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It’s that time of the year the leaves are turning brown and the nights are drawing in. It’s cold and it’s raining, it’s nearly Halloween. Celebrated the world over, Halloween has long moved on from the childhood holiday of begging for candy to include adult celebration of costume role-playing. There are now theme parks, festivals all dedicated to it’s celebration – it’s even become its own travel season with our cousins across the pond. The perfect time then to turn our pages to all things Nightmares!
Nightmares are vividly realistic, disturbing dreams that rattle you awake from a deep sleep. They often set your heart pounding from fear. Nightmares come from fears, fear bights in your stomach and grips your heart. An emotion we tend to do our best to sidestep.
Yet across the globe and through history people have been drawn to stories designed to do just that, give us nightmares.
So why the appeal to scare ourselves through stories especially fiction?
A suggestion is that like when we play, it allows us to prepare for possible threatening situations from a relatively safe position.
I’m sure many of you have thought about encounters with a zombie –No? When next your watching that zombie movie pay close attention you may just learn ways of coping with a zombie attack! Clearly chances of said encounter is as realistic as me donning a tutu outfit for Halloween. But despite all it’s fantastical aspects – successful horror fiction is usually realistic in its portrayals of human psychology and relationships. And I guess that’s where horror matters. When we can learn something.
Our cover artist this month is Nigel Cooke, his paintings carry a sense of mystery, with an implied menace. There’s a feeling of an impending apocalypse on the painting’s edges.
We open the issue with a piece of flash fiction Last Night I Didn’t Dream at All, by Mexican writer Raquel Castro translated by Lawrence Schimel, in this story dreams become part of a young girls reality.
Bethany Pope’s erotically charged Sweet Marrow, is a piece of prose poem narrated by a Succubus – I hope this is what Donald Trump’s dreams are made of – then again he might enjoy it too much!
Rosalind Goldsmith, gives us a dark and twisted tale, Yellow Cake,
Secrets Like Lead, by Francine Cunningham, told in the second person will put you in a nightmare like haze.
We close the issue with David Simpson’s Summer, a surreal tale told in the Bruno Schulz vein – his opening line’s drew me straight into his tale: “Though most of us loved our parents, we could not help but doubt them and suspect their motives and methods. “
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