Into the Night: August and September 2022’s Best Horror Short Fiction and Poetry

Into the Night: August and September 2022’s Best Horror Short Fiction and Poetry

Into the Night: August and September 2022's Best Horror Short Fiction and Poetry - 361

Into the Night is Tor Nightfire’s monthly horror short fiction and poetry review series. I’m here monthly to suggest spooky tales and poems I found online, usually for free. The main objective of this review series is to give horror readers and fans like you a wide selection of authors, publications, and pieces to read every month and to shine a light on some great works by talented authors publishing right now.

For these two months, I review stories and poems ranging in themes and subgenres from publications like Drabblecast, The Dark, FIYAH, Apex Magazine, and more.


August

Carnivore‘ by Bri Gonzalez (Crow & Cross Keys)

Bri Gonzalez’s ‘Carnivore’ in Crow & Cross Keys is the only poem on this month’s list. ‘Carnivore’ stands out due it its striking visuals and pumping emotion. The poem opens, simply enough, with the idea of sending the main subject’s insides to someone. Then it builds and builds in descriptions of precisely what those insides would be. Gonzalez’s lines reek of desire and untapped, unbridled want.


A Lie, A Hope, A Piece, A Promise: From the Operative Record of Dr. Baba Yaga‘ by Edith Lockwood (The Dread Machine)

Baba Yaga as a doctor with a therapist. Edith Lockwood’s ‘A Lie, A Hope, A Piece, A Promise: From the Operative Record of Dr. Baba Yaga’ in The Dread Machine is hilarious, disturbing, and visceral. While the descriptions may have been a tad gross, they were always gross in the right ways. Yes, describe how Baba Yaga sucks blood from her nails after surgery. I want all that nasty, gushy stuff. And Lockwood delivers on all of it throughout the whole story without missing a drop.


The Farewell‘ by Elana Gomel (The Dark Magazine)

Elana Gomel’s ‘The Farewell’ in the August issue of The Dark Magazine is a story about people coming back after death. A zombie story without zombies. But beyond all that, ‘The Farewell’ is about death, grief, and saying goodbye. Gomel’s prose is striking, with poignant images of a mother experiencing losing her child. As the story progresses, the world opens, giving glimpses of the deeper culture surrounding this odd phenomenon of the dead coming back to life.


Distributed Denial of Sexytimes‘ by Tim Pratt (Drabblecast)

I went back and forth on whether this story was horror or not, but I cringed and jumped like it was a horror story, so decided to include it. Plus, horror is a lawless town governed more by gut instinct than anything else. Tim Pratt’s ‘Distributed Denial of Sexytimes’ in The Drabblecast follows self-aware sex toys waging a vendetta against a man who looks down on the use of sex toys during sex. The story is a really well-written, disturbing, hilarious tale that sticks with you.


Mary, Mary‘ by Georgia Cook (The Other Stories)

Normally, I have a couple of pieces on this list that are my standout favorites, but this month, they all are standouts. I will have to say Georgia Cook’s ‘Mary, Mary’ in The Other Stories took me back to being a kid. The short story centered around Bloody Mary reminded me of all those times I stood scared and brave in a dark bathroom, whispering her name over and over again to a mirror. Somehow Cook captures that childhood fear and wonderment. Cook also narrates ‘Mary, Mary,’ giving a creepy reading to an already chilling tale. 


September

Recipe‘ by Tina S. Zhu (Fireside Magazine)

Tina S. Zhu’s flash story about vampires, told in the form of instructional recipe, appears in Fireside Magazine Issue 103. I love a good story, whether horror or otherwise, in an odd or different form. Especially if they are instructions, and there are no better instructions than a recipe! The food descriptions were striking and tantalizing and worked well beside the horror aspects of the piece. I’ve never come across a recipe for a vampire hunter, but Zhu’s story was a humorous introduction.


Bite‘ by Emily Hope (Fireside Magazine)

Another short story from Fireside Magazine’s 103 Issue that stuck out to me was Emily Hope’s ‘Bite.’ The story is about a teacher trying to help or maybe just do what they can for a girl displaying violent tendencies. This weird dark story took me on a ride and dropped me off feeling chilled, and a bit shaken. ‘Bite’ left me terrified, but it also touched me. Hope’s story reminded me of being that bad kid in class and being scary and wild to adults. I thought ‘Bite’ perfectly captured the odd relationship between the student and teacher in the story.


Girl Eats Girl‘ by Gnesis Villar (FIYAH)

Gnesis Villar’s ‘Girl Eats Girl’ in FIYAH’s Horrors and Hauntings Issue is the standout story in the bunch this month. It is at least my favorite one. ‘Girl Eats Girl’ follows a girl watching her classmate turn into a monster and trying to save her against all reason. Villar wrote the cute tingling feelings of a high school crush without losing the terror and horror of a monster story. There are lovely physical sensation descriptions that blend romance and fear. My only complaint is that I wanted more of the story and the girls. It’s worth noting the whole FIYAH issue is worth a read for any horror fan.


Ten Steps for Effective Mold Removal‘ by Derrick Boden (Apex Magazine)

Derrick Boden’s ‘Ten Steps for Effective Mold Removal’ appeared in Apex Magazine in September, and though at times it felt too long for what was happening, the voice was wonderfully captured. The story’s a series of reviews for mold repellant and other products to help the character survive a pandemic. The story’s real heart is in the character’s resilience to stay alive and see the world as it is despite how the government may be painting it.


The Skinless Man Counts to Five‘ by Paul Jessup (Apex Magazine)

The second piece that caught my eye in Apex Magazine was Paul Jessup’s ‘The Skinless Man Counts to Five.’ If you like weird horror, this story is bizarre and dark but so captivating. Corpses appear, each saying a number as though a countdown, but what they are counting down to isn’t what’s so engaging. It’s the prose, descriptions, and dark imagery throughout the piece. Sometimes I even found myself lost in the words of the story and not really caring what was happening or where I was going.


Dream House‘ by C.O. Davidson (Pseudopod)

For audio horror fiction fans, September had a few great stories come out from Pseudopod. C.O. Davidson’s ‘Dream House’ stood out with its sharp descriptions. Descriptions were heavy on my mind this month, it seems. A couple searches for a new house and finds something a little more haunted. If you’ve ever gone hunting for a new place to live, you’ve probably stumbled upon a place like the one in this story. You can feel the wrong turns pushing you through the halls. Instead of being an outright scary story, Davidson’s ‘Dream House’ is a creepy, unsettling tale. 


As always, I hope you found a new magazine, writer, or story to satiate your horror hunger. Also, if you have a favorite publication that puts out excellent horror poetry or fiction, please tell me about it by leaving a comment on this article or dropping me a line

The same goes for writers and editors of publications. I would love to connect and read the horror stories and poems you’re publishing! Just send me an email.



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