“Wednesday’s Child” by Jon Michael Kelley
(Originally published in Father Grim’s Storybook.)
“Good morning, Miss M.”
The voice, lecherous as a dank cellar draft, seemed to travel low to the ground, as if slithering out from beneath a rock. She instantly froze, the spoon halfway to her mouth. She’d heard that voice once before, here on this very same glade, and knew that it originated from a primal and universally shared nightmare. Her skin, pupils, every follicle of hair reacted protectively as icy adrenaline surged to oil her limbs. She dared not turn around, as she knew with all certainty that what had crept upon her was a lethal, liquid-black grotesquery unparalleled in her world.
Highly venomous, but not a snake. Not any reptile.
“Sorry to interrupt your breakfast,” said the Spider, “but I‘ve again intentions to make you my own.”
Jon Michael Kelley resides in a gold-mining town in the mountains of Colorado, where he does his writing. His stories have recently appeared in such literary anthologies as Qualia Nous (winner of the IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and a 2014 Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Best Anthology) and Chiral Mad 1 & 2 by Written Backwards Press; Sensorama by Eibonvale Press; Trigger Warning: Short Stories with Pictures edited by Neil Gaiman; and Triangulation: Lost Voices by Parsec Ink.
“The Right Hand of Decay” by David Annandale
(Originally published in Grimdark Magazine #5.)
They were building the mound when she arrived on the battlefield. The corpses were piled higher than the trees that girded the plain below Barragano, but there were many more yet to be gathered. The executions had not started yet. All in good time.
It was midday, but overcast, clouds hanging low and so dark that they bathed the land in a hard twilight. Smoke rose from campfires and from inside the walls of Barragano. The stench of blood, thick and pungent as grief, rolled in waves over the field. The Grey Queen breathed in the smell and contemplated the growing mound. She must not take the loss for granted. The sacrifices must be noted and given meaning.
She was conscious of how rote the ritual was becoming for her. Make note of that too, she thought. Watch yourself. This should not be easy.
David Annandale writes Warhammer 40,000 and Horus Heresy fiction for the Black Library, including the recent novels Yarrick: The Pyres of Armageddon and The Damnation of Pythos. He is also the author of the horror novel Gethsemane Hall (Dundurn Press and Snowbooks). For Turnstone Press, he has written a series of thrillers featuring rogue warrior Jen Blaylock (Crown Fire, Kornukopia, and The Valedictorians). His short fiction has appeared in such anthologies as Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters and Occult Detective Monster Hunter: A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests. David’s non-fiction has appeared in Black Treacle and such collections as Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery and The Meaning and Culture of Grand Theft Auto. He writes film reviews for The Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope. He teaches film, creative writing, and literature at the University of Manitoba. Follow David at his website and on Twitter as @David_Annandale.
About the Narrators:
Tatiana Gomberg is a critically acclaimed actress of stage, screen, and the audio booth. She has been nominated for dozens of fancy awards but hasn’t won a single damned thing. She lives in New York City. See more about her at tatianagomberg.com.
Nikolle Doolin is a writer and a voice actor. Her fiction, poetry, and plays have been published and presented; and her voice has appeared in various mediums. Nikolle has performed numerous narrations for a number of popular and award-winning podcasts, such as The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Far-Fetched Fables. She also narrates classic literature by the likes of Austen, Poe, James, and more in her own podcast, Audio Literature Odyssey. To learn more about Nikolle, visit her website at nikolledoolin.com.
Hey Fablers! Nominations are open for the 2016 Parsec Awards through May 31st. If you’ve been particularly impressed by one of stories we’ve presented over the past year, feel free to nominate it in the Best Speculative Fiction Story – Small Cast (Short Form) category. Visit the Parsec Awards website for details. Thanks for the support!