Newly imagined and terrifying vistas populated with horrific monstrosities. No one is safe anywhere. We can go to the Old Ones or the New Ones. Or they come to us. Invading our atmosphere, and our work space. Prehistory Old Ones whose smaller kin still flit among us. Shoggoth and Cthulhu born, and reborn… The terrifying sound of an ear-piercing chant in deepest space, destroying even the silence of the vacuum:
“Ia, Ia, Dagon…”
Issue #20: The Mythos Planet
Asterisks represent the editor’s favorite pieces.
All images are royalty free via Pixabay, unless otherwise noted.
First published in Abyss & Apex magazine, in June 2015.
After Lovecraft’s Dunwich Horror
The skin was thickly covered with coarse black fur,
and from the abdomen a score of long
greenish-grey tentacles with red
sucking mouths protruded limply
And from the abdomen a score of long
cries reverberated in the air, shivering with
sucking mouths protruding limply
kissing empty air with flinching passion
Cries reverberated in the air, shivering with
love, yearning for touch
kissing empty air with passion flinching
Reaching like me, unanswered
Love, yearning for touch
My hand lifted
Reaching, unanswered, like me
until we touched, stroking gently
My hand lifted
Tentacle coiling, uncoiling
and we answered, stroking gently
each skin thickly covered with coarse black fur
Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her poems, short stories and novellas appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT romantic adventure in 1820s Caribbean, will be available from Dreamspinner Press on March 27, 2017. http://karenbovenmyer. com/
Well, I ain’t no chopper, baby.
Didn’t come to mist your crops.
I just got the drop on this lamb.
Gonna drop ‘im on those rocks.
Yeah, I’m gonna drop in for dinner,
get right at his innards. Gonna daub
my masticating mouth bits with his
Soft little fleece suit. Little fleece suit.
Got here through a wormhole, babe.
Ain’t May 2004 where I’m from, hon!
Sorry to cause so much trouble.
Sorry to bust your time/space bubble.
I’m just an eight-foot dragonfly.
Relax. Yer too skinny to scarf.
Don’t do cotton burritos in bikinis,
even itsy bitsy teeny weeny polka-dotted ones.
Fifties caught up with you, babe.
Cold war fantasies of giant radioactive
ants had you freaked. I just decided
to visit, spin a few platters from the past..
Cop some fast food, cruise the valley
with my top down, so to speak.
Grab a sheep. Go on the lam
before heading back to my Cretaceous crib.
G-g-g giant d-d-dragonfly!
Don’t go flub flub flub
When I’m in flyin’mode. Just hover, hon.
Suck back a few sanguine shakes.
Meganuera monyi, Cretacious cutie.
Gonna sock it to you, babe,
in psychedelic moire colours,
all four wings ablaze!
Leda only had a Don Juan
gone-by-dawn swan, sweetheart –
a smooth talker, great lover maybe –
but he knocked you up, didn’t he?
I may be more mechanical,
But I can dance on a dime,
hover, feint left or right
better than your best boxer.
Hey! I’ve got compound eyes.
I see you comin’ and goin’.
Know all three of my right feet
from my left. Am totally tubular!
Fast shuffle, fox tot, waltz –
I got ‘em covered. Flap flap.
Don’t need a gat, pork pie,
Zoot suit, or any flim flam scam.
Zzz Zzzz Zzz. C’mon, honey,
Shake your money maker!
I’m the dude who can take you
to another era. Fly with me!
Richard Stevenson recently retired from a thirty-year teaching gig at Lethbridge College . His most recent books are Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders, a long poem sequence (Dreaming Big Publications, USA, 2017), and A Gaggle of Geese, haikai poems and sequences, ( Alba Publications, UK,2017 )
Black bile simmering in a black caldron—
acid burning in the stomach,
a fire to the heart. Like the touch of one
Witches brew, she knew
of other charms besides kissing
frog to prince,
boy to man.
Mother witch, creator of muses,
making morning grow dark, darker than
black boughs snaking across the sky.
Sweeten the pot.
she pointed with a crooked finger.
the temporary muse. At the stomach, the heart.
A churning, a groaning from the throat
spitting black bile, creating a muse made from the self.
Of mystical powers, no.
A ghost of flesh and bone,
heart of false valor,
tongue of pure stone.
Witches brew, she knew flame to
heart makes it beat faster.
Heart palpitations are
She will love him.
She loves him.
She does say, I do.
Tonya Eberhard recently graduated from the University of Missouri. She currently lives in Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Algebra of Owls, The Commonline Journal, Dirty Chai, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and many others.
I asked my dog
she would have chosen,
and she said the power
to cry at the beauty
of a memory
of a phrase
of a chord
of a name.
That’s why she runs
to my lap whenever
she sees my eyes redden;
it’s not to offer comfort,
but to drink the potion
of tears from my face
——–half-sick of shadows
In choosing to speak with animals
I learned that I’ve had
a super power all along.
My poems, stories, and comics have been published in a bunch of anthologies and journals, but the quickest way to see what I’m up to is @writelightning on most social media. I frequently post haiku+photography (often of my Star Wars action figures…) with over 400 in my archive. All my social media links are at writewithlightning.com
Coyote’s sitting beside a fire pit
late one night.
It’s real dark, and his back’s to ya.
Finally, after he’s made you wait
a good long while,
he signals for you to sit yourself down.
You’re sitting right there
in front of that old varmint,
but he ain’t seeing ya.
WHAT?— Coyote yells, finally looking up at you.
You thought Coyote was a Man?
Or some kind of wild dog?
Or maybe a spirit from the Before Times?
Well I’ll tell you something.
I ain’t none of them things!
You look in Coyote’s eyes.
You’re looking for signs,
signs that tell you
Hey! It’s okay,
Coyote’s only funning with ya.
But all you see
is those two yellow eyes,
and the firelight flickering
reflecting your own face
dancing in those old yellow eyes of his.
Then Coyote starts messing
with the fire,
sending sparks and smoke
curling all the way up to the stars.
Coyote, he’s mumbling something
and there’s the beating
of nightwings overhead.
Coyote, he starts whistling,
pulling that old blanket of his
tighter around his bony old shoulders.
Hey, Coyote! What you calling down?
But Coyote, he doesn’t answer.
He never does.
Not directly, ‘least not right away.
He just starts messing with that fire again,
rocking back and forth,
mumbling something to himself.
Hey Coyote! What you calling down?
Coyote, he looks up at the stars overhead
and starts grinning.
There’s those nightwings again.
Hey Coyote! What you calling down?
Finally, Coyote looks you dead in the eyes
and shakes his head like you were some sorry excuse.
Best you just sit still now,
and keep quiet, if you can—
he hisses in your general direction
as he jumps up and sets to
his medicine dance.
Coyote, he always means business.
Aaron Vlek is a storyteller who works with the trickster mythos in its role as bringer of delight and proponent of disquieting humors. Some of her (yes, her) stories center around the goings on of the jinn, and of a universal imagining of the Native American character, Coyote. Some works are historical in setting while others occupy a contemporary and urban landscape. She also indulges frequently in the reimagining of classic themes of horror and the occult. Aaron is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Domine Canè, a short piece of speculative horror with a historic theme, appeared in the April 2015 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly, Vol. VII, Issue II. At the Kids’ Table appeared in the 2015 Christmas Edition of Chicken Soup for the Soup. Additional stories have been accepted for publication throughout 2016.
First published in Apex Magazine.
Six years old,
youngest of the demon’s servants,
didn’t cry when the king
roused her after the demon’s death;
nor when, an hour later, she remembered
her father’s scorched scream,
his flesh aflame;
nor when, toward evening,
a fishmonger recognized her
and offered to see her back to her aunt;
nor when, weeks later, the fishmonger
delivered her to her aunt, who hugged her–
and hugged the fishmonger–
That night the farm tomcat,
a gray and surly mouser
not inclined to affection,
lay down on Brighid’s blanket
and matter-of-factly licked her arm,
her bare shoulder, her face,
his rough tongue rasping her skin,
and she cried,
thinking not of her father,
or their burnt home, their burnt town,
but of her mother’s voice,
a voice she’d forgotten
until the demon borrowed it,
that she’d known to be a lie
but followed anyhow.
Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She has won the Elgin Award and the Rhysling Award for her poetry. Of late, she has been working on The Sign of the Dragon, an epic fantasy presented in poetry. A dozen poems from the epic may be read at http://www.thesignofthedragon.com
To think the death of Annabel Lee drove him mad,
Or the streets of his fair city
Pulled him into their depths
Without so much as a fair-thee-well,
And we both richer and poorer
In our too-small grasp of that dark illumination.
Or, what carrion cause the heart to race,
Hidden within the chest of our imagination,
And the horror of the faceless death
Awaiting all who tremble still,
As the pressing of time, and its swift
And terrible pendulum swings back, unbidden,
Relentless at our heels. No amount
Of wishing will change this severing of ourselves
From what fears we ourselves bring forth. He dared
Look deep, and often askew, into the frail greed
As defines our kind, trembled in his thrall
To the opiate of the unknown, it’s relentless pull
That he himself could not avoid, nor delay the day
His own sad heart would race, bellowing from his
Bricked-in chest to scream those names
Who’d driven him lost and lonely, Baltimore
No Lord nor manor awaiting his gentle entry,
But despair his roof, and alone his wail.
No red death, but black and solitary, no fine wine
To make his passing happy, no masque to honor
The tales his life created, his a solitary dance,
Not even Death herself had time to waste, to ferry
His torn and shattered spirit, into the deep oblivion
His every word promised, to we who read his dreams.
Notty Bumbo is a writer, artist, and poet living in Fort Bragg, California. He has been published in a number of small journals and presses, including the Amphigoric Sauce Factory, Words Without Walls, Poesis, Telling Our Stories Press, and Calabash Cadence’ Taisgeadan. His novella, Tyrian Dreams, is available on Kindle via Amazon Publishing. He has recently been responsible for Questor’s Odyssey, a daily commentary on life as we seldom appreciate it, from the perspective of a Trans-Universal visitor with three green hairs.
No days, no nights, out here.
just repetition, distances so far,
we’ve long since zoomed by meaningless.
My location lacks a threshold.
I’m no longer pin-pointed,
not even a speck in this great expanse.
It seems like lifetimes
since I strode Earth soil.
Old loves, I name them all,
each a cry in a lonely universe.
The ensuing silence has such starlit resonance.
There’s nobody here who knew me back then.
So how can 1 know me now.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.
The smell of used cat litter
Is beyond the rotting flesh of humans
stinking up a condemned building.
The boldest cats don’t bury their shit
because they do not care
about your presence
and secretly hope
to leave a putrid present
on your fallen body