Nightmare Magazine - Horror and Dark Fantasy Story Podcast (Audiobook | Short Stories)

By John Joseph Adams (Geek's Guide to the Galaxy)

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 Nov 7, 2018

Description

Edited by bestselling, award-winning anthologist John Joseph Adams, NIGHTMARE is a digital magazine of horror and dark fantasy. In its pages, you will find all kinds of horror and dark fantasy, from zombie stories and haunted house tales, to visceral psychological horror. Every month NIGHTMARE will bring you a mix of original fiction and reprints, and featuring a variety of authors: from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven't heard of yet. When you read NIGHTMARE, it is our hope that you'll see where horror comes from, where it is now, and where it's going. The NIGHTMARE podcast, produced by Grammy Award-winning narrator and producer Stefan Rudnicki of Skyboat Media, is presented twice a month, featuring original audio fiction and classic reprints.

Episode Date
Claire Wrenwood | Dead Girls Have No Names
27:43
Our bones are cold. It is the type of cold that comes only after death, and it will never leave us now. We mourn what must have come before: hands holding ours. Sunlight warming the tops of our heads. Cats on our laps and nightclubs where we danced out of our minds and Pop-Tarts straight from the toaster. Life, pulsing hot and fat beneath our fingers. Mother keeps us in a chest freezer. | Copyright 2020 by Claire Wrenwood. Narrated by Kate Orsini.
Aug 05, 2020
Adam R. Shannon | We Came Home from Hunting Mushrooms
17:31
On Saturday afternoon we piled into Ben’s old Civic, the five of us and two dogs, and as we drove out to the edge of the state forest to hunt mushrooms, we all kept a hand on each other, in case someone vanished. Ben was driving as usual, and instead of me up front sat Hunter, his new girlfriend. They’d been together almost a year, but as a far as I was concerned, Hunter would always be Ben’s new girlfriend. It was me, Mara, and Andre in the backseat, holding each other’s hands. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 22, 2020
Carlie St. George | Spider Season, Fire Season
27:17
The house is haunted, of course. That’s why the rent is so cheap. It doesn’t matter that it’s only April, that ghosts dream quietly when the world is in full bloom. Nearly any haunting will be small: flickering lights, a mysterious lullaby, an intrusive thought chasing the living from room to room. Fatalities are incredibly rare, though most people, even the disbelievers, fail to find that reassuring. December is not most people, not when it comes to the dead, but she promised herself twenty years ago: when I’m grown up, when I can choose, I’ll never live with a ghost again. | Copyright 2020 by Carlie St. George. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 08, 2020
Ashley Deng | Dégustation
24:35
You are a spore, barely more than a twinkle in your many parents’ breeding-breathing air. They are your family, among other things, living as a colony in the dim light beneath an abandoned office building. They fill the already-damp air with the encouraging words of hopes and aspirations for you and your siblings. And though you are nothing more than a speck in the air, the sentiment is warm, just as the earthy mulch you settle into that embraces you like a blanket. | Copyright 2020 by Ashley Deng. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
Jun 17, 2020
G.V. Anderson | We, the Folk
40:40
The maypole dancers are restricted by what’s left of the ribbons. I watch them squeeze past each other with shining faces flushed pink from the heat. Too pink to be skin. More like meat. To my right, John’s wickerwork bath chair crunches as he shifts. “Raymond tells me you’re writing again,” he says. I swallow a scowl and nod. Raymond---Ray---John’s doctor. That man can’t smell gas without striking a match. | Copyright 2020 by G.V. Anderson. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Jun 03, 2020
Adam-Troy Castro | Decorating with Luke
24:57
Hello. Thanks for coming. I know I was a bit mysterious on the phone. This is my house. I live here because a house should be an expression of the individual, and nothing in my life has defined me as an individual more than my hatred for Luke. Yes, the same Luke. You were married to Luke for a while, weren’t you? Yes, I know you endured a couple of years of that. I know how he sucked you in and made you his, and then, once he had you under his roof, revealed for the first time who he really was. | Copyright 2020 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
May 20, 2020
Yohanca Delgado | The Blue Room
1:09:31
When Amada first sees the hotel, she feels her luck has changed at last. One moment she is trudging beneath the palm trees and café umbrellas of Miami’s Ocean Drive and the next it is upon her: an imposing three-story building in the old art deco style, its white façade gleaming in the late-afternoon sun. Amada stops in the middle of the busy sidewalk, shifting from one sore foot to the other, and stares up at the hotel. | Copyright 2020 by Yohanca Delgado and Claire Wrenwood. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
May 06, 2020
Millie Ho | A Moonlit Savagery
33:08
My eyes snap open at night. I float out of the tunnel under the concrete wall and settle on the roof of the abandoned hostel. The starry chaos of Yaowarat stretches before me like rows of crowded teeth. It’s tourist season, and my belly aches with hunger at the sight of all the farangs: slurping shark fin soup in restaurants, being measured for crocodile skin suits in tailor shops, ducking into tuk-tuks with their sunburnt arms around a local girl or two. | Copyright 2020 by Millie Ho. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Apr 22, 2020
Ben Peek | See You on a Dark Night
45:29
W--- went to the vampire club a couple of nights after E---’s death. It was on M--- Street, in an oddly-shaped bar. When W--- gazed at it from the outside, when he stared through the dirty windows and advertisements, the old stools and tables looked like the rotten teeth in a giant’s mouth. The bar was struggling. W--- hadn’t seen more than two or three people in it for months. In an attempt to bring people in, the owner had begun to organise events. | Copyright 2020 by Ben Peek. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Apr 08, 2020
Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | Flashlight Man
13:52
The legend of Flashlight Man began in the upper Midwestern United States, grounded in rural areas. A variation on mirror summoning, it went like this: you lie on your back in bed, your face turned toward the nearest wall, then shut your eyes and whisper, “Flashlight Man, Flashlight Man, comes with a click, see me if you can.” Repeat three times. Then you fall asleep. The tricky part in verifying who encounters Flashlight Man is that it happens during dream cycles, so you’re on your honor to accurately report how long you last. | Copyright 2020 by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Mar 18, 2020
Benjamin Percy | A Study in Shadows
18:09
One of Dr. Harrow’s survey groups included a church known as The Dawn Triumphant. The congregation believes we are living in a time of punishing darkness. Half of them were told to sit in a bright room for an hour and speak to their gods. The other half were told to sit in a dark room and do the same. After a month, every single member of the latter group reported hearing a voice. They called out to Him and received His word in return. | Copyright 2020 by Benjamin Percy. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Mar 04, 2020
‘Pemi Aguda | Things Boys Do
24:10
The first man stands at the bedside of his sweating wife. He is watching their baby emerge from inside her. What he does not know is that he is watching their son destroy her insides, shredding, making sure there will be no others to follow. This man’s wife is screaming and screaming and the sound gives the man a headache, an electric thing like lightning, striking the middle of his forehead. He reaches to hold her hand, to remind her of his presence. | Copyright 2020 by ’Pemi Aguda. Narrated by Judy Young.
Feb 19, 2020
Adam-Troy Castro | Today’s Question of the Day in Waverly, Ohio
14:27
For today’s question, we visited this small town of about 1700 people. As per our practice of the last six decades, they perceived us as a television news crew, and were compelled to speak truthfully, without artifice, self-consciousness, or concern for the regard of their friends and family. All the interviews took place at the same instant, and all were immediately wiped from memory an instant later, returning the participants to their daily routines. | Copyright 2020 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Feb 05, 2020
Brian Evenson | Elo Havel
25:20
It is good of you to write, and I thank you for it: I am glad at last to hear from another of my kind---and, above all, to have another of my kind acknowledge me. I have indeed, since my return, heard many voices, seen many faces, but the individuals to whom they belong neither hear nor see me in return. I shake them, shout in their ears, but they do not respond. It is as if, for them, I do not exist. But why then, I wonder, would I exist for you? What is different about you? To put it bluntly, what is wrong with you? | Copyright 2020 by Brian Evenson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jan 15, 2020
Meg Elison | Familiar Face
26:29
Your camera thinks it spotted a familiar face. “Cameras don’t think,” Annie said, looking down at her phone. “Who taught this thing to identify specific faces? Who thought that was a good idea?” “Ok, neuromantic,” Jonah scoffed at her, looking over. “Not everything is a part of the panopticon. Calm your tits.” “It’s just weird that it thinks,” Annie continued, loading more Diet Cokes into the communal fridge. “And why does that make me a new romantic?” | Copyright 2020 by Meg Elison. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Jan 01, 2020
Joanna Parypinski | Dead Worms, Dangling
19:10
When Milo got to the river’s edge, where the log fern gave way to a rough bank, Buck was already there. Shirt tied around his waist, his lean thirteen-year-old’s torso glossed with sweat, bent over with his hands on his knees. There was something in his face Milo didn’t like.  “Drop something?” Buck startled and turned. “Nothing important. What took you so long?” Milo swatted away flies that had found a perch on his glasses. | Copyright 2019 by Joanna Parypinski. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 18, 2019
Dan Stintzi | Methods of Ascension
35:50
It wasn’t unusual for my brother to send me strange videos he found on the internet. If I’d had enough to drink, sometimes I’d even watch. They were all about pain, in one way or another, and often made me feel as though someone had poured concrete down my throat. There are afterimages burned into my memory that cannot be removed; grainy flashes of a woman swallowed up by an escalator, handing her child to a stranger before being pulled under; black and white street fight footage that ends with a neck snapped back. | Copyright 2019 by Dan Stintzi. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 04, 2019
Gwendolyn Kiste | The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)
29:12
The teeth in the neck gambit obviously starts all of this. Don’t think I’ll forget that. Don’t expect for one moment you’re going to get off too easily. You might not be the only one to blame, but you’re still mostly to blame. For how you come to me when I’m by myself, a lonely girl in a goblin market where some treasures are best left undiscovered. Tonight, my mother’s hosting another soirée, all in my honor, a way to find me the perfect husband. She doesn’t care what I have to say about it. | Copyright 2019 by Gwendolyn Kiste. Narrated by Kate Orsini.
Nov 20, 2019
Adam-Troy Castro | Dollhouse
14:15
There is a man locked in the dollhouse. He is not a doll-sized man. He is a full-sized man. The structure is designed for miniatures, and he is trapped inside it, knees up against his chest, head scraping the ceiling. He only fits because the architects of the little house equipped it with a palatial foyer, the kind that, in real houses, is designed to make visitors gape at the sheer magnificence of the space. The effect is lost on the full-sized man. To him, it’s more like a cabinet. | Copyright 2019 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 06, 2019
Rich Larson | Growing and Growing
12:20
After half a barrel of foaming sour pulque, Ignacio and Hector start the long stumble home. The night is cold but they’re still warm, still cocooned, and they talk in circles about the business, the vermiculture that will turn Oaxaca’s gardens into jungles and fill their pockets besides. Their families’ futures in a tub of worms. If the shadows on the street are deeper than usual, if the barking of the dogs is more desperate, if the waning moon is unnaturally sharp, a shard of bone from a desecrated grave, they do not notice. | Copyright 2019 by Rich Larson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Oct 23, 2019
Carlie St. George | Some Kind of Blood-Soaked Future
33:41
Here’s the thing about surviving a slumber party massacre: no one really wants you around anymore. All your friends are dead, and your mom is dead, and you get shuffled off to live with your miserable Aunt Katherine, who blames you for getting her sister killed because she’s an awful human being like that. And you try to move on, but you don’t know how because your nightmares are constant and therapy is hard, especially when a new killer arrives and murders your therapist with his own pencil. | Copyright 2019 by Carlie St. George. Narrated by Judy Young.
Oct 09, 2019
Merc Fenn Wolfmoor | Sweet Dreams Are Made of You
17:17
The girl has no name. As often as internet forums try to dub one for her, nothing ever sticks. One week there will be a consensus for a name befitting a drowned girl, an agglomeration of classic and cult horror tropes of long-haired, white-dressed dead women, and soon after there is no trace of what it was. No one remembered. Any posts or recordings mentioning the postulated name will have blank spaces where that name should have been. | Copyright 2019 by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Sep 18, 2019
Ray Nayler | Beyond the High Altar
45:32
A note to the reader: I purchased these letters at the bazaar outside the gates of the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2006. I was working that winter for a humanitarian organization in Kabul. The bazaar was a row of shipping containers and battered tarpaulins along the road to the base’s fortified gates. Military vehicles rumbled past, splattering sleet and mud. Inside the containers, merchants warmed their chapped hands before makeshift propane heaters and haggled over cold piles of misappropriated objects. | Copyright 2019 by Ray Nayler. Narrated by Kate Orsini & Stefan Rudnicki.
Sep 04, 2019
Senaa Ahmad | The Skin of a Teenage Boy Is Not Alive
Paul Boehmer
Parveen isn’t there when Benny falls off the roof. But everyone knows the story. Benny and his dumb demon cult. It happens at one of their houses, a place built like a modern-day cathedral. The kind of hovel that has a saltwater pool with a vanishing edge and a wine cellar with someone’s entire life savings down there and red-glazed tiles cutting swoops into the Los Pueblos skyline. Six-day-old moon, a wide goblin grin from above. The hot strobe of synth-pop booming everywhere. The hazy, electrostatic currents of teenage bodies thrilling with vodka and happiness hormones. | Copyright 2019 by Senaa Ahmad. Narrated by 40:50.
Aug 21, 2019
Kurt Fawver | The Bleeding Maze: A Visitor’s Guide
38:58
I want to tell you about the bleeding maze at the center of our town. People who aren’t from around here don’t know anything about it. It’s not referenced on any website or in any travel book, and most of us like it that way. We don’t share the knowledge of its existence with just anyone because it’s a very personal thing, the maze. We all have longstanding relationships with it that began at a young age. See, when kids in our town turn eighteen, we force them to enter it, like our parents did to us and their parents did to them. Inside the maze we have unique experiences, formative experiences. | Copyright 2019 by Kurt Fawver. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Aug 07, 2019
Isabel Cañas | No Other Life
19:07
Cities like her make men leave their hearts on their shores. “Seeing you,” the men say, “I want no other life.” Each night, as the diadem of the Bosporus drifts into slumber, violet shadows drape the narrow streets of Eminönü. I watch the window, thinking of you moving through the sleeping city, your footfall silent as the breathing of dreamers. I imagine you slipping velvet mist over your shoulders, sweeping past mosque and meyhane, sleeping beasts and sleeping houses. Full houses. Empty houses. I was born in this city, raised on a tongue of land embraced by swift straits and glittering seas. | Copyright 2019 by Isabel Cañas. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
Jul 17, 2019
Simon Strantzas | Antripuu
35:23
There are four of us left huddled in the cabin: me, Jerry, Carina, and Kyle. And we’re terrified the door won’t hold. Carina shivers so uncontrollably, her teeth sound like stones rattling down a metal chute. Kyle begs her to quiet down. But her teeth aren’t making enough noise to matter. Not compared to the howling storm. It comes in gusts that build in slow waves, rhythmically increasing in both volume and strength until a gale overtakes the cabin, pelting the windows with hard rain. A cold draught pushes past us while we tremble on the floor, wishing we were anyplace else. | Copyright 2019 by Simon Strantzas. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 10, 2019
Alanna J. Faelan | The Taurids Branch
23:13
I wanted to tell you the truth, before the end. I’m sorry it took this long, and I’m sorry I’m too cowardly to tell you to your face, but I don’t think I could ever get it right, saying it all out loud. I hope you don’t hate me, but you might. I hope you can at least understand, even if you can’t feel the same about me after. It’s okay if you can’t. It had been three weeks and Ray still hadn’t come back. He was never an audacious man. His inflexibility, his aversion to risk or conflict of any sort, was the raw spot at the center of our relationship. But I liked him for that reason, too. He felt like a home. Solid. | Copyright 2019 by Alanna J. Faelan. Narrated by Judy Young.
Jun 19, 2019
Megan Arkenberg | The Night Princes
36:45
“I’m going to tell you a story,” she says. “And when the story is finished, this will all be over.” There are four of them huddled on the floor of her living room: Francisco, like the saint; Michael, like the angel; Jerome, like the translator; and her, Batul, like the queen of heaven. The apartment---a second-story walkup above a music shop, low-ceilinged, smelling faintly of clove and lemon---looks very much like what it is, the home of a twenty-four-year-old woman who makes a fair wage at a pottery factory. A number of brightly glazed mugs, sunbursts and peonies and beetles and birds, dangle from a rod above her stove. | Copyright 2019 by Megan Arkenberg. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Jun 05, 2019
Nibedita Sen | Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island
12:48
“There are few tales as tragic as that of the denizens of Ratnabar Island. When a British expedition made landfall on its shores in 1891, they did so armed to the teeth, braced for the same hostile reception other indigenous peoples of the Andamans had given them. What they found, instead, was a primitive hunter-gatherer community composed almost entirely of women and children. [ . . . ] The savage cultural clash that followed would transmute the natives’ offer of a welcoming meal into direst offense, triggering a massacre at the hands of the repulsed British . . .” | Copyright 2019 by Nibedita Sen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
May 15, 2019
Mimi Mondal | Malotibala Printing Press
53:16
I cannot understand why, but the young men of this generation have developed a new sport---to go and spend a night in a haunted house. Every three months or four, I receive a group of guests. It goes the same way each time. They arrive after sundown, bringing hurricane lamps, candles, sleeping mats, snacks and bottles of water lovingly packed from home. They come in groups of four or five, almost always the atheist, sceptical students of the Presidency College who remind me of my own youth. They sweep aside dirt and rabble from the floor, unfurl their mats, light a hurricane lamp at the centre of their circle, and settle down to tell ghost stories. | Copyright 2019 by Mimi Mondal. Narrated by Pooja Batra.
May 01, 2019
Dennis E. Staples | The One You Feed
27:39
There’s an old Indian saying.And I’m an Indian woman who’s worked at an Indian casino as a waitress for almost ten years. My first and only job, right after I turned eighteen. I’ve flirted with old Indian men to get tips and I’ve put on my most tactful, phone operator voice with old Indian women. The old men couldn’t resist hitting on me or smacking my ass and the old women called me a slut for it. So I don’t give a fuck what old Indians have to say. | Copyright 2019 by Dennis E. Staples. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
Apr 17, 2019
Mari Ness | The Girl and the House
14:51
She is a girl, coming to a house. Not just any house: a large, sprawling mansion, built up from the remains of a ruined abbey, or a shattered castle. One that stands on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the seas, or lost in fog-swept moors, or deep within a rugged forest. A house of secrets, a house of ghosts and haunts. She is alone, or nearly alone, or thinks she is alone. This is not quite as strange as it might sound. In her world, parents die young. Most of her remaining relatives are indifferent, or poor. | Copyright 2019 by Mari Ness. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Apr 03, 2019
Adam-Troy Castro | Example
37:50
Hector Ortiz sat on the edge of his cot, smoking a cigarette, because why not. For as long as he cared to remember, “why not?” had been the chief consideration on any of the few life decisions permitted to him, which did not extend much beyond personal habits like smoking. On Death Row, even if you’re not constitutionally partial to smoking, you almost certainly smoke anyway, in part because you have no reason not to, and in part because it is something to do with your hands. | Copyright 2019 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Mar 20, 2019
Cadwell Turnbull | All the Hidden Places
35:36
“Can we stop?” asked Nikki, panting, her face tingling from the assault of the cold. Her fingers were numb, her nose running. Her lungs burned. “When we reach the trees,” her father said. He was a few feet in front of her, walking steadily against the wind. Ahead of them was an island of snow-capped pine trees. After hours of walking, the island---once just a small patch of green and white in the middle of the frozen lake---now loomed as an expanse of dense wilderness. The lake stretched behind them in every direction. | 2019 by Cadwell Turnbull. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
Mar 06, 2019
Rafeeat Aliyu | 58 Rules to Ensure Your Husband Loves You Forever
25:43
(23) No man jokes with food. Does your husband like a kind of food? Try to change your cooking. Rumour has it that in the early mornings, the expressways of Abuja are littered with dead bodies. Iman’s Toyota cut through the dusty fog of the early morning, the dark outside her windscreen occasionally broken by the few working streetlights. Never passing the forty km speed limit, Iman drove down Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway till it became Shehu Yar’Adua Way. | Copyright 2019 by Rafeeat Aliyu. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
Feb 20, 2019
Micah Dean Hicks | Quiet the Dead
48:19
Stray spirits stirred in the dark. They lay like oil slicks across the asphalt, pulled their misty bodies in and out of the doors of Swine Hill’s pork processing plant, and drifted storm-like in Kay’s wake. Her every hot breath was full of the dead. The man had crossed her. Had shouldered into her on the crowded butchery floor where she leaned over a workstation and hacked through bone and bleeding pig meat. Had stolen knives and gloves from the locker that everyone knew was hers. | Copyright 2019 by Micah Dean Hicks. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Feb 06, 2019
Vajra Chandrasekera | On the Origin of Specie
28:29
In the tower where the tax collectors go, I am taken blindfolded up steps and through passages and through interminable pauses in open spaces, myself stumbling and held upright through a firm grip on my upper arm. In those pauses, and sometimes in passing while we move, the master of that grip speaks to others, their fellow bailiffs. The content of these exchanges is indistinct to me, a mumbling burr that I can only distinguish from other noises as the recognizably unnatural rhythm of human speech. My other senses have muffled themselves in solidarity with my vision. | Copyright 2019 by Vajra Chandrasekera. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jan 16, 2019
Natalia Theodoridou | What It Sounds Like When You Fall
23:29
It’s Uncle Pete’s funeral today, so he puts on his good brown suit with the brass buttons, and we all set out for the cemetery before the sun is up, because we don’t want to get too hot in our good clothes on our way there. Uncle Pete and Pa walk in front, me and Ma follow. When we get there, Uncle Pete’s grave is waiting, shallow and open, and the plaque has already been engraved with his name. Under it, there’s his date of birth and today’s date, even though we don’t know how long it’ll take him to really die. | Copyright 2019 by Natalia Theodoridou. Narrated by Judy Young.
Jan 02, 2019
Carrie Vaughn | The Island of Beasts
44:37
She was a bundle on the bottom of the skiff, tossed in with her skirt and petticoat tangled around her legs, hands bound behind her with a thin chain that also wrapped around her neck. She didn’t struggle; the silver in the chain burned her skin. The more she moved the more she burned, so she lay still because the only way to stop this would be to make them kill her. They wanted to kill her. So why didn’t they? Why go through the trouble of rowing this wave-rocked skiff out to this hideous island just to throw her to her likely death? | Copyright 2018 by Carrie Vaughn. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 19, 2018
Adam-Troy Castro | The Ten Things She Said While Dying: An Annotation
28:57
Her name was Robyn Howlett, and she was twenty-two years old. Robyn was an alien creature to me, product of conditions wholly at odds with those that produced my kind. She spoke in a language I had never heard. Nevertheless, I understood everything she said. It is the nature of my kind to understand everything that is spoken in our presence, a necessary adaptation given that we are often summoned by creatures as alien to us as we are to them, creatures who often cannot expand their minds enough to even perceive us. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 05, 2018
Usman Malik | Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung [Part 2]
57:25
This is how Hakim Shafi gave away his life: First, he closed his shop. Next, he sold his house. “What in the name of God are you doing?” I said. Shafi grinned. That grin raised the hackles on my neck, sahib. “Burning bridges,” he said. I looked at him closely. In the four weeks since I’d told him about the qawwals, he had shaved his thick mustache and lost ten kilos. He was always thin, but now he looked like a needler at the end of his days. His temples were wasted, the flesh of his face pulled taut across the blades of his bones. | Copyright 2018 by Usman Malik. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 14, 2018
Usman Malik | Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung [Part 1]
39:53
Jee Inspector Sahib, he came looking for a missing girl in Lahore Park one evening in the summer of 2013, this man known as Hakim Shafi. It was a summer to blanch the marrow of all summers. Heat rose coiling like a snake from the ground. Gusts of evil loo winds swept across Lahore from the west, shrinking the hides of man and beast alike, and Hakim Shafi went from bench to bench, stepping over needles rusting in bleached June grass, and showed the heroinchies a picture. | Copyright 2018 by Usman Malik. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 07, 2018
Halli Villegas | A Mother’s Love Never Ends
34:08
Mother would have never taken the bus. She had specific prejudices---the train yes, the bus no, taking The Lord’s name in vain, no, calling someone an asshole, yes. It was often hard to follow her dictates; the safest route was to just not say anything or do anything unless directed. Mother had no say in the matter now, and although Miriam wasn’t big on bus travel herself, it gave her an adventuresome frisson to be doing something in such bad taste. | Copyright 2018 by Halli Villegas. Narrated by Claire Bloom Benedek.
Oct 17, 2018
Joanna Parypinski | What’s Coming to You
23:03
Madeline had a plain, dull face that only a mother could love, even though hers hadn’t. She’d been a clever child, clever enough to realize early on that fairness was a fairy tale, and clever enough to realize that it wasn’t her mother, really, who was to blame, even if she couldn’t help but blame her. Whenever Madeline’s stepfather had told her to get out of his sight, her mother had repeated the phrase in a ghostly echo. When Madeline emancipated herself at sixteen, she figured that was the end of that, and she looked ahead to a future of possibilities. | Copyright 2018 by Joanna Parypinski. Narrated by Bonnie MacBird.
Oct 03, 2018
M. Rickert | True Crime
09:28
He cut off her arms and threw them on the side of the road. They wanted a boy. Her uncle taught her how to play the game. The last time anyone saw her she was dancing. She was drunk. She was flirting with everyone. She was wearing a short skirt. She had a lot of eyeliner on. She got into the car, which anyone knows is a stupid thing to do. She was stupid. Actually, she was very intelligent, but had no common sense. It wasn’t her fault. But what was she thinking? | Copyright 2018 by M. Rickert. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Sep 19, 2018
Weston Ochse | House of Small Spiders
50:19
Some houses never have a soul. It’s not their fault. It’s just the way it is. For a soul to be born to a house, almost too many things have to happen. Three or more families have to have lived there. Someone has to die in the house. Blood has to be spilled. And something, even if it’s just an idea, has to be born in the house. You can always tell when a house has a soul because of the small spiders. They’re everywhere, non-obtrusive, and ever watchful. The small spiders are the eyes of the house, watching those who live in it much like a great beast would observe its own fleas. | Copyright 2018 by Weston Ochse. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Sep 05, 2018
G.V. Anderson | Crook’s Landing, by Scaffold
34:42
My brother was hanged on a Monday and two days later I followed him. When the trapdoor opened for the short drop, the sharp stop never came: instead, my soul slithered loose from my body and I fell through darkness, landing with a crash atop a mountain of junk. Odd battered shoes, gimmicked dice and prosthetic notes---the cheat’s cast-offs, the swindler’s knick-knacks. It all reeked of piss. I pulled the sackcloth off my head. A square moon in a black sky shed some light, but not much. | Copyright 2018 by G.V. Anderson. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Aug 15, 2018
Nino Cipri | Dead Air
1:00:21
Nita: So you thought I made you sign a release as, what, foreplay? [Laughter.] Voice: I was, like, four tequilas deep by the time you walked in and probably at five when you waved that paper in my face. I would’ve signed my soul away to . . . uh, I didn’t actually sign my soul over, did I? Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir, Susan Hanfield, Justine Eyre, Stefan Rudnicki, Cassandra Lalechou, Jim Freund.
Aug 01, 2018
Caspian Gray | Kylie Land
40:36
Do not make friends was not actually an explicit Rule, but it was implied by some of the others: do not do anything to draw attention to yourself and do not bring anyone to the house and do not stop anywhere between home and school. As a little kid, Kyle had thought his dad was a psychic. It was middle school before he realized that basically half the teachers in the school were just spying on him. It was high school before he realized they were doing it with the best of intentions, rather than entering into a vast conspiracy. | Copyright 2018 by Caspian Gray. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 18, 2018
Alison Littlewood | Ways to Wake
42:21
I hear the sound before I open my eyes. Someone is eating, though I should be alone in my room, and it’s too loud, too close. When I look, I see the cat---the one we’re all supposed to adore, that’s meant to have us all therapeutically laughing, lowering our blood pressures by stroking its soft grey fur. I tried once, but it felt to me as soft as cobwebs, as dust, as decaying flesh. The cat is sitting on the shelf wheeled across the bottom of my bed. It’s eating my breakfast. | Copyright 2018 by Alison Littlewood. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 04, 2018
Adam-Troy Castro | Red Rain
27:18
Have you ever found yourself on a midtown sidewalk on some warm July day when a plummeting body splattered on the pavement, directly in front of you? Close enough to feel the explosive shockwave of hot liquid air, pelting your trousers with meat pellets the size of quarters? Have you ever staggered backward, sodden with gore and spitting out substances you could not stand to identify, half-blinded because some of it got in your eyes, the screams of other pedestrians rising all around you, the smell of blood and shit hitting like a second assault almost as bad as the first? | 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 20, 2018
Nibedita Sen | Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep
40:30
3 Harvest: Arcon Glass came to dinner in my cabin tonight. A rarity; he has declined all previous invitations on pretext of work. Over dessert, First Mate Law asked him if the Guild of Natural Philosophers’ purpose in sponsoring this voyage is to research a solution to the overfishing of the whale-routes. Law has been my First Mate for a decade now and I bear the man a great affection, but he has a dockhand’s lack of tact for all that he wears an officer’s badge. Glass did not seem offended by the directness of the question, and answered that it was exactly as we had surmised. | Copyright 2018 by Nibedita Sen. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jun 06, 2018
Nalo Hopkinson | Ally
21:04
It’d been a warm, sunny spring afternoon. The grass in the cemetery was green, the roses and lavender in the wreaths fragrant. Iqbal’s funeral had been a quiet affair, all things considered. Our circle was getting too old for the type of soap opera drama that had marked our younger years. We’d lived for enough decades that my friends and I had settled into some kind of rhythm, had dared to allow some of our sharp edges to be burnished smooth. So by the time of Iqbal’s funeral, Grey had long since given up staging drunken screaming matches in parking lots with Jésus. | Copyright 2018 by Nalo Hopkinson. Narrated by Nalo Hopkinson.
May 16, 2018
Stephanie Malia Morris | Bride Before You
26:33
Such a beautiful boy, Cornelius Clay. Pity no woman’ll marry him. And to think it ain even his fault, sweet baby, born into money and beauty both, like the good Lord couldn’t part with his blessings fast enough. Lord, this boy. Skin so bright he looks anointed, hair straight as an Indian’s and black as molasses. There’s four generations of freedmen in that skin and hair, and he can name every single one of them. He got a body so fine, even the angels cryin out: silver screen silhouette in a tailored suit and two-toned wingtips, hat brim so crisp its shadow slices butter. | Copyright 2018 by Stephanie Malia Morris. Narrated by Stephanie Malia Morris.
May 02, 2018
Emma Osborne | Don’t Pack Hope
15:00
The horde is attracted to bright colours, so when you put together your bug-out bag, you pack the drab outfits you’d sworn never to wear again once you’d finally, breathlessly, emerged as your true, radiant self. You pack a heavy hunting knife, because what you carry looks valuable. You’re glad that your arms are gym-strong and intimidating, because the idea of hurting someone, even in self-defense, makes you want to vomit. You leave behind your old name. You try not to wonder if you’re the only one left who remembers it. You don’t know how you’d feel if that were true. | Copyright 2018 by Emma Osborne. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Apr 18, 2018
Adam-Troy Castro | Pitcher Plant
44:25
The mansion is a study in architecture at war with itself. It’s not just the windows that don’t match and the turrets that don’t overlook anything and the roof that sits flat here while looming at impossible angles there. Nor is it just the exterior walls that, seen from one angle, seem rotted and decrepit and about to collapse, and seen from another, gleam like jewels. Nor is it the gnarled skin of the columns that support the overhang at the front entrance, or the glistening scarlet door that seems poised to open until you see that it’s not a real door at all. | Copyright 2018 by Adam-Troy Castro. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Apr 04, 2018
Lilliam Rivera | Crave
24:50
Taina crawls underneath the shack to unearth her wooden cigar box. She opens it and places the items in front of her: a piece of leftover mundillo lace from an unfinished handkerchief, an ivory ribbon she stole from Don Victor’s store, and the rosary beads given to her by Abuela. Everything is right where she left it. She carefully places the items back and covers the box with dirt. “Shhh,” Taina whispers, hugging the dog Choco. Choco licks the side of her cheek and nuzzles his cold wet nose on the crevice of her bony elbow. | Copyright 2018 by Lilliam Rivera. Narrated by Roxanne Hernandez.
Mar 21, 2018
A. Merc Rustad | Mr. Try Again
40:01
Six-year-old Violet Wellington was the only child to come out of the swamp. The boys were gone forever. She sat on the side of a muddied dirt road, digging her nails raw against the gravel; her jeans and pink t-shirt were damp but clean. She had a scrape over her left eyebrow and her hair smelled of mildew. Unharmed, otherwise. Dogs and professionals and volunteers spent days trying to find the other bodies. Violet couldn’t help. She wouldn’t draw pictures, she wouldn’t answer questions, she wouldn’t be cajoled with sugar. Narrated by Pandora Kew.
Mar 07, 2018
Emily B. Cataneo | Seven Steps to Beauty for a Girl Named Avarice
31:57
She’s born in a pine-wood cottage, birches tangled over its roof, snow burying the log pile. When she’s still young, her father disappears in a war of musket-shot and horses screaming into the gunpowder dark. Her mother scrapes a living by stealing flowers from the gardens of the fine half-timbered houses round the fountain and hocking them in the market. Mornings, the girl accompanies her mother, the armfuls of pilfered calla lilies leaving pollen-smears on her skin. Afternoons, the girl returns to the cottage to sweep the front step with a crooked willow-broom. | Copyright 2018 by Emily Cataneo. Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir.
Feb 21, 2018
Caspian Gray - The King of Ashland County
37:00
Uncle Reggie couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland to find a selkie wife, so instead he drove across the country to Carmel-by-the-Sea and came back with a selkie queer. I was fifteen then, and so ready to get out of Perrysville that California sounded like paradise. | Copyright 2015 by Caspian Gray. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 16, 2015
Matthew Kressel - Demon in Aisle 6
48:08
I first saw the demon the Sunday after you died. It was 11:53 p.m. Just seven minutes until I would have grabbed my knapsack and biked home to Mom and bed and a life of sound sleep. That night the flurries were drifting down like nuclear ash. | Copyright 2015 by Matthew Kressel. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Nov 18, 2015
Nate Southard - The Cork Won’t Stay
32:11
Hand in hand, your family and some friends stand in a circle around your father. Ten seconds have passed since his last breath, and you’re counting, wondering if it was his last breath or his last breath. Your eyes lock on his face, and you try to remember when he last opened his eyes and looked around. Days, at least. The memory blooms in your head, something like a flower or a drop of ink expanding in water. | 2015 by Nate Southard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Jul 15, 2015
Dale Bailey - Snow
41:06
They took shelter outside of Boulder, in a cookie-cutter subdivision that had seen better days. Five or six floor plans, Dave Kerans figured, brick facades and tan siding, crumbling streets and blank cul-de-sacs, no place you’d want to live. By then, Felicia had passed out from the pain, and the snow beyond the windshield of Lanyan’s black Yukon had thickened into an impenetrable white blur. | Copyright 2015 by Dale Bailey. Narrated by John Nelson.
Jun 17, 2015
Maria Dahvana Headley - Who Is Your Executioner?
01:01:43
Since we were little, Oona’s collected Victorian photographs. A certain subset of people love them, but I got a library book of them once, just before I met her, and I’ve never not been appalled. I don’t know what a book like that was doing lost in our local library. It’s exactly the kind of thing that would normally have been removed by a logical parent. | Copyright 2014 Maria Dahvana Headley. Narrated by Judy Young.
Nov 05, 2014
Seanan McGuire - Spores
47:53
Something in the lab smelled like nectarine jam. I looked up from the industrial autoclave, frowning as I sniffed the air. Unusual smells aren’t a good thing when you work in a high-security bio lab. No matter how pleasant the odor may seem, it indicates a deviance from the norm, and deviance is what gets people killed. | Copyright 2014 by Seanan McGuire. Originally published in THE END IS NIGH, edited by John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Kate Baker.
Jun 04, 2014
Sam J. Miller - 57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides
26:25
1. Because it would take the patience of a saint or Dalai Lama to smilingly turn the other cheek to those six savage boys day after day, to emerge unembittered from each new round of psychological and physical assaults; whereas I, Jared Shumsky, aged sixteen, have many things, like pimples and the bottom bunk bed in a trailer, and clothes that smell like cherry car air fresheners, but no particular strength or patience. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Dec 04, 2013
Norman Partridge - 10/31: Bloody Mary
56:08
The boy isn’t very large. The way things are these days, he figures that’s a plus. He is less of a target at night, and for this reason he has come to trust the darkness. Strange to trust darkness in a world overrun with nightmares . . . but that’s the way it is. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Oct 02, 2013
Robert Kirkman - Alone, Together
48:35
She was dressed like a private detective from a low-budget TV show—a pair of slacks, modest high heels, and the most ridiculous trench coat I’d ever seen, one of the shorter ones, that hung just above the knees. I couldn’t help but laugh, and it was obvious my reaction annoyed her, but she did her best to hide her feelings as she pressed a finger to my lips, quieting me, and gently nudged me back inside my apartment. Narrated by Alex Hyde-White.
Sep 11, 2013
Carrie Vaughn - Fishwife
29:30
The men went out in boats to fish the cold waters of the bay because their fathers had, because men in this village always had. The women waited to gather in the catch, gut and clean and carry the fish to market because they always had, mothers and grandmothers and so on, back and back. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
Jun 26, 2013
Tanith Lee - Doll Re Mi
01:05:56
Folscyvio saw the Thing in a small cramped shop off the Via Silvia. In fact, he almost passed it by. He had just come from the Laguna, climbed the forty mildewy, green-velveted steps to the Ponte Louro, and crossed over to the elevated arcades of the Nuova. Then he glanced down, and spotted Giavetti, who owed him money, creeping by below through the ancient alleys. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
May 15, 2013
Weston Ochse - Gravitas
47:57
He stared bleary-eyed at the broken glass studding the land. This was his crop, seeded over the span of four weeks, irrigated from the residue of Napa Valley grapes, sun-kissed until it glistened like dew. It was the bounty of his desperation, and now was the time to harvest. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Apr 24, 2013
Jeff VanderMeer - No Breather in the World But Thee
28:54
The cook didn’t like that the eyes of the dead fish shifted to stare at him as he cut their heads off. The cook’s assistant, who was also his lover, didn’t like that he woke to find just a sack of bloody bones on the bed beside him. “It’s starting again,” he gasped, just moments before a huge, black, birdlike creature carried him off, screaming. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Mar 27, 2013
Sarah Langan - Sacred Cows
53:53
Clara Maloney peered down the long Brooklyn block. She and baby Sally had been waiting in the cold for twenty minutes, and still no sign of Pop. Figured. Even to pick out his wife’s casket, the old man was late. Narrated by Gabrielle De Cuir.
Feb 06, 2013
Daniel H. Wilson - Foul Weather
19:25
Some things you can’t figure out. Not even with a whole heap of scratch paper and a ribbon of data from a chattering teletype machine. Not before time runs out. And time is like progress—she’s not stopping for anybody. The answer is out there, though, in the weather. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Dec 26, 2012
Ramsey Campbell - At Lorn Hall
48:40
Randolph hadn’t expected the map to misrepresent the route to the motorway quite so much. The roads were considerably straighter on the page. The high beams roused swarms of shadows in the hedges and glinted on elongated warnings of bends ahead, and then the light found a signpost. It pointed down a lane to somewhere called Lorn Hall. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Nov 28, 2012
Joe Haldeman - Graves
27:45
I have this persistent sleep disorder that makes life difficult for me, but still I want to keep it. Boy, do I want to keep it. It goes back twenty years, to Vietnam. To Graves. Narrated by Bruce Turk.
Nov 14, 2012
Laird Barron - Frontier Death Song
70:09
Night descended on Interstate-90 as I crossed over into the Badlands. Real raw weather for October. Snow dusted the asphalt and picnic tables of the deserted rest area. The scene was virginal as death. Narrated by Dave Robison.
Oct 10, 2012
Jonathan Maberry - Property Condemned
67:45
The house was occupied, but no one lived there. That’s how Malcolm Crow thought about it. Houses like the Croft place were never really empty. Like most of the kids in Pine Deep, Crow knew that there were ghosts. Even the tourists knew about the ghosts. It was that kind of town. Narrated by Paul Boehmer.
Oct 01, 2012