This year, as you dress up and sort through your favorite candy, we invite you to check out some of our favorite supernatural and spooky works from our authors! Below are excerpts handpicked from our interns as well as links to their corresponding books. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
'With this spell, I conjure you.
I draw your lazy bullets through my head.
A little smoke, a little bone dust. My grin a kayak
It takes a kayak of blood to raise a devil.
Rotting robe of mallow stems. Belt of lion's hair.
I'll stand here in your magic swamp til the myrrh
dries in my mouth.'
—"Hymn for the Black Terrific" from Kiki Petrosino's Hym for the Black Terrific
'. . .then I heard a few more sounds I knew but hadn't expected to hear, which were the sounds of him loading my old Browning 9mm, which I kept under the sink in case of emergencies. when I heard that, I got scared, because for a while now I had been feeling, like I said before, like things were getting out of hand, but now, him stepping out of the bathroom hand around the grip of that nine, I had the kind of proof that makes it so you can't look the other way anymore.
"Killing", I said, "isn't a kind of thing you can take back."
"I don't mean to kill her," he said. "I just mean to scare her a little."'
—"The Truth and all its Ugly" from Kyle Minor's Praying Drunk
'His arms went tight sometimes when the word came. His eyes rolled back in his head. all those words, all those musical sounds. Their boy said them with conviction, and none of them made sense. Gary who never frowned and never worried had started to pace the floors. He hadn't looked this anxious since taking the bar exam. "It's like The Exorcist," he said one evening. They were standing in the kitchen, and Nicholas was babbling in his chair. "We'll need a busload of priests to straighten him out." Gary tugged at his spiky black hair. He made jokes when he was nervous. It was no different from a twitch, but it still wasn't right.'
—"Dead Languages" from L. Annette Binder's Rise
'Blood poured out of Claudia, soaking her shirt. Betsy saw it in the periphery as she held Wendy's gaze. She heard Olivia scream and Daniel moan. The van coasted to a halt. Through the whole spate of violence—Zacky seizing the gun and shooting Daniel, then drawing it on Olivia, finally forcing the cocked weapon into Helen's hands and commanding, "Your turn"—neither Wendy nor Betsy blinked.'
—"Betsy from Pike" from John McManus' Fox Tooth Heart
'I looked at James. He looked at me. We decided to stay. The border guard smiled. He should not have, not with those black broken teeth that showed when he did, but who can control mirth? He told us that, conveniently enough, there was a hotel and restaurant just a furlong away with everything we could possibly need. James, of course, needed nothing, having been dead for some time. I liked him that way. He was just as handsome as when he was alive, which was amazing when you considered that terrible car crash.'
—"James Dean and Me" from Louisa Ermelino's Malafemmena (you can also find this story here)
'She spoiled things. Movies, books, meals, she'd let me know ahead of time how they turned out. Eventually I learned to lie about what I was reading or going to see so she wouldn't tell me when the hero's brother died or that his wife developed amnesia or about the goofy ending, but I guess somehow the dead know the future too, which is how she could tell me about meals. The artichoke salad I was making was going to cause heartburn and keep me up all night, the hamburger I craved from O'Falin's would give me diarrhea and make me miss a crucial meeting and lose a sale, the stuffed peppers Dashante hoped to bring by would give me a skin rash for a week.'
—"Mum on the Rocks" from Paul Griner's Hurry Please I Want to Know
'There's nothing good about ill-timed death. Nor about the death of love. That poetry glamorizes them disturbs me. I don't want to be lying in that cemetery. I don't want to be sitting in the cemetery'
—"Oh, wow, mausoleums," from Kathleen Ossip's The Do-Over
Have a happy Halloween!