Black Static #52

Andy Cox et al.

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The May–June issue contains Carole Johnstone’s 17,000-word novelette ‘Wetwork’, plus stories by Damien Angelica Walters, Robert Levy, Michelle Ann King, and Ralph Robert Moore. The cover art is by Ben Baldwin for ‘Wetwork’ as is more art inside, with other illustrations by Joachim Luetke, Warwick Fraser-Coombe, and Dave Senecal. Features: Coffinmaker’s Blues by Stephen Volk (comment); Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker (comment); Case Notes by Peter Tennant (book reviews and an in-depth interview with Paul Meloy); Blood Spectrum by Gary Couzens (DVD/Blu-ray reviews).


Wetwork by Carole Johnstone
illustrated by Ben Baldwin

Item image: Wetwork

Most of the streetlights have been smashed, so at first it doesn’t look like the inside of a slaughterhouse. Then one of the choppers does a noisy, lowdown flyover, and the whole courtyard lights up red like a fucking flare. I’ve enough time to count upwards of a dozen bodies before the chopper wheels around the East Tower like a big ugly buzzard, leaving us in near darkness again.


Deep Within The Marrow, Hidden In My Smile by Damien Angelica Walters
illustrated by Dave Senecal 

Item image: Deep Within The Marrow, Hidden In My Smile

I wear you in my bones.

No one else can see you, but I know you’re there. I feel the weight of you within the shape of me, like a tumor, a disease. If I look too long in the mirror, I’m afraid I’ll see you staring back.

Sometimes late at night, when the house is quiet, I whisper your name, but you never answer.


The Oestridae by Robert Levy
illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe 

Item image: The Oestridae

White dust rises from the road like tobacco smoke, followed by the grinding of car wheels on dry Pennsylvania dirt as a silver compact rumbles into view, up the hill on its way to the house. “Who’s that?” I say, but Dara only shakes her head and continues to chew at her hair. The spit-wet strands fall from my sister’s lips, her gaze lifting until she rises, pulled from the Adirondack chair as if hefted on a rope. It’s an August scorcher, the space between us and the road shimmering with heat as we wait for the sky to shift like a sieve and let the rain tumble through, the air a thick wool blanket. It’s been humid like this for a month now, ever since our mother disappeared. And just when I think I’ve finally run out of hope, one last drip of it leaks out to ruin everything.


My Sister, The Fairy Princess by Michelle Ann King 

Item image: My Sister, The Fairy Princess

I leave my rental out front, next to Mom’s old pickup. I don’t bother locking it, since the plan is to do this fast: get in, get it done, get away. I’m sure the house and whatever money Mom had will be going to Daisy, so it should be easy – sign any paperwork, maybe pick up some random piece of jewelry as a memento, and shoot back to the hotel. Then, after I’ve shown my face at the funeral, I can get back to forgetting this place exists


Trying To Get Back To Nonchalant by Ralph Robert Moore
illustrated by Joachim Luetke 

Item image: Trying To Get Back To Nonchalant

The waiting room was quiet. Aquarium bubbling against a wall.

Hal made sure the front door shut behind him. Went across the carpet to the receptionist’s window.

The same dark-haired beauty who was always there. Thirtyish.

Looking up, she smiled. Which she didn’t do that often. Not that she was ever cold towards the patients who came into this room. But maybe sometimes a bit too professional? Of course, she might need that emotional distancing, given most of these patients didn’t last long?

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