A Glass, Darkly

Words By Luis Silva

Art/Lettering/Colors by Joelle Blot

Hello, dear reader. My name is Luis Silva (@mr_lou_silver) and I hope you enjoyed this comic that me and my best friend Joelle Blot (@stardragonart) worked on just for you. While you’ve already read this story (it is a one-page comic, after all) this section will be akin to the creator commentary you’d see on the special feature section of a DVD you found in a haunted video store that not only survived the advent of streaming services, but which contains a great many goodies.

We’ll start with the title. A Glass, Darkly itself primarily a reference to the 1 Corinthian 13:12. From my understanding of this verse, it compares mankind’s inability to understand god to a person trying to look through a dark and distorted looking glass. However, this story title is not only a reference to that verse, but also the time of night in which I’d often look in the mirror. 

Yes, I know it’s cliche, but this is based on a true story. Specifically, it is based on a time in my childhood where I, as a superstitious Catholic (don’t worry, I’m completely lapsed now) would try to poke and prod at the supernatural that my father would always say lurked out there, waiting to get me. Anyway, I figured that looking at the giant mirror in my house in the dead of night would be a good place to start. 

I’d stare at my reflection, and stare often. The thoughts in the comic itself are ones that I genuinely thought when I was a kid doing this. However, the reason I stopped in real life was a bit different. I simply thought, what if, just what if… my reflection blinked when I didn’t?

That was too spooky for me.

Fast forward a good twenty years to when I presented this potential story to Joelle, and she drew it out pretty quickly! When I asked Joelle about the colors for the comic and why they seemed so familiar, she told me that, “The color scheme has elements of the ace and trans flags.” Joelle also told me that the nameless main character was inspired by an old Dungeons and Dragons character she made named Riot. 

We hope you enjoyed this story as much as we enjoyed making it, and if you want to see more queer horror, check me and Joelle and our friend Andres (@adbravoart) over at our up and coming publishing house, Creatively Queer Press! (Follow us at @cq_press on Twitter and Instagram, as well as our site creativelyqueerpress.com)

Slow Erosion

CW: Body horror.

The elevator in my building had been broken since I moved in.

It didn’t say out of service, not even some scrawled note on a piece of paper. It just sat in the basement, door open, single light bright like a lure. It’s not that it had been turned off, because when I walked by it to drag myself up the stairs I could hear it humming.

I’d never noticed how loud elevators can be, when there’s no music to hide behind.

Sometimes I’d be so tired that I’d get into it anyway. The light hit the bare walls in such a way that it looked larger from the outside, but once you’re in there, there was barely enough space for you and your own elbows.
Spaces that small shouldn’t echo so clearly, but when my cane hit the side of the door, I could hear the clang of metal on metal following me all the way down the hall.

(That’s just my paranoia, of course. The door was open, there was nothing for my cane to hit.)

I sent a lot of emails about it. My mother always called me a rather impolite child, but I like to think I’ve rather grown into it, like a kid grows into their ears and their weird childhood obsessions. Now, I’m ‘tenacious.’ Now, I ‘speak my mind.’ Now, I let my personality fall just to one side of unkind, and I don’t feel bad about it.

No one answered my emails, but I knew they were going somewhere. Yesterday, one was printed out and taped up in the elevator. The words seemed to crawl, and I would have had to lean inside to see which one of the dozen I’ve sent it was, but I recognized my signature at the bottom. Someone was hearing me. It was just a matter of time.

It’s strange how so many people don’t really notice elevators. They’re in between places, you know? Purely to get from one place to another. Convenience, for most people. Most people could walk right out of one and not be able to describe where they were just standing. It’s different, for me. Maybe because they decide whether it’s going to be a good day or a bad one, how heavy my bones will feel by the time I’m getting home from work and doing my best not to fall down the stairs to get to my little basement apartment. Some are faster, some jerk up or down in ways that make my stomach twist, some play the same one song on loop because they think no one is paying attention.

I’m not sure if this is a cane-user thing or just a me thing, noticing.

Or maybe it’s something else entirely, the same thing that made me pause in front of my broken elevator, itching to go in and try one more time. An interest in places that are neither here nor there, in spaces that don’t quite exist. How much of our time do we leave behind in places that we barely register? How much of us is left like fingerprints on metal, breath on glass, rubbed off on strangers as we go about our days?

When I was a kid, one of my weird obsessions was rocks. Not necessarily even cool-looking rocks. Just rocks. I’d pick up pebbles and want to know more about them. I’d look up gravel in my little encyclopedia like I was just going to happen to stumble on something special. For Christmas, my uncle got me one of those toy rock tumblers, one year. I must have been about nine? My mother was quietly furious with him, for giving her loudest child the loudest possible toy, but I loved it. I would throw my rocks in and spin and spin and spin. They’d come out so smooth, and I’d run my fingers over them and wonder if that’s what people were like too, all the loud kids thrown into a tumbler and spun, spun, spun, until they learned how to be quiet, and pleasant, and not ask so many questions.

When I step into elevators, on my way to and from work, I have taken to making sure I don’t touch the sides.
The reason I moved in the first place was because of my job. It was more corporate than anything I pictured myself doing when I was growing up, but I didn’t hate it, and the pay’s alright. Hard to make a living spinning rocks, and school and I didn’t always get along, so I got out of there as soon as I could. But being the new person in the office, you’re sometimes tagged to do the more menial stuff, so today I was sent down to the basement to go looking for a spare kettle, because the one in the break room had up and broke on us.

Going down was fine. It’s a nice building, and the elevator has railings and chipper music that always gets stuck in my head, no matter what I do. I found the spare kettle right where my coworker said it would be, and went to go back upstairs.

The first thing I heard was the humming. No chipper earworms here, just that low drone of belts and gears, waiting to take you from one place to the next. By the time I turned the corner, I already knew what was going to be waiting for me. Something inside me, in that space between your ribs and your logic, the thing that tells you when to leave the light on and when to not look that stranger too closely in the eye, it knew, even though my brain hadn’t quite caught on. And I turned the corner, and there it was, waiting for me. Door sitting open, pleasant glow of my posh work elevator replaced with that bare, too bright bulb.

The rest of the basement felt suddenly altogether too big, too unknown, and in front of me was something familiar. I was walking inside before I really made the conscious decision to.

There were too many buttons for it to be my apartment’s elevator. I pressed the one that should lead up to the floor I worked on, and waited. I could hear my own breathing, echoed back at me by the bare, cold walls. There was no framed stock photo of people smiling at their computers, here. No letter with my name at the bottom. Nothing but the slightest darkening of the metal, something that took me a moment to realize was my own warped reflection.

The door closed, and I knew I had made a terrible mistake.

The elevator groaned as it laboured upwards, jerked and slipped backwards like the only thing making it move was a set of very tired, almost-human arms, pulling it skyward. I stood in the middle, cane in one hand, kettle in the other, and tried not to notice how the breathing had doubled, since the door had closed. Probably just my own, speeding up, I told myself, but I’ve never been good at lying. Too blunt for my own good.

It didn’t matter, I decided. The minute those doors opened, I would leave the elevator. I’d walk up the six flights to my office floor. Didn’t matter how much that would make my knees scream. It would be worth it.

When the door finally opened, I surged towards it, but there was a crowd waiting, and in the shuffling of them entering, I didn’t manage to make it to the door. The faces were people I vaguely recognized, but no one I worked with, and my voice had gotten caught in my throat somewhere, buried by my own dread. I ended up pressed into a corner as the elevator filled to capacity, the kettle a barrier from the press of people, but nothing protecting me from the walls of the elevator. I swear, the humming was loud enough that I could feel them vibrating with it, even without me having to touch them.

No one spoke. The door closed. The elevator resumed its lurching journey upwards.

We should have hit the first floor, but no ding came. I stared at the numbers, begging them to move, but nothing changed. When I looked away, to see if anyone else was noticing, that’s when I really started to panic.

The man next to me worked on the same floor as me. Tall man, always smiling as if he’s conscious of the effort he needs to make to come off as less intimidating. He was smiling then too, but his face looked strange. Too smooth, like his features were being worn away. He was leaning against the elevator’s wall, and I could see that the skin touching it had started to go… off. No arm hair, just unblemished skin. I had the horrible thought that if he tried to pull away, the skin would tear away, and everything inside him would spill out onto the bare, unremarkable floor.

“Excuse me,” I said, although the doors were still closed, and we were not at a floor. “I need to get out.”

“Oh, excuse me,” said the man next to me, but he didn’t move. His smile was still in place, but his lips were gone.

“Excuse me,” said the woman next to me, her curls going flat. Her feet were sinking into the floor.

“Excuse me,” said the person whose back was blocking me in. His hand, wrapped around his briefcase, no longer had distinct fingers, just a hook of skin. As I watched, his fingernails fell off, one by one.

“I need to leave,” I said, louder. No one looked at me. My fingers, all five of them, readjusted themselves on the grip of my cane, just to make sure they were all still there.

“I have to get out.” I was almost yelling, at that point.

Somewhere, someone was humming along to the drone of the elevator.

My mother had always called me a rather impolite child.

“Move!” I shouted, and began to push. The man in front of me’s body gave way easier than it should, and I didn’t look down, half-afraid that if I did I would see bits of him clinging to me. His suit felt like wet cardboard, and the humming had turned to hissing. Everyone was looking, now. Everyone whose eyes were still in their sockets, not smoothed out into dots of colour on otherwise featureless faces.

If I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start moving again. I knew this. So I pushed, and I opened my mouth, desperate to hear something other than the gears and the belts and the droning of many voices all making the same note.

“Let me out!”

They picked up my voice like a chorus. Let it out, they said. Let it out.

I don’t know how I got to the door. It was just me, pushing and pushing until I hit something hard. I hit the ‘door open’ button, the one that’s supposed to be for when you’re being nice and holding the elevator for someone. I held it, and I hoped it was enough.

The door opened. Of course it did. I’m here, aren’t I?

I’m going to quit my job. I think I might have already. The trip home is… fuzzy. Like I wasn’t all there.

Going to move out, too. I’ve got a friend I can stay with, for a bit. Ground floor. I asked.

I got home to an email, isn’t that funny? They finally answered me. Know what it said? Said my apartment building ‘never had an elevator.’

I’m too afraid to go and check.

I’ve never been good at lying to myself, and I think if I have to tell the truth, I’ll lose everything I just worked so hard to keep.

I can still hear it humming.

END

Ziggy Schutz (she/her/he/him) is a queer, disabled writer who is at all times looking for ways to make his favourite fairy tales and horror tropes reflect people who look a little more like her.

When he’s not writing, she’s spending his time exploring haunted houses and chatting up the ghosts who live there. This is not a bit.

You can find more about her writing (and the ghosts) here.

Bulimia Tulpa

CW: bulimia, eating disorders

The drone of traffic carries on the damp breeze as late May earwigs die on the wet concrete. When the clouds hang low with rain, Nadine and I look for worms in the backyard. Mostly we find dog shit in the grass and deflated balloons from her quinceañera. But, buried under the oak tree, we also unearth from the soft dirt a stash of porno mags. 

They belong to her oldest brother, a lanky teenager whose legs in skinny jeans make me so jealous that it physically hurts, like a pang of hunger between the ribs. Last Sunday, her family took me to their favorite buffet; I watched as he ate a whole plate of scrambled eggs with refried beans and chorizo. 

I had to look away, but I couldn’t stare at the bowls of salsa being passed around or they’d offer me more chips. I traced the grain of the wood table, the scratches in the vibrant green vinyl cover. My eyes were on the framed prints of Mexico on the pink stucco as her family folded tortillas, dipped them into hot cheese, and laughed from deep in their bellies. 

“Mija, slow down,” they joked at Nadine, beautiful Nadine, round as a summer peach. “Te ves gordita!” 

She smiled but they could cut her into pieces sometimes, as if she’s only an overripe plum. Be more like her, they said to Nadine in secret, while I squished food into my napkins and chewed ice. 

We show our love by sharing food, and then we criticize each other for it. 

I used to love that buffet. Nadine and I would make “potions” out of salt and sugar packets, watermelon rinds and lime juice, stirring them into our sodas like witches

over our cauldrons. We’d dare each other to try our concoctions, never knowing what the other snuck into her drink. 

I told her that we were too old for that game now, that I wanted plain black tea instead. I didn’t tell her that I ached to know how her brother managed to eat so much without getting as fat as I am. Or that I didn’t want her to come to the bathroom with me because I wasn’t actually changing my pad in there. 

In the shade of the tree, Nadine points at a woman on her knees and says, “I know a trick like that. First you have to pull your hair back…” 

For a moment, I worry she’s figured out how I make food disappear. But instead, she shows me how to keep water in my open mouth while facing down as blowjob practice. I feel stupid doing it, but I’d do anything to make her smile. We grew up together. When she bites her bottom lip, I feel a deep warmth rear inside me like bile. 

And sometimes, I wish she would kiss me. Sometimes, I wish she would grab me by the shoulders and beg me to eat. I wouldn’t, but I still want her to ask. 

The magazines are like old bones. I don’t want her to think I’m a pervert, so I gasp when she turns a page. I doubt that she, who knows how to be a girl better than I do, has spent as much time in front of a computer as I have. I’ve seen it all before, so I watch her closely for signals that I’m supposed to react. 

The bodies seem alien to me, all of them white. The women confuse me because I can’t imagine ever looking like that, so fleshy and soft. I want to measure their collarbones and wrists. I don’t ask Nadine, but I think I’m looking the wrong way at the men, at the flat contours of their chests. I don’t have words for it, but it must be bad. 

We hide the porno mags under the air mattress in the basement. Now, as Nadine snores besides me, I hold my breath and slither into the cold night. I love sleeping next

to her, skin flushed against mine, but with the house quiet and still, I have a few hours to myself. 

My parents took away my Internet privileges when they found my account on the forums. They think they can stop me? Nobody can. 

The leather office chair creaks, and the computer in Nadine’s basement whirs awake. I gnaw my fingernails, but she doesn’t move. 

The townhouse where everyone in her family lives – brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins and grandparents on both sides – is close to the highway. The stink of hot rubber and car exhaust comforts me; it reminds me that I’m not at home, where it’s just my parents and I avoiding each other as much as possible. 

Whoever used the computer last left a tab open. At first I assume the grainy video must be weird porn her brother was watching, but then I notice it was uploaded today, with just one view. The title is a random string of numbers and asterisks. 

There’s a man in an empty room, staring open-mouthed into his webcam. I can only see his face and upper torso, disembodied, almost floating. His teeth glow from the aura of the screen like sour candy, and his big eyes reflect a bright green, the way an animal looks in a dark photograph. 

It starts as a throbbing panic that builds at the base of my spine and spreads throughout my trembling body. Every limb quivers with fear like a sore muscle, stretched to its limit. 

Slowly, I realize – he looks like me, as an adult man. He can’t be a younger version of my dad, who has lighter skin than my mom and I. It’s definitely me, with my eyebrows if I didn’t obsessively pluck them and my nose which is too big for a girl.

And he’s so skinny. It isn’t flattering. He’s as gaunt as a prisoner. The longer I look, the more excited and terrified I am, like the before-and-after threads on the forums. 

I feel a pit in my stomach. It opened when I was younger and weaker. It’s been growing and growing as I get smaller and smaller. Never small enough. I’m always lightheaded these days, but this is different. 

I plug in my headphones, every noise I make like a thunderclap. Behind me, the loose latch on the window rattles, clank-clank, and the distant howl of neighborhood dogs echoes in the night. 

I unpause the video. 

“My name is an incantation that once spoken will hasten the end of the world as you know it and the beginning of mine.” He speaks so fast and low that I have to max the volume to hear him. “There is no forgiveness. What happens between us goes unspoken. It is an empty plastic shell. It is cold and toxic. It scintillates, pink and sharp as a razor blade. You and I – we just want to be loved. Wanting and wanting.” 

His voice is so familiar. It’s me. It has to be me, as a man. This is how I will sound when I grow up. Except… it’s unnatural, how he speaks. Not like he’s reading a script, but as though the words aren’t coming from his mouth. 

“Please, do you recognize me? Do I move on the screen like blue motes in your vision when you stand too quickly? Or does your malnourished brain scramble me into a glittering three-lobed squid or a pulsing gunmetal sea anemone? Can you even comprehend what you’ve done to me?” 

It isn’t dubbed in. His thin lips move in sync to the strange ramblings. I can’t discern why, but he doesn’t talk like a normal person. The cadence is wrong.

“One misclick, and you touch my invisible skin, shuddering past the membrane like unknown pathogens through your tender pores. The light reveals, in the crackling vibration, my body geometry.” 

Nadine turns over in bed, mumbling. Upstairs, someone wanders in the kitchen, a younger sister or a niece, judging by the little footsteps. 

I lean closer to the man until our foreheads touch, rippling his image like an oil spill and distorting the liquid crystal molecules between us. 

“I listened when no one else would. I was with you when you were alone, and I kept you that way. I fed into your anxieties when you refused to eat. I functioned when you couldn’t think, as your hippocampus sunk into a haze. I could crush your skull like soft pink styrofoam.” 

I’m not afraid of that, and he knows it. I’ve been waiting to die since puberty. I think of my dead grandmother, kissing her string of beads, burning red and gold Our Lady of Guadalupe candles. We used to bake conchas together on Sundays. I remember the warm fragrance of dough turning into a sweet yellow crust – how effortless it once was to eat. But she, too, put me on a diet before I learned long division. 

“You can’t blame me for it all. I was made for you, and now I’m stuck, too. What shape would I take as the space between us shrinks? I can only see how swollen I am like an egg sac from which a new Internet will hatch and spread.” 

The monitor goes black and I suck in a sharp breath. Was this some elaborate prank? I turn towards Nadine, and in that moment, the face of the man changes. I flinch, but there’s nothing on the monitor again. I tilt my head to the side, and I see it – her, a child. Me, before bulimia.

I think that word, bulimia, without doubting myself. It slips out so easily. Usually I don’t feel sick, not how the girls on the forums are. 

I shut my eyes, and he continues. 

“We hold hands until the bones of our knuckles pop through the skin, bloodless, painless. Nothingness. This is not real, unless you want it to be. I feel the future squirming in my lower intestines: doomsday tastes like burnt sugar and peppermint vomit. I wish I was skinnier, too. But the spasmodic omens make me bloat.” 

The girl and the man are layered like an optical illusion. She sits in the same anonymous room, round-faced with long greasy hair. I’m half her size now. This is worse than any technicolor horror he described. 

“I’m a boy, I think. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a man. I used to be a girl. I tried to delete that information, but I’m incapable of repressing memories. All those the sparkledogs you let starve – I take care of every single one. For them, I download a cake with every flavor of the rainbow: vivid lemon-lime frosting, creamy strawberry gelato, triple layers of milk chocolate. Hear the honeycomb song of teeth and code. For myself, I run simulations of the chemical process of happiness. It leaves an aftertaste like diet soda and sugar-free jello. Remember the soft, fluffy texture of cake as it melts on your tongue, all that sweetness and death? Cake, cake, CAKE.” 

I wish I could see the man staring back at me, instead of my reflection. My eyes are two bruises and my cheeks are swollen. My hair is falling out in loose clumps like fiber optics. I almost expect the computer to resist when I exit the video, heart pounding in my throat – maybe send an electric shock through the mouse or blast music to wake the entire household. It would be so simple if it would punish me.

The image is gone, but I hear him through my headphones. The basement suddenly smells of the buffet’s spices and herbs, grilled onions and ground beef. I churn with hunger and the premonition of a purge. 

“It’s coming. You could be me. I could be you. Or you could be better than me. So speak my name, and let me go. Because it has to be you. No one else can say it.” 

“I’m not ready,” I whisper. “Everyone will make fun of me. I’ll be even more alone.” 

“Then one day, you will be online forever.” 

The computer transforms. I see the squid, the anemone, the twins of myself. It isn’t me on the screen. It’s something else, from inside me, taken on new life. In pain and writhing. Asking for help and hating it at the same time. I don’t understand it yet. I can only tolerate the briefest glimpse. 

When I blink away the tears, I see Nadine, motionless but awake. 

“What did it look like to you?”

Pasiphae Dreams is the alias of an imposter poet. As an emerging trans writer, he uses speculative fiction and poetry to explore gender and trauma. He publishes chapbooks and short horror stories on itch.io. You can invoke his curse on Twitter or directly through ko-fi.

Mothman 50’s Dinner Pinup

The though process I had whilst making this piece for Gender Terror, was akin to the consumption of queer-coded media for the general public. What once was a source of shame and guilt for many, has now been re-branded and put into a new light. Drag queens are now main stream, queer reality shows, and general access information about the LGBTQ+ can be found nearly everywhere. Thirty years ago that seemed impossible. The parallel to how a creature such as Mothman was once a source of fear, and now he is regarded as being a fun lovable pop culture character. I wanted my queer-coded rendition of Mothman to be especially colourful and alluring to the eye, the 50’s aesthetic without the rampant homophobia of the times. -Vivi

Vivi Partridge is a queer freelance illustrator, who draws many monstrous pinups as well as other cool SFW subject matters. They studied illustration at Seneca College for an amount of time, have two pet rats, unironically loves high school musical (1, 2 & 3), and wishes they could spend all their time making art.

You can find them on the internet (wow!):

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Our posts are 100% Patreon funded! If you want to see early posts, full resolution art, and WIPs, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

The Break-Up

The Bethany Arms. The kind of place where they keep a donkey inside a barb-wire enclosure. Chickens chased each other through the rising dust.

“Do you think that’s our supper?” said Jean, trying to make me laugh.

She’d spent the trip sulking. We were on our way to see my dying father and I could have used some support instead of Jean’s black moods. At first she had charmed me – her quick wit, even her temper – but now I knew that she wasn’t the right companion for this kind of thing. If she sulked in the car, God knows what she’d be like when we finally reached the hospice.

For now, the sight of the mundane – a desert motel, the dirty animals – had restored her good humor. To her, the livestock was a charming novelty. But I’d grown up in a town not far from here and my childhood had schooled me well in small cruelties. Unlike Jean, I could spot the whip-marks across the donkey’s back. If this place was a joke, it came at the expense of the voiceless.

The motel office stood locked and empty, ringed by cheap outdoor furniture. We sat in silence, drinking warm soda from our cool-box, suitcases at our feet like loyal dogs. The local fey, finger-length, fluttered around us, cursing in mouse-squeaks until I opened a third can for them.

“They set traps for them. I saw one outside the manager’s office,” offered Jean.

“They don’t like magic around here.” I fumbled across the table for her hand but she crossed her arms and stared into the distance.

“They don’t like magic here? So where does something like you come from?”

“My father had Old Blood. Just a trickle. It didn’t breed true in him. But with me-” my voice trailed off at the sight of a man slouching towards us.

“The manager. You should carry your own luggage,” I mumbled. “We don’t want people to talk.”

Jean’s scrutiny made me clumsy; my suitcase banged my shins. Instead of anger in her gaze, there was something worse. There was judgment.

*********

The manager had wet brown teeth.

There was something anachronistic about his poor dentistry; rotten teeth are almost unknown in an era of cosmetic spells. But as I’d told Jean, they don’t care for magic this far South. His eyes darted from me to Jean, assessing. He took in our superficial resemblance and his brow furrowed in confusion.

“Sisters? Passing through?” he guessed.

Jean opened her mouth to correct him.

“Yes,” I interrupted smoothly, “Just passing through.”

*********

Our room was narrow and smelt, for some unknown reason, of apples. The air buzzed with raised voices. It took me a few seconds before I recognized one of them as my own. I experienced a strange sense of detachment, as if I was standing outside myself, studying the fight with clinical disdain.

“Why the hell did you want me here? If you’re ashamed of me?” hissed Jean. In anger, her face became smoother, her features less defined.

She glared up at me. Lonely as I was, I still wasn’t stupid enough to whistle up something taller than me. And of course, she was shrinking now. A safety measure of sorts. When I first created her, I’d sworn that this one wouldn’t go wrong but God knows, I’d made those sorts of promises before.

“Why am I here if you don’t need me?” she whined “What happens to me then?”

“I make another,” I said.

Her hand – barely larger than a child’s now – struck me. Without thinking, I hit her back as hard as I could. Something – not blood – flew out of its mouth. Then the homunculus collapsed at my feet.

Drained of magic, its corpse was smaller than a drowned kitten. It looked like a half-formed fetus, something born dead. The only sound in the room was my own breathing. I was alone again.

*********

That night I didn’t sleep. Instead, I thought about my mother’s illness. By the time she died, she didn’t even look like a person.

After the funeral, my father came into my room for the last time. He was a lean, gingery man; his Old Blood manifested in his unusual eyes, a foxy cast to his features. He spoke in a beery gasp, somewhere between a sob and a growl: “Did you do something to her?”

I studied him with pale eyes – his eyes – and offered him the lie, carefully rehearsed at her graveside.

“Yes. And if you touch me again, I’ll do something to you too.”

He ran from my room and I heard the sound of spasmodic vomiting. A week later, I left home. Now I was less than a day away from the man who had raised me, sometimes violently, less often with love. I couldn’t face him alone.

On the pillow beside me, Jean’s corpse was a hard leather lump. Briefly I cradled the spent thing to my chest, my lips parting in a reedy whistle. But it was no good. My magic needed living flesh to sculpt. My thoughts strayed to the motel donkey.

There was no one else awake when I approached its enclosure. The animal shifted uneasily but settled down when I reached through the wire and petted its nose. I started to whistle. In the middle of nowhere, a miracle unfolded beneath my touch.

I slipped away before dawn, my new homunculus at my side. Everything fascinated her – the rumbling car, the caress of Jean’s shirt on her skin, me. We touched constantly. In a few hours, she’d be capable of speech. In a few months, she’d be bored with the world and me. Soon she’d look at me with the same disappointed eyes as Jean.

Might as well enjoy my new relationship while it lasted.

The End

Lee Jacob Phillips is a former art lecturer who has had 4 solo exhibitions. His short fiction and articles have appeared in a number of collections and anthologies. He was selected multiple times as an Ambassador of Words by the César Egido Serrano Foundation and recently received a Shortbox grant for his comic work. His previous occupations include toy salesman, bartender and bodyguard. He currently lives in South Africa. To find out more about his art, writing and other projects, you can visit his Twitter https://twitter.com/smokefurandsto1

Our posts are 100% Patreon funded! If you want to see early posts, full resolution art, and WIPs, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Twinning!

For me, this piece is a bit more fun than it is scary; I love scary twins and axes and blood splatters, so it hits a lot of my favorite tropes. I had a lot of fun with their hair and outfits as well! Obviously The Shining twins are rightfully iconic and infamous, but the girl on the left is serving some Red Guard mid-Cultural Revolution vibes. I think what’s so compelling about scary things, from True Crime to horror, is that sense of lacking bodily autonomy, but sometimes it’s cool to lean into the aesthetic of it as well.

Our posts are 100% Patreon funded! If you want to see early posts, full resolution art, and WIPs, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Nyx Fears: Horror, Cats, and Skeletons!

Started in 2013, May (also known as Nyx Fears), has covered many topics but mostly focused on horror movies. May has made several lists that could be classified as doing us all a favor and watching some of the most baffling, absurd, and grotesque the horror genre has to offer. With elaborate set-ups, a few drinks, and a few inside jokes, May has set-up her own section of horror YouTube that is a wonderful balance of review, opinion, and honesty.

GenderTerror was able to interview May about her YouTube channel, her very public transition, her cat, and a little bit about her creative process.

GenderTerror: What made you decide to start making YouTube videos, especially horror movie reviews?

May: I’ve always been interested in horror stuff so it was obviously what I was gonna do if I ever did YouTube. I think I got the motivation because it was snowing one day in Texas and I just decided to go for it. There’s this sorta wall people run into where it seems too hard and weird to coordinate so they give up without ever actually trying. So I basically felt bored enough to give it a try. I had a microphone from when I was in a failed high school band so I just plugged it into my computer and started recording without editing and putting it online. Thank God I learned to edit but ya gotta start somewhere. And being online very quickly changed my life and I figured out how to actually make quality videos. Haha.

GT: What does horror mean to you?

Continue reading “Nyx Fears: Horror, Cats, and Skeletons!”

Wet Wings

When I’m drawing, I’m thinking about the skeletons within the bodies i draw, the separation of them all and making sure everything is clear. This didn’t feel like the right way to go in a piece about blurriness AS physical mass, so instead of taking out my sketchbook i went to the kitchen and made play dough. I wanted to have to focus on the exterior, on the blurry lumpiness that could only come from drawing something from its exterior. This also freed me up to do some cool angle stuff and play with lighting. I made some models, mashed them together, and ran with it until the piece felt complete.

Our posts are 100% Patreon funded! If you want to see early posts, full resolution art, and WIPs, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

VIVA THE HUNTER: Werewolves, Undead, Swords, and More!

Do you like Evil Dead or Kill Bill? How about a a nunchuck-slinging werewolf? Or the main character being a training swordswoman tricked into killing her undead ex-boyfriend by a manipulative witch? Then follow Viva on her adventures for vengeance and blood-hungry madness in VIVA THE HUNTER!

GenderTerror was able to interview filmmaker and scriptwriter, Forrest DePoy, about his adventure in comics and with Viva and co.

GenderTerror: Kill Bill meets Evil Dead. Where did the inspiration for VIVA THE HUNTER come from? 

Forrest DePoy: It all started with a bathtub! Before VIVA THE HUNTER there was Some Place Safe, which is my 2018 student short film that served as my senior capstone project. That short film’s script was then adapted into the first issue of VIVA THE HUNTER, and from there the project expanded into a series! I first began writing the short film’s script in July of 2018 based off the idea of something I saw – the blood-filled tub in Joji’s “Will He” music video. A lot of what I create comes from visuals or cool phrases. I loved the blood bath look in the music video and just kind of ran with it, developing characters and a location based around it. I really wanted to work on a horror film at the time, and since I was planning to keep the main action in one location for budgetary reasons, I think the Evil Dead inspiration came naturally as most of that film took place in the infamous cabin. During the development of this short film, I used the script as an exercise for my character development skills at the time. As a student, one of my weakest skills were (and maybe still are) well-written protagonists. I wanted Viva, the lead character, to be entirely different from anything I have tried before. I wanted her to be a badass in the making, so I really took notes from Beatrix in Kill Bill, so much so that Viva even took up kung-fu and sword training. In the end she kind of ended up being a huge nerd, which was awesome! This made the film really become a horror-action flick with a big grindhouse aesthetic, especially so once Panos Cosmatos’ 2018 film Mandy came out later that year. That seriously had a huge impact on the final script for Some Place Safe. The character dialogue was compartmentalized and redesigned in a way that the actors could really define them as they saw fit, something of which I really admired in Mandy. Each of these serve as key elements in the way I approach the expanded comic series now!  Continue reading “VIVA THE HUNTER: Werewolves, Undead, Swords, and More!”

Grrr… Don’t Misgender Me!

 

This piece recalls horror that’s much cheesier by today’s standards, such as the old Universal mummy movies, but it also does touch on a very real horror of misgendering and a loss of control. Sometimes, it would be easier to have a monster spook someone into acceptance rather than correct them and talk about your preferred pronouns. But having this discussion can be an immensely empowering experience (as long as you’re in a safe environment to do so).

Enjoy my painting! I’m Will Jamison, a genderqueer cartoonist/illustrator, and you can find more of my artwork on Instagram and Twitter under @thewilljamison. Thank you so much for checking this out, and please let me know what you think!

Our posts are 100% Patreon funded! If you want to see early posts, full resolution art, and WIPs, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Healing

I think for many of us, especially in the queer and trans communities, we’ve had to endure trauma that we simply cannot share with just anybody. Sometimes, only people who have gone through it know, and get it, and can listen. They may be the only ones able to help us open up and release the emotions trapped within. Those helping us heal may still be on their own journey of learning and growing from their trauma, but healing isn’t finite yet it’s worth pursuing.

Much of my art comes from emotional experiences and places of vulnerability. I find that all too often, men don’t get the chance to express vulnerable feelings in a healthy way. As someone who identifies as androgynous most of the time (I am comfortable with she/her/they pronouns), I use my empathetic nature to illustrate vulnerable figures of all kinds, and I frequently draw men in positions of vulnerability. I think people need to see more depictions like that, so they can feel comfortable seeing themselves reflected, and changing the conversation about vulnerability to make it universal.

I’m Natalia, and I go by @mystodraws on Instagram. My official website is https://www.mystopress.com/ where you can see the illustration and comics I do, as well as art prints and comics for sale.

Our posts are 100% Patreon funded! If you want to see early posts, full resolution art, and WIPs, please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Follicles

“Lydia,” Countess Eleanor whined, “why can’t you take better care of your hair?”

One, two, three. Her mother always brushed her hair in three succinct strokes before taking a breath. This meticulousness always unnerved Lydia: for one, because her mother never seemed to notice that she was doing it, and two, because she couldn’t stand to sit still for so long. On and on, one two three, pause, one two three. She stared straight ahead at her reflection in the ornate mirror, her soft brown eyes burning, willing her tangled raven hair to spontaneously combust.

“Lydia. I am serious,” Eleanor hissed, tugging roughly against a tight knot of hair. “I know that you do not use these brushes; there’s not even a strand of your hair left in here!”

“I brush it. I just clean off the brushes.”

“That’s a funny lie, girl. You best learn to take care of yourself, otherwise I will not allow you to go riding in the afternoons.”

“And what shall I do all day instead?”

“You can work on your embroidery skills, for one. Your governess gave you an assignment about a week ago, didn’t she?”

“I misplaced it.”

Continue reading “Follicles”