Fiction Vortex 2014 Horror Issue

Horror 2014 5th Place: Dormant

In Grimm Webster’s story Dormant, we listen for the scratches in the walls. It is a tale of vulnerable youth, grandmotherly affection, and ancient slumbers. — Johnny Worthen
By Grimm Webster

A small hand gripped his shoulder with crushing force, dragging Peter to a halt. The new shoes he wore squeaked in protest on the polished floor of the mall. His heart pumped faster and his breathing quickened. The exit was only a few feet away. He pictured himself tearing out of his captor’s death grip and heading for the door and never looking back.

Images of police cars with flashing lights and being led away in handcuffs flooded his mind, all while the shoes squeaked like damned mice.

“Do you like them?”

“Uh … What?” He was confused by the kindness of the voice. He turned to see, not Mall security but an elderly woman.

“The shoes, dear child. Do you like them?”

“I … uh … Yes?”

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Fiction Vortex 2014 Horror Issue

Johnny Worthen Kicks Off Fiction Vortex Horror 2014

It’s October and time for horror! Our Special Guest Judge has prepared a few words.

So, heeeeeeeres Johnny… Worthen!

Johnny Worthen Kicks Off Fiction Vortex Horror 2014

Johnny Worthen- 2nd Annual Fiction Vortex Horror Contest Judge

There are two types of fiction meant to induce a physical reaction in the reader: Pornography and Horror. Putting aside the smut, let us play in the shadows, see those things and visit those places that send gooseflesh down our backs, sweat to our palms, and make us switch on more lights in a perfectly bright house.

This year’s Fiction Vortex Horror Contest has some of the best short fiction horror I’ve ever seen. Entries ran the gamut from personal to apocalyptic. Filled with strangeness and terror, madness and fear, these stories are a tour to the dark places of the imagination. Guided by expert writers who build tension upon fear and lure us into places of wonder and fright these stories that do not end at the final word but haunt the reader for days like a dark secret memory.

As this year’s Special Guest Judge, I journeyed through the top five stories, basing rank on both visceral reaction and technique. Fiction Vortex will be sharing these top stories on the site, one a week, all month so you can get into the spirit of the season. This is October, the in-between time, Samhain, Fall, the season of change and decay, when things are not alive but neither are they wholly dead. This is the season of the witch, make no mistake. Welcome to the fair!

The week of Halloween is when my pick for top story will be announced, and the contest winner will be awarded gifts and prizes and possibly a visit from either a psychiatrist or an exorcist. Stay tuned and let us begin…

The top stories are (in no particular order) are:

‘The Things We Carry’ – Amanda Crum
‘Other Side of the Tracks’ – Daniel DeLong
‘Collection’ – Rebecca Ann Jordan
‘Dormant’ – Grimm Webster
‘The Friends’ – Luke Dykowski

*A Note From the Editors – For those of you that want your horror in larger doses and can’t wait a whole month, the Horror Issue ebook is available now! And if you want to know who won before the end of the month… then you will have to buy the issue as well. Bwahahaha. Here is the Kindle version, and for all other formats, check the Smashwords version.

by Sergio Suarez - Fiction Vortex September 2014

Sometimes the Scenery Is Beautiful

By Chloe Clark

The Doctor

“Lucy, you’re going to be all right,” I said. I liked this part of my job best. The moment of relief that crosses a patient’s face. She had a scare. Cancer. We caught it early. We took care of it. Now a couple of months of treatment and she’d be fine.

My wife was seven months pregnant, and she stopped being emotional around month five. I’d tell her about my day and nothing moved her anymore. It was a relief to come to work and see emotions flood across people’s faces.

“But, how long will I live?” she asked. She was forty two years old, and her father died years ago of the same thing. I’ve never been seriously ill and I wondered what it’s like. I’ve never thought about that before. All those patients, and I never really thought about what it’s like to be like them. To really be that scared.

“Well, no one lives forever, but I think that you’ll live a very long time.” I smiled at her.

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