Night Walk – Release Day

22 Apr
(Sound on with this video)

Order Night Walk now!

Horror renders the familiar as uncanny. It imbues everyday occurrences with unrelenting dread. In the right hands, it’s a genre that reveals our basest impulses by evoking the most elemental of responses: fear.

Aeryn Rudel’s horror doesn’t shy away from the familiar; these pages abound with classic ghouls. Night Walk: and Other Dark Paths ripples with the ghastly handiwork of bloodsuckers and wolfmen, demons and serial killers, beasts that skulk through the dark and even simply the darkness itself. But while you may recognize their trappings, these monsters slink down unpredictable paths in a flash fiction collection where nothing is at it seems.

Throughout Night Walk, Rudel places desperate characters in utterly bleak situations, and the twisted joy of poring over these pages can be found in discovering which characters give in to the inevitable and which are more prone to gnaw off a leg to wrench themselves free. Whether by leading a lamb to slaughter in “The Ruins by the Woods” or dispatching droves of man’s best friend in “The Father of Terror,” characters are often compelled into the grisly business of shedding innocent blood to keep more powerful forces at bay. Elsewhere, such as in the frigid wasteland of “Simulacra” or the sun-scorched cross-continent trek in “Toward the Sun,” haggard survivors face their impending ends with eyes wide open.

For every story where barely contained sinister forces lurk just along the periphery, as in the title piece, there is one in which unfettered malevolence pours from within, as with the macabre artist found in “The Sitting Room.” And in stories like “Stall Number Two” or “The Rarest Cut,” it’s an unsavory compulsion that leads characters to whittle away at their own bodies and souls.

Throughout these disparate stories, Rudel weaves a common thread of human connection―and the consequences that spring forth from a lack thereof. That’s done quite literally in the entangled body horror of “What Binds Us” or the mind-meld between a little girl and a hungry lump of animate flesh in “Little Sister.” Human connection is rendered more subtly and poignantly through the eyes of a lupine predator in “Two Legs,” while neither land nor sea can keep a family apart in “Reunion.” Meanwhile, it’s the connective tissue of memory for what his family once was that fuels a young boy to bravely confront what they’ve become in the devastating “Where They Belong.” You’ll also find humans bound to the unnatural, such as the abominable crop poking up through the soil in “Things That Grow” or the carnivorous trees of “The Grove.”

Rudel’s dark and offbeat fiction first caught our eye at The Molotov Cocktail many years ago with a little piece about a futile attempt to hold oneself together in “At the Seams,” first published in 2014. Since that time, we’ve been privileged to publish over a dozen of his stories, and he’s the only writer to be featured in all five of our anthologies. With Night Walk, we’re thrilled to present 40 of his very best pieces of flash fiction. Dive in and don’t look back.

Josh Goller
The Molotov Cocktail
April 2021

Order Night Walk now!