Sober Up

Sober Up, written and photographed by Penny C.

I was about to turn around when I heard a tinkling sound.

I had done it again: I had lost my keys in the dark. When and where had they fallen? I was at a loss. With hands curled up into fists I pounded on the door to my home. My roommate was normally there.

Just not tonight.

“Shit!” I swore under my breath. I peeked into the living room window, or tried. Everything in the inside was dark from my vantage-point, so there was no luck there.

I was about to turn around when I heard a tinkling sound. It was the tinkling of spurs, the type you found on cowboy boots. When I looked it was just me and the street lamps. I looked everywhere for the source of the noise, but came up with nothing; all the while the sound started to increase in intensity. It sounded like someone rushing up towards me. My heart began to pound. Aural hallucinations! I thought frantically to myself. That’s all. No need to worry!

That didn’t stop the sound from getting closer though.

And there was no convenient off button . . .

Behind you!

I swung around just in time to see a dead man sitting atop a horse–a wraith-like cowboy rushing up towards me–death with a revolver in place of his scythe. The skeletal figure took one shot at me.

I woke up in my bed, safe, but drenched in sweat. I tried sitting up.

I couldn’t.

You’re not sweating, I realized.



Whenever she closed her eyes she saw a mouth–filled to the brim with teeth–open wide. Sleep did not come easy.


His Old Self

His Old Self, written and photographed by Penny  C.

Memories of the past flooded him with regret.

Story and photography by Penny C.

Chrystopher. I am now Chrystopher, he told himself once more.

It had been a long time since he had done this . . . Reflect upon himself. Chrystopher promised a new beginning.

That was his hope.

He still couldn’t trust himself not to fall back into old habits–to fall back into his darker self. When everything was young he had been different; he swore that he had never been so evil. He had simply grown into it.

He hated that, but it was the truth. “I hate myself,” he murmured. Chrystopher wasn’t trying to be hard on himself, just honest.

Again with that? a part of him said in derision. Just forget it; it’s futile and you know this. Don’t disappoint yourself!

Perhaps that part of him was right?

“It probably is,” he reminded himself. It was him, after all. At that thought he allowed himself a deep chuckle.

“I was such a bastard!”

You still are! the cynical voice replied. That part of him was his darker self. Chrystopher didn’t have to like it, but that part of him would always be with him; he was better off accepting that now. Memories of the past flooded him with regret. Sometimes he wondered what his life would have been like had he woken up to himself sooner?

Would the king out of darkness still have his wife?

Would his son still have aligned himself with the opposing faction, and would he still have disowned and exiled him?

Would he have absconded his duties as a father, and would he have allowed his mistress to terrorize his children?

Would his youngest daughter be alive today?

When Marianna left he had hated her for it; she was unhappy, and because of that had left him and their children. Da’Kiri–his old self–had fallen into madness. That had been so long ago, he wouldn’t be surprised if she had passed into oblivion.

“Forgive me. I am a bastard.”


Severed Head

Severed Head, story and art by Penny C.

“What the hell?” I head-butted the creature, stunning it.

Story and art by Penny C.

The thing made a chittering noise in my ear. My blood ran cold; I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, faster and faster until I couldn’t bear to breathe. It was horrible. We had fought, and the insect had won.

Well, this sucks! I told myself. On the bright side, you massacred its nest . . . And you managed to deal a lethal blow to it. It’ll bleed out soon. See? Your death won’t be pointless.

I suppose the thing hadn’t won at all . . . “What the hell?” I head-butted the creature, stunning it. I rolled to the ground where my axe had fallen, picking it up. Then I swung with everything I could muster.


In one cut I had severed the head from the neck.

But not without sustaining damage. A spray of blood hit me, and immediately my skin began to burn. I screamed, falling to the ground.

“I suppose I am going to die then . . . ”



Septembre, written and photographed by Penny C.

I had questioned my experience, and it was years before I saw another expression of his existence.

Written and photographed by Penny C.

It was in Septembre of last year, on a dreary day . . . It was the first time I saw him. He was squatting, balanced atop a mouldering fence post. The red raven, standing on the edge of a knife; the red raven, whispering his words, his secrets, his life. That was the day I discovered his true nature. It was only a matter of minutes, but they were like an eternity to me. How it must have felt to the force before me. I could almost smell his ennui.

And then he was gone, like he had never existed to begin with. The only evidence I could find was the fence post, now a pile of smoking coals.

I had questioned my experience, and it was years before I saw another expression of his existence.

But it wasn’t the same

The lustre and the shine had vanished. What replaced it resembled a wet dog. I saw a troubled man  instead of that proud god. Ragged,tired, wearied, exhausted . . . All of the same words to describe the same thing.

I am afraid.

I am afraid because I have never witnessed the slow death of a god.

It troubles me, not because it is a death caused by human hands, but because it is a death brought about by the gods themselves. Perhaps even him. The gods, these forces . . . Existence relies heavily on their movements; their wars, their chaos, their peacemaking–all a constant struggle, a simple game of tug-of-war.

Where is order if there is no chaos?

The spider has dealt its last blow.

I am afraid because the gods want us to die. Everything. Nothing spared.

And I am afraid because the raven has allowed this to occur. He has lost his will to fight.

Imp Eye

Imp Eye, story and art by Penny C.

Gregory howled in agony. It was like somebody was stabbing his skull with a cold knife.

Story and art by Penny C.

“Got you.”

The goblin lord towered over him, looking every inch the demon that he was. With two large, long-fingered hands he grabbed Gregory by the shoulders and lifted him up from the ground. Gregory could smell the goblin’s breath: it stank of sulphur.

A wave of heat enveloped him. Gregory feared that he was not going to make it out of the labyrinth this time; the King in the Shadows had him now. He would not be playing anymore games with Gregory.

“Where is she?” Da’Kiri whispered in his face. Sparks shot out of his mouth as he spoke.

Fire-breather, Gregory thought. Da’Kiri was liable to bite his face off . . . Or burn him to death. Burn him till there was nothing but ash and hot coals.

“I don’t know where she went!” Gregory grunted.

“You helped her escape! How do you not know!” The goblin shook the man in its fury.

“She was your wife, not your captive.” He almost felt pity for Da’Kiri. “If you wanted to be with her so badly, you should have treated her with more respect!”

The goblin lord released his hold on Gregory’s left shoulder. He held his hand up, palm facing the human’s face.

Without warning Da’Kiri jabbed his index finger into Gregory’s left eye.

Gregory howled in agony. It was like somebody was stabbing his skull with a cold knife. He began to see red. Everywhere.

Satisfied with his work the goblin lord let his enemy fall. As soon as Gregory hit the ground he was unconscious.

When he awoke he found himself alone in the dark. It always ends like this. Why?

How many times did he do this? Was it really just this once, or had it happened a million times before?

His left eye felt different. What happened to me? Gregory felt with his fingers. The left eye felt much different from the right; Gregory blinked them both at different times.

The goblin lord had given him a goblin eye, something which he could not hide in the light of day.

I’ve been cursed!

Rotten Boy

Rotten Boy, written and photographed by Penny C.

He was just a rotten boy through and through.

Written and photographed by Penny C.

“He despises me, but it’s mutual,” Karen replied. Someone, for some reason, had thought it prudent to ask her about her ex-husband. She had given them the most simple and vague explanation that had come to mind. Every word was a lie, of course. No one could prove otherwise, however. It did help that her ex-husband wasn’t around to set the record straight; that man had been so insufferable.

The night she had tried to kill him only proved to vex her further. The man wouldn’t die. Couldn’t die. What she thought had been him was nothing more than a construct, an empty vessel made of a compost heap.

The real man was somewhere in the world, laughing at her as he tricked somebody else into falling madly in love with him. It could be a man or a woman. Her ex-husband didn’t care. He was just a rotten boy through and through.

One of these days, I’ll make you pay! And that was a promise.

Archaic Voice, written and photographed by Penny C.

Archaic Voice

Written and photographed by P.L. Cobb

He looked around and found himself in an inky void; for one terrifying second he thought he felt like he was disembodied. Nothing more than an ethereal speck outside of existence. For a time he forced his breathing to come out at a normal rate. His eyes were closed to block out the darkness, however he came to suspect that he was not dead at all . . . The need to know was stronger than his budding fear.

So he forced his eyes open.

The moonlight was soft, but it caused him to squint nonetheless. He was laying on his back in the middle of nowhere. Spruce and pine towered over him while he stared up at the sky.

Without any warning the stranger sat up and retched. The sounds of vomiting filled the air. Nothing came out though. His mouth and throat felt like sandpaper. That revelation did little for the churning inferno in his stomach.

Could it be snakes? a small voice at the back of his head asked, but he then quickly dismissed that thought, knowing full well how ridiculous it sounded . . . How superstitious it was . . .

That gave him cause to think. Or try. He felt that he had been very close to finding something, a prize maybe. Whatever it was. Again, he had the feeling that it had been of great value. Great value, and he had been so close to gaining it.

But now I’ve lost, and been sent back to the beginning of the labyrinth . . .

It was that voice again, superstitious and archaic facet to his personality that was as much a mystery to him as was his current situation.

Do you even know who you are? the voice said again, Do you?

I have no idea, he admitted at length. I am, and that is all.

The archaic voice hissed at him. Do not be so disrespectful! Do not use that name!

The man shook his head, trying to clear it. All that did was alert him to what would soon become the worst migraine he would experience so far in his long life.



Eat it Up, writing and photography by Penny C.

Eat it Up

Written and photographed by Penny C.

“Eat it up!” The waiter said in a Southern drawl. He walked away without another word.

They both looked at the steak suspiciously.

“That is a big steak,” Tamara said. Out of curiosity she poked it with a fork; poking became cutting.

“Looks a bit purple . . . Gross!” Jamie wrinkled her nose.


“It’s probably made of mutant space cow!” Jamie whispered.

“Eat it up!” Tamara mimicked the waiter. “Is he watching us?”

Jamie scanned the restaurant. There was a total of three people in the dining area, including them. “No, let’s get out of here!”

At the same time they both got up and made a beeline towards the doors.

Somehow, the waiter rose up before them, separating them from their escape.

“Eat it up.” He said in a menacing voice.


Party Time?

Writing, horror, weird, short story, and photography

The next night rolled around, and she couldn’t sleep at all.

She felt surprised and relieved to find that the front door was still locked. Lynda grunted in satisfaction.

She had been rudely awoken during the early hours of the morning to what seemed to be a wild party downstairs. Lynda shivered at the memory. “It was just a dream,” she told herself in a reassuring whisper.

When it happened again the next night she wasn’t so sure about it.

The next night rolled around, and she couldn’t sleep at all. As soon as the noises started up Lynda began to creep down the stairs. Halfway down she saw her living room swarming with creatures straight out of a nightmare. Her whole body froze at the sight. Lynda could feel the blood draining from her face too. What . . . ? Her mind went blank as her eyes scanned the room.

Was there anything she could do, she wondered, looking from nightmare to nightmare. Some were rather benign, while others resembled the demons pictured in Medieval texts. Others she had no word to describe them with . . .

Who is that? Lynda’s eyes stopped roaming and focused themselves on one of the creatures. He was one of the bigger ones, not the biggest, but still larger than her; he was one of the demonic ones too. What set him apart from the rest were the black robes he wore. None of the others had that. He is rather handsome, she realized, In an odd way.

His eyes met hers and the party came a halt. There were a few awkward minutes that followed, before Lynda worked up the courage to say anything.

“Get out of my house.”



writing, horror, art, short story

As my eyes became accustomed to the light I noticed at the same time that there was an awful smell that permeated everything.

I woke up not knowing where I was; I could not tell what was up or down. My body could not move, and I could not see. For the first hour or so (or so it felt) I spent all,of my efforts on calming my nerves; the pounding of my heart, and the rushing of blood was all I could hear. My imprisonment came to an abrupt halt when I realized I was in a room . . . Not a box, as I had feared. As my eyes became accustomed to the light I noticed at the same time that there was an awful smell that permeated everything.

I sat up off the hard surface I was laid on, and then stumbled my way in the dim light. As I did so, I bumped into a table. There was a sliding sound. My mouth went dry. By this time I had guessed where I was.

On the outskirts of the city there was an old house. There was an old myth about a strange ‘man’ who collected hands–specifically the left ones–and eyes.

The hands he kept for himself. The eyes he gave to his dead lover.


No One

photography, photo manipulation, horror, short, writing, story

The creature was barking strange noises at him. Talking to him, he assumed.

He liked to stand at the very top of the hill and look at the landscape from all angles. It was nice, quiet, and lonely. Just the way he liked it.

He turned around to look at his catch: a squirming sack. His prey had managed to spit its gag too, he noticed. The creature was barking strange noises at him. Talking to him, he assumed. This particular prey always tried to talk to him. No one talked to him. He grunted.

He hefted a club and hit the sack once with it.

The quiet returned, and immediately he felt better. With no one but just himself he began to prepare his supper.


Red Berries

Red Berries, by Penny C

A single whole that is composed of many parts.

It waits in your backyard: a thing. A single whole that is composed of many parts. One day you will find it. You will both look each other in the eye–a contest of wills.

Only one will survive.


The Systematic Cynic

The Systematic Cynic

“Eldritch, myopic diptych?” I asked, the thought of which made little sense to me.

“You see, the systematic cynic, well, he sat down at the picnic,” began the Cryptic Mystic. “He sat down beside the eldritch, myopic diptych of the flesh-eating witch!”

“Eldritch, myopic diptych?” I asked, the thought of which made little sense to me. “How could such a thing be worthy of my visit–forgive me– as I sit here cramped in your minuscule hutch?”

“Yes, I must admit that there’s not much to my tale. But believe me! That hag was . . . worse than an itch!”

“Ah,” I nodded my head as best I could without hitting it on a piece of wood. “Forgive me, but you did not answer the question posed: Diptych? As in a painting? Or something to write on? And if so, if one were to suppose that this is a very decent witch–or an itch, as you said previously–how would she be both a flesh-eating, myopic eldritch thing while also being a diptych? Should all of that not cancel each other out?”

The Cryptic Mystic covered his ears and said: “You don’t have to shout! Now what’s this all about? Are you telling me that you do not know the dangers of the eldritch, myopic diptych of the flesh-eating witch!”

I tried not to roll my eyes . . . “I now see what you mean by worse than an itch!”

“There now, see? That wasn’t so hard after all! Now, close your eyes . . . It’s time to feast!”

I stared at the Cryptic Mystic long and hard. “Do you mean to tell me,” I began, “That you are nothing more than a lowly beast? Thinking that I’d let you eat me? Why you–”

The Cryptic Mystic quickly cut me off. “For starters, I am not the real Cryptic Mystic. Before he left for the holidays we made a deal: that I would be able to have his most annoying visitors for my meals if I pretended to be him. I am in fact the heartless, gutless, two-headed ram-ewe.”

I screwed up my face in confusion. “The one who doesn’t chew its meals, and who likes to steal wheels?”

“The very same!”

This time I did roll my eyes.


Androgynous Mist

art, imagery, horror, digital, weird

It began to fade in and out, while changing its colours in a rhythmic succession like a gaseous cuttlefish.

The androgynous mist started to shrink, and the spaces between its particles shrank with it. It began to fade in and out, while changing its colours in a rhythmic succession like a gaseous cuttlefish. It soon became clear that the shrinking was in fact shifting. But shifting of what? Colour, smell, space?

It was the shape, however. That was the only thing that mattered to the mist.

Mist became man. Or hominid-shaped, at least. And then the androgynous mist became a masculine solid. Of course, it always choose this form. Why? Who knew what went through the mind of an androgynous mist . . .

The last act began as the mist materialized as a solid being. It grasped the shoulders of the young man, the object of its ‘affection’, and pierced his chest with a long draconian tongue. Without so much as a dying whisper the young man crumpled to the ground. He had lost his mind a long time ago. How fortunate for him, the being thought. Or, rather, it thought along those lines. Behind those milky white eyes there lied a treacherous, mysterious mind, with its own set of rules and its own inner workings.

It licked the blood off of its hand, slowly trailing that tongue down until it came to its elbow; that elbow ended in a sharp, bony spike. Why hadn’t it used that to kill the man? That would have been the more ‘humane’ method, but there would have been little in the way of personal pleasure offered to the creature.

After all, the creature was a demon.


Hostile Hallucination

photography, writing, horror, weird, fiction

She fell until there was nothing left of her being.

“I’ve forgotten the words already,” a voice said in as low a voice as it could muster; that voice was so deep, so distinct. . . So hostile.

“Why do you hate me so much?” She asked.

There was a long pause between words. When she had made up her mind that this was all a dream the owner of the voice answered her question. Finally. “How can you tell?”

“I just know. Don’t ask me how.” There was still the possibility of this being a hallucination. She had read about high frequency sounds and electromagnetic waves affecting the brain. There was that, and much more she reasoned. Ruling out insanity as the cause of all this gave her a small measure of comfort. Small, she reminded herself.

“So, after all these years something remains.” Bitterness broke through that thin layer hostility. Beneath it all was pain. And pride.

“You tricked me, and I died.”

A sharp intake of breath broke the silence. “You didn’t die. You became like me–like a god–immortal.”

She shook her head, attempting to dispel the turmoil within her. It were as if she were drunk. Nothing made sense anymore; She couldn’t think. “Stop!” she snarled. “You never listened! You never cared about anything but yourself!” Her voice, she realized, was different. She could not tell what it was that made it so different. That drunk feeling swept over her once more, and she fainted.

Down into the abyss she fell. Or that’s how it felt.

She fell until there was nothing left of her being.

She had simply stopped.


Cut Up

“I don’t see why you’re so cut up about it–oh . . .” As he turned around he noticed his partners lack of life. They had literally been cut up. But by what? was his immediate question. Who could have done this, or–he made a loud gulping sound–what could have done this?

On the one hand he was scared half to death.

On the other hand he was trying so damn hard not to burst out laughing. The situation was so ludicrous he was almost in denial. For crying out loud, this was exactly what happened in B grade in horror flicks!

Well, he said to himself. You can always join them, and then beat them later! Feeling strengthened by his new resolve, he straightened his pristine lab coat.

Then he filled both pockets with every sharp object he could find.

Before leaving the room he turned back to his partners corpse. “Promise me you won’t turn into a zombie and I promise that I will avenge you.”


No One Wanted It Around


“Feed me, I am hungry, the beast said. It regarded its reflection on spoon as it awaited the answer. Perhaps he should just crawl into a hole and die–permanently. No one wanted a demon around.

As expected, the woman said No in a flat tone, followed by a: “Leave me alone.”

If only he could make her feel something . . . Then he wouldn’t feel so dead inside. It would never happen again like it used to, though; she had put her foot down–permanently. She didn’t want a demon around.


Terms of Estrangement

He found it odd that she could have fled from his love; he had devoted his existence to her in its entirety, had risked all of his stature for her. Hadn’t he? Was that not what she wanted?

Why then, did she leave him?

Something began to grow within him–a fire within his belly that churned, broiled, consumed. Ire. Rage. Contempt. Pain . . .

Pain had been something which he had forgotten the taste of. Did she see HER? he wondered. Did she see US? His old mate had come to him the night before; she had tempted him, and he had fallen.

Was that it? Yes, he told himself. What was seen as sin among the human animals was nothing to care about among his own kind. Didn’t she know that? 

“I did this,” he whispered to himself. The fire returned. How could she leave him? Not a word had been spoken on her part. After he had been with his old mate he had searched for his woman . . . His human wife. And his searching had been in vain. Again, that fire flared up from within, but this time the fire spread through his veins. He found himself on the ground, on his knees, doubled over.

She never bothered to say anything. Not one word. No goodbyes, one side of him said to the other.

Yes, but you knew. You are the one who drove her to this–ever since your wedding night so, so long ago! the other retorted.

A loud groan filled the air, cracking his jaws wide open. Pain! There was a sickening lurch in his stomach. Something within him snapped.

The groan, the pain . . . Grew into a roar.


Hatred for her and her betrayal. For her rejection.

You always knew, that voice accused. And now she’s lost to you.





Over Ripened Blackberries

She picked up an unsuspecting fruit, and held it between her thumb and index finger. Infinitesimal insects crawled over and around each purple cluster; they were like little flying worms with legs. I’m going to masticate you all in one small bite, she thought offhand. Today was the first time she had noticed them on her fruit. One had been flying around the bowl; she had noticed it while she was working at her desk.

How many of these creatures had she consumed in her lifetime?

How many infinitesimal souls had she destroyed?

Her friends called her quirky. The old ones called her deranged. In her larval state she was capable of simple, paltry, human thoughts. And it was slowly driving her to madness . . . The fruit burst between her fingers.

The infinitesimal worms wriggled in the dark juices, contorting their bodies in agony as they suffocated.



I was downing a spoonful of tomato soup when my dad spoke up.

“Is that him?” he asked me. Looking up, I followed the direction his finger was pointing in. We were at the restaurant to kill a few hours before our show. The him, or it I should say, was someone I had dated once. I say that word tentatively because I was really just playing around . . . Being young and naïve . . . I don’t know what you’d call it. I wasn’t exactly in my right mind at that time.

He didn’t see us, or at least I don’t think he did. The woman he was with looked familiar. What is it with him and going after women who look like his mother? I should add that mother is also tentative. Master or mistress was more the correct term. Keeper would work just fine, too. She also reminded me of someone I knew in high school. Natalie? Or Madelaine?

“I never knew he was bi,” I murmured to myself. What did I care, though?

My dad seemed surprised. “What did you see in that schmuck?”

I shrugged my shoulders. To be honest I couldn’t tell him, because I couldn’t remember a single thing. I don’t think he really had that much of a personality to begin with.

Then again, he wasn’t that much of a human, if you follow me.

That poor girl was in for a rather nasty surprise.

“Oh well, he did you a favor, didn’t he?” That was my dad again.

“You have no idea,” I told him bluntly. “He’s on a whole different plane.” Despite being in the same general area as he was, I wasn’t really bothered that much by it. Thankfully.

That poor girl, I thought to myself again. Then I quickly reminded myself that this city was crawling with his kind. As I downed another spoonful of soup I heard my dad say something about cleaning up the riff-raff. I couldn’t help but smile.


Drastic Silence

Consider this payback, for all the undesirable things that you have done to me in the past. Like it or not, but this will happen . . . My Revenge will soon take flight; you will never know it until your time is up, never see it till it is on top of you, ripping you apart. It will devour you, I think. It might even play with you as you die. I cannot say for certain. Which is rather unfortunate, but I digress.

All I did was hatch the thing. Then I told it what to do; I gave it something that was once yours, for the smell. Then I gave it your picture, for the sight.

That was all. Revenge is fairly easy like that . . . Very low maintenance.

And when you are gone, when Revenge has finally silenced you for good, I think I may sit  back with a glass of wine. Enjoy the good weather. Yes, I think that is a good idea.

The best part of all: everything will be quiet and calm, as if you were never around to disturb my existence.

As if you had never existed yourself.


P.S: I am sure your friends below are toasting to that; they would be crazy not to.


To Be Found . . .

What did it all mean? A whirlwind of emotions gripped at him, threatening to pull him under. Here was he, barely afloat upon that turbulent sea; he was bobbing up and down in swift and fluid motions. He let out a long gasp, almost a moan.

Where would this take him? The sweet warmth, the ecstasy . . . What was there to be found?

For a short while, Da’kiri mulled the thought over in his head. If there was anything to be had at all, what would he have to show for it? A dead human . . . A dead woman?

Something from deep within snapped.