GUTS horror zine
Vol. 1 / Issue 1 Fall 2017
GUTS horror zine Vol. 1 / Issue 1 Fall 2017
EDITOR’S NOTE Hello! And welcome to the debut issue of Spill Yr Guts Horror Zine! This zine became a personal goal/project of mine over the past year, as I began to dedicate more time to the hobbies and topics that make me happiest: writing, reading, and horror. I was also jonesing for another literary zine in the world, so after dumping all of this enthusiasm into my skull-shaped mixing bowl, along came Spill Yr Guts. Horror has been a part of my life since I was far too young to be indulging, but isn’t that how it is for a lot of us horror fans? Every October, I look forward to the influx of horror films available on TV, and Halloween is the one holiday that I don’t cringe to see in stores three months early. I can never have too much horror in my life, and I feel confident in believing there are others just like me. This zine is for you.
Sonya Cheney Editor/Creator
Post-Exorcism Drinks By Christopher Stewart A shiver shot down my spine as I sat on the steps outside the back door, drunk but not quite as drunk as I felt I should be. I loosely gripped the neck of a bottle of cheap vodka, three quarters empty. The bottle bounced off my knees as my body involuntarily swayed. Still not drunk enough. My shoes were spattered with speckles of vomit. Not my own vomit either. It was either the girl’s or Father Williams’. The mixture of cheap vodka fumes and the stench of other people’s bodily discharge was making it difficult not to retch. I clumsily kicked off my shoes and staggered back inside the house. This proved to be a bad idea almost immediately because I’d apparently forgot that the floor was teeming with broken glass. All of the picture frames had fallen off the walls earlier and were left where they fell due to more pressing matters at hand. I grabbed my shoes from outside the back door and tried to rinse them off in the kitchen sink. The taps rattled for a couple seconds before blood began pouring out. I frowned, still not drunk enough for this. There was still evil in the house. I had accompanied Father Williams here with intentions of removing the evil which when Williams had been called, was inside of Macy Gordon. Macy was a student who was renting this house with two other girls, Jenna Reid and Susie James. It was Miss James who had contacted Williams, under guidance from her mother. Susie had let us into the property before taking a taxi to her mother’s house. When we entered it seemed like the usual residence of college students except it was very dark and there was unnatural howling coming from up the stairs. Father Williams led the way as we ascended the stairs. There was a few bedrooms on the second floor but I had quickly assumed that the one we were looking for was behind the door covered in a large number of paper crosses. The howling felt like a physical barrier pushing us back as Father Williams opened the door. My eyes watered and I could feel sweat pouring out of me, like whatever forces of evil were causing all the liquid in my body to evacuate in terror. When I first saw Macy she was sat in a rather subdued, serene
state on the ceiling. The howling didn’t seem to be coming from her specifically but was swirling around the room like a tornado. I was ready to give up at that point. I was only there anyway because I owed a favour to Father Williams for the time last summer when he helped me move house. I had been woken rudely about an hour ago, the old man telling me he was claiming that favour. I was thinking more in the realms of watering his plants when he was out of town or something but it was too late to make excuses. On the drive over he had explained that I wouldn’t have to do much, hold his bag, be a second pair of eyes in case whatever devils were active here tried anything too tricky. I was still half asleep at that point and assumed it was just church humour or maybe he was losing a few of his marbles. Father Williams wasted no time and was already chanting out scripture, the kind of anti-satanic smack-talk I recognised from The Exorcist. The Power of Christ compels you... Your Demon Momma so fat... Macy was still sat casually on the ceiling, taking very little mind of what Williams was saying. It was only when he splashed her with some Holy Water that things really took a turn for the worse. Her eyes opened wide and shone like the high beams of a truck, cutting through the dingy darkness of the room. The howling became a booming cacophony as her mouth dropped open, unnaturally wide. The shadows danced in the lights from her eyes, the forms of unseen creatures populating the room. Father Williams screamed his holy commandments loudly, eyes locked with Macy’s high beams. The shadows seems to be reaching for him and I quickly edged towards him to pull him out of there when Macy erupted. Brightly coloured vomit rained down on Williams. It covered him and entered him through his screaming mouth. I retched from the little amount that had sprayed back towards me. I looked back up to see Williams regurgitating the demon vom along with whatever he had for dinner. Macy dangled from the light fixture. It wasn’t really her any more though, mostly just skin. It fluttered like an empty bag. Father Williams looked at it with an expression that I could only interpret as severe disappointment, before the puddle of bile and evil on the floor rushed up at him and pulled him down. He was covered entirely within seconds and I couldn’t
make out the shape of him soon after that. It dissolved Father Williams into nothing before disappearing into the floor boards. I stood in a state of shock for a few minutes, not quite sure how I was supposed to comprehend this. Also I was pretty sure Father Williams had had the car keys in his pocket at the time he was consumed by evil. Stranded, and dumbfounded by what I had just witnessed, I decided that the best course of action was to raid the college girls’ booze supply and try to force some kind of mental repression. I thought about maybe phoning for a taxi but I was pretty sure if I attempted any sort of vocal communication I was just going to either scream or sob uncontrollably until I passed out. I closed the cross-covered bedroom door behind me and made my way down to the kitchen, glass crunching under my feet as I went. Rummaging in the kitchen, I found a half bottle of Bacardi which I necked immediately, and the vodka which I took with me onto the steps outside. Standing by the sink, watching blood pool amongst unwashed dishes, I pondered the right course of action. Is this the time for me to burn the house down and run screaming into the night? Would that kill the evil? This wasn’t my house. It wasn’t my holy mission either. As an Atheist, although by this point closer to Agnostic, I felt out of my depth. I turned off the taps, put on my shoes and with a final swig from the bottle of vodka, left the house. Walking down the street, I felt tears of frustration streaming down my face as I began to run. I had seen hell that night and I’m sure I’ll see it again.
Why All Your Friends Are Dying By Kayla Bashe So there’s a house out beyond a wrong-turn highway in a canyon where the coyotes sniff around the boundaries they wouldn’t dare cross, hackles raised, bodies low. The beds in that house are soft enough to suffocate. The pool out back is the clear blue of veins. The dining room could seat any number of your enemies and the grand fireplace could hide the evidence in one fierce blaze. maybe the architect was hired by an old woman who’d killed all her children with beads of arsenic but every innocent neighbor still brought pies to the funeral, and she wants staircases the little whisper ghosts can’t climb maybe there’s a secret passageway from an orphanage to the winecellar, and someone with carefully manicured hands comes by every month for the prettiest child maybe blood on the flagstones like a winter-rain leak from snakeslit tongues maybe a dinner party of the stagnant for beetles and flies or it was here before the city, before scientific mastery over darkness explained we could forget our fear. something exquisite lives inside this polished house. breathing in agony. Roars under the earth. it was born starving. if it had a belly it would squeeze air and clench emptiness. It is hungry for beautiful people. Lanterns of spirit. Girl who sketches her sorrow or paints her own face. Boy with gentle mouth like the cursed prince in a fairytale. It wants to crawl under their skin like secondhand smoke. Like a swarm of ants. Leeches wriggling into a mortal wound. It wants to expand, tumor in ribcage, and crush their bright hearts. Hopelessness tenderizes. Fear is red pepper, with a kick to it. Despair is whipped cream on a strawberry chocolate mousse parfait.
It will consume each at the crisis, salivating for bleak hopeless fury a sharp cry of pain the pound of weak fists against acid-dark glass. The unflinching and the sparrow-clever. The diamond-crowned princess life soft as her snowy fox shawl cheeks burnished delicate loverâ€™s blush, raucous child of lightplay darts while you can. Fortify yourself on seltzer. Find the vegetable plate. The staff of the house will serve dinner shortly. Just not to you.
Monster of the World -- The Penanggalan By Claire Healey Vampires? Pff, boring. Werewolves? Over them. Hulking overall-ed brute chasing you through the woods in a sports mask? So passĂŠ. What with all the remakes and reboots and out collective obsession with zombies, sometimes it can feel like the Big Bads in our culture have been done to death and there are no new ways to keep you up at night, double checking the bedroom doorâ€™s locks and making sure there is absolutely nothing under the bed. But places outside of the West have their own rich traditions of scaring the bejebus out of their populace in what are, to us raised on Draculas, fabulously weird and unusual ways. So, on the note, I introduce to you, gentle reader, Monsters from Around the World. *Cue dramatic music* Name: Penanggalan Country of Origin: Malaysia Spooky Genus: Vampire Think about what the most gruesome monster-ific transformation is in your mind. Got it? Okay, I am going to see that transformation and raise it by at least four Chainsaw Massacres. By day the Penanggalan is a perfectly normal woman (and she is always a woman â€“ unlike most creature features, the Penanggalan it is purely a lady only affair). She goes about her business; eating bagels, going to work, avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers, even having a family. But my night the Penanggalan transforms into one of the most terrifying iterations of the vampire myth I have even heard. Get this, to carry out her spookidy spookiness the Penanggalan detaches her head from her body and it, independently, goes flying through the darkness in search of victims, her organs and viscera still attached and streaming out behind said head like a particularly meaty tail on a kite. But there is more. These organs are said to twinkly like fireflies as she wetly swooshes past and the Penangglan can manipulate theentrails like octopus tentacles to help carry out her evil purpose. It is said that 12
anyone who comes into contact with this grossness with develop open sores on the place they touched them, sores can’t be healed with the local shaman’s help. You do not want to mess with this bitch. Like all the best creatures, the Penanggalan (which translates to ‘Head with dancing entrails’) has a variety of back stories to choose from. Some traditions have her as a beautiful young woman who made a pact the forces of darkness to keep her youth and beauty forever. Other variations have her as a midwife who made a pact with the devil to gain mysterious supernatural powers (seriously you guys, entering into legal agreements with the chthonic hoard never ends well for anyone). Unfortunately, she could keep off the Big Macs and contravened a condition not to eat meat for 40 days, earing herself an eternity as a gross, cursed sucker-of-blood. On the more misogynistic end of the spectrum, some re-tellings say the Penanggalan was an ugly woman, so enraged by her lack of man-booty that she went on a killing spree, targeting as many pregnant women as she could get her bitter claws on. When her village found out they treated her to some old school justice; they hanged her by her neck to a tree, tied her legs pissed off bull, and let it go. The bull pulled her head clear from her body, leaving her insides flapping in the wind. Unluckily for the villages this didn’t stop ol’ Pennaggalany’s murderous rampage, she simply came to get them in the night. My favourite backstory for the Penanggalan states that she was a lovely lady enjoying a nice soak in a tub of vinegar (I’m guessing this is some type of ye olde beauty remedy). A man wandered into the bathing chamber and startled her. She spun her head around with such force that it ripped clean from her body (I don’t think biology was the strong suit of ancient folklorist). So enraged was she at the man who had triggered this bout autodecapitation that she flew after him, guts and all, presumably with the intent to mess him up real good (though I think seeing a flyinghead-organ-daemon is fair punishment for not knocking before you enter a lady’s bathroom). The Penanggalan’s favourite prey is pregnant woman and newborns. The Penanggalan will pearch on top of the houses of women in labour, waiting for her opportunity to lap up the blood of the mother, which she does by inserting a long, invisible tongue 13
through the keyhole. Anyone whose blood the Penanggalan has fed off is fated to contract a wasting disease and die. However, her absolutely favourite snack in the whole world is the blood of newborn infant (I myself like a pickled gherkin, but different strokes for different folks). Due to this quirk, the Penanggalan often seeks gainful employment in the fields of midwifery. You can tell if you midwife is sizing you up for lunch as she will keep licking her lips and avoid eye contact. She will also stink of vinegar. There is a reason for this. When the Penanggalan goes off on a midnight raid, she leaves the rest of her body soaking in tub of vinegar to keep it fresh and, upon her return, all glutted and sated with blood, she soaks her entrails in vinegar to get them to shrink down so she can fit them back in her body. Oh, and in some tellings of the legend, the Penanggalan can pass through walls and ooze her way up through of floorboards. Shudder. So, you may ask yourself, my midwife has totally been eyeing my jugular vein, what can I go about it? Okay. First of all, get yourself some scissors or a knife and sleep with them under your pillow. The Penanggalan is death afraid of these items and it can’t hurt to have some snippy, slicey weaponry about you should you need to tangle with her. Second, cover you window frames with thorns, brambles and other such pointy objects. That way, if she tried to fly through your window and chow down, her organs will be cut to ribbons, or better yet, snagged, trapping her there and allowing you to speedily dispatch her with your favourite axe or machete. If you can manage to track down the headless corpse, you have a couple of choices. The soft option is to simply turn the body around; when the Penanggalan reattaches herself to the bulk of her torso her head will be on backwards, alerting everyone to the fact that she is a petrifying devil child (or doing the world’s greatest ‘Death Becomes Her’ cosplay) and allowing you to notify the nearest police constable and/or demonologist. The Penanggalan can’t exist detached for her head during the daytime; prevent this happening and you will kill the beast. One way is to smear ash or garlic paste on the body. The Penanggalan hates these things and they will destroy her instantly. If you have a holy person to hand (and, if you were going on a monster hunt, why wouldn’t you) you could sanctify the body. Or, if you want something with a little more Cronenbergian, you could 14
pour broken glass down her neck, shredding her organs up a treat and leaving the bodiless head flapping around like a dead fish. Or you could use you always could use fire. Fire solves everything.
illustration provided by Claire Healey
Bud By Jade Ivy The clock sprang to life with the annoying calls of cuckoo’s. It was midnight exactly. Constance’s room was lit with the Sun’s reflection off of the moon. It was full, the moon, and so was the feeling in her gut. She figured it to be nerves. No, she knew it was. Tonight was the night, she thought, tonight she’d have him back. Her bare feet hit the floor running. The smack of soles on wood then soon it was the squish of feet in wet soil. The forest welcomed her with every tree swaying just the right way to light her path. Before her was a path beaten into the Earth where she ran. It was used many times before by any people, including herself, but tonight it was hers. Just her small path lit by the shining of the moon, lighting the way to her beloved. She was panting, breathing heavily with her mouth open from her smile in anticipation. Constance was going to have him again, to see him as he once saw her. Finally, she was standing before the headstone. His name was carved into the stone exquisitely, the work of a man who had experience probably twice his age. Her hand reached out to touch over the engraved name and the small epitaph. OLIVER JOSIAH NEWTON Son, brother, man of God It was just a month or more that the words had brought her to tears. It was the missing word ‘husband’ that made her heart sink into the pit of her stomach, unraveling the den of snakes that were her emotions. Without more thought in his death, her fingers snaked into the Earth, scooping chunks of the wet soil. She was digging, scooping each mound over her shoulder and beside her thigh. Sweat intermingled with the dirt as she dug, and dug and dug, and dug despite the bugs and creepy crawling pest getting in her way. A worm wiggled through her fingers as a beetle lodged itself under her nail. She didn’t stop, she couldn’t. A cricket or two driving themselves deeper next to another worm wiggling away 20
from her wrath. She was told tonight at midnight was the night. At the strike of twelve she were to dig him from the Earth. The woman promised her that her dreams would come true. Her wish, the only wish she’d ever made in her new life, would come true. The nail the beetle found itself lodged under broke away from the flesh, but she felt nothing. A root began to surface but hid in the shadow of the concaving hole she dug. She scooped into the dirt and felt the scrape of her skin pulling away from the muscle; stopping her for only a moment. She tugged at the obstruction gently, then with full force. Her knees sunk into the ground, muddying her up to her thighs. She shifted her weight and placed her legs in front of her. The dirt was up to her calves as she sunk and pulled. Suddenly, there was a hand around her own, around the root. She jolted back onto her bottom. Her feet hurried to scurry her away before she stopped against the bark of a tree, the tree with its root being used to help a dead man crawl from his own grave. The hand pulled at the root, from beneath the Earth and pulled itself up. Slowly, her hand came to reach for him, helping the man from his shallow hole to his new shallow life. The smile across her face that was wide moments ago faded in an instant. It wasn’t him. It was but the light that once brought out the vibrant hues of his pale green eyes was dull and vacant. “No,” she grunted as she pushed him back. Her mind told her to put him back into the hole that wasn’t his to start with. She would return him back to his own world and out of hers. “You’re not-” her words broken by her poor speech as she continued to push the man who didn’t move an inch. He grabbed her arm, his eyes pleading to understand before he pulled her into him. All she could feel was the urge to cry and scream. The need to sob in his chest felt more of a necessity than a desire at this point. She sold the remaining pieces of her broken soul for him to come back to her alive and well. In return, he was just simply alive in the same sick, twisted sense she was. Her hands wrapped around the body she knew, the only one she had only ever known — his. He was cold to the touch, but so was she. He looked down at her with wide eyes, as if instead of seeing the sun and stars in her, he saw someone as lost as he was. For 21
once, in the first time in her new life, she was the strange new home in his world. “Okay,” she almost whispered, “I’ll take care of you,” the same words he said to her the night she was dug up from the same plot of land. He nodded. She pulled herself away from him then, flattening out her mess of a nightgown and suddenly taking notice to all the filth. They walked to the house using the same beaten path they always had. Unlike when she had ran to get him, this time she was patient and slow. Her eyes looking up to his ever so often to find them wandering around the forest. The world was new; this time he was the stranger and not her. It was hard to be on that end of it all, but she knew she’d do him well. They stopped in the bathroom; the muddy footprints giving them away if anyone was to wander inside. She didn’t speak much as she ran a bath for them both. Her eyes looked up to him again. This time he was staring at the moon. “Moon,” she said slowly to him. He looked back at her, slack jawed and a bit confused. “Mah. Oon,” she repeated. His mouth followed hers but nothing came from within it. “That will heal,” she said as she softly touched his throat. His throat was ridged with the scar of his death. The skin never healed but the stitches were clear with fish wire to make it look more natural. It was be a curse that she always notice. His hand went over hers. There was a sorrowful look in his eyes that she didn’t know was in her own. Once the tub was filled, she undressed them both. She went first. Standing in the water with her back to the open window letting the moonlight dance on the water that instantly grow cloudy, the woman reached a hand out for the man who stood just as bare as she did. It wasn’t just their bodies that were exposed, but the pieces of their soul that they held on to even in death. “Trust me,” she said slowly as she reached down for his hand to pull him inside. It took him all but a moment to decide to trust her. It took him even shorter of a time to take her hand and sit in the now dark water with her. Their hands were still slightly locked together, fingers clasping other fingers. “Do you feel afraid?” She asked. The man looked at her then to the mah-oon. The reflection in his eyes made him smile of a sort. Surprisingly, he shook his head. 22
He took his other hand to do with it what they did with their others. He smiled at her then and then to the moon. “Safe,” he said. She thought it to be a frog in his throat, but it was just him. “Safe,” he repeated as he leaned into her and placed his forehead on hers. He couldn’t have known, maybe, that this is what they always used to do. Her shoulders fell and she finally felt the tight tension in her bones begin to rest. They were together again, they were real once more. She closed her eyes and matched his smile. Her hand pulled away from his to run up the nape of his neck and into the stiff dirty hair that sat on his scalp. It didn’t matter how his hair felt. It didn’t matter that his eyes were glazed and milky and his touch was as cold as ice just as her own. Nothing mattered outside of this moment with him. Their lips slowly began to touch. For the first time, in a long time, they were together again kissing and smiling and kissing some more. For in this moment they were human again. She pulled away from his kiss and looked into his soft, dead eyes. Her hand was still laced in his strands as his smile widened as he looked at her. Her fingers tightened and with a force she didn’t have before, she shoved his head into the polluted bath water. How could they ever be whole again? How could she feel loved when she had to teach him how to eat, how to shit, how to read, how to speak? There wasn’t going to be any fun in killing him this time. The bubbles from around his face were still rising rapidly. His arms clung to push himself up and away from her grip. His fingers digging into the metal as the spine tingling crack of nails breaking apart from the skin. It was easy when he died before. He was sleeping and she watched him choke on his blood. The knife in her hand sliced his perfectly shaven throat from ear to ear. Constance had never heard a death rattle go on for so long. She watched the color fade from his skin and his eyes grow wide in horror as he choked on his own blood. Poisoning him right into his veins would have been so much easier, so much better than having to do this. This was a courtesy, truly. There was no misery in this death aside from her own. His hair was pulling away from the scalp then, so Constance moved her hands to rest on his neck instead. The bubbles began to cease. Slowly his fighting arms went limp and splashed in the bath. She sighed in relief. Thank God, she 23
thought as she pushed him to sit upward. The real pain was in dragging him back outside. She realized her mistake was not pushing him back into the dirt when she felt the urge. He wasnâ€™t alive to begin with. There was nothing inside of him, just as there was nothing inside of her. For the second time that night Constance was walking the beaten path, but this time his body was dragging a path of its own behind her. She drug him by the ankles. All her complaints went flying as she tossed him into his undug hole in the ground. Standing with her hands planted on her hips, the undead woman cracker her first smile. She felt superior again. In that hallowed space in the Earth, Oliver was a version of himself that his wife loved - contorted, filthy, colorless, and dead. Suddenly a tickle came over her. A soft low chuckle erupted into a cackle that made her grab her knees as she struggled to catch a breath. This was it. This was that exhilarating moment after the thrill when she stood before him as if she were God herself. There were four other plots of graves, similar to the man before her and she smiled at them all. It was a garden of her finest work.
The Dooley&Abrahms Show, Thurs. September 22 By Nico DOOLEY: Be sure to catch more of their music on the official website, or see Ambush at the Franklin County Music Festival this upcoming weekend. Abrahms? ABRAHMS: Now, you’ll all have a chance to hear about the Festival and all of our other sponsors here in a moment, but we’re gonna take a caller first. DOOLEY: Are we connected? “JUNIE”: Hello? Am I on? DOOLEY: Seems so. Welcome to the show. ABRAHMS: Tell us a bit about yourself. Name, age… “JUNIE”: Mary-June Kaczka, my mother called me Junie. I live out at Cherry Mill Farms. DOOLEY: Are you a fan of the show, Junie? ABRAHMS: Why else would she be calling? “JUNIE”: I listen every day. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. DOOLEY: Every day? “JUNIE”: Yeah. From 5-7, except for Sundays, when you have the 9 o’clock talk hour. ABRAHMS: And how long have you been a fan? “JUNIE”: It seems like forever, really. My mother used to play it before bedtime. ABRAHMS: Did she ever call in? “JUNIE”: No. DOOLEY: And you haven’t, either. “JUNIE”: Not before now. Never thought I’d get connected. DOOLEY: Well, that’s a relief! 26
ABRAHMS: That we didn’t forget about you calling before. We love it when dedicated listeners like you call in. DOOLEY: Because we’re egomaniacs. ABRHAMS: We love hearing about how great we are. “JUNIE”: (laughs) You’re pretty great. ABRAHMS: See, you’re a natural caller! You should come down to the station sometime, give us compliments in person. “JUNIE”: I would love to, if I could. DOOLEY: So what made you call in now? “JUNIE”: Oh… Now that I think about it, it kind of sounds silly. DOOLEY: …Did you just call to compliment us? “JUNIE”: No. Well, maybe. (laughs) ABRAHMS: Junie, we’re flattered, we really are, but I am a married man. DOOLEY: I, however, am not. I also happen to be free this Saturday at 7. “JUNIE”: Well, now I’m flattered, Mr. Dooley, but I’m sure that wouldn’t be appropriate. ABRAHMS: She mentioned she lives with her mother, Dooley. You should ask the lady how old she is before proposing on live radio. DOOLEY: Let’s see.. 30 divided by 2, plus 7. You’ve got to be at least 22 before you can get on this ride. ABRAHMS: That’s not how roller coasters work. DOOLEY: And that’s not how my Tinder settings work, either. I’ve got a strict 3-year age difference limit. I need a woman in a similar place in her career. ABRAHMS: So… A woman who hasn’t emotionally matured since college who makes her money by proposing to complete
strangers? “JUNIE”: (laughs) Now that’s a bit mean, Mr. Abrahms! DOOLEY: Listen to the lady, Abrahms. “JUNIE”: And I’m afraid it isn’t a matter of me being too young for you. What’s that age rule? ABRAHMS: No one younger than half your age, plus 7. “JUNIE”: So if we went the opposite way it would be 30 minus 7, times 2… I’m afraid the oldest Mr. Dooley would be able to date is 46! DOOLEY: You’re older than 46? I’ve finally met someone who’s lived with their mother longer than me! “JUNIE”: That does sound a bit sad, doesn’t it. ABRAHMS: Hey, now, don’t beat yourself up. If Dooley’s managed to be a radio host for this long, you can do anything. DOOLEY: Like call into our radio show more often! ABRAHMS: Here — let’s be one of those radio psychologists for a moment. DOOLEY: Are we allowed to do that? ABRAHMS: I minored in psychology, so… Here, let’s start with a simple question. Do you want to move out? “JUNIE”: Well… ABRAHMS: You better not sue me for malpractice if this isn’t helpful. “JUNIE”: No, I appreciate it! It’s just that I haven’t lived with my mother in some time. DOOLEY: When did you move out? “JUNIE”: Oh no, I still live in the old family home. ABRAHMS: …I’m sorry for your loss, Junie. My wife’s mother died just recently, and I know how hard it can be to get over something like that. 28
“JUNIE”: Oh, yes, it was quite difficult at first. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. But I would remember when Mother and I would listen to your show when I was a child. Even when she was so terribly depressed, when the loneliness of that old house really got to her, you would always bring such a smile to her face. So I thought to myself that you might do the same for me. ABRAHMS: I’m glad to hear that we brought her comfort. DOOLEY: I’m glad to hear that we had at least one listener outside of the college stoner demographic! …That was a bit tonally deaf, wasn’t it. ABRAHMS: A little bit. “JUNIE”: It’s fine, really. It was always your total lack of social awareness that lightened my spirits. DOOLEY: And I’ll take that as another compliment. “JUNIE”: It is! It is. The two of you have helped me through so many hard times that I can only try to begin to thank you. ABRAHMS: How long has it been since your mother died, now? “JUNIE”: Oh, just about twenty. ABRAHMS: That’s not too long ago. “JUNIE”: Time flies, grief fades. I barely think about her anymore. DOOLEY: Is that what you wanted to call to talk about? Your mother? ABRAHMS: It really isn’t that silly, I promise. We might seem like two inept idiots — DOOLEY: And that’s true! ABRAHMS: — but I hope we’ve at least learned enough since college to get a bit serious when the topic requires it. “JUNIE”: Oh, no, that wasn’t quite on my mind when I picked up the phone. I’d just noticed something, is all.
DOOLEY: Noticed what? That you hadn’t called in before? “JUNIE”: No. I mean, yes, that too. But it was something that you said, a few weeks back. DOOLEY: What episode? ABRAHMS: You can’t expect her to know that. I don’t even remember what we talked about yesterday. “JUNIE”: Oh, I remember — not like I have much else to do! It was two and a half weeks ago Monday, about two thirds of the way into the program. ABRAHMS: Well, okay. “JUNIE”: It was right after a sponsor block — endorsements from the city parks, a Chevron promotion, the new motel downtown. Mr. Dooley played a few songs from his baby cousin’s garage band, and Mr. Abrahms told us all the songs were from Mr. Dooley’s baby cousin’s garage band, and then Mr. Dooley lied and said the songs weren’t from… DOOLEY: Get to the point. “JUNIE”: You called in an old frat buddy to settle the argument. And then, Mr. Abrahms — I wrote this down — you said, “Yeah, I played my girlfriend’s synth album on loop while we got our diplomas because the show’d only been on for a month and we had no decent music.” DOOLEY: Oh, I remember that. She had a terrible voice, man. ABRAHMS: No, she didn’t — look — Amanda’s a regular listener, Dooley. You can’t say that. “JUNIE”: And I realized when you said that, Abrahms, that even though you talk about the glory years of college all the time, I’d never heard you mention when you guys started the radio program before now. It’s been eight years, yes? DOOLEY: I mean, I’m pretty sure. I lost 3 years in my midtwenties to amateur football league concussions. 30
ABRAHMS: It’s weird that we wouldn’t mention that. I mean, we should have some sort of party for the next anniversary. Don’t you think, Dooley? “JUNIE”: I’ve heard every single episode you’ve ever put out. And I’m an older woman, getting older by the day, but I can still remember clearly when my mother died, over two decades ago. DOOLEY: Two years ago? “JUNIE”: Decades. I’m pushing 60 years old now, boys, and I’ve been listening to this every day since I was a child. ABRAHMS: I didn’t know that the station was still around back then. “JUNIE”: And I got to thinking, you see, about my childhood. About my mother. About the farm. I remember all of that so clearly. Yet I cannot remember a single day where I left my home. I can’t remember who my father was, grandparents, siblings. And I can’t recall a single conversation I’ve ever had with anyone other than my Mother, Mr. Dooley, or Mr. Abrahms. DOOLEY: Okay, now you’re freaking me out a bit. It’s September. Halloween’s not for a month, Miss Ghostwatch. ABRAHMS: You’re really claiming that you’ve been listening to our show for 60 years? “JUNIE”: Not quite. But yes, I’ve been listening to the two of you long before either of you could have been alive. DOOLEY: That’s really not possible. You know that, right? “JUNIE”: I’m well aware that this all sounds absurd. I thought that I must have been listening to some sort of recordings, at first. I wanted to call the number to find out if you were real. But I was so afraid that it would’t work, because that would mean that my daily comfort of listening to another human’s voice had been a lie. And I was even more afraid for it to work, because that would mean that something was very wrong with our timing. DOOLEY: Well, you’re talking to us, now. 31
ABRAHMS: To be perfecty honest, this all sounds like a bad prank call. DOOLEY: Pretty much. ABRAHMS: But suppose this were real, Junie. We’ve only produced 8 years of content. What were you listening to for the other 40? “JUNIE”: I thought for a moment that something about me wasn’t real. DOOLEY: Sounds legit. You could be hallucinating. Or some sort of ghost. Or a hallucinating ghost. “JUNIE”: But then I thought, just maybe, that you weren’t real. DOOLEY: I’m gonna have to give that one a hard pass. ABRAHMS: Why would you think that? You’re the one with the creepy mother and no childhood. “JUNIE”: Think about it from my perspective. To me, I’ve lived a vibrant, if eccentric life. I might be a hermit, but I can feel my heart beating. You’re just some voice on the radio. DOOLEY: Hey, I can feel my heart beating, too! You’re not that special! “JUNIE”: You talk all the time about the town, about your show, about your glory days of college. But have either of you ever mentioned going just once outside of the county borders? DOOLEY: We must have, at some point. ABRAHMS: Let’s suppose, again, that all of this is true. What should we do about it? “JUNIE”: I’m going to try and go into town, see the radio station. And I want you to try and find the Cherry Mill Farms. Even if you don’t believe me, it could make for a nice episode. A Halloween special, where you try and find the hallucinating ghost. DOOLEY: Viewers do like those kinds of stunts. 32
“JUNIE”: Until then, I’m going to try and remember what I’ve spent the last 60 years listening to. And I’m going to try and hope that any of this has been real. DOOLEY: Yeah, I mean… ABRAHMS: I’d also hope that… DOOLEY: I hope you aren’t losing your memory, Junie. “JUNIE”: And I hope the same for you. Thanks for having me on. ABRAHMS: Well… thank you. For calling in. DOOLEY: You’ve been a fan! ABRAHMS: …And now we’re gonna talk to you all about today’s sponsor, the Franklin County Music Festival. This weekend —
Your Punishment Is By Die Booth He’d been to the hangings. They all had. He’d seen, many times, twenty-four at once swinging on the Triple Tree: men, women and children, side by side. He’d seen that mad Irish thief break free, then break the hangman’s nose and throw her clothes into the baying crowd to deny him the coin from their sale when she was cold. Quality, too: he’d seen it all. Watched a crowd of maids and not a few youths too, wring out their handkerchiefs and then soak them through again with tears, all for a gentleman thief. This was nothing like that. “Bind his hands, Zachary!” called someone and he felt his arms jerked roughly back. It was too dark to see well, but he thought there were five of them, two exceedingly big. To fight would be foolish. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to. “Don’t let the villain run,” said another. A fist like a mutton leg cuffed his head and his skull sang. His feet skidded on the cobbles: with his arms pulled up behind his back, if he fell heavy he might break them and whilst he suspected he deserved pain, he still feared it. A coward by instinct. He closed his eyes. Close by his ear, a hard voice said, “What’s your name?” When he didn’t answer they shook him so his shoulders screamed with it, repeating, “Your name, devil.” “Samuel.” “Samuel what? Your father’s name, now!” “Frith,” he said, tasting blood between his gritted teeth. “And her name?” the man asked, “What was her name?” He didn’t know and he told them so. He never knew their names. He didn’t tell them that part. They’d found him before this one was even dead, snuffling into the wound like a pig at a pail and when they dragged him off her by his hair, tears had streaked pale arrows through the gore painting his face and he’d screamed, “Mercy!” as they’d beaten him. “Mercy! Please, God help me, I have to do it!” She wasn’t dead when they found him. He hadn’t killed her. She 35
was dead now, though. As they hauled him away his backwards glance seared a vignette onto his mind’s eye: the woman, sagged like a pile of washday rags, her head tossed too far back and the hole that was once her throat yawning like a wild hound’s maw, spewing the dregs of her blood. He scrambled to get back to her, throwing his weight as hard as he could from his shoulders, his bound hands useless, but they weren’t so much leading him as carrying him. He gaped desperately at the biggest of them, saying, “Save her.” “She’s past saving now, thanks to you.” “You must...” A blow stole the words. The man said, grimly, “Only God can save her now.” They took him to the outskirts of the city, where, without the crowding buildings to shadow them the moon cast a dead white light over the silent fields. A few cottages cringed next to a black stream where floated the moon’s reflection. Beside the stream was a copse of trees. It was there that the group led him. “On your knees,” the man, Zachary, said. He knelt. After the first skirmish in the yard he didn’t even struggle, but followed meekly like a dog on a leash. To resist meant a further beating and he was mortally afraid of the kind of pain he served to others; or perhaps he was willing to go, some grain of decency sewn deep inside him wanting it all to end. “The rope. Untie him, Matthew.” He looked, frantically, from one face to another, barely discernible looking down upon him in the darkness. The moonlight made haloes of their hair, these avenging angels, and he thought for a moment that they would set him free. One of them, barely past boyhood, fumbled the rope at his wrists and threw the coiled length to Zachary, but another of them still held him fast as the other two got behind him and dragged the coat from his shoulders. It was only then that the true reality of his situation overwhelmed him. He heard the fumbling and clink of coin as they found his pocket, examined the contents and searched him for anything missed, tugged his boots off, knocking on the soles for soundness. Then his hands were tied again, his ankles too, this time with some form of thin twine that bit intolerably into the skin. Lucky, really, that they were taking this route with him - direct justice, under cover 36
of night - rather than handing him over to the courts. At least here he was left with his shirt and a scant hope. If he’d followed Will Sinclair down the Tyburn Road, they’d have ripped him to pieces and fought for the scraps; of cloth, hair, flesh, fibres of the rope… The rope! It fell like a horse collar around his shoulders, with the weight of eternity. If he was strung up on the gallows, someone would cut him down for the rope. Who would cut him down here? At once he began to draw in great gulps of air, as if to store them up. From nearby came a short barking laugh: they took his gasps for sobs. He bit his lower lip and tasted his blood mingled with hers. The autumn dew from the grass was soaking through his hose and the stream weeping past carried with it the scent of fresh mud that once would have put him in mind of clean meadows but now only brought the stench of the grave. Overhead, a bough creaked. Someone said, “Say your prayers,” and he realised that his eyes were closed. Then he was lifted abruptly into the air. Their first heave was full of verve, the following more laboured as they realised how heavy he was, so he swung crazily mid-air with three of them hanging on like a tug-o-war at a fair until they secured the rope-end to a lower branch and stood back to jeer at their handiwork. Their voices barely made it to his ears; he could glimpse only pale smudges of their faces far below, rocking gently in and out of focus as he swung, slower, slower. “He ain’t dancing much.” “He’s still alive.” Struggle, that’s the thing. He tried to bend his legs as he’d seen them do on the Tree, but he felt weak and his bound hands made any movement nigh impossible. Time slowed. He couldn’t count it. How did he look? If he didn’t satisfy them they’d never leave. Against nature, he let his face fall slack, mouth open and drooling, tongue lolling. He willed his body limp, his bladder releasing, warm down the inside of his thighs. Dangling. Waiting. It seemed like hours. He heard their voices as if from deep underwater; wrecked shipmates. “He’s gone. Cut him down.” Cut him down. Cut him down! “No. Leave him.” That was Zachary. A younger voice, higher pitched, carried further, “But we can sell-“ 37
“I said leave him. Bad things are about this night. I want my bed.” He heard the man Zachary clear his throat, hack something up and spit. Then their voices receded, like bubbles on a tide. “The corpse will still be there in the morning. When it’s light.” He feared this to be all too true. If he’d felt weak before, his limbs felt like stuffed bolsters now. Without their voices, the sounds around him seemed too loud, the whine of the wind rattling twigs and the tormenting creak of the branch from which he swung. His legs were chilled where his breeches clung damply to them and his face felt tight, puffed-up. The rope didn’t hurt him, didn’t burn, but it crushed and it cut his voice in two. If his blood flowed still, or his chest rose and fell with breath, then he would certainly be in a bad way indeed. Why couldn’t he just die? For a while he was unable to move. Even motionless, some hideous momentum of balance or breeze kept him turning very slowly on the end of his rope. There was no way down. Maybe death was no punishment - no, death was an escape - but this, this life in death, was punishment for the acts he had committed. His hands and feet strained against his bonds a final time and then he fell completely still, listening to the quiet groan of the boughs above and the chuckle of the stream below. This was his fate. Tomorrow, they would come back and cut him down and find him still alive. Could he claim God had saved him? Of course not: they’d caught him in an act no God would condone. How would they dispose of him? Ducking? Drawing? Quartering? Still alive? He felt the damp of tears squeeze from the corners of his eyes. He hoped it would be fire: fire leaving nothing behind; otherwise where would it end? It would end in fire one way or another, of that he was certain. And still the world turned beneath him, slow as a sweethearts’ waltz. When the turn of the rope pointed him east he saw, above the fields, the first paling of the sombre sky towards dawn. The stream sang on. The lime-washed walls of the cottages loomed from the fading darkness. Ponderously he spun; a dumb plumb-bob. From the direction of the town, he saw a figure approaching. It drew closer on each turn. At first he thought it must be one of the mob, back to claim his body before the cottagers rose with the dawn, then he realised that this was a different person entirely, striding across the meadow towards him 38
with arrow purpose. But the light was still dim and it wasn’t until she was standing almost directly beneath him that he recognised her. It took him a moment. She was wearing a man’s coat. She was wearing his coat. He tried to speak, but the rope was a fist around his throat. The front of the coat was dark, too saturated to be only her blood. They must have come back for her. She must have been waiting for them. Clever. Cleverer than he. She stood, stiller than life, and stared up at him with eyes shadowed to black holes. When she blinked, the moon lanced points of light into them, but she blinked infrequently. Staring. If she could slay his captors and steal from her first kill, she could cut him down: he fought again, uselessly, to speak; he thrashed weakly on his line like a fish, drowning in air. Then she spoke, and he stilled. “What am I?” Her voice was hoarse, her throat not yet quite mended. Only a whine could force past his lips in reply, his air long since expended. “What am I?” she repeated, more loudly. He couldn’t answer, in any way. What am I? He tried to gesture, cut me down, but his bound limbs could only struggle ineloquently. “What am I?” she demanded. “What am I?” she screamed up at him, over and over until he fancied he could smell the bloody murder on her breath. The silver knife-edge of dawn slit the horizon, blinding him. Her howls laid siege to his ears, until the words no longer made sense and all he heard was a noise like roaring flames.
CONTRIBUTORS VISUAL Bethany Fulks (p. 24, 33, 43) is a 22 year old struggling their way through art school. Spend a lot of time thinking about/watching zombie-related film and literature. My work is largely inspired by women and the unlimited formations they can be portrayed, and how these are interpreted. / Instagram: @bethanyjlf Kay Nyman (back cover, inside back cover, p. 1, 6, 39) is a full time freelance artist & illustrator living in New England. Drawing people is her lifelong passion, but sheâ€™s also a proud fangirl and will never outgrow the joy of making fanart. Her focus is in traditional art, usually creating with Copic markers and ink. Aside from making art, Kay spends her days trying to keep up with her spunky daughter, drinking tea, and constantly getting distracted by her two cats. Kendy/MissMuffcake (front cover, pg. 7, 11, 34) lives in California with her cats and her boyfriend. She likes cemeteries and binge watching South Park. She is into naps, vegan tacos, and weird toys. / missmuffcake.com Melissa Chalhoub (p. 2, 8, 10, 16) is a 26 year old graphic artist. She has studied filmmaking in Beirut, and now works as a freelance illustrator and director of experimental films. / melissachalhoub. com Michael Elvidge (p. 3, 40) resides in Durham, Ontario Canada and creates visual arts, writing and music. His work has appeared in BROKEN PENCIL, WENGâ€™S CHOP, MONSTER!, DEVILMAN ZINE and his own self published comics WHERE EVER and THE ART OF MICHAEL ELVIDGE. Michael has shown in several galleries and creates the internet radio music show, THE COVERAGE RADIO SHOW. / Facebook: @cmelvidge
New Surreal Comics (p. 25, 44) is Mark Vertigo & Jenn Bloodstone. Husband and wife team. UFO believers. Chocolate lovers. Comic makers. / Twitter: @newsurrealcomic • Instagram: @newsurrealcomics Tara Hamilton (p. 17-19) is a land locked sea captain turned designer-illustrator. She lives in Chattanooga Tennessee with her dog and dude. She works like a dog and she smells like one too, also, she draws. / ARROcomic.com
WORDS How do you make a horror writer like Christopher Stewart? Expose them to maniacs like David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi, and the Soska Sisters. Let them over-think and ponder over the genre in long think-pieces. Let them write weird creepypasta stories about talking zombies. Let them review a hundred horror films for horror sites, UK Horror Scene, Scream Horror Magazine, and his own, HorrorEveryDay.com. Let them write horror tales about people way too drunk to deal with supernatural menace and gross body horror. / horroreveryday.com • Twitter: @horror365 Claire Healey is a long-time horror fan, short-time zine contributor and a lover of all things dark, moody and eye-linery. It has also been said that her Halloween craft skills are something akin to witchcraft. Die Booth lives in Chester, UK and enjoys painting pictures and exploring dark places. Die’s prize-winning work has featured in publications including The Fiction Desk, Firewords and The Cheshire Prize for Literature anthologies, and a new single-author collection of short stories ‘My Glass is Runn’, which is out now. ‘365 Lies’ a collection of one flash fiction for every day of the year, with all proceeds going to the MNDA, and debut novel ‘Spirit Houses’ are also available online. / diebooth.wordpress.com • Instagram + Twitter: @diebooth 42
Jade Ivy is a millennial, mother, and English Lit major with a liking to anything creepy, anything guts, and everything gore. Her favorite horror movie is Scream and she wears all black to match her soul. When she’s not crying over cute baby animals, she can be found liking funny tweets, double tapping photos on Instagram of said animals, and writing (sobbing) her heart out at 2am with Google Docs opened. / Twitter + Facebook: @jadeivymonet Kayla Bashe is a student at Sarah Lawrence College. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Liminality Magazine, Mirror Dance, Ink and Locket’s “LBGT Warriors” anthology, Cicada Magazine, and The Future Fire. She has also released several queer novellas. / Twitter: @KaylaBashe Nico is an aspiring author/student/Gemini hailing from Nevada. You can find her at nicowrights.tumblr.com, where she probably won’t post much but will talk about anything.
GUTS horror zine ÂŠ October 2017
All rights revert back to the creators upon publication.
This issue features thirteen contributors in illustration, photography, and writing. Includes poetry, short stories, and nonfiction. Contr...
Published on Oct 15, 2017
This issue features thirteen contributors in illustration, photography, and writing. Includes poetry, short stories, and nonfiction. Contr...