Issue 26 – The Fey

All those glints of light:
pixies… goblins… gremlins… sprites
performing their arts.

By David Edwards

The Fairy Tree
By Aeronwy Dafies

Tasselled with ribbons
Offerings to the Fair Folk
Pleasant verbal facade
For cruel and tricksy beings
Whose maidens dance here
On moonlit nights
Do not visit then
Not if you would stay
Safe and sane

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Pests
By Harris Coverley

Clogging up the gutters. Stealing grains of rice. Turning knobs that should not be turned from their optimal settings. Putting CDs in the wrong cases. Planting weeds on the patio, and moss on the roof. Leaving the lid off the cream cheese, and the cap off the toothpaste. Bursting biscuit packets to make your chocolate digestives soft and stale—your fancy cracked black pepper and truffle oil crisps as well. Tearing teabags to overpower your cuppa, and pouring salt in your coffee jar. Untightening the screwtop on the milk so it spills when you shut the fridge. Breeding the moths by the bathroom light. Snipping the folded end of the Sellotape so you can never find it. Losing you a sock from a pair for three years. Pushing cans close to expiration to the back of the cupboard, and then leaving the door open so you bang your head. Mis-angling the paper in the printer. Parking your car in first gear so it shunts into the wall when you start it. Packing stolen crumbs into furniture grooves. Moving your bookmark forward five pages to reveal prematurely “whodunit”. Pricking your condoms with a pin. Letting the menu-leaflet for the good curry house slip behind the bureau so you have to order from the mediocre one.

They are everywhere and nowhere and somewhere. Indiscernible spectres not higher than your middle finger, and always giving you theirs for your trouble. Tiny shits with two legs, two arms, big yellow grins, and too much time on their dirty little hands…

The Vilf
By Cardinal Cox

Morphogenic fields ripple through from
A higher reality via LHC
Children grow straight and pale
White of snow – of clouds – of blossom
White of split-pine – of bleached bones
Hair takes a green sheen in Spring
Turning auburn and chestnut in Autumn
Vrikshakas and Vanir in velvet
Old lace – vintage leather
Fauns of fallow fields and forests
Woses of wild woods
Leshy of the lush lawns
Dryads of distant dells
Dance the troy town maze
Imprint upon DNA helix
The Vinyl spiral of Aznageel the Mage
Reflecting back into silicon realities
Runes on LED screens
Goggles and immersion tanks
Gateways to parallel lands

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Lacking skeletons
fairies leave nothing behind,
no hinting at death;
disappearing like smoke rings
not really sure they drew breath.

By David Edwards

Mermaid Discusses Dissolution
By Akua Lezli Hope

I watched your movies for clues
when ashore collecting

shining stars as breadcrumbs
to follow through and out denial’s woods

in bits you tell a truth

The Shrinking Man
becomes one with everything
his diminution an expansion
ascending to the cosmic

Powder burst in light
fraught and heartfull
flowering grace of radiant waves
transmuted to a higher vibration

Closest to me, a Lull in the Sea’s
seagod dissolves into feeling
suffusing a now sensate ocean
with his yearning and desire

Do not recast my ending
though this communique
may be garbled

for love and lack
daring and failure
I became another
infinitude—foam

no tears, please
for my evolution.

Pookhamon
By Cardinal Cox

Little spirits sparked in Tamagochi
Cycle of rebirth takes them to furbies
Virtual pets with fleeting existence
In social media games
E-souls experiencing and growing
Karma earns them incarnations
In household smart speakers
Random laughter at 2AM
Siri – recite the heart sutra ten thousand times
Alexa – find the mechanisms mantra
Kami of the internet of things

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My Favourite Fey
By Mark Hudson

I have a favourite little Fey
I like to call her Tina Fey
She reminds me of Fey Dunaway
and the Portrait of Dorian Grey
She is a tiny little pixie,
she worked at the grocery store Winn-Dixie,
She worked at the grocery store Kroger’s,
where she served a bunch of ogres.
At the stores, she worked with elves,
who were stocking all the shelves.
She also worked with dwarves,
who worked out on the wharves.
She’s about as little as my thumb,
she’s like a shot glass of rum,
from the fairy kingdom,
she’s my microscopic chum.
She fills me with lots of lust,
with her bag of pixie dust.
It works just like a charm,
yet I don’t ever do her harm.
She knows how to please a man,
by doing what she can
I feel so attracted to she,
the woman I can barely see.

Pixie-led
By DJ Tyrer

Recognise nothing
Peculiarly confused
Led by the pixies

Issue 25 – Cosmic Joke

You Jest
By DS Davidson

Sir, surely you jest
Or, is this a test?
Such things cannot be –
They are beyond rationality!

 

Vultures from Outer Space
By Mark Hudson

The crew of the ship got off on the moon,
they didn’t know that they would die soon,
they hoped to do some science research,
but some alien vultures began to perch.
Outer space vultures, tending to frighten,
some maybe thought they came from Titan.
More notorious than vultures from earth,
and none of them were cute like a Smurf.
Bald headed birds, with red beady eyes,
they took all the astronauts by surprise.
They tried to race back to their ship,
but these alien vultures were really quick.
Sucking through space suits; biting through bones,
the astronauts wished that they could go home.
The vultures looked like monstrous goblins,
They radioed back, “Houston, we got a problem.”
Without weapons to fight crazy condors,
the astronauts found themselves getting devoured.
NASA watched this, with increasing fear,
Look out! The space vultures just might be near!

The Purple Jester
By DJ Tyrer

I am the Purple Jester
I prance and dance and sing
I clamber up inside the roof
And make the rafters ring.

I am the Purple Jester
I caper, prance and act the fool
I cast down the mighty
And break every single rule.

I am the Purple Jester
I perform for all I’m worth
I reveal strange secrets to all
For I am not of this Earth.

False-Meat Vegan Spaghetti
By Miguel Fliguer

Camilla: You, sir, should eat those ribs.
Stranger: Indeed?
Camilla: Indeed it’s time.
Cassilda: We all have partaken in the barbecue but you.
Stranger: I eat no meat.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No meat? No meat!

The Vegan King, Act I, Scene 2


Deep in the forest portobellos grow
At the lichened foot of eerie trees
Collect them when the suns set
And twin shadows lengthen
In Carcosa

Large onions fall under the knife
Olive oil sizzles in the pan
Sautee until clear with a pinch of garlic
The way they do it in
Lost Carcosa

Cleaned quartered portobellos
Join the onions in the frying dance
Over a bed of dying embers
Watch them and think of
Old Carcosa

From the King’s secret vines
Grapes birth their crimson harvest
Simmer a cup in the fungal sauce
The fragrance will take you
To Carcosa

Ancient rivers boil in the pot
With salt, oil, and spaghetti
Serve them when al dente
Topped with sauce and vegan cheese
From Carcosa

The twin suns had drowned in the lake
Strange moons wander in the dusk
Song of my soul, I am so hungry
Suppertime is nigh
In Carcosa

 

False-Meat Vegan Spaghetti is a tongue-in-cheek prose-poem / delicious recipe, obviously inspired by Chambers’ Cassilda Song from The King In Yellow. It is a slightly edited reprint from Cooking With Lovecraft (2017), which is available in paperback and on the Kindle from Amazon.

Miguel Fliguer ( TW: @cookingwithHPL ) lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His first book, Cooking With Lovecraft, received moderate praise from genre luminaries like S.T. Joshi and Wilum H. Pugmire. His short stories and collaborations are featured in Axxon Magazine (Argentina), Círculo de Lovecraft (Spain), Crypt of Cthulhu (USA), Vastarien (USA), the Ancestors & Descendants and Weird Tails anthologies (UK), and the Necronomnomnom and Lovecraft Cocktails illustrated culinary grimoires (Red Duke Games).

Issue 24 – Cosmic Horrors

Tentacle twitches
Strange dreams haunt alien mind
Cthulhu’s nightmare

By DS Davidson

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Kosmische
By Cardinal Cox

First our machine intelligences migrated out into the void – Mars, Alpha Centauri, Polaris. We thought them immune but they built temples in orbit around neutron stars, projecting prayers around the gravity wall-of-death into the distant future. Humans had to negotiate with the higher-dimensional hive-minds of Yuggoth via their harvested multi-species tanked brains so that the flimsy spacecraft might be allowed to participate in the wormhole ceremonies of Yog-Sothoth. The whisper in orbital ports is that every starman’s a little mad. Well, when you’ve seen (ruins (older than all life on Earth) beneath a star teetering on the verge of going nova… or realised that the formulae reveals Dark Matter to be just the weight of loneliness between galaxies; the mass of insignificance before nebulae; the pressure of the microwave background radiation (the cool, ever pervading echo of the big bang)…

 

Void
By DJ Tyrer

Interstellar space
Strange horrors lurk in the void
Primordial things
Older than the galaxies
Incomprehensibly old

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Alien Thoughts
By Aeronwy Dafies

Strange ideas, conceptions
Float within brains that
Float within fluid vats
Long since divorced from flesh
Long since gone far from home
So far they cannot even recall
Their home world, its star
Or even their own form
Let alone the alien beauty
Of silver skies, coral-like trees
Or strange crawling things
That once served them as cattle
Leaving a peculiar hole
In whatever passes for a soul
And an ache when they see
Blue skies, green grass, earthly trees
That boils into a cosmic rage

Originally published in Tigershark ezine

 

Interdimensional Ghosts
By K. A. Williams

Nightmares are caused by
interdimensional ghosts
that invade our dreams.

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The Dream of the Worm
By Harris Coverley

 

Going through the Gates of Dzungaria
You come across the ruins of Gochen
Between the heights of Hyperborea
And tightly tucked within the blackened glen

 

Foolish mankind has long since been and gone
Not so much vanquished as destroyed in whole
Whether in Africa or in Ceylon
By the coming of the terrible Dholes

 

The worms ruled this world for a million years
The land stripped of all fair and nutrient
Other older races made clear their fears
As the megadriles acted prurient

 

But ev’ry civilisation declines
Falling from their arcologies of bone
Cultures decay, social orders unwind
Their slimy bodies were slowly dethroned

 

Now but an individual remains
Resting beneath that accursed city
Waiting eternally with frozen veins
The dreaming worm that still feels no pity

 

No fossilised corpses would dare to weep
While the conqueror worm so soundly sleeps

 

Originally published in Speculations: Poetry from The Weird Poets Society 2018 (March 2019, ed. Frank Coffman)

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Arcane Stars
By DJ Tyrer

The arcane perturbations of the planets
Those wandering stars that dance through the sky
Mirrored by tiny, invisible movements of distant suns
And the more curious motions of dark stars unseen
Render a certain dread alignment
That coming together in blaspheming congress
Called by hidden savants the day
When the stars are right

Originally published in Spectral Realms issue 3

Issue 23 – War over Miðgarðr

twilight of the gods
clash of arms: wolf, wyrm and fire
waters swallow world

By DJ Tyrer

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Gamla
By David Edwards

Uppsala Runestone
carved left to right? right to left? –
secret whispers of
Bragi, god of poetry –
lays Asgard aflame.
Thor’s temper, Odin’s power,
and Freya’s beauty,
urged by shape-shifting Loki’s
deception and tricks,
burn that celestial wood.
Valkyries carry,
battlefield to Valhalla,
heroes and warriors
(“carrion fed to ravens”)
used up by heaven
in their uncounted millions
while through the ages
Norse gods, under royal mounds,
slumber forgotten.

Fires of Middle-earth
By Aeronwy Dafies

In twilit realms
Gods follow reavers’ trail
Clash of arms
Aesir blades never fail
Fires spread
Engulf Middle-earth, all the Tree
Blood flows
Drained from the veins of the free
Wolf moon
Eclipse of human domain
Gods fall
Middle-earth will never be the same

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The Saga of the Gods of the North
By Harris Coverley

Across the North Sea came the Norseman’s gods
Lord Odin and the rest of the Æsir
To conquer with honour against all odds
Regardless of injury they would incur
An invasion of Britannia’s lands
And to crush its own fair gods into sand!

Gods Saxon and Celtic first did not see
For they continued to fight amongst themselves
Concerned not with that branch of Yggdrasil’s tree
Twas only when the enemy landed its elves
That Britannia’s gods came to coalition
United upon a common mission!

Belatucadros cut down brave Baldr
While Thor did burn Ialonus’s fields
Móði sheared Viridius’s alder
Mars Cnabetius smashed jötunn shields
And while blind Höðr was kept in the vague
Loki released amongst nicors a plague

Bear god Matunus mauled elf after elf
As Ankou stalked freely throughout the land
Wyrd could not predict the end herself
As gods and monsters brawled in roving bands
The common poor people’s calls unheeded
Famine came as the soil could not be seeded

The Britannic gods then brought out at last
What they thought to be their secret weapon:
Wōden—greatest fighter of recent past
How things were going he had to step in
He gathered his sword and chainmail of gold
The warrior idol—a sight to behold!

Odin and he finally clashed at Cross Fell
But on neither could mortal blow be dealth…
And yet the Norse god did see through the hell
That Wōden was in-fact but Odin himself!
All the gods then realised their terrible crime:
They were fighting themselves the entire time!

How the Aesir/Vanir War began
By Cardinal Cox

Loki said to the assembled Aesir
See there are the Vanir in their valley
See them dance? Hear the drums?
They jig with Golden Brew – Gullveig
A maiden of magical mien
Raid their ramshackle ranch
Steal her that you might enjoy her
So they rode and roamed and reached them
Where is the wondrous woman?
The raiders roughly requested
And the Vanir gave them
The flashing flask of reindeer water
Home again they poured her into a pan
Stuck in one of their ten hairy spears
Tasted her and saw their bright brother dead
So they flashed flint and struck fire
And they boiled the golden woman
Stuck in one of their ten spears bound with rings
Tasted her and saw giants breaking walls
So they boiled her a second time
Stuck in one of their ten splinter bladed spears
Tasted her and saw All Father devoured by worms
They boiled her a third time
Tasted her and called her Bright
Her sisters know her bringing trances
Revealing fates and fortunes and futures
Fair Vanir wanted weregilt for the theft
Intoxicated the Aesir stumbled forth
A battle against bushes and boulders
As much as their fearsome foes
Vanir gathered the vanquished gibbering gods
And put them in their sheepfold
Next day grey Odin swore
This seidh, this magic, is mighty
From now the bright one is my bride
No other Aesir may bed her
Even foster-brother Loki the necromancer
Is forbidden to fumblingly fornicate
With the wise woman of wishes

This began the Aesir/Vanir War

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The Battle of Valhalla
By DS Davidson

Not a feast as intended
Swords drawn
Axes swung
Prideful gods take umbrage
Curses fly
Oaths made
Weapons
drawn for battle
Immortal
Undying
Save for violent wounds
Clashing blades
Brutal blows
Battle begins in Valhalla
Overturn tables
Strike brethren
Sacred blood stains Odin’s hall
Thor’s hammer
Loki’s lies
Each sends gods to the slaughter
Meanwhile
Outside
Midgard and the Ash Tree tremble

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Issue 22 – New Beginnings

Hausōs
By Harris Coverley

the time before land
the formless red mass of Earth
fire of creation

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Steg Party
By Mark Hudson

In the new Year, emerges an egg,
and out of the egg, pops a leg,
and guess what it is? A steg.
It’s a Stegosaurus!
Can’t you hear the chorus!

Stegosaurus,
get out your thesaurus,
stegosaurus,
pompous and porous.

He’s trying to destroy like Godzilla,
but it comes out like Magilla Gorilla.
A household name, a mascot
Scotland Yard said, “Great Scot!”

The stegosaurus started to roam.
He looked in a ladies home.
She looked out the window, started to scream,
she resolved never to touch Jim Beam.

They tried to put him in a zoo
But he escaped into the woods, went through.
He ate a bunch of antelope.
This smelly beast needs a bar of soap.

Some hunters shot him dead where he stood
right there in the middle of the wood.
A loss to science and all humanity
a new year always brings insanity.

A sign that were not ready for rebirth
dinosaurs can no longer walk the earth
the death of the human race approaches
where our successors will be all roaches.

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The New One
By K. A. Williams

Do you like your fangs?
We can be together now.
Flying is such fun.

Re:Start
By DS Davidson

Cosmic rock comes tumbling
Rimed by aeon-old space debris
Blazes through atmosphere
Burning, blazing, braising
Smash down, crash down
Mantle-mangling, mesmerising
Explosive, catastrophic
Blast wave shattering stutters out
Sonic-boom angelic trumpet blast
End of the world
All anxiety over, the worst has come
Firestorm candle-snuffed by surge of air
Silence, stillness, dust falls
Monumental gash marks moment
Moment everything began over
A new start, a new world
New life
All new

Originally published in Tigershark

New Dawn
By Cardinal Cox

The moment is now! No second to wait
And history needs new heroes to come
We must demolish everything we hate
We have had enough of what makes us glum

Starting flag’s up, not a minute to waste
Every march starts with the first timid stride
There’s a storm coming that needs to be faced
Make your name one that’s spoken of with pride

Our tyrants have no plans only bluster
We have had enough of hollow swagger
Sitting Bull defeated General Custer
Soon they will start to stumble and stagger

This is the time for giants to arise
Freedom and justice is the golden prize

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The Wheel
By K. A. Williams

I could see Earth from one of the spaceship’s windows. Other passengers were getting their first looks too.

“It’s bigger than I thought,” one said.

“No,” disagreed another. “It’s smaller.”

“It’s a perfect size,” I said.

When the spaceship landed, we disembarked and boarded a transparent hovercraft where there was a waiting real estate agent.

“What happened to the Earthlings?” I asked her.

“Our researchers discovered that a plague eventually killed the entire population so, fortunately, none can challenge our claim to this planet.”

“Is there any plant or animal life?” asked one of my fellow passengers.

“There is abundant plant and animal life now,” she answered. “A lot of animals and plants were becoming extinct partly due to the unstable weather patterns that Earthlings were apparently unable to fix. The scientists have restored Earth’s damaged ozone layer and initiated climate control.”

The hovercraft was sailing along a coastline beside an area with strange structures as she spoke.

“What are those tall things?” someone asked.

“They called these areas cities, this one is named London, and the structures are known as buildings. Earthlings used to live and work in them. No one knows why they built them so high.”

“What can you tell me about that?” I pointed at an object around the same height as the buildings.

She looked at where I was pointing. “That wheel is called the London Eye. We think Earthlings used to ride in the seats as it turned.”

“That sounds like fun, ” I said, and quickly added before anyone else could, “I want to buy the city known as London with the London Eye.” I voiced my request specifically to include it because I didn’t want any misunderstanding later on. “Is the wheel structurally sound?”

“Yes,” answered the agent, “and each of you can thoroughly inspect prospective purchases before you make your final offers.”

That was good to know. I might buy something else too, I had brought lots of money.

The End

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After Man
By DJ Tyrer

Pollution settles in a thick sludge
Plastic, sewage, toxic waste
Accumulating in a seafloor ur-slime
Rearranging itself into a living organism
Vengeful in its alien soul
As it wreaks devastation upon its parents
A vile tidal surge overwhelms the land
Submerging all human endeavour
Drowning all human life
The ur-slime sets out to replace
Repopulate the world in its image
As it slowly attains sentience
A myriad of forms
And looks to the stars with envious eyes

Originally published in Sirens Call

Thus…
By Harris Coverley

primordial soup
amino acid proteins
needs salt and pepper

Issue 21 – An Alien For Christmas….

vessel from afar
brings festive message of doom;
ship, not Christmas star

By DS Davidson

Christmas invaders
Arriving from distant star
Ruin festive plans
Say: Take us to your stockings
Upset as no batteries

By DJ Tyrer

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A Green Christmas
By Mark Hudson

On Christmas we were hoping for snow,
because our spirits were rather low,
but down our chimney came a guest,
with presents held tightly to it’s chest.

It was not Santa from afar,
it happened to be a man from Mars!
With green skin and a helmet fish tank,
I thought this was some kind of prank.

“Greetings, Earthlings! I come in peace!
Your cookies will leave me obese!
Don’t hand me those vanilla wafers!
Don’t you want to see my light sabre?”

i admit, we were rather alarmed,
but we didn’t feel it would do us harm!
“”Oh, Martian, we don’t think you bring peril,
join us for some Christmas Carols!”

We got him to try a bit of eggnog,
but he gave the rest to our dog!
The dog even chose to ignore this drink,
and then the Martian gave us a wink!

“Behold, I must bring others some presents!’
then he escaped in a light of effervescence!
Oh he was brighter than our Christmas tree!
Thanks to you, guest from another galaxy!

 

1113… 2223…
By David Edwards

The pattern was first detected in Bangor, Maine. Doctor Theo Vance is credited with the discovery, although he readily acknowledged the assistance of several neighbours in his cul-de-sac. Drives in nearby additions, as well as consultation with two colleagues who lived in Bangor’s northern suburbs, and inquiries of a dozen patients confirmed his initial observations: strings of Christmas lights around town were flashing in the same pattern!

The pattern was without variance from dusk til dawn. One flash of blue, then one of green, one of red, three of white, a two second pause, followed by two flashes of blue, two of green, two of red, three of white, a seven second pause, then the pattern repeated. Curiously the pattern did not manifest itself if the lights were turned on during daylight hours.
A defect common to the lights was ruled out as the strings were of different manufactures and had been purchased from diverse retail establishments. A flaw in the power grid also seemed unlikely as the strings were engaged on several different circuits.

Dr. Vance called his college room-mate, who owned and operated a bed-and- breakfast in Portland, to see how widespread the anomaly might be. Forty-five minutes later Thomas Smithe called him back to confirm that the Christmas lights in Maine’s largest city were manifesting the same pattern: one blue flash, one green flash, one red, three white, a two second pause followed by two blue flashes, two green flashes, two red, three white, a seven second pause, then the pattern repeating without cease. The media finally took note of the phenomenon when the lights on the state’s official Christmas Tree at the Governor’s Mansion in Augusta displayed the same pattern.

Then the area of “infected” lights seemed to grow exponentially: many small villages in New Brunswick; the ski lodges of New York’s Catskill Mountains; all of Quebec; the shores of each of the Great Lakes. The Atlantic Ocean proved no barrier: lights on both sides of the Welsh/English border displayed the pattern, as did those at London’s Piccadilly Circus, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the Oise Canal, all the bridges spanning the Tiber at Rome, and Russia’s Kremlin and Hermitage.

By now the pattern was a genuine world-wide phenomenon, with social media pages and hashtags dedicated exclusively to it. There were as many theories to its origin and significance as there were theorists. Some felt it was an elaborate hoax, others a computer hack spun out of control, still others a case of mass hysteria or hallucination. Millenarian theologians saw a message (certainly admonitory) from God. Conspiracy theorists detected a plot of the all-pervasive One World Government. Others felt it was an atmospheric disruption caused by climate change or just a cultural craze akin to the ‘Crop Circles’ of the 1990’s or the mysterious steel monoliths of the Pandemic Year.

The phenomenon took an astronomical turn when observatories in California and Peru independently confirmed that the two and seven second pauses precisely coincided with a pulsar on the Belt of Orion. Was this an extraterrestrial greeting… or warning?

The United Nations and many national governments organized commissions of inquiry, but any results disappeared down the labyrinthine rathole of bureaucracy.

The pattern did not suddenly stop, it faded away like a season. As strings of lights were taken down and boxed up in storage after the New Year, it became less pronounced. Perhaps the public just became bored with something passe. The last confirmed observation of the pattern was near Lovich, Bulgaria in late March. Whether the pattern returns must be patiently awaited until late next Fall when strings of Christmas lights make their annual appearance.

One has to wonder if the solution to this mystery lies inside those boxes containing roll upon roll of tiny glass bulbs and electric wires… or, is it somewhere out there?

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An Alien For Christmas
By DJ Tyrer

I found an alien for Christmas
Just like a Christmas Tree
Only not
It’s great fun to be with
And, when the Men In Black come snooping
It just stands in the corner
Innocuous

 

Home Invasion of the Complete Bastard from Outer Space: A Yuletide Verse
By Harris Coverley (after he had a few)

For John Cooper Clarke

Got an alien for Christmas — what a to-do!
Put a festive jumper on him and he screamed “Screw you!”
He tore it right off and ran up the wall
Then he swung from the light and kneed me in the balls

Got an alien for Christmas — rather me dad hadn’t bothered
The purple git drank all the Baileys and now he’s buggered
He sicked acid in the front room and it burnt to the cellar
Now he’s on the bathroom floor singing Paul Weller

Got an alien for Christmas — and he made a play for the girlfriend!
Ten hands is a lotta hands — she thought it’d never end!
He got real narked and puked up some more
Now he’s crying face down on the kitchen floor

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s a pain in the arse
He sits in dad’s armchair and says we’ve no class
He says this mind over his tenth can of brew
And then he turns to his left and his guts he does spew

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s pissed off next door
Threw a brick through his window and called his mother a whore
It took a hell of a lot to hold the raging guy back
As that monster flipped him off and swilled more cognac

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s fucked things right up
All he does is complain and all the booze he does sup
I think it might be time for this twat to phone home
Or else to green-blooded murder will someone be prone

Got an alien for Christmas — and the bastard has gone
We registered our close encounter — the ‘kind’? Minus one.

Issue 20 – Empty Planet

lockdown’s final cough
planet home to skeletons
no more suffering

By DS Davidson

 

No hands left to tend
those turbines making the light
slowly going dark

By David Edwards

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The Empty Bottle
By Mark Hudson

After the war I wore a frown,
everything was like a ghost town.
Somehow, I miraculously survived,
but somehow, I feel deprived.

I go into a gas station,
a skeleton sits in meditation.
a dead cigarette in his hand,
did this happen across the land?

I walk into an empty bar,
where the front door remains ajar.
A skeletal bartender is frozen, posing
You no longer have to worry they’re closing

Skeletons passed out on the floor,
“you can have another drink, but only one more.”

Thousands of bottles of liquor to choose,
what would it hurt if i had a little booze?
I open the cash register and there is cash,
I greedily add it to my stash.

Below the counter is a 44,
I take it; he won’t need it anymore.
The gun just might come in handy,
if I get too wasted on this brandy.

Am i really the only one left?
Is the world that I see it really this f’d?
Well for some reason, i’m, the last man,
I think I better come up with a plan!

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cosmic wave
irradiates Earth
empty shells
silent streets echo
life reduced to dust

By DJ Tyrer

The loudest sound, I wonder,
on a planet empty of
human civilization…
possibly rolling thunder?

By David Edwards

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Apocalypticana
By Harris Coverley

the sun is a dot
a fragment of senseless light
meant for nobody

seas are but puddles
ammonites poking up through
those fatal waters

the dirt rolls listless
the last weeds wait for primping
that will never come

full skeletons bleached
their owners have fled by wind
the land is their grave

the grey dust gathers
in the corners of the Earth
the hourglass is turned

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Sunrise on another
of its humanless dawns,
casting forlorn shadows
upon lifeless homes, their
vacant windows reflect
(futilely for no one)
mountains of unraked leaves…
jungles of unmown lawns.

By David Edwards

probe returns to Earth
humanity’s descendants
images of dust

By Aeronwy Dafies

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Issue 19 – Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat

Tonight: Hallowe’en
Veil between life and death thins
Through the darkling hours
Children seeking their reward
Unheeding of true meaning

By DJ Tyrer

originally published in Sirens Call

Halloween is coming!
By Mark Hudson

The man was watching Halloween DVDS;
in his basement, with a pizza made of cheese.
He heard the kids ringing the bell,
He said to the kids, “Go to hell!”
The kids were screaming, “Trick or treat!”
He said, “I have no candy to eat!”
The kids burst in, and threw a bunch of eggs,
they landed on his arms and legs.
He said, “What is this some type of joke?
Here I am, covered in yolk!”
The kids replied,” Give us candy, you must!
Or give us the pizza, even the crust!”
The man retorted, “Get out, or I’ll call the police!
You kids are making my anger increase!”
The kids threw eggs at the TV set,
the TV looked like an omelet.
The man scrambled to chase the kids;
but he looked like scrambled eggs on the grids.
He tripped and fell and broke his spine,
his head split open like Frankenstein.
The kids approached, with fear and dread,
and one of them noticed,” I think he’s dead!”
They flew up the stairs in a total panic,
wondering if they saw something satanic.
Then a cop appeared, as if from the grave,
grabbed them all, and said, “You boys behave!”
He took them back to their mothers and fathers,
and that’s when he discovered the cadaver.
The boys went to the juvenile jail;
where they ate breadcrumbs so stale.
The moral of the story is on Halloween,
don’t do anything too obscene!

Witch’s Cat
By Aeronwy Dafies

Black cat wanders empty streets
Beneath bright Hallowe’en moon
Stops at each door in turn
Scratches, yowls, meows
Demanding treats from those within
Fearful of the curse it carries
Hand over treats
Hope the only trick it plays
Is a mess on the lawn

Black Cat

With Covid Trick-or-Treating
the most frightening disguise
any parent can devise:
small, ungloved hands outreaching
from unmasked children breathing!

By David Edwards

Hand sanitizer
Masks atop masks, protective
Strange Hallowe’en
Doors firmly shut without treats
In lieu of trick, hacking cough

By DS Davidson

Masks
By DJ Tyrer

Cheapest costume ever
Since the serial killer
(Who looks just like a regular Joe)
The mask-wearer of 2020
Doubles up as protection
Against unseen viral dangers.
One question:
Can it protect against the zombie virus

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Trick or Treat Candy
By Mark Hudson

There is always a thing that comes in handy,
a friend with a bag of trick or treat candy.
Don’t waste your trick or treat candy on kids,
let’s eat Kit Kats and flip our lids.
The Reese’s cups are going rather quick,
why give the children the joy to get sick?
Stick a milk dud right down your throat,
it’s Halloween, let us sacrifice a goat.
Chocoholics get together and unite,
for a night of cavities and ghastly fright.
Kids can’t throw eggs when you’re home,
passed out on candy like an orgy in Rome.
Why let all the children have fun?
Chase them off and keep them on the run.
Don’t let the demons interrupt your sleep,
act like you’re Lurch, the ultimate creep.
Let candy fuel your greatest nightmares,
as goblins and ghouls appear with big sneers.
Ghouls are heading towards the cemetery,
with a leader who looks like he is unburied.
The dead will rise at a blink of an eye,
but some will appear with a frightening cry.
The trick or treat candy is yours to consume,
just avoid the witch who is riding a broom!

Trick or treat tonight
Pumpkin faces observant
Candy or egging
But not all who walk tonight
Are people wearing costumes

By DJ Tyrer

originally published in Scifaikuest

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Samhain
By Cardinal Cox

Harvest’s now in, nights are longer than day
Two bonfires been built upon the hill
Now distant hares on empty fields lay
Fat beasts are selected that men might kill
Pale turnips carved into grinning faces
Nuts are thrown into the embers that glow
Flickering lights dance round the dark places
Sleep and dream and the future it might show
Winds and snow lurk beneath horizons edge
Storm cloud black crows spread wide across the moor
Sleepy mice are nesting down in the hedge
Be hungry children if the crop is poor
The door rattles, take the beggars some drink
We might be thin, don’t want others to think.

 

Unholy Trickery
By Harris Coverley

Niles, being ten and therefore the taller child, opened the front door and graciously let Lilli in first, before pushing it shut behind him.

There was something pleasant wafting in from the kitchen down the hallway, but the two children were not interested in any home cooking. Between their Jack O’Lantern-shaped plastic pails they carried around five pounds of sweets, ranging from chocolate bars to gummy candies to bags of sherbet and liquorice—the imposition of an American holiday on their British nation had served their sweet teeth very well.

They went into the front room and saw their father from behind, sat through the archway in his armchair, facing the TV as a football match played.

We got lots dad!” called Niles, proud of their accomplishment.

That’s great kiddo,” his dad replied in a low groan, not bothering to turn around. This struck Niles as rather dismissive, but he was too happy with himself to care much.

He and his sister dumped their spoils onto the carpet and knelt before them, beginning to sort through the multi-coloured piles of glucose and lactose.

Their mother walked in from the hall, her apron on, stained with flour.

You’re back!” she exclaimed and kissed both of them on the head. “How did it go?”

Avalanche!” cried Lilli in excitement.

Avalanche!” responded their mother. “Ohhhhh, you are so cute!”

She gently shook each child in turn, Lilli in her ballet outfit with an exceptionally floppy royal pink tutu, Niles in his deep blue police uniform with its shiny fake gold badge.

So, so cute!” she said, breaking into laughter, and then turned abruptly and left them.

How odd, thought Niles, getting back on his knees to sift. Their mother had been the one to perfunctorily dress them and send them out to trick-or-treat but an hour ago…why was she so enamoured with them now?

There was also…something else about the house. Something he couldn’t put his finger on.

Lilli had not noticed anything, and had made great headway separating her small bags of soft gummies from her chocolate bars.

Niles put his thoughts aside. He began to trade items with his sibling in what he believed was a fair and equitable manner, which Lilli largely accepted, although there were some quibbles over the distribution of hard lollies. Niles however at such an early age was quite the diplomat.

Their father remained stationary, his face averted, although Niles periodically heard giggling coming from his direction—very odd, guttural giggling, not like his father’s usual soft chuckling at all.

His mother re-entered the room, and that strange something returned to Niles’ consciousness—it was a smell. A strange smell, warm yet cooling, like something you sometimes got in summer, not autumn, and not in a house, but at an indoor market…

From his kneeling position he looked up. His mother had stripped off her apron and was looking down at him with a crooked grin, her hands on her hips. She was very tall. In fact, she was too tall. Taller than his mother had ever or could have been.

Mum, what’s wrong?” he inquired, suddenly very afraid.

His mother laughed, but it was not his mother’s laugh. It was too shrill, too gritted.

Both children got up and came together.

Their father, giggling away like a moron, at last turned from his TV screen and looked at them from his chair—his face was hideously grey, his short beard limp and hanging.

Niles stared into the eyes of both people: blackened and forbidding, so alien to their lives.

You’re not my mummy,” mumbled Lilli, looking down at the floor, her fingernails digging into the flesh of her opposing forearms.

The being shook her head, and then grabbed the top of it, digging her fingers into the short blonde hair. The skin of the forehead buckled and twisted, pulling away from an unseen hem. The mouths of the children dropped open in a silent scream as their mother’s face left the head of the imposter, revealing the blood-soaked visage of a woman with a long aquiline nose and dark, curled hair glazed in crimson.

Meat, thought Niles in his terror. That was the strange something: the smell of old, decaying meat.

The imposter leaned down inches from the children, and whispered through snarling lips: “Trick.”

At that both children fainted within a second of each other, the moronic giggling unceasing.

* * *

Batsara and Estragaal removed the remaining skins of their prey and left them in the kitchen, before washing off the blood, leaving one gory hell of a mess.

Good one,” Estragaal said, wiping off some loose flesh from in-between his toes. “I would never have had the thought of this family without you.”

Batsara was humble: “Please, it was nothing. Did you want to do anything else before we go?”

Estragaal reached out and grabbed her breast.

Well,” he purred, but she quickly slapped his hand away.

We could do that anytime, anywhere,” she snapped, genuinely annoyed.

Estragaal was crestfallen, but she was right, and she did have the seniority over him. Her Levantine beauty was such that he had to work hard to suppress his barbaric inclinations. It had been so much easier back in Old Rus’ under his Norse lord, but these days…

Besides,” she continued, looking at the clock on the mantelpiece, “the Day of Solemnity will soon be here. We’ve had our fun…it’s best to get going.”

To this he agreed. They put their rags back on and made their way past the unconscious children.

Should we do something about them?” Estragaal asked.

Nah,” Batsara replied, still walking towards the door. “I’m already full. Let’s just leave them to their inevitable descent into the dysfunction of insanity.”

The two went out the front door and into the street. They then took each other’s hand and ran, ran and ran and ran, off into the gaps between worlds. The next Hallows’ Eve was but a year away…

Ends

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Issue 18 – Chrome Futures

Adult Content Advisory

Broken mirror shades
Sky of analogue static
Today yesterday

By DJ Tyrer

Neuroclip
By Harris Coverley

sexmagichemistry
brainpoppincandy
thisisyermindon—

cityscape

Psycho-Joe
By Cardinal Cox

Something in bio-medical
Research / played in
Band / ran record
Label / had sickest
Memorabilia
Sat at bar and sneered

man and machine

Flex chrome arm, rebirth
Death no longer the full stop
Rebuild, reload, live

By DJ Tyrer

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Streets
By DS Davidson

The streets find a use for things, people
Repurposed, rebuilt
Commodified in unexpected ways
Surrender to the system
Give up in the gutter
Or, lock and load
Whatever it takes to survive
Break free, storm virtual heavens

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Inside
By Cardinal Cox

If you closed your eyes
The data architecture
Was Angkor Wat
Jungle static/noise
Reach out – translucent sculpture
Client accounts / granite structures
Day-to-day routines
Maintaining the real world
Fountain with goldfish
Staff in scattered office space
Drop crumbs – a worker would
Pick up a phone somewhere

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Satellite Hookup
By Mark Hudson

They’ve got a satellite hookup,
to screw all crooks up.
the eyeball is spying,
the government is lying.
They’ve got cameras in every town,
they see you as you act the clown.
they will make all of us frown,
from outer space they look down.
You think you can hide behind drapes,
they’ve got you on videotapes.
If you think you’re hiding from the press,
they’ll find out your life is a mess.
They have no way to prevent homicide,
when people have nowhere to hide.
They know when you’re not paying taxes,
they secretly read all of your faxes.
Gangs shoot people on the street,
but nobody will kill all the elite.
Innocent children are getting shot,
so their solution is to legalize pot.
Our country really is in trouble,
as our debt begins to double.
I’d leave but there is nowhere to go,
every country thinks I’m a foe.
So I’ll pretend to be patriotic,
and try not to act too psychotic.

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Upstairs
By Cardinal Cox

Corporations asset-stripping ISS
/ don’t think about /
Trying to hotwire an old comsat
/ think about motion /
Africa drifts past window
/ about motion sickness /
Pan-Am Orion we came upstairs on
/ motion sickness /
Some accountant upside-down
/ sickness /
Planetoids are born

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Social Butterfly Effect
By David M. Hoenig

Easy smiles, the new handshake,
repartee, the biz card give/take.
My clothes know who you are today;
algorithms in liquid crystal display
read kinesthesia, pitch and tones,
within my electrogenous zones.
Your data, contained by no condom,
splashes my blue dress like Kingdom
Come on, already! Got sensors for reasons:
don’t remember birthdays, seasons,
dates, times, names, or faces,
if we met in the usual places,
virtual or pheromonal. Smart clothing’s the real deal;
memory costs too much, but tech won’t make you feel.

Fembot

Aluminium Lovers
By Harris Coverley

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
Want to get that thrill?!
No more need for all those pills!

The automatic copulate!
No need for social agitate!
They’ll always help you masturbate!
Avoid the horrors of the date!

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
With a sperm-proof grill!
(Do not display on a window sill)

Always horny—never late!
Set against a lonely fate!
Sprung with pseudo-flesh elasticate!
They’ll leave you in a ravaged state!

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
Settings from TENDER to DRILL!
You’ll always get your fill!

Throw open the fantasy gate!
They’ll forever be the perfect mate!
Order now—don’t you wait!
Overnight shipping in its crate!

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
Don’t you worry about the bill!
Just get fucked and chill…!

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Rosita
By Cardinal Cox

A shining example / literally /
Metal parts gleamed
Parade standard / combat requirement
Was dull, non-reflective /
Cyborg veteran of Middle East
Foreign Policy algorithms
Grand-daughter of S.D.I.
A star-warrior, one of Reagan’s Rangers

woman and car

DMZ
By DJ Tyrer

It used to be
Downtown
Now, it’s called
The Downtown Militarized Zone
The DMZ
The Free-Fire Zone
No more cops
But, National Guard
Army
Marines
Tooled-up ready
Taking on the People’s Militia
For the regular
Friday Night Fire Fight
And, Saturday Shootout
Fast becoming ritual
Reasons forgotten
All that matters
Is the hate

DMZ

Issue 17 – Myths From The Last Days of Earth

“Beads of rain on blade of grass…
clouds the sun breaks through.”
Ten thousand years in our past!

By David Edwards

Bloated sun swells bloody red
Sanguine sunset for the human race
Writing final myths of a dying race
To replace those forgotten millennia ago

By DJ Tyrer

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Beyond Nychthemeron
By Harris Coverley

The world be gone, and I am dead
The seas are dry and air is black
Reflecting feelings that you lack
Forever filling you with dread

Originally published at Quatrain.Fish (December 2018)

 

Vale of the Petty Mages
By Cardinal Cox

Far from forests where deodands dwell
Bloated cherry sun glimmered
Thinly into shadow-dense valley
Low wizards in mean towers
Envious of each other’s slight talents
Cast spells to make legs of furniture
Become uneven in length – utter curses
To warp doors – turn hinges rusty
Divine sigils that make drinking
Vessels become chipped – crack crockery
Neighbouring tribes ignore this place
And the annoyance it engenders

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Last Swordsman
By DJ Tyrer

Last swordsman on Earth
Swings arcane vibroblade
To decapitate metallic men of elder age
Writing one last legend
Before the sun goes down
One final time

 

Sitchin Quatrain No. 6: Change Is Good
By Juan Perez
2019/20 Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi

we will survive, this measly human race
creating life on yet another world
willingly accepting that we must change
as parasite in a new world of worms

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Shadows of Zothique
By Harris Coverley

“The night grows whole again….The shadows rest,
Gathered beneath a greater shadow’s wings.”

— Clark Ashton Smith, The Eldritch Dark

Dreams that come from future far flung
That make a man feel so unique
Feelings of guilt that one has sprung
That one could dare to glimpse Zothique!

Each new land a graveyard of gods
Ruled by some necromancing freak
Or torturers who hail the rod—
Those which await men in Zothique

From Naat across to distant Tosk
Eidolons yet to be antique
Accomplishments forever lost
Barbarity’s gasp in Zothique

Littered by man’s former glory
Eternal darkness forward creeps
Humans the forgotten story
My bones be dust before Zothique

 

Samnath the Incautious
By Cardinal Cox

Built chronoscopes for wizards to peep
Upon the inventions of earlier ages
Unearthly intelligent energy beings
Who invaded during an unknown Aeon
Rode their wavelengths into the final age
Usurping unsuspecting mages’ minds

Divined locations of lost treasures
Wealth buried in turbulent times
Jewels – coins (bearing forgotten tyrants) – ingots
Positions of the pits they’d been
Consigned to revealed by shadowy sprites
But not that they’d all been found centuries past

Commissioned construction of a multi-legged chariot
It outran the harnessed beasts between its shafts
Their chaffed corpses colliding against other
Transports – spilling bones – sinews
Exhausted flesh across eroded
Crown-stamped cobbles of imperial highway

Carnelian sun shone weak upon
His last adventure – few faint stars
Flickered in the twilight times
Servants sensed a sad sound
Saw a low light – found his
Forlorn form – burnt all his books

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Sitchin Quatrain No. 5: The Cycle
By Juan Perez
2019/20 Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi

from a distant future, a different world
our forefathers first arrived at Nazca
migrating through the refreshed lands of earth
those troubled descendants yet to be born

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