three spectacular volumes later (links below), Undertow books, one of our favorite publishers here at The Sanguine Woods, has revealed the new cover* and the Table of Contents from Volume 4 in its annual series: Year’s Best Weird Fiction—and of course we are excited to share these with our readers!

We cannot say enough about how important it is to support publishers who are all about publishing the highest quality fiction being written today—especially independent publishers in this age of publishing monopolies and corporate marketing mayhem (remember You’ve Got Mail?)

Read more about Year’s Best Weird Fiction here…

So, please visit Michael Kelly proprietor and owner, and his team, over at Undertow; and don’t forget to get your back issues of the first three volumes of Year’s Best Weird Fiction!

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 1, ed. by Laird Barron & Michael Kelly…

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 2, ed. by Kathe Koja & Michael Kelly…

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 3, ed. by Simon Strantzas & Michael Kelly…

We Came Back Haunted: An Essay on the Ghostly by Ernest Rhys (1921)

We Came Back Haunted

Ernest Rhys, 1921


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In my recent Ghost Book (The Haunters and the Haunted,1921), M. Larigot, himself a writer of supernatural tales, collected a remarkable batch of documents, fictive or real, describing the one human experience that is hardest to make good. Perhaps the very difficulty of it has rendered it more tempting to the writers who have dealt with the subject. His collection, notably varied and artfully chosen as it is, yet by no means exhausts the literature, which fills a place apart with its own recognised classics, magic masters, and dealers in the occult. Their testimony serves to show that the forms by which men and women are haunted are far more diverse and subtle than we knew. So much so, that one begins to wonder at last if every person is not liable to be “possessed.” For, lurking under the seeming identity of these visitations, the dramatic differences of their entrances and appearances, night and day, are so marked as to suggest that the experience is, given the fit temperament and occasion, inevitable.

One would even be disposed, accepting this idea, to bring into the account, as valid, stories and pieces of literature not usually accounted part of the ghostly canon. There are the novels and tales whose argument is the tragedy of a haunted mind. Such are Dickens’ Haunted Man, in which the ghost is memory; Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, in which the ghost is cruel conscience; and Balzac’s Quest of the Absolute, in which the old Flemish house of Balthasar Claes, in the Rue de Paris at Douai, is haunted by a dæmon more potent than that of Canidia. One might add some of Balzac’s shorter stories, among them “The Elixir”; and some of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, including “Edward Randolph’s Portrait.” On the French side we might note too that terrible graveyard tale of Guy de Maupassant, La Morte, in which the lover who has lost his beloved keeps vigil at her grave by night in his despair, and sees—dreadful resurrection—“que toutes les tombes étaient ouvertes, et tous les cadavres en étaient sortis.” And why? That they might efface the lying legends inscribed on their tombs, and replace them with the actual truth. Villiers de l’Isle Adam has in his Contes Cruels given us the strange story of Véra, which may be read as a companion study to La Morte, with another recall from the dead to end a lover’s obsession. Nature and supernature cross in de l’Isle Adam’s mystical drama Axël—a play which will never hold the stage, masterly attempt as it is to dramatise the inexplainable mystery.

Among later tales ought to be reckoned Edith Wharton’s Tales of Men GHSTSGRBXN1937and Ghosts, and Henry James’s The Two Magics, whose “Turn of the Screw” gives us new instances of the evil genii that haunt mortals, in this case two innocent children. One remembers sundry folk-tales with the same motive—of children bewitched or forespoken—inspiring them. And an old charm in Orkney which used to run:

“Father, Son, Holy Ghost!
Bitten sall they be,
Bairn, wha have bitten thee!
Care to their black vein,
Till thou hast thy health again!
Mend thou in God’s name!”

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Rue Morgue #176! Are You Reading It?

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INSIDE ISSUE #176

FEATURES

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS Series creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green bring Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to network television. Plus: Vincenzo Natali on directing Crispin Glover, Dark Horse’s American Gods comic and a look back at Gaiman’s novel. By Andrea Subissati, Pedro Cabezuelo and Jess Peacock

THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOWMAN The life and legacy of cultural boogeyman Anton Szandor LaVey on the 20th anniversary of his death. Plus: the occult in fashion and a few words with 3teeth frontman Lex. By Sean Plummer, Benoit Black and Andrea Subissati

THE WONDER FEARS The Watcher in the Woods director John Hough takes us back to the Disney movie that traumatized a generation of tots. Plus: a look at Disney’s dark side. By Amy Seidman and Paul Corup

CHAINSAW AND DAVE’S CLASS REUNION Summer School’s lovable gorehounds celebrate 30 years of the characters who made being a horror fan cool. Plus: a dossier of horror devotees. By Jeff Szpirglas and Tal Zimerman

DEPARTMENTS

NOTE FROM UNDERGROUND Andrea says hello.

POST-MORTEM Letters from fans, readers and weirdos

DREADLINES News highlights, horror happenings

THE CORONER’S REPORT Weird stats, morbid facts and more

NEEDFUL THINGS Strange trinkets from our bazaar of the bizarre

CINEMACABRE The latest films, the newest DVDs and reissues feat. The Void

THE LATE-NITE ARCHIVE I Bury the Living

BOWEN’S BASEMENT The Horror of Party Beach

BLOOD IN FOUR COLOURS Comics feat. Not Drunk Enough

THE NINTH CIRCLE Book reviews feat. John Cornell’s Chalk

THE FRIGHT GALLERY The spooky works of Eric Millen

THE GORE-MET Human Pork Chop and Dr. Lamb

AUDIO DROME Music reviews feat. new album from Ghoultown

PLAY DEAD Game reviews feat. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

CLASSIC CUT The Cat and the Canary

Source and Buying Info:

http://www.rue-morgue.com/online-store/Rue-Morgue-176-May-Jun-2017-p83323287

Is There Really a Portal to Hell?

the-path-towards-a-portal-to-hellEditor: Woody Dexter. Photo credit: flickr/steviesteves. Text source: TheLineUp.

“What I am about to share is more real than any of the haunted stories you might hear – it’s much worse! Some might say that it was a hallucination, others might say that I’m insane. Maybe it’s both, but it did happen. I nearly didn’t share this story as I’m concerned about the effects it may have on those who may ever find themselves in the same position I was. But, I know it will serve to help them, should that be the case.

So, here goes…

Having isolated myself from friends and family after losing a job many years ago, I morphed into an angry woman. Slowly and surely, I descended into a mental state where fury and hatred colored all my interactions with other people.

It started when I had another argument with my neighbor, during which I ‘blew my stack’ and swore I’d ‘deal’ with him. I had become very threatening without a hint of remorse. I felt like I’d been possessed by a demon. I’m usually quite mild mannered. So I left the house after the argument to take a ‘cooling off’ walk.

There’s a greenway close to where we live; and soon I was trodding along its path, fuming and storming, swearing all sorts of negativity into the air. I was angry and self-focused, that I failed to notice that the path, which gradually curved at a point that I was coming to, in fact didn’t curve there as it should have. I just get going straight following what must have been some kind of hallucination—ater all I was asking for it, the way I was carrying on so preoccupied with venomous hate.

Every step filled my mind with obsessive, murderous thoughts—like I was forming a mental ‘hit-list’ about who I wanted to destroy. That’s some powerful juju. And I wish now that I had known better that day.

I went walking along in my own little cyclone, watching my feet stomp on the dirt path, when I suddenly looked up. Straight ahead of me, something seemed to be burning. Out of curiousity, I assume, I slowed, but kept walking, squinting my eyes in disbelief.

I know there will be skeptics, but what I saw was a round burning opening at the ‘end’ of the path (where no end should be). I stopped. I could feel the devastating heat spewing out of this fiery portal, and I shielded my eyes from it with my arm. It was like a hole in the air, and it was on fire—no doubt about that. It was a perfect hellish circle!

I should have stopped, turned, and run the other way. Or stay still out of shock if nothing else. Wasn’t it just the sun setting through the treeline at the end of the path? I wasn’t myself though, as I ave already mentioned, and my anger and hate felt more and more like apathy and I remember feeling as though I was slipping out of reality and into some horrifying trance. My dark mind propelled me forward. It was like being drawn into the pit of Hell; it was so hot that I felt the sweat beading on and dripping own my forehead and back. Just then, images of torture, horror and murder began to fill my head in ways I do not think I was capable of imaging. And that scared me. I tried to block them out, but I felt drugged.

As I got closer, I could see actual balls of fire being flung from out of the portal, one of them landing only a couple yards in front of me. When it landed, it moved, like it was standing up, and growing, a flame at first that quickly formed into a hideous shape! I have heard of demons before, since I had been a child, since we had been avid church-goers. Whatever this was, it seemed to be waving me TOWARD it, encouraging me to keep going, moving its way closer and closer to the burning portal. I could even see it leaping from the ground and twisting its flaming face into a look of sheer glee, when I noticed I was moving toward it! And I couldn’t stop this time!

Getting closer to the fiery circle, I began seeing the detailed, horrific images in my mind of all the people on which I had wanted to inflict serious pain and suffering. I saw one neighbor scream in terror as flames consumed him. And my boss crying and writhing on the office floor in torturous agony. Laughing like a madwoman, I watched as all the people that had done me wrong in my life were picked off one by one – and destroyed in flames.

I could feel my slathering mouth hanging agape at all the hellish imagery and my hands rubbing together excitedly. I looked into the portal and felt the blistering heat on my face as millions of screaming souls echoed within what sounded like a giant cavern. Then, I saw a face there in the fire. It was the face of my mother. She was crying, calling out for me by name; she was pleading with me to turn the other way, to get away before I, too, was dragged into the infernal void.

Everything became crystal clear to me. I tried to pull away, but I felt burning hands pushing me forward from behind, and pulling me from inside the portal. A voice that sounded monstrous, warbled, like more than one voice being played simultaneously, but each on a different tapeplayer: ‘YOU WILL ENTER.’ it said. And it repeated those three words multiple times. Just before everything went dark I swear I saw the most horrifying face I’d ever seen. In my gut, I knew whose face it had been. I will never forget the sound of the laughter surrounding those last couple moments. And that face, charred dark as ash.

I must have lost consciousness. I didn’t know how long I had been laying there on the dirt path, when a fellow walker, found me. I screamed to the heavens, pleading for help and forgiveness! I promised to change my ways! The walker looked at me win disbelief. Thirty minutes later, I was back home, resting thanks to that kindhearted neighbor. I knew that I had to make amends and forgive those who trespassed and hurt me. And so I started with her.

Later that night, I had a dream. I saw everyone that I had seen burning in those horrid day-nightmares before the burning hole (which, ironically was never seen by another, and never appeared to me again) now covered in light. I saw light lift them up and out of my murderous thoughts, as out of deep, dark wells in the earth. And when they were gone, I felt a coolness spread through me.

You can, of course, believe what you choose to believe. When I came to, I, however, realized that I had just barely escaped a living hell—of my own making perhaps; but a hell nonetheless; and instead of succumbing, I was granted grace…a Heavenly reprieve; and realizing the sheer terror and mercy involved in the experience, I lay there in the darkness of my bedroom, weeping tears of joy.”

– Anonymous