award-winning author Eric J. Guignard. Equal parts whimsy and weird,
horror and heartbreak, this debut collection traverses the darker
side of the fantastic through vibrant and harrowing tales that depict
monsters and regrets, hope and atonement, and the oddly changing
reflection that turns back at you in the mirror.
as Ramsey Campbell (“Guignard gives voice to paranoid vision that’s
all too believable.”), Rick Hautala (“No other young horror
author is better, I think, than Eric J. Guignard.”), and Nancy
Holder ( “The defining new voice of horror has arrived, and I stand
teen experiences romance, while the world slowly dies from rising
temperatures and increasing cases of spontaneous combustion.
his dreams and love in Hollywood playing a munchkin during filming of
The Wizard of Oz, but soon those dreams begin to darken.
tells the true story behind the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, and
of the grime that accumulates beneath our floors.
the ocean-borne debris of her tsunami-ravaged homeland, and the
ghosts that come with it.
warning against the cycle of opium addiction from which, even after
death, there is no escape.
town’s surviving children safe on a mountaintop from the incursion
of ferocious creatures… until a flash flood strikes.
strange, and the profound.
Excerpt from A Case Study in Natural Selection and How It Applies to Love:
YESTERDAY I SAW JAMIE GOODWIN BURST into flame.
He was just sitting on one of those cheap aluminum-back chairs we all have, eyes closed in the shade of Hester’s old RV, trying to get some relief from the heat, same as everyone else. I was checking the stock of coolers, seeing if any held even a bit of water left to siphon out, when Jamie let out a tiny gasp like he woke from a bad dream. If it was a bad dream he had, he woke to something worse, ’cause little glints of light popped and fizzed off him like the sparklers we used to wave around on Fourth of July. Smoke or steam or something else rose up, then Jamie’s eyes went cartoon big and he turned into a fireball.
Jamie’s the fourth person to spontaneously combust this month. Two women burned last Wednesday, and old Tom Puddingpaw blazed the week prior. Before that, we averaged onlyone or two fireballs a month, but now it’s getting worse. And after Jamie burned, Ms. Crankshaw didn’t even cancel lessons like she normally did, as if coming to terms that folks fireballing was the new natural order of things.
“That’s another lesson in evolution. One day we’re apes, then we’re humans, now we’re fireballs.”
She didn’t really say that, but she might as well have.
At least Loud John and Rudy were there when Jamie burned, and they contained his cinders so it didn’t spread like when Quiet John caught flame. But I still saw the whole thing, and it still scared me, even if others pretend to somehow be getting used to it.
“I watched him die,” I tell my friends. “Jamie didn’t scream. I think he tried, since his mouth opened wide, but nothing came out except flames.”
“Why is this happening for no reason?” Ogre asks, though that question is rhetorical because he doesn’t expect an answer. His voice hitches and he overcompensates for it by yelling, “When’s it going to stop?”
That’s rhetorical too.
Excerpt from Last Night :
LAST NIGHT, THE MOON TURNED FULL.
Last night, the world stopped turning.
Last night, the cosmos froze, like the slow-moving cogs of an ancient clock that finally grind down. Perhaps the great horologist of the universe simply forgot to rewind the mechanism of its gears. Perhaps he will appear at any moment to lift the stop lever and turn back its counter wheel. Perhaps he has decided the clock is broken and not worth his patience to tinker with any longer.
The earth hangs motionless now, peering to the sun from one face which, presumably, must begin to burn. Is the other side of the planet in flames or is it simply cooking like a slow-roast oven? I cower in North Vancouver, across the Burrard Inlet and, here, it is only night. My own watch has outlasted the mechanism of the universe and ticks away, telling me it’s three in the afternoon. The sky shows otherwise, black and interrupted by a soft moon which rests high above like a pool of cream.
The temperature had fortunately been warm, golden months of Canadian summer that were just beginning to fade into autumn’s auburn embrace. But I feel it cooling already. The red mercury on my thermometer outdoors drops steadily—forty-eight degrees and slowly sinking. The electricity is still on to generate heat but, once that goes out, there will remain nothing to warm this part of land relegated to nocturnal shadows. Lest that great horologist return, I can only image the arctic wasteland all of
Vancouver will soon become.
If the sinking cold were not grim enough, the howl of werewolves chills me even more.
It’s true they exist, but they’ve been of little consequence. One night a month, they transformed and ran wild through the piney wilderness above Lion’s Bay. Their victims were homeless vagrants found sleeping in ravines or drunken hunters, piss-proud they killed a rabbit with a shotgun. Poetic justice, if you ask me, and their deaths unmourned. We all knew of the creatures and simply stayed home those nights with doors locked and shutters bolted.
The werewolves were people of the town, members of families with long-standing roots to the indigenous men and women who first settled this country. When the time of month came, they did
their business elsewhere, and we let them be.
Now, however, the moon does not fall. It no longer cycles the earth, while the earth no longer cycles the sun. That beguiling orb in the sky has petrified and casts its strange call permanently over mortals who would transform into howling beasts: those mortals who will never be mortal again. As the cosmos are stuck in their current alignment, so too are the creatures stuck in their transformation. The moon may stay full on this part of land for the remainder of eternity, and the wolf-men will run wild.
LAST WEEK, the moon turned full.
Last week, the world stopped turning.
Last week, time fell meaningless as calculations based on the rotation of the planet ceased. My watch ticks onward, the quartz crystal in its center vibrating at a steady frequency to tell me the hours, the days that have passed. It matters not for, outside, it is still midnight . . . always midnight.
I look out the window and see the dark ocean far away, its surface illuminated by the moon’s reflection. Burrard Inlet is motionless, flat as a sheet of glass. There are no tides to pull the waves in or out, motions I once let myself be hypnotized by, dreaming upon their quiet, steady roar. Little moves outside, except for glimpses of fleeting shadows that dart across the hills—shadows that quickly melt into darkness and, once they are gone, cause me to wonder if they were ever there to begin with.
The werewolves have grown bold. In the past they relegated themselves to the wilderness, but now they roam the city. Their number is multiplying. I hear howling often, and screams too, but can never tell where the sound comes from as it echoes in the cold, still night air.
I have gone outside my house only twice since the world stopped moving.
operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles. He’s won the
Bram Stoker Award, been a finalist for the International Thriller
Writers Award, and a multi-nominee of the Pushcart Prize. His stories
and non-fiction have appeared in over one hundred genre and literary
publications such as “Nightmare Magazine,” “Black Static,” “Shock Totem,”
college professor, and he stumbles home each day to a wife, children,
cats, and a terrarium filled with mischievous beetles.
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