note from editor:

Happy Halloween! In lieu of a silly note from me, I am reposting my favorite scary story that I borrowed from Creepy Pasta

photo by david tomaloff

The Portraits

There was a hunter in the woods, who, after a long day hunting, was in the middle of an immense forest. It was getting dark, and having lost his bearings, he decided to head in one direction until he was clear of the increasingly oppressive foliage. After what seemed like hours, he came across a cabin in a small clearing. Realizing how dark it had grown, he decided to see if he could stay there for the night. He approached, and found the door ajar. Nobody was inside. The hunter flopped down on the single bed, deciding to explain himself to the owner in the morning.

As he looked around the inside of the cabin, he was surprised to see the walls adorned by several portraits, all painted in incredible detail. Without exception, they appeared to be staring down at him, their features twisted into looks of hatred and malice. Staring back, he grew increasingly uncomfortable. Making a concerted effort to ignore the many hateful faces, he turned to face the wall, and exhausted, he fell into a restless sleep.

The next morning, the hunter awoke — he turned, blinking in unexpected sunlight. Looking up, he discovered that the cabin had no portraits ... only windows.


by Faryn Black


She could already feel the weightless, subtle pull
of her hair floating around her. Unbrushed tangles of seaweed
knotting along her scalp as calliope music blubbered
in waves                         –shifting,
                       redacting explanations.

Bare feet had slippyslid
over algae-covered rocks, seabed muck
squishing between toes
as she answered the inexorable
invitation. Spectral jellyfish hovered, swaying
to marine melodies as the beleaguered ceiling of light
surrendered its last distant prism.

Sharks and eels skulking in the deep overhead. She is long past
knowing what form the fins and scales take, brushing past her legs. Cold
on cold is all she knows.
           And the sound.
                                               The sound.
                                                                                   Further still.

Oblivious to time, unmoved by any current, the ancient beast opens
an opaque eye; her own silhouette a reflected mote in a great black iris.

The shimmyshift of phosphorescence
refuses to illuminate. The unfathomable,
fathoms down. An encompassing perspective
too far back to swim to –she could only point
to negatives. It was not Cthulhu,
nor giant squid. For her, it was not danger.
This cryptid was no stranger.  

Ascending in descent: joining the abyssal pantheon
beside her unknowable bridegroom. Damselfish and maids
build her tiara of shells and coral; mandatory attendants
to the lichen-laced forsaken treasure. Welcoming
her reign as thalassic goddess, choirs of aquatic angels
sing her home.


In 1997, an unidentified noise – loud enough to be heard by devices over 5,000 kilometers apart – was recorded underwater off the coast of South America. Though seemingly biological in nature, any organism large enough to produce a noise of such volume would have to be many times larger than any creature ever known to have lived on Earth. Dubbed “The Bloop” by scientists, the noise was recorded several times over that summer and never heard again.

dream house

by James Dowell                        


             the floor of his bedroom is quicksand.
            in the living room a small gnome skitters round
                     trying to avoid the rays of an electric lite.
                       in the kitchen sink is a glass and in the glass a



All-Hallows Carnival Villanelle

by Jane Røken

It'’s just one thing that you may like to know
before our show is done (you'’ll beg us stay) --
We take some of you with us when we go.

Come, ride the carousel, and feel the glow
of czardas and a merry roundelay!
Ach, just one thing that you may like to know,

but while the fiddles play, you’'ll tip a toe
to other games. Let gold outshine the grey.
We take some of you with us when we go.

Our ghostly band may stanch the seasons'’ flow
on this night only; then we'’re on our way --
it'’s just one thing that you may like to know.

The lanterns flicker now; the pipes play low.
As roosters bark and bray at break of day,
we take some of you with us when we go.

So, when the time has come to end the show,
we throw away our jester'’s masks and say
one little thing we thought you ought to know:
We take some of you with us when we go.

Mermaid Dust

by Jean Brasseur

The smell of escape
snakes through words
overflowing the edge of the page.
“Follow the mermaids,” they said,
into a Jack the Ripper night.

Rain pelts the window
like a spray of bullets piercing the fog.
Ice tinkles in darkened shadows
and the reader stops to listen
to the rain gathering grief
and sending it down the glass
in tiny streams of indifference.

Was it the weather that imbued
this noiseless relief.
or perhaps it was the scotch?
This question wasted
on a passing windy cloud
before the floor lurched open
and mermaids in spangled
brassieres swam to life,
eyeing him hungrily.

He reached to their glimmering light,
his mouth a round cave
of awe and disbelief.
He had touched a manatee once
but there had been no whisper
of color, no odor of desire,
no reminder of the same loneliness
that followed him everywhere he traveled.

Before his hand pulled
him into the pool, the way out
vanished, leaving behind a trail
of twinkling scales on the polished wood
and armfuls
of empty space.

Family Recipe

by Jeanie Tomasko

They say I was born in a cold spring, the morning
after my mother put up twelve pints of violet jam.  

They say all night it thundered without lightning
and right away I wanted whatever was in the white

pocket of the doctor’s coat. They say I was born
with extra layers of seal fat and fine black hairs

on my back. No one knew I would swim
early, swim away before I could even walk.

No one knew you would come with me
through the undulating tendrils of kelp

where we met in a dream and couldn’t wake up.
One of your eyes was violet, the other sea-green,

the other I can’t say. The complete stories of those
days are inscribed on the rose-colored sand

at the side of the sea. They say it takes five lapfuls
of violets for one jar of jam, a dram of sugar and a spell

said backward. The recipe warns: simmer violets overnight
in white tea. They like to remember the night I was conceived;

they always say: dew came early on the petals; birds
were singing in the dark. Everything went wrong. 

Palm Star

by Kevin Ridgeway

Shaking for a loose cigarette
the sky clear and the moon full
the southwestern lights illuminating
a distant palm
a star on a Christmas Tree
a beautiful and horrifying vision
of spikes and pricks
with a bleeding gum fanged smile
a burning flower against
the black sky
climbing toward the atmosphere
its scales purring

look at me, look at me
I could crush you

and that would be that

valentine on a postcard

by KJ

Sorry there was not more on my heart.
Slow is love in filling itself out.
The feelings for you came out yesterday like
a snake leaving a birdhouse one bulge at a time.
Great rolling lengths of warm flesh shaped a shiny
square on each scale for your reflection to quietly occupy.
To have you so close to me laced my blood with endless sugars.
Never mind how starved I am for love, I know that you will be worth
waiting for because I have never opened my heart as wide as you since. 

The devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,

by Lisa Marie Basile

it says so in the bible, here I am
divining leaves on the bottoms
of bodies and teacups. I want
to know how it feels to be eaten alive.

Glory to God in the highest!
I remember the words tied to my tongue
in a cherry-stem knot. I spit the songs,
plagued, hacking, tuberculosis of faith,
to this day when God has left me for

I am a naked druid under many moons,
and feel no shame.

My heart condenses desire
like two moths folding into linen,
until I burst.

I am a wet apple-eating machine
and feel no shame.

The hangman appears again,
upside-down. He has a Spanish
face and looks toward the sea.
I envy his ability to understand
things differently, to let those
veins paint his forward.

He wears his mistakes
as the Mediterranean
vast and rough, on his forehead.
I worship only the sea
and feel no shame.

Unholy Night

by Margaret Mary

My Father,
burned for 200 days, in the Carolinas with his
needle scars and pedophilic psycho angels
“Star Spangled Banner Save Me”
America - Go fuck yourself with your sadistic statistics
You made me a martyr for illusory Freedom,
Oh Holy Father,
that night you ripped the door handle off
and drove me over broken tarred roads to watch it sail
Into the Land Fill Promised Land.
heroin infected, you smashed my bedroom door
to beg for forgiveness, a patriotic rubber band tied round your bloody arm
and I forgave your sins, Again - your hands burning against
my legs, your blood - pale pink chemical smears that wouldn’t
Leave, soaking through my pants
Freedom, I looked for you beneath the cigarette burned sheets that
I buried beneath the house

Holy America, I lied for you

Rituals #1

by Melanie Browne

Every night I stay up late,
watching dead Socialites

parade,  the snakes crawling out of their eyes,
as the  worms play  on the sequins in

their Vera Wang dresses,
Ray-bans melting  against their skulls,

they fuss and fiddle with their oversized handbags
while gossiping  behind rotting silk scarves

voices echo  from my television screen
where the living and the dead live it up,

Their quiet and abandoned eyes
beg me to sign their  moldy social registers,

I shake my head no, but they force it into my hand where
it crumbles into pieces like their Park Avenue Dreams

dreaming dogs

by Peter Marra

she walked past the chain-link fence:
into the courtyard
she walked quickly
then stopped to
crouch down and listen to the

dog’s secret message:
a secret bullet, that’s what
the frogs suggested

7 minutes later she lay
on her back on top of
wet moss and dead leaves
and gazed upwards.
underneath, the sidewalk heaved.

she forced the sky from
blue to grey to maroon.
a mutation.
strangled on the monkey bars
dancing in the perimeter

she smiled as she spoke to
the vaginal totems
embedded in the moon
a return to the playground

the thought for the day is:
“exhilaration can kill a biped”

she loosened her corset
allowing herself to breathe  as her
black tendrils merged
with the soil.

cremate her soul. she waits for the diorama
and the canine pleasures she can see within:
a feast of victims for

a quickening dance
with her voice’s fury

Come here sweetie

by Tess Pfeifle

Come here sweetie, let me caresses you through your dress.
Why do you suppress your want for me?
Why won't you come on over to me?
Your skin so white and pale.
Why are you so cold my dear, why do your eyes seem so far?

Come here sweetie, let me feel your smooth shoulders.
Let me feel the stitches that make you up.
Let me do what I need to do.
You do not make a sound, but you submit so easily.
You get farther every day.

Come here sweetie, are you still resisting  me?
I've had you for two weeks now.
I think you've over stayed your welcome.
You've begun to wither and continue to ignore my advances.
You let me caress you.
But you never touch me back.

Come here sweetie, it's time to put you back where you belong.
I took you back at night, so no one would have to see.
Your walk of shame, you can remain in ambiguity.
I'm sure it's what your family would want.
As I shoveled the same dirt I uplifted two weeks ago.
I think of all the times we shared.
How waking up to you every morning, was what I had always wanted.
Always needed.
And I as I put you back in your coffin.
I kissed you goodnight for the last time.
And I could have sworn.
A tear fell from your eye.

contributor bios

[d]avid : [t]omaloff (b. 1972) | racine, WI, US | author, LIONTAMER’S BLUES (six eight press) | likes: jazz | hates: jazz | photography: yes | his work has also appeared in: Ditch Poetry, Otoliths, elimae, and/or, Counterexample Poetics, BlazeVOX 2KX, the Delinquent, and Calliope Nerve | see:

Faryn Black is a writer from Winnipeg, Canada. In previous incarnations, she has fixed jewellery, wrestled Irish Wolfhounds, and rocked the microphone as a radio announcer. Currently the proud momma to a pack of unruly dogs, she is either a descendant of Sitting Bull, or Leonard Cohen’s cousin –depending on what kind of beverage she’s drinking. For no discernible reason, cows make her laugh.

James Dowell lives in Frisco, Texas.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering he does not use.  He loves devil’s food, looking at the stars, his wife Michelle and his son Arden, reading the Bible, and the romantic poets, Moby Dick & Phantasms of the Living... and like all true poets, listening to the wind, needless to say not in that order.  He has several blogs in development on the web and a particular obsession with Fortean topics.  He believes in God and aliens.  He really did run away and join the circus once upon a time.

Jane Røken believes in coloured lanterns and old tractors. She has been a saxhorn player in a brass band, a research technician in a secret lab, and a member of the Fourth International. Now past sixty, she has not yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. In the meantime, she writes weird stories and spooky poems. For you. Yes, you.

Jean Brasseur lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, two dogs, six ferrets and other assorted pets. When not working or cleaning up after the aforementioned roomies, she enjoys all types of poetry particularly that written by new and unknown poets. Jean has been writing poetry for as long as she can remember, but only became serious about her craft a few years ago when impending birthdays made her realize it was now or never. Since then her work has appeared in The Battered Suitcase, gutter eloquence,twenty20, the right eyed deer and others.

Jeanie Tomasko is the author of two books of poetry, Sharp as Want (Little Eagle Press) and Tricks of Light (Parallel Press.) She lives in Wisconsin where all kinds of creepy things happen. 

Kevin Ridgeway is a writer from Southern California, where he dwells in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and a one-eyed cat.  Sometimes he and the cat engage in staring contests.  Recent work has appeared in Underground Voices, Red Fez, The Camel Saloon, Haggard & Halloo and Magic Cat Press.  

KJ likes to make poems a lot. Find his work in Thieves Jargon, decomp, and gutter eloquence.

Lisa Marie Basile is the author of the forthcoming A Decent Voodoo, (Cervená Barva Press, 2012) and a chapbook,Diorama (Wisp Press). She recently was published in Pear Noir!, >kill author, Foundling Review and Moon Milk Review. She is the founding editor and publisher of Patasola Press and currently reads poetry for Weave Magazine. She performs with the Poetry Brothel as Luna Liprari and is an M.F.A. candidate at The New School. She is a member of the Poetry Society of New York.

Margaret Mary is named after St. Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was told it was sinful to shorten her name. Unfortunately, she shortens it daily. She started writing poetry when she was homeless, as a way to pass the time. No longer homeless, she is learning jiujitsu and kickboxing in case of a zombie invasion, while finishing her degree in political science. Margaret Mary's poetry tends to be dark, absurd with a half narrative, and sometimes political but mostly not so much. Was it mentioned that she likes puns?

Melanie Browne likes to eat crispy creme donuts while watching the third class steerage dance scene from the movie Titanic over and over again. She also has an online literary journal that you should check out:

Peter Marra is from Williamsburg Brooklyn. Born in Brooklyn, he lived in the East Village, New York from 1979-1987 at the height of the punk – no wave rebellion. His poems explore alienation, sex, love, addiction, the havoc that secrets can wreak and obsessions often recounted in an oneiric filmic haze. He wishes to find new methods of description and language manipulation wrapped in a frenzy. He has either been published in or has work forthcoming in Caper Literary Journal,, Yes Poetry, Maintenant 4 & 5, Beatnik, Crash, Danse Macabre, Clutching At Straws, O Sweet Flowery Roses, Breadcrumb Scabs, Carcinogenic,Carnage Conservatory,Subliminal Interiors,and Calliope Nerve among others. He was recently interviewed by Yes, Poetry and is currently constructing his first collection of poems.

Rachel Marsom-Richmond graduated with her M.A. from Northern Arizona University in May of 2009 and her M.F.A. from Georgia College & State University in May of 2011.  Her poems have appeared in Three Line Poetry, The Bijou Poetry Review, The Camel Saloon, Quantum Poetry Magazine, and The Montucky Review. She has work forthcoming in kitchen, Camroc Press Review, Full of Crow Poetry, and The Penwood Review.    

Tess Pfeifle is eighteen years old, likes camping, abandoned insane asylums and unsolved mysteries.

line index