Litro #119: Ghosts

Litro #119: Ghosts

From Daniel Knauf’s eerily unsettling and nightmarish horror fable “Bye, Bye Blackbird” to “Flat Pack Pirate”, Sabrina Mahfouz’s slick and chilling tale of domestic paranoia, there’s something to chill even the hardened ghost lover. And if you want your shot of horror laced with a hint of violent realism, we have an exclusive extract from Sam Hawken’s Tequila Sunset to see you through into the morning hours. There is also a short story from A. J. Kirby and an especially commissioned poem by Helen Mort. We are particularly excited about Giles Anderson's piece, "The Ghost in the (Fruit) Machine", which is his first fictional submission. Read more →

Flat-pack Pirate

Late that night when the river outside was black like octopus ink and inside the only noise was the low buzz of the boiler, he heard a scratching sound and found that she was not next to him. Her clothes were abandoned on the floor by the bed. He followed the scratching, got closer closer closer… until he screamed with terror as he saw what was happening. Read more →
(c) Kuyler McComas

Bye, Bye Blackbird

She was with him every night as he drifted between sleep and delirium. He heard her coo softly, a cool hand on his forehead. Even when his cough settled deep and bubbling, every breath an act of will, fever pounding and smoldering inside his head, when he knew it was no longer flu, but pneumonia, Dale refused to call a doctor, afraid that by relieving his symptoms, he would somehow banish her. Read more →

Extract from Tequila Sunset

They went out mixed, but as the cons distributed into the yard they broke into their component parts. White boys congregated by the weight pile, blacks by the half-court basketball blacktop and the Latinos by the handball court. Within each division were individual cliques, but the most important grouping was by race. The colors approached one another’s domains only when certain dictates had been observed. In this way the facilities could be shared without it coming to blows. Read more →
(c) lezumbalaberenjena/Flickr


Seabirds haunt an area where the contents of a bucket have been tossed. I see fish-heads. Entrails. Farther along, I almost step on a dead jellyfish. Its skin is transparent. Ghostly. Reminds me of the clear plastic bags they issue at security in the airport. I can see all the wiring inside it; looks like telephone cord. Like it has a circuit board inside it.I used to think people were like that. That I could see right through into the heart of them. That I understood them. Thought that was what made me a good social worker. All it took was one misreading and everything fell apart. Read more →
(c) Christian Heilmann

The Ghost in the (Fruit) Machine

It was there that the father-son relationship was nurtured by proxy, though increasingly as my brother approached puberty, the attractions became less familial and more like lovers. He would murmur to them, fondle them, coax them deftly to pay out their meagre jackpots with all the attentiveness of a young man in love for the first time. He became a virtuoso, learning their moods, their patterns, their rhythms; when they’d pay out, when they’d clam up. Warm copper coins eased gently into their gaping slots, with a tenderness and patience uncharacteristic of his gender and teenage years. My brother, the Casanova of copper coins. Read more →

Listings: October 2012

Bob Marley: Messenger
Mezzanine Gallery, 24 July – 24 October 2012
Following a successful run at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, where it was on display for over three months, the exhibit will now be available to audiences from Britain and around Europe. Visitors will witness Bob Marley as a private, spiritual man, as a powerful performer who used his lyrics to give a voice to the disenfranchised and as a legend who has inspired legions of fans in the years since his death.

Read more →