The Black Massive

The Black Massive

It was a banging scene, back in the day. Before Cadman came out of the shadows, touting his weird black shit.

Back then it was all colour and sound. Everyone off their bone, grinning like nutters, sweating and gurning and losing it to the lights and the tunes. Lasers slicing the dark. Bass beats kicking up from the floor. Fractal lead lines like living things, like creatures of light that danced the sound, that danced the rush that was all of us. It was like another world. A magic kingdom.

Fucking La La Land.

I’d tell Mum I was staying round Dog’s, then we’d catch the bus out to Tescos carpark. The warehouse was always this big secret—the flyer in my pocket didn’t say nothing more than a time and a place for all the ravers to meet. No one knew where they was going ’til the lead car pulled in and everyone drove in convoy to the night.

Me and Dog was too young to drive, so we had to be there in time to cadge a lift. We’d go early and slip into the bog before the supermarket closed. Sometimes we’d roll one. Other nights we’d sniff whizz off the bog seat, come out sipping Strawberry Ribena, breaking the seal on a brand new pack of Benson & Hedges. Then we’d strut out between the cars, looking for mates or a friendly face, grinning and bobbing, blowing smoke rings into the cold, still night…


Read the full story for free in Issue 21 of Dimension6.

The Moth Tapes

The Moth Tapes

So here we are, little one. Our new home sweet home.

Not that I’ve fixed up your bedroom yet, but there’s still time. And it’ll be lovely, Noodle, I promise. We’ll go down to the shop tomorrow and look at colours. I’ll paint you a mural, get one of those things that dangles over your bed. When you look out your window, you’ll see the garden and the trees and the mountain behind. When you’re big you can walk out the back gate and spend all day up there, among the shinglebacks and roos and galahs. I’ll blow a whistle when dinner’s ready and you’ll come running back.

I found something out there today, out near the back gate where the veggie patch will go. It was poking out of the dirt and at first I thought it was a loose cable or something. When I looked closer though it wasn’t anything like that.

It took a bit of wiggling to get out of the ground, but I’m glad I made the effort because it’s just so unusual. I’ll put it somewhere safe for when you’re older; you can keep it in a box with all your other treasures. A sort of hollow leather cigar, all plump and shiny and rippled, the end’s torn like something burst out from inside, and I guess that’s exactly what happened. Perhaps it’s some kind of cocoon. But of what, though?
I have no idea…

The Moth Tapes was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story in 2019.

Read more in Aurealis Magazine issue 117.

Or listen to the full story on the Tales To Terrify podcast, read by Josie Babin:

The Further Shore

The Further Shore

Renault was out beyond the littoral when the fear bloomed.

Drifting with the currents, he bobbed above the reef. The sun warmed his back, cast a spangled net of iridescent white on the ocean floor. The only sound was the rasp of his breath in the snorkel, the faint pop pop of unseen creatures in the labyrinth of black coral below.

The black reef, with its oil-slick glimmer, stretched as far as he could see. Crooked spires. Towers that jutted and curled like obsidian fingers. Was it a trick of distance, or movements of the water that made the coral writhe and sway? It was profoundly hypnotic, drew him out over ever-deeper waters, farther from the shore.

Renault had noticed the pattern two days before. It was madness to think there should be order out here, among these chaotic accretions; yet there it was. The deep grooves of shadow that drew together, converging like vast, curved spokes around a distant axis. It had been too late to explore that first afternoon, and yesterday had been overcast, the light too diffuse to make out any detail in the reef. This morning he had woken early, determined to swim out to the point where those dark channels met.

His excitement mounted as each stroke brought him closer to the centre. The crevasse he was following narrowed, its arc tightening around smooth plates that resembled the petals of an obscene black flower. These segments overlapped uniformly, interlocking at the hub around something that glinted, that refracted light in soft, shimmering rainbows. It looked very much like a pearl. A pearl the size of a boulder.

Renault strained to make it out, unable to believe what he was seeing. But his mask had fogged and his sight was confined to a blurred rectangle. Just outside this frame of vision, he caught a movement.

He spun, scanning the water around, below.

There was nothing. He could see nothing. But his back tingled, his chest tightened.

Something was there. Something…

The Further Shore was shortlisted for Aurealis Awards in both the Best Horror and Best Fantasy Short Story categories in 2017 and won Best Fantasy.

Read the full story for free in Bourbon Penn 15 .

Or listen to the full story on the Tales To Terrify podcast, read by Pete Lutz:



Tad was lying. Again.

Not that anything gave him away. His grey eyes did not waver. His lips did not twitch, only pushed forward into the half-pout he’d studied, rehearsed, perfected over hours before the mirror. He could dissemble with all the finesse of a double agent.

“I would’ve called, Bae, but you know how it is. Derek kept me and the others back, talking motivation. Actor stuff.”

He curled butter onto a knife, scraped it to every corner of his sourdough toast. It was like an act of worship, the way he smoothed the expensive marmalade with such precision. It nauseated me.

Tad could have been a “ten”. He had pale, smooth skin over high, sharp cheekbones, raffish dark hair, painstakingly unkempt, and a physique at once delicate and masculine. Even dressed down, in khaki slacks and a cream polo shirt, he was impeccable, with creases taut and collars erect. He could have been perfect, but was held back by an air of smug self-satisfaction that kept each practised smile from ever touching his eyes…

Duplicity was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 2017.

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