They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara… Zero Hour! Halloween 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge


What’s up, Toga Zombie? And what’s going on with Zombie Jerry Lewis in Boxer Shorts?

So, if you’ve been coming to this site for a little while, you know we’re a bit bonkers about Halloween. And why not? Halloween is a holiday of infinite possibilities, in which the dead can roam the Earth with the living, in which ghouls and goblins are made manifest by overactive imaginations, in which vampires and witches prowl the night in search of tasty treats, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. It is a holiday during which we may engage in our most primal of emotions — fear — and either conquer it or succumb to it. You can’t really say the same for Arbor Day, can you? (well, I suppose you can, if you’re dendrophobic…)

One of my favorite Episodes from the Zero Hour! traditions is the annual Halloween Short Story. It’s a chance for our creators to let loose and participate in the pure art of storytelling, while poking at the weird bits that coagulate at the edge of the Zero Hour! universe. It’s also a chance for me to revisit what got me into writing in the first place. Continue reading

The Wolves of Omaha


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By Anthony Schiavino

Wind currents buffeted the flying fortress’s wings. Four engines drinking in deep, one last shot, before facing certain doom. Inside the cargo bay, soldiers prayed with their rifles in hand as the fuselage rattled, threatening to tear itself apart and plummet into the drink. Under the cover of a billowing mass, they approached a fortified coast high above but not out of reach. Flak exploded outside of the thin glass, shaking the plane harder with blunt force intensity. The cabin lit up by tracers closing in.

One of the soldiers made the sign of the cross. “You going to be able to handle the door?” he shouted, straining to be heard across the cargo bay.

The other vomited in his helmet before wiping his mouth on his sleeve. With his pallor still ripe, he said, “I’ll get it done. Don’t worry about me.” Another wave of nausea crested.

“Two minutes until dead drop!” shouted the co-pilot through the cockpit door.

The light came on, bathing the soldiers in a blood-red haze. Both of the men stood up and hooked their safety lines onto the rod above. The bay doors opened as they made their way down, slowly approaching the cage.

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The Wolves of Omaha © 2013 Anthony Schiavino
Taxis to hell – and back photograph © 1944 Robert F. Sargent

Zero Hour! Annual Halloween Trick ‘R Treats


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Notice the plural in the post’s headline?

Our annual tradition at ranchero de Zero Hour! has been to rollout a slice of micro-fictional creepiness to coincide with the Great Pumpkin’s reign of terror on the countryside. If you missed it in past years, check out the archives for the 2010 Halloween offering here, 2011 version here, and 2012’s addition to the ranks here.

So this year, we thought we would change it up a little.

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