On 12/1, my small press, Open Ink, put out an unusual collection of horror and romance featuring the talents of KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, J.A. Rock, Steve Berman, Avon Gale, and Kris Ripper. To celebrate the release, and to give you a taste of what you can expect from each of these terrifying tales, here they all are with the most horrifying scenes from their stories.
From His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl by Steve Berman:
He pushes us away and rushes at his reflection. I cringe at the sound of his face striking the glass. Fireworks of blood stipple the window, silhouette his head as he begins what I first think is trying to eat the pane, but soon realize by the way he’s licking and nipping the window, is him trying to kiss his reflection.
From The Price of Meat by KJ Charles:
He stepped back and shut the door. It slammed on her like the thud of a coffin lid; the bolt scraped on the outside; she was alone in the dark. She hammered on its unyielding surface with her fists, begging and weeping and screaming for release from this dreadful larder, while behind her the dead men creaked and swayed on their hooks, quietly, gently decaying in the dark.
From Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale:
Last night I dreamed I was knee-deep in blood, with a curved blade that gleamed crimson and there were so many screams I couldn’t hear. I was killing people. Everyone. Men, women, and – God, help me – even children. In my dream I could taste the grit of the sand and feel the blood on my skin, in my mouth. I woke up and I could taste it. It wasn’t until I threw up and looked at myself in the mirror that I realized I’d bitten my lip in my sleep.
It’s the third time this week I’ve had dreams about being in the desert, but it’s no desert I’ve ever seen. I don’t recognize the people I’m killing. I don’t recognize the hand holding the blade.
From Company by Roan Parrish:
“I don’t understand why you’re like this,” I said, my voice gone high and childlike with fear. “Don’t you . . .” I was flooded with memories of the Michel of years before. “Don’t you want me to be . . . happy?”
His lips curled into a cruel mockery of a smile, and he blinked slowly and cocked his head, eyes never leaving mine. When he spoke, his voice was as beautiful as ever, but his words were a perfectly polished stone that took up residence in my throat, and no amount of swallowing could wash it away.
“Why would you think that, Nicky?”
From Love Me True by Kris Ripper:
It was the kind of day you only realized was normal in retrospect. At the time, lulled by complacency, I had no idea that the orderly universe in which I resided was about to crash down on my head. I’d taken my laundry downstairs, like usual, and was just turning away from the washer when someone else came into the room.
From Beauties by J.A. Rock:
Two Japanese maples in his yard formed a V of shadow around a patch of soft grass brilliant with sunlight. That spot suddenly looked like the most silent, perfect spot in the world. A place where you could stand in absolute stillness.
He was about step off the deck and go stand in that spot when he noticed something on the rail. A small pile of slick, round bits of something—dark, like grains of wild rice. He picked one up. Saw segments. A dark clot where it had once been attached to something more. He looked back at the pile.
Maybe two dozen of them. Some still slick, some dried out from the sun. They’d been severed neatly—clean slices—not pulled apart.
Lester swallowed his queasiness. He brushed the heads off the rail in one swipe, then stood there, breathing hard and trying to believe he’d never really seen them at all.
All in Fear By KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, J.A. Rock, Steve Berman, Avon Gale, and Kris Ripper
Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.
“An engaging anthology of queer fiction filled with monsters, mysteries, and menace.” — Kirkus Reviews