Welcome back to Into the Night, Tor Nightfire’s monthly horror short fiction and poetry review and roundup series. I’m here every month to recommend you spooky tales and poems I found somewhere on the net. My main objective with this series has always been to give horror readers a wide selection of authors, publications, and stories to read every month–like a subscription box, but for dark fiction and poetry, but more importantly, free.
This month, we have stories and poems ranging in themes and subgenres from publications like Fantasy Magazine, The Deadlands, and more. If you want to read last month’s Into the Night picks, check out February’s installment.
‘The Bear Across the Way‘ by Emily Rigole (Pseudopod)
Emily Rigole’s short horror story from Pseudopod’s March releases is a horrific story about a woman put in charge of guarding a neighborhood bear’s honey stocks while he is hibernating. While the bear slumbers, she feasts on his reserves. When the bear wakes up, the story races towards a conclusion I am still shaking my head over. This story surprised me and left me way more shook than I expected. It’s a story with a twist that isn’t really a twist, but the horror of something that happens all too often.
‘Said the Carrion to the Corvus‘ by Woody Dismukes (Nightmare Magazine)
Woody Dismukes’ poem in Nightmare Magazine is an excellent example of a title that perfectly fits its text. The poem, a question, and a series of stark descriptions of a corpse picked clean feel almost suitable for the state of the world today. There does seem to be this dark, hovering bird picking each of us clean and leaving us with nothing. And then, this incessant bird continues to peck away at the nothing we’ve become. Dismukes’ lines encompass the feeling of being done but having no say on when something actually ends.
‘The Raving One‘ by Jenn Grunigen (The Deadlands)
Jenn Grunigen’s ‘The Raving One’ took me slow and off guard like all the best short poems. The vivid imagery and sensory details contained in such few lines caught in my mind, standing out more strongly than if those lines were part of a longer poem. The poem also left me wondering what it all meant (knowing the market, it’s safe to assume it’s about death in some form), but what an exciting form for Grunigen’s poem to take! I’ve chewed on these lines endlessly.
‘Christopher Mills, Return to Sender‘ by Isabel J. Kim (Fantasy Magazine)
There are two Fantasy Magazine dark fantasy tales in this month’s installment, both of which speak to each other or work within the same realm. Isabel J. Kim’s reanimation comedy about a sister who reanimates her dead brother, pulling him out of hell and back into the real world to solve his own murder, was a surprising story. When I first started reading it, I thought it would be a serious tale, and it is, but there’s also a lot of levity and jokes and such an incredible humorous voice that makes all the death and darkness not feel quite so bad.
‘The Dybbuk Ward‘ by Gabrielle Harbowy (Fantasy Magazine)
Content warning: mentions of abuse
While Kim’s ‘Christopher Mills, Return to Sender’ is about death, dying, and coming back, it’s worlds and miles away from Gabrielle Harbowy’s much heavier story in the same issue. ‘The Dybbuk Ward’ is about a possession that takes hold of a therapist trying to help patients in a mental hospital. A story that starts so sad and dark quickly moves through to a feeling of repeated catharsis until the final release. It’s touching, scary, and sad, all while showcasing an interesting escalation of the relationship between the possessed and possessor.
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.