Monstrous Femme

guerilla conversation

Checking the pings and chimes that pique your passive, lethargic womanhood lying on the pillow awakens the first line of defence. It’s good morning to a bronzed physique appearing in an algorithm’s army, sword in hand. Proudly, he wields sex-imposed brand promotion. What a lovely picture. Then, you venture to the New York Times newsletter telling of the “great achievements” of yet another brazen male politician. The neural network lights up without time to impose a ceasefire, encoding the brain. It’s time to sleepwalk to the bathroom.

Saw X Review

The tenth installment of the Saw franchise finally sees the movie formula broken and subverted. Jigsaw and Spiral seemed to promise to take the series in a new direction, but in reality, they rode down the same old road. Saw X delivers on these promises, which leaves long-time fans pleasantly surprised and newcomers excited about a horror movie that will have them recoiling in their seats.

Green Fuse Burning Review

“Life was like a language I couldn’t speak.”

Green Fuse Burning is an Indigenous swampcore/fungal/eco horror novella that chronicles the life of urban Mi’kmaw landscape artist Rita Francis, whose paintings are recovered and exhibited after her disappearance. Estranged from her family and devastated over her father’s death, Rita is consumed by loss and regret, alienated from her culture and native tongue, while weighed down by a toxic relationship with her girlfriend Molly. After Molly secretly submits a grant application in Rita’s name that earns her an artist’s residency at a remote cabin located on her ancestors’ former land, Rita accepts despite her anger at Molly’s deception, hoping to reconnect with her heritage and revitalize her craft.

Tied with a Bow

Allie didn’t belong at the victims’ ball.

She hadn’t known anyone who had died during the Reign of Terror, being such a silent supporter during the revolution, but she still wanted to pay her respects. They had been brave enough to fight while she was a coward, as instructed by her family. But she’d managed to throw out a name to be allowed entry, to dance and mourn like the rest of them.


There he is, right on time, she thought to herself, turning a bit in her seat at the bar to face him more fully. He hadn’t seen her yet, but he would soon. She fluffed her russet waves and waited patiently for his gaze to land on her.

He looked surprised to see her there already, taking an appreciative, hungry glance at the thigh-high slit in her skirt.

“I wasn’t sure you’d be able to find the place,” he said, sliding into the seat next to her.

“Yes, well. GPS and all, right?” she replied, enjoying how he watched her painted red lips as she spoke.

Extra Baggage

Caryn Rathbone sat at the bar, swaying her head along with the music as she enjoyed her drink. These night outs were so rare. She’d been lucky to get a babysitter for the kids.

“Buy you a drink?”

She turned to see the man who sat on the stool next to hers. At first, her blood boiled at the interruption. She preferred to enjoy some alone time on her nights out since she never got it at home. But when she saw how handsome he looked, she smiled.


Humans are cursed with an overwhelming drive to live. To extend and preserve life. Living is familiar, all we understand how to do. So, of course, we fight to hold onto it. And struggle with losing what we are forbidden to keep. There is so much fear in the unknown, the stage after this life on earth, that we are willing to endure suffering as the price for breathing.

round robin

He said, “You can be a bad girl tonight.” She said, “I’m not the type.” He assuages his shame. Sipping slowly, bitter gimlet. It’s coating the mouth that teems with lies, and soon enough he’ll wake up and cry. Oh why? He said, “Just join my table. It’s right there.” She nods and takes off, only a blank stare. For her, that brandished smile is full of daggers. She wonders when the stalemate is coming, and her price tag staggers.

Rocky Road

On my first day at the ice cream shop, I was brought into a dimly-lit back closet referred to as the “locker room.” Inside were nearly 100 identical button-down shirts and a heap of aprons, all impossibly white. We were instructed to take one of each and meet behind the counter. The final touch was a disposable paper hat, which expanded sideways to create a canoe shape reminiscent of the Revolutionary War era.

Turning Real Life Horror Into Horror Fiction

“You write horror.”

It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. The woman who pointed at me and said those words had uttered them as if she knew, just by looking at me, that not only do I write horror, but I also lived through it.

I had to wonder if the burn scars on my face gave it away.

I Always Knew I Was Rotten

I think I always knew something was wrong with my soul.

I always knew something was rotting beneath my skin. That the soft flesh of my heart was giving way to nothing. A sludge, held on by desperation and contempt. Nothing more, nothing less. Still it beats though, doing as it’s told to do. I’m not sure it knows that nothing is there anymore, just battered trash, a ghost of what it’s supposed to be. It’s pretending, wearing a mask so that no one guesses we aren’t really there.

The Exorcist of Epitaph Street

The Moor was steeped with lazy energy, and two demons youths sat beside a pond, as much a part of the tranquility that hung over that lonesome place as the looming, mossy trees and the mosquitos that hovered over the black river, courting and spreading themselves ever further.

Loneliest Highway

Elroy eased the semi off to the side of the road, swearing under his breath as he felt it dip and jitter its way into a shallow ditch. It wasn’t like he would find a better place to pull off. Not here. Not now.

He’d seen the severe weather warning at his last stop. He’d looked at the red exclamation point on the cracked screen of his phone and had puffed a disappointed breath through his nose. Of course he’d be driving head-on into a blizzard on the loneliest highway in America. That was just how his luck was.

Chucky and Queer Horror

Child’s Play is the most daring, consistent franchise in horror. Every entry builds on the last while also justifying its own twisted existence. Sure, the voodoo rules get increasingly wonky (probably on purpose) and the tone veers wildly from gothic horror to gleeful camp (definitely on purpose), but no other series is as focused on honoring the past while always trying something new.

Society for Soulless Girls

From rewatching Over the Garden Wall for the three-hundredth time to mercilessly gutting pumpkins in pursuit of the most Instagram-worthy jack-o-lantern, fall traditions come in all shapes and sizes. While cracking the spines of classics and contemporary horror tales alike is a year-round pursuit of my own, there’s something special about the fall that amplifies the genre’s already-tight vise grip on my subconscious. Horror’s versatility creates a world rife with subgenres and subcultural pockets, and none are more fitting for the fall season than the back-to-school aesthetics found within the pages of dark academia. Thus, the changing leaves and prominence of pumpkin spice on menus motivated me to pick up Laura Steven’s The Society for Soulless Girls.

A Cool Halloween Brew

I should have known Miss McCleary was a little too cool for our own good. A single lady, subtly attractive at whatever her age happened to be (I’d guess circling the airport around her early thirties), living in the Robison’s old big Tudor at the end of the block for the past three years. No real friends to speak of, but always waving to us boys, hiring us for various chores around her house; always suddenly right next to you when you had never heard her approaching or breathing.

Severed Shadow

For the first time in ages, the orderlies guided me to the baths. The sterner of the two, a stocky woman I privately called Big Sadie, slapped a bar of soap into my hand and directed me to strip and scrub. I lowered myself into lukewarm water already dirty from a previous occupant. Then I added my grime to the tub, lathering the soap into nothing, rubbing the lemon-scented froth over my skin and my scalp. While it didn’t approach the luxury of descending into a wall of bubbles in the clawfoot at home, I felt lighter and more human afterward. I dried myself with a scratchy towel, then got into a fresh gown, its shapeless white cotton reaching past my knees. Combing my wet hair, I lamented silently that my once-pert bob now hung lifelessly to my shoulders.

Flash Blindness

My heart hammers nervously in my chest as I park and prepare to leave my car—I have never been outside my house in makeup and a dress before. I doublecheck my wings in the rearview mirror, painstakingly drawn in liquid eyeliner just half an hour ago: sharp and symmetrical. I had practiced my makeup skills for months before finally gathering the courage to go out with it on.

Girlhood Is a Liminal Space

A little girl is less a person than she is a portal. At any moment, she can crack open and something else can come slithering through. Sady Doyle’s 2019 exploration of the monstrous feminine, Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers, opens with a section titled Daughters. Before the woman can be a monster, she must first […]

hex girl

Christians think I hate them, but I don’t. In fact, I like their religion so much that I masturbated with a crucifix just last night.

Of course there are particular strains of Christianity, and particular kinds of Christians, that I can’t stand. Like those little blondes with cross necklaces and patronizing smiles, all too eager to force their love of the lord unto those who don’t subscribe to their dogma. They ride their high horses through Chick-Fil-A drive-throughs and blare their bible verses outside abortion clinics; they reject science, facts and reason in favor of blind faith, and they feel smugly superior all the while, safe in their knowledge that what happens in this life doesn’t matter because they’re heaven-bound, God-blessed. They can float above all the misery of this world and the misfortune of others, since they’re Jesus’s hand-picked pageant queens, the favorite daughters of Christ, their empty heads topped with golden halo crowns.

gimme more

It’s 2:12 AM and I’ve been listening to “Piece of Me” on repeat for, God, how many minutes? Twenty, thirty, forty-five? My mind lays in shards around me, and all I can hear is the thumping melody in my ears, the autotuned hiss of you want a piece of me? now the only voice in my head. For the moment, I’ve managed to escape myself, to blow up my brain with a stick of dynamite labeled Blackout. It’s enough to keep me from taking a Xanax, the only kind of candy that’ll soothe your inner storm without adding to your weight. I could drown in Xannies: dive headfirst into a pool of them, mouth agape, until they crowd my stomach and lungs as I sink below the surface. That’d be a nice way to go.


He pressed his face into the hollow place between her shoulders and breathed in the scent of cold, dark earth. He sometimes imagined how that empty space in her back had come to be. Had her skin split as an infant, the fissure slowly growing larger and larger until it opened her up? Had something else, something unknowable, carved it out of her flesh centuries before he had been born? Or was it that she was something formed in the shape of a woman, grown around the gnarled parts of a long-forgotten tree?


This is a ghost story. But, when you think about it, aren’t they all?

It didn’t rain on the day they put me in the ground, the gravediggers struggling under the weight of my coffin—lined with lead—as they lowered it. I’ve always thought it would be more poignant to be buried under a deluge from the heavens, as if the world was mourning the dearly departed. But the sun was out that day, reflecting off the handles my pallbearers grasped and the buttons of my husband’s coat. Birds sang me into the earth.