THE CUTTING ROOM coming attraction: “each thing i show you is a piece of my death” by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer


Over the next two weeks, in celebration of Halloween and the new anthology The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen, Tachyon and editor Ellen Datlow present excerpts from a selection of the volume’s horrifying tales.

Today’s selection comes from “each thing i show you is a piece of my death” by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, William Shakespeare

From a journal found in a New Jersey storage unit, entry date unknown:

Somewhere, out beyond the too-often-unmapped intersection of known and forgotten, there’s a hole through which the dead crawl back up to this world: A crack, a crevasse, a deep, dark cave. It splits the earth’s crust like a canker, sore lips thrust wide to divulge some even sorer mouth beneath—tongueless, toothless, depthless.

The hole gapes, always open. It has no proper sense of proportion. It is rude and rough, rank and raw. When it breathes out it exhales nothing but poison, pure decay, so bad that people can smell it for miles around, even in their dreams.

Especially there.

Through this hole, the dead come out face-first and -down, crawling like worms. They grind their mouths into cold dirt, forcing a lifetime’s unsaid words back inside again. As though the one thing their long, arduous journey home has taught them is that they have nothing left worth saying, after all.

Because the dead come up naked, they are always cold. Because they come up empty, they are always hungry. Because they come up lost, they are always angry. Because they come up blind, eyes shut tight against the light that hurts them so, they are difficult to see, unless sought by those who—for one reason, or another—already have a fairly good idea where to start looking.

To do so is a mistake, though, always—no matter how “good” our reasons, or intentions. It never leads to anything worth having. The dead are not meant to be seen or found, spoken with, or for. The dead are meant to be buried and forgotten, and everybody knows it—or should, if they think about it for more than a minute. If they’re not some sort of Holy Fool marked from birth for sacrifice for the greater good of all around them, fore-doomed to grease entropy’s wheels with their happy, clueless hearts’ blood.

Everybody should, so everybody does, though nobody ever talks about it. Nobody. Everybody. Everybody …

… but them.

(The dead)


July 26/2009



By Guillaume Lescroat,

Moviegoers worldwide are still in an uproar over Mother of Serpents, Angelina Jolie’s latest blockbuster, being pulled from theatres after only four days in wide release due to “unspecified

For information on The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Josh Beatman.