Dread Stone Press presents SPLIT SCREAM, a new Horror Novelette Double Feature. This is Volume Two. Grab some popcorn, turn the lights low, and don’t be afraid to scream.
“The Shivering World” – Cynthia Gómez
Nayeli’s brilliance should be enough to outshine the darkness she longs to leave behind, but she fears she’ll never get further than what her unstable mother can provide: a futon in a garage. She’s determined to transfer to a good college and get out, but the men in her life-a violent neighbor, a greedy landlord, her mother’s predatory boyfriend-stand in her way. Only once she encounters the supernatural, a being she suspects to be La Llorona herself, does Nayeli begin to truly see the power she is capable of. But at what cost? “The Shivering World” is a Faustian bargain in a place of poverty and gentrification, where supernatural terrors meet the horrors of escaping to a new life.
“What Ate the Angels” – M. Lopes da Silva
Non-binary ASMR artist November discovers the sound of a giant heartbeat beneath Los Angeles, which only they seem to hear. When their vore-loving partner Heather, a City Hall archivist, grows ill and can’t get the healthcare she needs, they believe they will find a solution through the thrum. November journeys underground, through abandoned Prohibition-era tunnels, to the den of a creature born from the fabric of the city itself: oil, bones, chemicals-and souls. “What Ate the Angels” is queer body horror full of dread and pulpy, throbbing filth.
While M. Lopes da Silva’s story had too much body horror for me—that’s not the story’s fault, I’m just a big baby when it comes to horror—Cynthia Gómez’s was just the right amount of looming dread. “The Shivering World” is a visceral, vivid novelette about a desperate young woman grabbing for her only way out. But that road is paved with blood and muddy creek water. You don’t see a lot of fiction, speculative or otherwise, set in Oakland, and certainly not in the lower income parts of it. Gómez avoids the stereotypes that often plague stories about people living in poverty or on the margins. And as someone from the Bay Area and familiar with the neighborhoods her story is set in, it feels brutally honest. La Llorna may be the supernatural monster here, but the real horror is the society that forced Nayeli into making her choice in the first place.
A great horror novelette. And make sure to read M. Lopes da Silva’s as well!
Available through bookshop.org (affiliate link)