Issue 58 – Samhain Scares

radiant Fair Folk
ride forth from gates in hillside
buried with the dead
yesterday’s forgotten gods
returning for just one night

By Aeronwy Dafies


The Leprechaun
By Mark Hudson

Deep in the heart of Dublin,
is some news that is troubling.
Every year at all hallows eve,
a leprechaun comes to deceive.

As kids go out to collect candy,
the leprechaun drinks his brandy.
He loves to create a little scaring,
his masquerade is overbearing.

A short little creepy freak,
green as the rivers that leak.
St. Patrick might’ve driven out the snakes,
but the leprechaun is there for souls to take.

He waits by the graveyard, singing a tune,
haunting like Celts, and ancient ruins.
As the kids walk by, on a dare,
the leprechaun is there to scare.

The kids have heard the legend before,
but they dismiss it as folklore.
But there is the leprechaun, bags of gold,
promising the kids they’ll never grow old.

He looks at them with his green eyes,
he almost seems to hypnotize.
But the kids make a great getaway,
and the leprechaun begins to fade away.

He’ll be haunting the graveyard next year,
this leprechaun damned to drink beer!

By DS Davidson

Celtic New Year
Echoed in modern lore
Night of the living and the dead
Spirits from days of yore
Slip through from the other-side
Through half-open spirit door


By Cardinal Cox

Just one ripened apple less in the tub
Than there are blindfolded competitors
And in some of the fruit burrow a grub
Tonight’s the night the sidhe open their doors

There is one whose face is in the water
Who will never grab a prize with their mouth
Now no longer someone’s son or daughter
A dread barge waits on waves to take them south

They failed the contest of the Samhain bob
So now they go to the dark harvest isle
In the punt’s one with a terrible job
Out amongst the fen by many a mile

Autumn is going – winter is ahead
One less mouth that will never now be fed

An Old-Fashioned Hallowe’en
By DJ Tyrer

Days of apple-bobbing
Spouse-revealing rituals
And, believing Jack-o’-lanterns
Were for more than cheap decoration.
Simple sheet ghosts
Papier-mâché masks:
No plastic or other tat;
Possibility that the dead
Were somewhere close by.
An old fashioned Hallowe’en…

Originally published in Siren’s Call


Issue 36 – Monster Mash


Monstrous Meetings
By Frank Coffman

“See how these children mock us, avatars
Of we who would confound their foolish play
With horror if they met US ‘neath these stars,”
The Dead Undead vampiric wight did say.
“Truly, they are quite foolish This Night to tread;
Full moon, by chance. I will choose one to slay,”
The man-wolf answered. “His joy will turn to dread
When he beholds these fangs ere break of day.”
“Yes. Must know the truth,” said the assembled man,
Reanimated by the force of lightning’s might.
The three moved forward. The children screamed and ran…
But three young souls returned not home that night.
One gave his blood, One a beast’s maw sated,
One was crushed from life. Misguided play thus fated.

Listen to Frank reading his poem on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association “Halloween” webpage


A Strange Night at Loch Ness
By DJ Tyrer

Hallowe’en on the shores of Loch Ness
Mist creeping steadily through the Great Glen
Something else creeping, too
A chupacabra over from Mexico
Having heard that Highland Cattle
Were tastier than goats to suck
And, that haggis might be to its taste
Past the still waters it went
Avoiding villages and trick-or-treaters
Hungry for its prey
When, suddenly, the waters churned
A long eel-like neck uprose
Two great eyes looked at the chupacabra
Uncertain what this foreign thing was
Not a nuckalavee, that was for sure
Nessie, for it was she
Decided the only way to resolve her dilemma
Was to have a taste
Bent low and swallowed it whole
The chupacabra becoming dinner
Rather than diner
Though Nessie was unimpressed with the taste
And, sank back down below

The Roof Party
By K. A. Williams

Count Dracula looked around the roof at people in their different costumes – vampires, goblins, ghouls, witches, warlocks, zombies, and werewolves. He saw a familiar hairy face and maneuvered through the crowd.

“Wolfy, I’m glad that’s just a costume.”

“Good to see you Drac, my friend. How have you been?”

“I am well. Van Helsing’s descendents still think I was staked over a century ago. How are you?”

“Okay, but I’ve spent a lot of money on clothes and shoes. Now I buy them used at thrift stores. What are you doing here?”

Dracula waved his hand around. “All this free food. How can I resist such a feast? I wasn’t going to kill anyone, just a few sips here and there. I don’t want to be noticed. But you, Wolfy, will find it impossible to restrain yourself. There’s a full moon tonight.”

“I’ll be fine. The weather forecast is for thick clouds with rain after midnight. So you see – ”

Wolfy stopped talking because light was now visible from the moon which the clouds had uncovered.

His clothes and shoes tore as his shape changed. Soon his outfit was rags. His body became furry and his human face with the fake hair transformed into a wolf’s head. Jaws filled with sharp teeth opened and he howled.

“I know you can’t understand me, Wolfy,” said the Count, “but you sure know how to ruin a party.” His food was now screaming and fleeing down the stairs. He sighed. “You can’t trust the weather forecast.”

The wolfman growled and sprang at Dracula who quickly changed into a bat and flew off to hunt for another Halloween party.



A Goblin Kidnapped by a Martian
By Celine Rose Mariotti

The two goblins
Daedalus and Icarus
Hid out in the moonlit night,
The sounds of witches and wizards
Was all about,
Vampires were coming
Out of their coffins,
And a light beamed from above,
The sky lit up
A spaceship landed,
The Martians came out,
Little green men with antennas,
And green hair,
Yellow eyes,
Big flabby noses,
Daedalus in his black and yellow costume,
His magic wand in his hand,
Shook the other goblin,
Icarus who was dressed in a blue and white costume,
With broken wings
Shook at the sight of the spaceship,
They hid behind a huge stone,
But the Martians spied them,
Seized them,
Dragged them out to their spaceship,
Shot them with a laser beam,
Before they knew it,
Up, up went the spaceship,
They awoke hours later,
Unaware of their environment,
They called out,
“Where are we?
Where are the ghosts?
Where is the candy?
Where are the horror movies?”
“We’re Martians and you’re on your way to Mars!
Happy Halloween!”

When Duat is Full…
By Harris Coverley

The moon and planets and stars at last aligned and allowed my rise from darkest Duat, not four thousand years too soon—yet when I exited my sarcophagus I found a most curious thing.

To break out of the crypt was simple enough, to walk out into the sun, to feel it even through my wrap of decrepit linen.

Nobody greeted me, but that was expected.

In the far distance I saw slaves panicking and running—indeed, panic and run!

Fear me!

But as I walked down the river it became apparent that something was amiss.

The people ignored me as they scurried about blindly, some in chariots of metal and crystal, while others, stumbling about, smelling fouler even than myself I must admit, took whatever chance they could to take bites out of the others as they fell screaming to the ground.

At last I reached the largest city on the river, a magnificent polity of vertiginous towers, all aflame and crumbling, the mass alarm ongoing, the slaves in riot.

Was this all for me?

Had the terror of my awakening sent the whole realm mad?

I stood in a square and announced my presence: “I am Naarhotep the Boundless, most exalted wizard of Great Aegypt, and you will obey me!”

No response was given—the chaos continued, flesh was ripped, blood streamed, and the odd stumbler attempted to take a bite out of me—the insolence!—but I swiftly tore him in half and the others got the message.

However disappointing this was for the most powerful man in the universe, ruling the world was not as pressing an issue as was finding my love, sweetest Nauhet, her soul transmitted body to body through the centuries, her innate beauty always rising to her surface.

Across a burning realm I searched for her, incanting spells, tossing away these mindless dregs, until, across the sea, I found my dearest Nauhet reincarnated near the half-buried ruins of Troy—an insensible, staggering cadaver like the rest!

But…no matter!

With her chained at my side I can take her occasional gnawing on my dried flesh, and I will rule this earth where the dead now walk the way they do in Duat…the ma’at ruptured, the pharaohs of all nations vanquished, and I will take my chance, the moon and planets and stars permitting…

The End

Issue 35 – Seasonal Scare-Flicks!

Synopses For Some New Seasonal Scare-Flicks
By David Edwards

Dracula vs. Frankenstein vs. The Wolfman vs. The Mummy vs. The Thing

A ghoulish round robin tournament of blood and gore mayhem. Spectators beware!

To Be, or Not To Be?…Not!

Psychopathic stagewise dramaturge eliminates, scene by bloody scene, some of the worst actors at a Shakespearean Festival.

Days of the Dead Living

Ordinary people going about their ordinary lives, Terrifyingly mundane.


Scary Movie
By DS Davidson

Midnight on Hallowe’en
Popcorn ready, TV on
Shivering as slasher stalks
Screen flickers, changes
Stalker steps out
Hallowe’en just got real…


The Praying Mantis comes to View from Atlantis
By Mark Hudson

There was a gigantic praying Mantis,
who was interviewed on View from Atlantis.
D.S. Davidson interviewed the guest,
and he was nothing but a giant pest.

He came to Earth, and he was so green,
he came to Earth for Halloween.
As Halloween started to approach;
another space ship came with a roach.

D.J had assumed that giant insects,
was something no one suspects!
But on Halloween, with a full moon,
the giant insects are coming soon!

Was this it, a judgment day?
Rockets were filled with bug spray!
Zooming through space with insecticide,
the insect spaceships had nowhere to hide.

As the insects thought they owned the skies,
it was certain destruction of the fruit flies.
No insects left, not even a spider,
Autumn is here, let’s have some cider.

Then little Suzie went a trick or treating,
she bit into an apple, a worm she was eating!
Oh, no! The insects have come back again!
But which came first, the chicken or the hen?


Transylvanian Twist
By Cardinal Cox

The brides aren’t impressed as he twirls around
They’re sharp smiles as though at a private joke
He spins on the ceiling, down to the ground
They know he will get caught up in his cloak

At every party they’ve seen it before
Slightly bored, his pale and thin undead wives
But now bold Carmilla wafts through the door
And they’re animated – almost alive

They compare robes, funerial jewels
And debate the problems of graveyard dust
For there are certain ancient oaths and rules
When it comes to them satiating lusts

They must wait for the wolf to be away
Before – as they say – the small bats can play


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

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

masked woman1

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


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…



Issue Seven – Hallowe’en

Old world end of year
Celtic autumn to winter
Death’s veil moves aside

By DJ Tyrer


Open door, veil too
Unexpected visitors
Dead guests stream inside

By DS Davidson


By David Edwards

ghosts in the library
a dead body in the stacks
children in the lobby
trick-or-treating, seeking
lollipops… candy bars… caramel apple snacks;
masqued as pirate, princess, astronaut,
hobo, spirit, and sprite.
An evening full of merriment
till the end of the night
when another child goes missing.
ghosts in the library
a dead body in the stacks.


Gourd Of The Black Cat
By Frederick J. Mayer

How obscene
darkness will begin:
Under Black Feline
smile phase moon
rolling around are
pumping kin
of gourd with the
sardonic grin.

A Wiccan’s Art
By Donna McCabe

There’s a full moon tonight,
full with frost red rings,
blood on the moon Wiccans say.
Danger in the air,
clouds drift by self satisfied,
the breeze teases the leaves in the trees
into a crazed frenzy of delight.
A special moment in time,
breath-taking beauty.
All hallows eve draws near,
cosmic forces throw open the door
between now and then.
Amber glows of a fire burned low,
eternal fire of life.
Mystic magic, the tides will soon turn,
by order of the moon.
Witches and warlocks have done their work,
spells of love and prosperity for the new year.
Drink the last dregs of the cauldron cup,
remove the sword from the earth,
the miracle of life and it’s survival,
is free from any curse.
The task is now done
treasures of new wisdom unearthed,
new life, new love,
the laws of rebirth.


Seventy-Seven Syllables
By David Edwards

Haunted house on Halloween:
faded paint, broken windows,
the overgrown shrubbery…
invitation or warning?
Dark, dank stairwells missing steps;
fifteen doorways, behind each
an oppressive vacant room…
peeling wallpaper , with breath
speaking in whispers, then screams
“Nothing is what it first seems.”
“Nothing is what it first seems.”


Embracing the Calling
By Sheikha A.

The stones have drunk her
footprints, and in the manner
of a proper uninhibited stupor,
they have smattered errantly
on a clear moonlit path, her red
robe supplies the wind with
buoyancy, floating behind her
like a supine shadow. The smaller
flowers cower in their buds
while the prouder ones stand
chest-front against the distanced
howling of a possible night
watchdog, but Red knows the woods
are an enticement:
the path of deathlessness.
If the desire to live counted as a sin,
she was the Cain of gluttony
for want of immortality. Her basket
of sweet cakes is laid at the centre
of a chalk drawn circle, she holds
a lighted candle to the cumulating
grey clouds, the silence holds its
breath in fear of being heard;
her pink lips tonight shall receive
their first kiss;
she shakes the hood off her head
letting her golden mane shine
brighter than the fireflies, she waits
till the clouds have undressed
the moon, the stars curl up
like truant seasons, she howls
back to the moaning woods.

First published in Fickle Muses



ghosts, goblins, and ghouls
feasting on trick-or-treaters
fairy queens taste best
pirates a pain to swallow
hobo rags hard to digest

By David Edwards


Haunted house horror
No more than Hallowe’en fun
Real monster waiting

By DJ Tyrer

Halloween in Honolulu
By Mark Hudson

Halloween was driving me insane,
so I thought I would get on the plane.
Hawaii was my destination,
for a Halloween vacation.

Halloween in Honolulu
Trick or Treat with Nosferatu
Hula dancers and Necromancers
Hip replacements for aging dancers

Volcano lava from Pele
drove all the tourists away
I was alone with the ghosts
so I went to a pig roast

Hula hula can it be
windblown tales of insanity
Resurrected from the tomb
beckoning to me certain doom

Lava from the depths of hell
I cower inside my hotel
The towels are flying through the air
the bedsheets move but no one’s there

When I returned to my house
I creep in quiet as a mouse
Hoped the ghosts didn’t follow
I had some apple cider to swallow

Spider webs on the ceiling
let me know to do some cleaning
I left behind that mean old Pele
if I can just make it to All-Saint’s Day

this was just one there will be more


Trick or Treat
By Aeronwy Dafies

White-sheeted child on doorstep
Asks the traditional query
Hand over sweets
Glides silently away
Past skeletal trees
Shiver for no good reason
Strangely grateful not to see
Either trick or face beneath sheet


Issue Three – Submergence

View From Atlantis
By DJ Tyrer

Beneath night-dark sea
Stars swim through long-lost ruins
Eternal breath held
Memories trapped in stasis
Ice-cold currents flowing by


Atlantis, free
to become endlessly
for Mankind anything: song… quest…
hope… dream

By David Edwards

By Andrew Darlington

I hear the soft murmur of waves
in the trees, damply aquatic,
fish dart in drizzles of rain
across fields of shimmering tide,
England, our new Atlantis
is sinking beneath the sea
lost and neglected, eroding away
in the gentle silt of forgetting
no future, frightened of today
submerging in dull nullity
retreating through leagues of regret,
I pause, squelching through wetland
and listen to history draining away
in the soft murmuring of tide,
riverbanks ebb into lakes,
high streets into a swans glide
of disturbed dreams where
steeples collapse in the flood
swallowed by undercurrents,
this is the dream I once had,
those not drowned are drowning,
we dissolve into mist
and float away…


God of Sea
By Clive Donovan

It was as if the God of sea himself rose up
Streaming from his shoulders, weed and attendant fish;

Commanding, with stiff trident, waves and foam and tide.
We always knew he was down in there somewhere deep,

Receiving shoals, directing whales and dolphins,
Dealing with plastic chemical gifts from land.

But now he’d had enough and in his wrath divine,
Roaring with the force of a tsunami, he wept:

Great salt tears plopped wetly on the seaside towns
And the people died, scrabbling, in scum of sea.


Atlantis, The Submergence.
Was it inch by inch
like the remnant of a dream,
or sudden in occurrence
as lightning flash seen
laterally at distance?

By David Edwards


The Drowning
By Aeronwy Dafies

In the dreams of Edgar Cayce
Atlantis emerging, wreathed in wisdom
But, in reality, it seems
As if everywhere slowly is submerging
Drowning in water, plastic, hate
A topsy–turvy world of nightmares
With dreams left undreamed


By Clive Donovan

The river flows down the street now.
It bubbles up through tarmac,
Slips over shop steps, celebrating,
Barges into doorways,
Creates dark, slopping pools in cellars.
Rats discover new platforms.
Chewing turds they mutter among themselves
Tasting disorder, this perilous turnaround:
The mangled glass, the shifting of wood
And look in the supermarkets! Look up! See!
See the flimsy roof
Where the pigeons roost.
Eyeing up the sodden porridge below.
And what is this mania for scattering?
Everything is so dispersed!
Cars, bottles, office chairs, clothes hangers;
As if litter doesn’t matter any more,
Is no longer a crime.
The rats shake their heads, hop over sand bags,
Make fine novel fortresses
In places once forbidden.


Issue Two – Horrifical

Dream Of Ceridwen
By J.S. Watts

Full moon tonight.
How the lunatics howl.
Dark shadows pass on four soft feet.
The dead sleep fitfully.

Tonight the walls of the world
are thin and words will come
knocking on my door
with a whisper of moonlight.

Idiots clank their imagined chains
and cackle in their sleep.
The silent ones creep on.
I am reborn.

Hecate’s Eucharist, my salvation.
I eat the moon’s crisp wafer
and drink from her grail of liquid silver,
cupped in Ceridwen’s dark cauldron.

Whiteness scours my veins
and repaints the world.
Clarity pulses and unnamed shades
pay pale homage.

Into this land of metamorphosis
the words will come.
Hesitantly at first,
then in an undeniable torrent,

demanding utterance.
They will have their way.
I can refuse them nothing.
The frenzy is upon me.

Moon passed,
passion spent. The incandescence
fades and the fools
laugh knowingly.

This mundane world is grey.
Grey of ash fills my skull.
The words retreat
with a rustle of moon dust.

A version of this poem was published in Twisted Tongue in December 2009

J.S.Watts is a British poet and novelist. She has published six books to date: two poetry collections, Cats and Other Myths and Years Ago You Coloured Me, plus a multi-award nominated poetry pamphlet, Songs of Steelyard Sue, all published by Lapwing Publications, and a shiny new poetry pamphlet, The Submerged Sea, published by Dempsey & Windle. Her poem, Steelyard Sue Builds A Baby, won the 2013 Data Dump Award and was reprinted in the celebratory booklet, Small Press Voyager, from Atlantean Publishing. Her two novels, A Darker Moon – dark, literary fantasy, and Witchlight – paranormal with a touch of romance, are published by Vagabondage Press. See for further details.

Blood donation
Technician smiles pointily
Takes more than a pint

By DS Davidson


Stories Knives Tell Us
By Cardinal Cox

Is the red wound deep or shallow?
Did the knife have one edge or two?
Will attacker go to gallows?
Be careful where you place your shoe
Is it a slash or maybe stab?
If a slash, right-left or left-right?
No, no, leave that spot, do not dab
Did it happen in day or night?
How did the fresh blood flow or fall?
Form a trail or die on the spot?
Was the attacker short or tall?
All crimson threads tied in a knot
Where is the knife? Where is the knife
That ends this particular life?


Witches’ Moon
By Aeronwy Dafies

Yellow moon leers a grin
Watches with crater eyes
As witches voyage astral skies
And Hallowe’en begins
Each witch carrying a curse
Nightmares, sour milk and worse
Spreading diabolical sin


The Mogollin Monster
By Richard Stevenson

Arizona’s Bigfoot from the Mogollin Rim…
Supposedly bipedal, and seven feet tall!
Has long black or reddish hair
and large wild red eyes. Stinks too!

They say he smells like dead fish,
decaying peat moss, the musk of
a snapping turtle. Could he be a Skunk Ape
on a walkabout? A meat eater who don’t brush

or floss his teeth? Maybe decaying meat
gets stuck in hard-to-reach places
and just rots away. Or maybe he swills
with swamp water, drinks from polluted streams.

His blood-curdling screams
sound like a woman in great distress,
but when a human hunter gets too close,
the forest goes silent. All ears cock

as he breaks tree limbs and thunders
crashing through the bush, throwing rocks
from spots he likes to hide behind.
You don’t want to find him in such a mood.

He’s rude and – Eugh! Eugh! Phew! –
tired of rotting veggies when he spies
dinner on the hoof. Best back off
in your own small footprints then.

Mogollin Monster, known to decapitate
deer, rip a victim open to get at
his entrails. Not one to sip blood daintily
with a soup spoon, or dab with serviettes.

Likes to chaw on limb bones, suck
the marrow out of ‘em for late
night snacks. Best not to be caught back-
packing in fluorescent gorey Gortex.

Cell phones get no reception and
might as well be crunchy beetles.
Small caliber bullets might as well be mosquitoes.
They annoy, but can’t kill this bad bandito!

Richard Stevenson has recently retired from a thirty-year teaching gig at Lethbridge College and has published thirty books and a CD of jazz and poetry in that time. His most recent books are Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders, a long poem sequence from Dreaming Big Publications in the US (2016), and A Gaggle of Geese, haikai poems and sequences from Alba Publications in the UK (2017).