Issue 23: Hunter’s Moon: Werewolves, Vampires, and other Denizens of the Dark



Welcome to the final issue of the old Were-Traveler.

The Hunter’s Moon is shining. Be wary, be afraid. All manner of evil hunts under it glow. Werewolves, vampires, killers & ghosts. Step into the light so they can see you better.

Yes, that’s better.

Pay no attention to the rustling behind you…it’s just the breeze.


Issue 23: Hunter’s Moon: Werewolves, Vampires, and other Denizens of the Dark


Half of a Heart (flash)-Emma Hines

The Change (poem)-Lana Dean Helm

Victim 392 (drabble)-K.B. Elijah

The Turning (micro fiction)-Kent Rosenberger

A Message from Beyond (flash)- Susan Cornford

The Search of Bandor (flash)-Joy Pixley

Canis (poem)-Lana Dean Helm

EDITOR’S PICKS: Half of a Heart by Emma Hines, The Change by Lana Dean Helm, and The Search of Bandor, by Joy Pixley

Half of a Heart, by Emma Hines


@AaronPictures via Pixabay

For a tattoo artist, she didn’t have very many tattoos. Only one on the inside of her left wrist; the black outline of one half of a heart. They always asked where the other half was.

She loved it when they did that.

“You have the most beautiful green eyes,” a man crooned. She knew a pickup line when she heard one, and leaned towards him so he could better see the neckline of her dress; a little black thing she enjoyed wearing because it made her feel like she could kill someone. She liked his eyes, too; deep blue that would go nicely with hair that was dark, like hers.

“Why thank you,” she said.

This one will do nicely.

She invited him to sit with her, and pretended not to notice as he obviously looked her over. She knew she was beautiful, but it was a surreal beauty, a beauty that made people look twice because it was so unbelievable the eyes had to see it again to make sure it was standing before them in the form of a woman with eyes greener than the earth. At first it had annoyed her, but she’d found a way to make putting up with the catcalls worth her while. Honestly, it was hard to blame the ones that oogled, and she’d long since stopped minding when people stared because it made her hobby so much easier. She’d started frequenting bars and nightclubs because that was where all the pretty people went. 

I can always be more beautiful.

“You know, I normally don’t like tattoos,” the man said, his eyes stopping at her wrist, “but for you I’ll make an exception.” She smiled at him flirtatiously, fluttering her dark lashes and letting her hair fall over one shoulder, glancing away to look just the right amount of mysterious and sultry.

Thank goodness I decided on long, thick hair.

“Who has the other half of the heart?” the man pressed, not very subtly asking if she was single. She pretended to remember a long-ago heartbreak and made her voice husky when she replied,

“Someone who abandoned me, a long time ago.”

“I wouldn’t abandon you,” the man promised.

A few drinks later, she was ready to make sure he wouldn’t. Alcohol didn’t affect her like it did the rest of them, so she had to work her voice into a bubbly, overexcited pitch when she squealed,

“Wanna go to my place?” Of course, the man nodded; they always did. She hated taxis but she’d already pretended she was drunk so she was forced to call one and sit in the back and pretend she liked the man’s sloppy kisses.

No wonder I didn’t have to fight anyone to get this man. 

She never liked having to steal someone away from another person; it was just such a pain, but she’d done it a couple times, for the right hair or smile. Stealing took a few days, and she preferred a one-night job where she got what she wanted with little to no effort at all. When she dragged him out of the taxi, she was glad she’d convinced him to leave before he’d had another drink. He was heavy and she couldn’t carry him without damaging her nails.

Her house was her tattoo shop, and the man stumbled inside to collapse on a chair. His eyes never wandered to the strange books on her shelves, or the candles all around, and he didn’t bother to glance down at the rug with a pentagram on it that was centered right underneath his chair. All he looked at was her, and when she came near, tugged her onto his lap.

“Wait, wait,” she told him breathlessly. “Before… I just… I need to know you won’t abandon me.” She held his gaze, those beautiful blue eyes, and watched her beauty work on him. The three shots of vodka in his system worked, too. 

“Anything,” he swore.

“A tattoo,” she said, blurting it like she’d just come up with the idea spontaneously. “The other half of my heart.” The man hesitated and looked away, but she let one of the straps of her dress slide down, and that was all it took to convince him.

She’d already prepared the needle, and in no time the man was staring at his right wrist, testing how the ink looked when he twisted his hand. The man was starting to feel faint, she could tell.


She put their arms together and lined the tattoos up to make a complete heart, then traced around it with her finger, and visualized what she wanted from him.

Beautiful blue eyes.

The man started to scream, but that was why she’d set up her shop in the middle of nowhere. She timed it, and the thrashing lasted about twelve seconds.

Then the man was dead in her chair, and his eyes were gone.

She felt a pop, and she blinked as the world was gone for a brutal second before coming back in neat clarity. 

She put the body where she kept the others, then checked herself in the mirror.

They do go nicely with my hair.

The next night, a man stopped her on her way to a new bar.

“You have the most beautiful blue eyes,” he said. She smiled at him, and he grinned back. His teeth were whiter and straighter than hers, pearly and beautiful. How would they look framed by her red lips?

“Why thank you,” she said.

Emma Hines is a college student trying her best to juggle homework, a social life, and writing while still getting a full eight hours of sleep! She considers herself a “carbovore” and her peers know to bribe her with chocolate to get her to edit their essays. More of her writing can be found on her website,

The Change, by Lana Dean Helm

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 6.12.17 PM“The Change” was published in Wolf Warriors IV by Thurston Howl Publications in 2017 under Lana Dean Highfill


Does a werewolf get brand new skin

with each full moon? If yes,

then, oh, to be a werewolf…

to live within this shell

you so delicately caress with passion

and then to slough it off

like a silk thrown to the floor: divine.


Under the skin of a werewolf

flows a blood in cycle with the sky.

Oh, to have blood with more purpose

than keeping this heart alive,

to burst forth from the stained

landscape of this body, to become

a huntress, giving song to the night.


Or does a werewolf slip back into

herself again and again, aging

as any woman does, graying

at her temples, no longer supple

to the touch? Then, no thank you.

I’ll stay in this skin of mine

and save but a whisper

for the deceitful hand of the moon.

Lana Dean Helm holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. She writes poetry in Southern Indiana, where she is an English professor, piano teacher, and dog sitter. Her interests include live music, comic books, sci-fi, and marine biology. Lana received a nomination for the 43rdAnnual Pushcart Prize for her poem, “Shadows of Birds.” Her poems have been published by Weasel Press, Tigershark Publishing, Thurston Howl Publications, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Slipstream Press,Lost Tower Publications, Halcyon Days Magazine, Blue Horse Press, you are here: the journal of creative geography, Three Drops Press, & Rose Red Review.

Victim 392, by K.B. Elijah

My therapist perched in her chair as I lounged in mine: hands on her lap, professionalism wrapped up in one gorgeous red-headed package.

“May I speak freely?”

She nodded encouragingly. “That’s why you’re here.”

“You remind me of the three-hundredth and ninety-second person I killed,” I murmured, watching her pulse beat at her throat underneath those auburn curls. Noting with gratification how it intensified at my words.

“Oh?” Her throat was dry; carelessly she licked her lips, that delicate tongue of hers briefly darting out. “How…how many have you killed?”

My fangs slid from my mouth with a snarl. “391.”

K.B. Elijah is a fantasy author living in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and two cockatiels. A lawyer by day, and a writer by…also day, because she needs her solid nine hours of sleep per night (not that the cockatiels let her sleep past 6am). She believes that if writing and reading aren’t fun, then something has gone wrong.

Her anthology of short fantasy stories with twists, The Empty Sky, is available on paperback and Kindle now at, while her contributions to the creepy collection of Brisbane-authored drabbles known as Sideshow Alley releases next month (

The Turning, by Kent Rosenberger

Caleb, the Grand Master Vampire, staggered into the common room of his nest, his long-fingered, nail-sharpened hands pressed against the side of his neck with all the strength he could spare, his footing uncertain as though he was drunk. He only made it a few steps past the stone threshold when his knees gave out. He fell awkwardly to the floor, struggling to breathe, his whole body quivering.

He was instantly surrounded by his spawn, an odd vibe circulating throughout the lair.

“What has happened, oh Grand One?” asked Uriah urgently. “Who has done this to you? Is it the werewolves again? We will retaliate immediately!”

Caleb could barely speak, color returning to his cheeks. “All is lost,” was all he could manage to breathe. “All is lost.”

“They will pay,” Jehoshaphat threatened, flinching his jaw to call forth the retractable fangs that lay just below the surface of his gum line. They failed to appear for the first time in as long as he could remember. A second attempt proved to be just as ineffective. “What…?”

Nova screamed, her undead eyes staring at the claws she had used countless times to part flesh and rip muscle slowly melt back to healthy skin and trimmed nails.

“What is happening?” The cry from Jezebel sounded like she was being boiled in holy water.

“All is lost,” Caleb repeated, his ancient body vibrating with change like a wild jackhammer. “As you were all turned by me, so you shall all turn back as I turn back. It was not the werewolves, nor the trolls, nor the goblin kind.”

“Then what?” Jehoshaphat felt like he was going to explode. He was shocked to hear his long-quiet heart start beating in his ears again, a sound he had not heard in over a century.

Caleb writhed like he was being roasted on a spit, all feeling returning to his previously inert nervous system. “I am sorry my Children of the Night. We shall all be as we were before. Alas, I have been bitten by…a human!”

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 5.51.42 PM

I am the author of over thirty e-books available for review at and under my name, including novels, poetry and short story collections. My work has previously been published in such magazines as 365 Tomorrows, The Absent Willow Review, Aphelion, Big Pulp, Bumples, Creativity Webzine, Danse Macabre, Deadman’s Tome, Death Throes, Digital Dragon, Dark Dossier, Flash Shot, The Horror Zine, The Literary Hatchet, Morpheus Tales, Orion’s Child, Resident Aliens, Schlock!, Title Goes Here and Weird Year. I am also the winner of the 2011 Title Goes Here short story contest and the Fall 2018 Creativity Webzine Flash Fiction contest.

A Message from Beyond, by Susan Cornford

Mandy knocked on the door quietly; she didn’t want to scare anyone. It was hard enough being around people when you were a ghost without adding to the lore of fear-inducing tales. And she thought of herself as a very modest, sensible ghost, the same as she’d been when alive. 

Not having got any response to her knock, she glided through the wood, an action that still gave her a small thrill, and had a quick look around. Jonathan had dozed off in his armchair, which explained his lack of answer. Mandy looked down at her one-time husband and felt a pang of sadness. Not only had she preceded him into the Afterlife, but he’d had to work on beyond retirement age because of business reversals. 

Still, that’s what she was here to correct, having made contact with Jon’s old partner (also deceased) who kept up with worldly things and tried to pass on helpful hints to his friends whenever he could. 

“Jonathan, dear, please wake up!” Mandy all but shouted in his ear. He always did sleep like a log. She sighed and then looked around the room for suitable objects. Ah, he’d left his teacup carelessly close to the edge of the side table by his chair. The lessons she’d had in this exercise should pay off now. Very slowly the teacup moved itself out into the open air. Jonathan snorted and twitched, breaking Mandy’s concentration. Losing patience, she aimed a forceful mental push at the crockery and over it went, smashing on the hardwood floor. 

Jonathan opened his eyes, jumped to his feet and jerked his head around in one direction after another until his eyes alighted on the broken cup. Tears welled up as he leaned down and touched the wet, sticky shards gently. “This one was always Mandy’s favourite and now I’ve broken it.”

“No, it wasn’t, you silly sausage; I only said that because your mother gave it to me.” Jonathan’s face crinkled in confusion and he looked into all corners of the room. “Mandy? Are you here?”

This was always the hardest part, she knew, so she stood right in front of him, put both hands on his shoulders, looked into his face and said, “Yes, Jonathan, I’m here.” A very long count of seconds and then he saw her. More tears coursed down his face as he tried to touch her and, of course, failed. The whole scene rather reminded Mandy of their wedding night. Recalling how that had finally worked out, she persisted on this occasion as well. Jonathan, still putty in his wife’s hands, finally settled down, blew his nose and prepared to pay attention to what she had to say. 

“Now, I’ve been in touch with Alex …”

“Alex is there too? How is he? And where are you both? Is it nice? There’s no…”

“Fire and brimstone? No, not that I’ve seen. It’s quite pleasant, but perhaps a little boring. That’s why we still pay attention to what’s going on here. Then we try to help out, which is what I’m trying to do if you’ll let me.”

“I must say you look quite well; none of the effects of your illness still show. In fact, you look pretty much like you did when I first met you at nineteen. Only sort of shimmery.”

Jonathan! Never mind how I look; just listen to what I say. Alex tells me that what you need to do is…”

“I don’t suppose you’ve seen my Mom and Dad, have you? I really would like to know if they are getting on alright over there. Please tell me at least that much.”

Mandy would have taken a deep breath except she no longer had the need for oxygen, so she rolled her eyes, which she still could do. “Yes, my love, they were there when I first arrived. Everybody was. And they were all happy and well, even Uncle George, who got blown up in the war. Then they all just sort of drifted away to do their own thing. That’s when I noticed Alex and he gave me this message; he said you really were going to need it if you aren’t to go bankrupt and end up a homeless person. So, pay attention!!!” 

“You know, Mandy, you are still just as bossy as you ever were and, quite frankly, it was Alex’s bad judgment that got us into trouble in the first place. So, I’m not likely to listen to his from-beyond-the-grave advice now.”

Jonathan’s phone buzzed discreetly; he picked it up and answered. After a pause, he said, “Yes, Cheryl, darling, I have got my list of wedding guests finished. I’ll give it to you tomorrow but now I’ve got to go. Goodnight, sweetheart.” He put down the phone and looked around for his first wife but couldn’t see her any more. He called her name but got no answer. Finally he cleared up the spilled, broken teacup and went to bed.

Mandy knocked on the door quietly; she didn’t want to scare anyone. It’s just that she’d remembered she never liked the big, heavy, ornate mirror her mother-in-law had insisted they hang over their marital bed. Very slowly the taut picture wire started to fray as Jonathan snored peacefully underneath. Mandy had a suspicion she might be seeing some fire and brimstone soon. 

Jelly Ng_ghost

@Jelly Ng via Pixabay

Susan Cornford is a retired public servant, living in Perth, Western Australia, with pieces published or forthcoming in 365 tomorrows, Akashic Books Fri Sci-fi, Antipodean Science Fiction, Corner Bar Magazine, Curating Alexandria, Speculative 66 and Theme of Absence.

The Search of Bandor, by Joy Pixley

Long ago, back when the ancient forest of Layor spanned from sea to sea, Bandor was king of the wolves.  

One day, a new enemy invaded the wolves’ territory: humans. The wolves saw our ancestors as pitiful, naked creatures who scared away the deer with their tents and their singing and their fires.  The wolves won easily at first, but humans drew blood with their sharp sticks, and more of them came every year.

One summer, the old gods shocked the world, and a great flux shimmered over the land. Only a few creatures were affected.  Bandor was one. He mutated into a dire wolf, primordial and savage, larger than any dire wolf had ever been. In his new form, Bandor drove off the intruders. 

Then a new tribe arrived: humans who worshiped the battle god Kagnar. These fierce warriors wore the tusks of slain boars, the claws of bears, even the heads of wolves. 

Appalan led the pack—a broad-shouldered woman wearing a wolf head and wielding a monstrous two-handed axe. A cleric of Kagnar, Appalan used his divine favor to change into her animal form, becoming larger and faster and stronger. 

As fate would have it, Appalan’s animal form was a dire wolf. 

When the human pack of Appalan moved too close to the wolf pack of Bandor, he attacked. The humans had never seen a real dire wolf. They assumed this was another human, transformed by the gods, like Appalan, only larger. Shouting her war cry to Kagnar, Appalan changed into her animal form.

The appearance of another dire wolf confused Bandor, but his instinct overrode his curiosity. He and Appalan clashed and wrestled and clawed. Bandor exulted in fighting an opponent anywhere near worthy of him.  But the she-wolf’s scent stirred the mighty beast’s blood, and he longed to take her as his mate. He nipped at her, trying to bond. He howled his name to her, but she kept fighting him off. 

Appalan sought any advantage against her huge opponent. She feared he was toying with her, waiting for her to tire, waiting to attack at full force. Realizing her transformation spell would soon end, Appalan retreated, leading Bandor away from her companions.  Reverting to human form seemed to throw him off her trail, and she escaped.

Appalan’s tribe traveled faster, trying to get past the territory guarded by Bandor and his pack. 

Bandor searched for his new mate, but she eluded him. The she-wolf would appear from nowhere during a battle, tease him with her strength and prowess and she-heat, refuse his advances, and disappear. Even her scent vanished, as though she had sprouted wings and flown away. 

With every encounter, Bandor felt more drawn to the she-wolf. One night, after fighting her, chasing her, and losing her again, he howled so ferociously he thought he might burst. 

Bandor vowed to the old gods that he would cross any forest or river or mountain, never giving up, until he took this she-wolf as his mate. The ancient power of his vow echoed across the valleys like a bell.  

The next day, Bandor tracked alone. Moving quietly, he surprised a pack of humans. He killed two before they could react. A woman wearing a wolf head raised her mighty axe in defense, but he was faster. He crushed her beneath his paw and tore her arm off with one bite.

At that moment, Bandor caught the scent of his she-wolf, where the last human lay. He moved his massive head in closer, sniffing. His hot breath washed over the dying woman. She stretched up her remaining arm, stroked the fur on his neck, and whispered his name.

Bandor took no notice of these hairless creatures’ yapping. He did not hear Appalan say his name. The scent of the she-wolf had faded again. This human beneath him smelled only of death.

Confused, he followed the humans running from the clearing.  But they did not smell like the she-wolf, and killing them did not make her appear. 

The she-wolf had only appeared when Bandor fought the humans. He sought out more humans to attack, hoping to lure her out of hiding. He and his pack roamed across the forest, killing anyone they found. 

Bandor searched through snow and through rain, under the hot sun of summer, and padding across blankets of fallen leaves. But he never again caught the scent of his dire wolf mate. 

In the fall, the Bear Paw constellation rose to chase the Fish across the sky for another winter. After months of fruitless searching, frustration welled up in Bandor’s heavy heart. He howled with such rage that the whole forest reverberated with his cries. So many birds fled the shaking trees that they blocked out the sun. 

The gods responded, cracking open the forest floor beneath him. The earth swallowed the huge wolf, closing over him with barely a sound. The leaves settled back down as though the ground had never been disturbed. 

One year later, Bandor clawed his way out of his underground prison. He shook the dirt from his fur and set off to find his she-wolf. Again, he attacked humans, hoping it would draw his mate to him. He searched, never stopping, until the sun set. But he never caught her scent. 

He howled his fury at the moon as he was pulled back into the earth. 

Every year since then, for one night and one day, Bandor wreaks bloody carnage on anyone he can find. Bandor yearns to fulfill his ancient vow to mate with his chosen she-wolf, unaware that he is doomed to search forever. 

Some say Bandor can cross a league with every step—that he can roam anywhere in this land, wherever his nose and ears lead him. So wherever you are on Bandor’s Eve, keep yourself indoors, and guarded, and quiet. 

Because once he catches your scent, nobody survives the Search of Bandor.

Leo Karstens_werewolf

@Leo Karstens via Pixabay

Joy Pixley is a sociologist who lives in California but visits the fantasy world of Eneana whenever she can. She’s working on her first novel, set in this world. In the meantime, she posts flash fiction and short stories that give glimpses into its cultures, legends, and everyday people on her blog, Tales from Eneana at

Canis, by Lana Dean Helm


@Dieter_G via Pixabay

Let sleeping dogs and other beasts

lie where they will. There’s too much

at risk to do otherwise, or so the words

would have you believe. I’d rather

nuzzle into the necks of them, inhaling

fur, and frost, and the nectar of their slumber.

Up against voices, claws always win.


Lana Dean Helm holds an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. She writes poetry in Southern Indiana, where she is an English professor, piano teacher, and dog sitter. Her interests include live music, comic books, sci-fi, and marine biology. Lana received a nomination for the 43rdAnnual Pushcart Prize for her poem, “Shadows of Birds.” Her poems have been published by Weasel Press, Tigershark Publishing, Thurston Howl Publications, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Slipstream Press,Lost Tower Publications, Halcyon Days Magazine, Blue Horse Press, you are here: the journal of creative geography, Three Drops Press, & Rose Red Review.

Issue 22: Outskirts—Suburban and Rural Legends


What is that sudden movement in the mirror? Is this house haunted? Why do the neighbors look away suddenly when I ask them that question?

Monsters under the bed exist everywhere, not just in Manhattan high-rises.

Sometimes myths become rural legends, and sometimes rural legends become myths. Sometimes a dog isn’t “just a dog.” Sometimes a father is a myth. Sometimes the whisper on the air, is not just the wind, and it is trying to tell you something. When we think we are alone, well, we don’t really want to go there, do we?

What is that neighbor of mine doing, digging such a BIG hole  in his backyard? Maybe I ought to mind my own business…before I find out!


Issue 22: Outskirts—Suburban and Rural Legends


Strigoi’s Daughter (micro fic)-Ibba Armancas

The Wild Dog (flash) – Ed Ahern

A Beastly Encounter (micro fic)-Ellery D. Margay

The Gardener Next Door (poem) – John Grey

Almost 14 (micro-fic)-Kally Jo Surbeck

Bedbugs Ain’t the Problem, Kid (drabble) – BanWynn (Suta) Oakshadow

The Shadow Girl (micro-fic) – Fanni Sütő

Behind the Mirror (drabble) – Joshua Robinson

Ropen (poem)-Richard Stevenson


Strigoi’s Daughter-Ibba Armancas (micro-fiction)

A Beastly Encounter, by Ellery D. Margay (micro-fiction)

The Gardener Next Door, by John Grey (poem)

Ropen, by Richard Stevenson (poem).


Strigoi’s Daughter, by Ibba Armancas

It’s your first time in your father’s country. You want it to feel different, but airports are a local government’s first chance at showing off and this one is as full of glass and screens as any other. There are loading and unloading zones, yellow lines and disinterested officials. The language that lisps over loudspeakers doesn’t strike that sharp, painful note you’d hoped for from a half-forgotten mother-tongue. 

You Lyft into the city with a driver whose English is better than yours. He wants to hear what New York is like. You tell him you’re from California; he asks if you know movie stars. 

You laugh politely. A layer of skin shucks free in your mouth — a wad of cellophane-tissue that sloughs from the walls of your cheeks, forcing you to swallow or choke. When he stops at your hotel you flee, ignoring the app’s ding in your pocket. 

The stink of your father’s kills is strong in the city. You begin to hallucinate; see snatches of him in the opened bellies of feral dogs, the countable ribs of beggar children. You feel each ounce of your flesh as a sin and gag breakfasts into public toilets, doing your best to ignore the thick, inky ropes that come up with them. 

You expect to find him in a tower, a castle. Instead, you spend your last sunset breaking into Cold War era public housing. The carpet inside reeks of black mold and rot. He’s chosen one of the smaller apartments. For the first time, stepping inside, you feel a twist in your heart. Against anything he deserves, your eyes prick at the squalor.

Grave dirt and rat corpses litter his bedsheets. 

You didn’t realize how much you’d remembered until you see the changes.  In your mind he’s still a tall man, harsh and lean, skin sickly beneath the fluorescent lights which were the only way you’d ever seen him. Now, even twilight cannot soften his horror. 

“You came.” His face is unrecognizable, a skull robbed of warmth or cruelty, slave to the biological urge riding you both. Rage, old as the knowledge of what you are, rises in you. You’ve been angry for such a very long time.

“I’m dying,” you accuse. There’s a mirror just visible in his bathroom and you see the truth of it. Flesh, wet and hot, drips down your pant-leg. 

He lifts his hand, offering life; in it, you see eternities of guilt and repeated mistakes. Almost, when his fingers brush your lips, you summon the courage to run. 

Instead, you eat without thinking, ignoring the screams. Arms, legs, clavicle crunching. Your body strengthens. Your jaw aches. His voice, and the voices of those before him, whisper a parasite’s immortality into your bones. His curse descends and you’re whole and sick with it. You’ll never be just yourself again. Through shuttered windows, day’s last light burns your skin red. In your belly, the baby kicks.

Ibba Armancas is a writer/director raised by Italian sword fighters. The daughter of a civil rights lawyer and a terrorist, she jokes that her childhood was a Young Adult novel and does her best to live up to the aesthetic. She lives in Los Angeles and is represented by Conrad Sun of Meridian Artists