It is now #SafeLit to say that Terror House Magazine is the best literary site on the internet. As of this dizzy January hour, all of our competitors have been trounced and our foot is on their brilliantly thin necks. They squeal. I’m delighted. And whilst they gasp like some floundering bitches, Glahn is still not quenched—NO, he is NOT—but dreams, beside the gaping hearth, of wee sugar plums with hearts of death adders whose bite does not turn the blood to pussy, but glows good and gold and hot inside like a triumphant boil of honey.

I’m talking the sublime. I’m talking the Holy Ghost and the Holy Infant. Conquest. Heaven and Hell. Wholeness. Transcendence. Excellence. Distinction.

Terror House has tilled the field, and throughout 2018, you have submitted your seed. Some have sprouted right away. Some lay dormant. Some die. But what I’ll be setting the floodlights on are those photosynthetic eukaryotes that may have been overlooked, yet have produced some fine swaggering tubers. I know. I’ve already boiled them, feasted on them, and they have set throughout my blood and mystified me.

NOTE: These picks do not include works from the Best of Terror House or works from Terror House editors.

“Show Your Work” by Andrew Stallard

This story is about internal cravings, such as webcam girls, that instantly evaporate once the hero has access to them outside of the mental institution. But the main subject is math. Our hero is great at math but always gets messed with and points deducted for not “showing his work.” This leads him on an adventure quest unlike any I have experienced—computer hacking, symphonies, strip clubs, escorts—with the main subject always rearing its ugly head. You see, the hero may be a math wizard, but his sole focus on that genre is why we readers witness the story’s conclusion. Never confuse faith, hope, and love with mathematics.

Read “Show Your Work” by clicking here.

“Fulfillment” by Michael Davis

Henry Miller once said that the theme behind any good story is liberation. I agree. The theme is implemented in Stallard’s story twice, and once in grandiose—yet mysterious—fashion in this work by Davis. Put simply, “Fulfillment” is about a man threatening to commit suicide by leaping from a tower of shipping containers as his coworkers watch from below. Nobody likes him. He was always bitching and saying he was going to off himself, but here we are, folks, seeing him far above with his arms spread and wondering why esoteric scenes such as these command our attention.

Read “Fulfillment” by clicking here.

“The Bunnies Are Killing Themselves!” by Adam Matson

This appears to be some sort of communist revolt by wildlife. Kierkegaard said, “Freedom succumbs to dizziness,” which applies wholly to the Davis story above, but also to the family in Matson’s story who are dazed by the incessant suicide of animals around them. Unlike those animals who have transcended their fate, the family just stares thinking, “What?” FUCK YOU.

Read “The Bunnies Are Killing Themselves!” by clicking here.

“Hunting with Neil” by Virgil Caine

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a disturbed man. I thought the son of a bitch was just some sort of Urkel, but we learn here that the man is a straight-up renegade who happens to wear New Balances. Ernest Papa Hemingway said that when he felt dead inside, he would go into the wilds and start killing every animal in sight. He would then be full of life. The scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson carries on this tradition of killing to feel.

Read “Hunting with Neil” by clicking here.

“Nagasaki Boy” by Brian Eckert

A boy who was born with a gigantic head and one eye due to radiation from a bomb dropped during World War II finds a beached sperm whale. Yashimoro is probably the most sympathetic literary creation that I can think of. The imagery of a whale-headed hero staring through his only eye at the giant whale eye is something that lasts in my head. The entire story is appealing because it is as memorable as a children’s tale. Here is some writing advice from Glahn: always think about what would make a kid laugh while writing. It provokes the art instinct.

Read “Nagasaki Boy” by clicking here.

“Middle/Post” by Kai Edward Warmoth

A philosophical story concerning Lacan’s “the real” or whatever is the true state of real. It is also an anprim story. I did not get this story until Knut Hamsun’s The Growth of the Soil was offered from the labyrinth library and it all came together. Hamsun’s book was a symbolic attempt to reach the real. If you know anything about the Norwegian, you would know that he tried his hand at farming to reproduce “the real” in the world and found that the dream was better. His farm was an abject failure.

Read “Middle/Post” by clicking here.

“Taking a War Bride” by Zachary Mulcahy

Billy Jack is one of the oddest films I’ve ever seen. There is a Western element, martial arts, and some sort of hippie theater. But I like it because of this idiocy. When you do genre now, there has to be some sort of mixing, whether it be by mixing Twitter references with a showdown at dawn in the early 1800’s, or how Mulcahy uses the Western genre with modern references such as white women fucking dogs.

Read “Taking a War Bride” by clicking here.

“Heineken is for Pussies: A Review of Skinless’ Savagery” by Slamz

The numbers speak for themselves: this work by Slamz is still one of the most popular works on Terror House. This is purely one for the boys, PBR in hand, and mowing grandfather’s grass in hellish humidity with the grace of death metal splitting the ears.

Read “Heineken is for Pussies: A Review of Skinless’ Savagery” by clicking here.

“Panama Hat” by Jeff Nazzaro

In a way, the hero in this story reminded me of yellow suit Johan Nagel in Knut Hamsun’s Mysteries with his terrorizing of a grocery. He does not even know if he has his job after threatening a coworker with his clip-on knife. You get the sense that the character is in a perpetual state of limbo and only a slight change in the temperature will cause him to just outright kill a man.

Read “Panama Hat” by clicking here.

“Natural American Spirits” by Wraitheon

Like Calvin Westra’s extraordinary novella NEET, this hit me in the heart for mysterious reasons I cannot divulge publicly. But this is the rare type of story that I would like to see more of in Terror House. The fault with “underground lit” or “outsider lit” is that it trends toward the profane. Just a quick peek at other similar types of publishers, past and present, reveals the state of this degradation to the point of worshiping Satan while sticking cocks into deciduous trees. Glahn does not want this.

Read “Natural American Spirits” by clicking here.

“The Story of Pec” by Yungpec

Yungpec is a conflicted yung man. Sometimes he throws ideas at me in Discord and argues with me if I suggest anything. It is obvious he is conflicted to a degree that no artist has experienced in history. This is what makes him strong. His style is erratic like a bat. I like to think of Yungpec as today’s Young Werther. Who knows when this yung man’s emotions are going to burst through the dams of society?

Read “The Story of Pec” by clicking here.

Poetry by Brooke Nicole Plummer

One time I was hiking miles into the woods. It was cold and I hadn’t seen anyone. I did see a scarlet tanager drinking out of a pond. Then, up in a grove, I saw this young lady sitting next to a tree in a trance with a book in her hands. I think that might have been Brooke and Brooke cannot get the rural out of her. In her heart, she is a nature girl, and I find that kinda based in this day and age.

Read Brooke Nicole Plummer’s poetry by clicking here.

“Carrion Feeder’s Pedigree” by Dustin He

Charles Dickens had a pet raven named Grip who he used as a character in his novel Barnaby Rudge. Grip hollered, “Halloa old girl!” and died after drinking too much paint and eating too many paint chips. Dustin He’s story removes us from the human POV and has us see through the eyes of two crows. We learn very quickly that what is repulsive to mankind is milk and honey to these feathered creatures.

Read “Carrion Feeder’s Pedigree” by clicking here.

“The Crowman” by Charlie Chitty

Keeping along with the crow theme, we have another story that, like “Nagasaki Boy,” would work as a children’s story. While reading, I thought of my ancient Kentucky neighbor who always called me over to his front porch and told me stories similar in spirit to this one while pouring salt in his hand and eating it.

Read “The Crowman” by clicking here.

“Psych Ward” by Reagan Cox

After my many nervous breakdowns, I wondered what it would be like to enter the psych ward. I don’t know if Cox frequented one of these establishments, but this story makes me believe he did. I’m guessing he’s similar in temperament to Yungpec. I’ll let you nerve-riddled zoomers know that after the first few loves mosey on over to greener pastures, the male heart becomes like flint.

Read “Psych Ward” by clicking here.

Poetry by David Lohrey

I admit I have trouble reading poetry these days. I used to live for it. I still read classics, so my problem is with the modern variety. However, Lohrey’s poems are always readable. When I read poems such as “If You Can’t Find One in Queens, Forget About It” with the Japanese cougars wearing Donald Duck panties, I can’t keep from laughing. I can tell David has a hell of a time writing these and isn’t trying to fleece the fuck out of me with abstruse horseshit.

Read David Lohrey’s poetry by clicking here.

“Bastard of 1952” by Copper Rose

The heroine of this story goes through more shit than Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I really felt for her and she became brilliantly alive in Rose’s writing. This is a perfectly written rural tragedy that has the feel of some the great short fiction that I’ve read.

Read “Bastard of 1952” by clicking here.

Poetry by DJ AuditTheFed

#NeverForget DJ is one pisser of a writer, and his monumental precision relating to September 11 in the poem “Turrim” caused him to fully break onto the scene following his piece on Down syndrome awareness. It all leaves me wondering if this illustrious Tweeter will fully go rogue and headlong into the literary arts this new year.

Read DJ AuditTheFed’s poetry by clicking here.

Dummy’s Dummies by Mike Sherer

I thought writers were really fucked up, but ventriloquists are psychopaths. I mean, we create scenes with words, but those fuckers take a knife to logs to create lifelike entities to throw their voices into. Whoever came up with the idea to do this was on a level with Ed Gein. But please read this truly fucked up Sherer story about a ventriloquist who uses dummies that look like his own damn family.

Read Dummy’s Dummies by clicking here.

“The Birds and the Bees” by Meeah Williams

Puberty is a frightening affair in one’s life. I don’t think any of us have really gotten over it. A trauma that the mind erases yet leaves its effects on us, like fur on the loins. Sometimes I wish I still talked like Mickey Mouse before this tragic event took place. So many problems it causes, but mostly the violence that sex brings to our eyes, like those of the hero in Meeah’s story.

Read “The Birds and the Bees” by clicking here.

“The Most Beautiful Question in the World” by James Nulick

If you have never read Nulick, this is your chance. Here’s the same notorious Nulick style that was in his 2015 novel Valencia, a book that in a correct world would have been on the NYT bestseller list because of the character’s confrontation with himself for 300 pages. This is a trait that occurs in all of my favorite characters, real or literary: this hatred for what they are.

Read “The Most Beautiful Question in the World” by clicking here.

Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert by Richard Power

I hated The Catcher in the Rye. I kept thinking what the fuck is this shit? LHP is much the same, except I had a much more pleasant time reading about piss, blood, shit, and cum. I was wondering what all this profanity was about. Was it only about degradation? But then I read the chapter called “Grandma’s Boy” and it all made sense in the same way Holden Caulfield’s dreams of being the catcher in the rye redeemed that book.

Read Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert by clicking here.

“Race Relations” by Bibles

The new year is upon us. You have just walked out from your grandparents’ on Christmas evening and stare back into the field. So early, yet so dark. There could be anything out there, but you think of Dracula. All of that bright and festive wrapping paper is in the garbage can inside. It’s warm back there. We have to go. We have to get in the car. It is unheated and the doors will not close because they’re iced. The new year is dark outside the window. Where are you driving us, Bibles?

Read “Race Relations” by clicking here.