Abyss: Stories of Depth, Time and Infinity is OUT NOW!

Are we more than the sum of our memories? Does time always pass the same or can it be influenced by thought? What happens to consciousness after death?

This is our second anthology – an exciting mix of horror, science fiction and experimental prose exploring these questions and many more. With contributions from:

William F. Aicher
Jasmine Arch
Mark Bolsover
R. A. Busby
Merl Fluin
Robert Guffey
Ayd Instone
Thomas Kendall
Tomas Marcantonio
David McAllister
Ross McCleary
L. P. Melling
Soumya Sundar Mukherjee
Kurt Newton
Stephen Oram
Nadia Steven Rysing
Vaughan Stanger
Antonia Rachel Ward

Buy now directly from our shop and get free shipping in the UK!

Also available from Amazon (where it is currently #1 in the Hot New Releases for Horror Anthologies), Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository and many more.

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Abyss

I’m pleased to announce that our second anthology, Abyss: Stories of Depth, Time and Infinity, will be released on 2nd May. It includes contributions from 18 outstanding authors or speculative and experimental fiction, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Pre-orders open on the Orchid’s Lantern shop at the end of March.

Flash Showcase: Rus Khomutoff – Untitled


I OBLIVIATE MYSELF INTO THE WHOLE LIKE A NAKED FLAME A NAME BEYOND DESIRE/TO EXIST BETWEEN ETERNITIES WILD NOTHING WITH EYES OF THE SKY/AXIS INFINITY DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE BLISS/COME FORWARD WITH YOUR VISCERA & VIOLENCE AND SHARE MY WINGS/UNLEASH YOUR SPIRIT BENEATH THE RAMJET ALLEGRO TEMPLE OF THE NIGHT SKY A NEED FOR MIRRORS & COUNTLESS SKIES/SHAKE YOUR INFINESSENCE SLOT CANYON HIGHBREATH BIRDFLOWER OF MY BECOMING/PARACOSM OF NEX MEMORY FORAGING A MOMENT & SUMMONING UP A BLACK FLAME/ARM OF EXUBERANCE SHORE OF ELAN/VENUS ENDEAVOR MINISTERING BLITHE SPIRITS/REACTION OUT OF MY HEAD/AUTUMN CRY OPULENCE LIKE A TRIANGLE & A DUEL/MELANCHOLY OF TRIBE SAD CAFE IMMORTAL CREAM TERMINAL SYSTEM OF SYSTEMS/CHAMELEON CHARADE STAR CODE CHALICE WONDERMENT CYCLORAMA/MEMORYISANISLAND PYLONS OF RED DUST SNAKING WITH MELANCHOLY/A FACE OF GENIUS IN FULL MEASURE OF THE SPECTACULAR NOW/IDEAPHORIA SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER KARTHIK FLOW/NEON METAPHOR GHOSTROCK OF THE SPLENDID RUINS/MECHANISMS OF YOUTH TRY NOT TO UNDERSTAND IMPOSSIBLE POISON/EROTIC BIRD WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON/TENDER SYMMETRY GLASS ANIMALS LIFE ITSELF/OF RAPTURE DEEP INTO THE NIGHT THE ARMOR OF MANY THOUGHTS/THE LUNAR SCHISM IS RUNNING WILD


My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am an experimental poet in Brooklyn, NY. I have published 3 collections of poetry: Immaculate Days  (Alien Buddha Press), Radia(Void Front Press) & Color Poems (Orbis Tertius Press). My poetry has appeared in Triplov, X-Peri, Problematique, Grody mag, Proprose, isacoustic & Ink Pantry.

Flash Showcase: Bullseye by CB Droege

“Are you hustling me, Harrison?”

Adaqaros turned away from the dartboard, his hand still on the final dart, which rested just to the right of center in the tiny treble twenty crescent. He stared at Jimmy through narrowed eyes, and accessed Harrison’s memories for the meaning of the term. It took several moments. Harrison had not put money on games of skill very often.

“No,” Adaqaros said. “My sudden increase in skill is a natural artifact. This is my second venture at darts only.”

“Wait,” Jimmy said. “That last game was the first time you’ve ever played darts?”

This made Adaqaros pause. He studied Harrison’s memories again, thoroughly. He had played a skill game similar to this at a fair when he was twelve years old, not nearly enough to have developed any muscle memory which Adaqaros could rely on. Several years earlier, Harrison had played with something called lawn-darts, which he had found in the garage of his paternal grandfather, but it was not truly a comparable activity. Adaqaros himself had never played this specific game of skill, and had had little opportunity to test the dexterity and depth perception of Harrison’s body. He decided that the statement was true enough to be spoken, and required no retraction. “Yes,” he said simply, and removed the final dart from the board.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Bullseye by CB Droege”

Source Material by Jake Williams

I found a new vein. I think it runs deep. I imagine it running from the black jagged wall all the way to the core. The pickaxe sank into something soft and red pulp burst out. I checked over my shoulder three times before I pocketed a wet clump to take home to Mary. Ten years and some buried part of me is still moved by the texture, how it reflects the glimmer of the lantern, the congealed malleable batter that fills the folds in your hand.

Bob barks his orders from where the light gets in until a new discovery is announced and he scurries in. He makes notes for head office and focuses our combined efforts to where the newest batch is unearthed. Each glob I bring home, the worry builds and simmers. Mary says I’ve been talking in my sleep. In that brief window of rest where my thoughts give up I murmur about Gary. Slow Gary who tried to trade it at the company store and hasn’t been seen since. We’ve been careful, the secret nest egg in the faded plastic cooler, nestled in the shed.

Continue reading “Source Material by Jake Williams”

Flash Showcase: The Beast by Stephen Oram

Like a continuous line of ants, they come and they go. Squeezing through the gap in the protective covering created by the bio-build bots. Dashing across the tarmac track. Scrambling up the slope of the grass mound in the centre of the dome to find a patch they can call their own. Breathing in deeply. Sucking down the thick air. Waiting to catch a glimpse. The girl and her grandmother are no exceptions. Rubbing shoulders on the crowded slope they chortle in anticipation. They tingle with the thrill.

Four shiny diamond-like eyes pierce the smog that clings to the floor of the bubble. Pinpricks that gradually grow. A silver mesh stretches between the two largest eyes like a mouth guard for the most ferociously dangerous animal. They both feel a rush of excitement through their veins. A smaller daintier eye sits either side of the larger eyes, one on either side. A rumbling noise with an undercurrent of a steady beating thump increases in intensity.

Glints of sunlight that pierce the skin of the dome reflect off the approaching beast, shooting beams upwards to delight the crowd with the cross of a kiss above them.

The roar is immense as it rushes past them, spewing its internal gases into the air and into their lungs. The girl shrieks with delight and her grandmother chuckles with the incredible joy of reliving her memories. Memories of the bygone age of petrol fuelled automobiles. The power that is barely contained within its shell is exhilarating.

“To feel alive, you must taste the poison of death,” whispers the grandmother to her transfixed granddaughter.

The girl licks her lips and swallows.

“I taste it,” she says and lies back on the grass to savour the sensation.


Stephen Oram’s near-future fiction has been praised by publications as diverse as The Morning Star and The Financial Times. He is published in several anthologies, has two published novels and two collections of sci-fi shorts. www.stephenoram.net


For detail of how to submit your own flash piece. To our Showcase, please visit the Submissions page. We also now accept short stories for online publication.

Flash Showcase: Bridget Set the Table by Elyse Russell

Bridget set the table because she always set the table.

Every evening at six o’ clock, she laid out the dishes, the silverware, and the glasses. She put out a fresh vase of flowers for a centerpiece. Every evening at six o’ clock for the last forty-seven years, Bridget set the table.

Then she would go into the kitchen to bring out supper. A roast, stew, or ham; she had several cooking staples and she rotated through them like clockwork.

One day, she brought out a salad with homemade dressing, chicken parmesan, seasoned green beans, and warm rolls. Bridget made everything from scratch; there was nothing out of a box on her table. She was a wonderful cook: she knew it and took a measure of pride from it. That was why she worked for the most prosperous man in the county. And Mr. Tiller liked his dinner to be punctual.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Bridget Set the Table by Elyse Russell”

Flash Showcase: The Puzzle by Anthony Kane Evans

I.

I wasn’t sure I was in the puzzle until I bumped into a young man on the trail I was taking to the beach.

“Excuse me, can you help me?” he said. “I’m looking for the town centre.”

Then he put his hand up to his mouth and laughed a thin, reedy laugh. One of the thirty-six signs of the puzzle. I kept a straight face. I didn’t want the puzzle to know that I knew I was in the puzzle.

“Keep going in the opposite direction to me and you’ll get there,” I said.

“Thank you,” the young man said. “It’s a good day for the beach, I can see that. Perhaps I’m going the wrong way, after all.”

“No doubt you’ll find out when you get there,” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

II.

He did move off. I felt the puzzle’s grip lessening. I found I could think again. I’ve heard that you can sing nursery rhymes to yourself, thereby confusing the puzzle, keeping it busy, as it were, so that it doesn’t interfere so much with you. I sang Humpy Dumpty. I tried not to think of the beach but clutched my towel a little bit tighter.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: The Puzzle by Anthony Kane Evans”

Flash Showcase: Telescope by Joe Howsin

Eyes open, fists clenched; teeth grinding, limbs limp; a shape, a shift; a whimper, a cry; a scream. This is how I wake up each morning. With routine, the terror I feel towards the shadow in the corner has dulled. No longer sharp, it is merely an ache. Yet still, each morning, I scream.

These days I don’t know why I get up at all. There is no job to go to, no friends to see. Maybe it’s for the coffee, or to escape the shadow.

Have you ever sat completely still because to move would be to hurl yourself into a rage? My blood thickens, lapping in viscus waves against straining eardrums. Electricity arcs across my muscles and burns me from the inside out. I twitch and jitter, shaking the cupboards, rattling plates, smashing a mug. I sink to my knees and collect the shattered rabbits lying in pieces on the kitchen floor. Their blood is thin and watery: a light brown fluid smelling faintly of earth and milk. I cry in shuddering tides over ceramic wildlife as the electricity continues to burn.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Telescope by Joe Howsin”

Flash Showcase: After this period, screaming should be minimal by Leonie Rowland

Cracked, I think, from the moment it starts: one foot on the pavement & one in the canal, saying, I could get used to this. My feet, speaking, conscious; considering you, twisting away, walking with strange inflections. That photo I sent, where I am in a bathroom, and they are almost on their side. The buckles on my shoes touching the floor. Get used to it. Get used to being half here and half there; go for dinner with someone I love (not you (not you)); listen when they say, you are always gone after speaking to her; nod and know that I was gone already, eating somewhere else, fading into vacancy and viciousness, expressed somehow as compassion (towards the distance, which pulls us together and keeps us apart). I am shoulders and shockwaves, limbs I don’t want, texts floating to you across the sea. Cups of water between us, flooding everything, all we talk about: look at the body, watch it yawn and take me whole. My feet shouting synergies, my hands scratching the shore. Fingers holding you. 

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: After this period, screaming should be minimal by Leonie Rowland”

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