Pride Month might be over in America, but the celebration of awesome queer horror is of course year-round. So to keep the horror going, here are five incredible LGBTQ+ short stories you can read online right now—for free.
“The Closet Game” by Robert Levy
Released just this month from Nightmare Magazine, this new story from acclaimed author Robert Levy is worth reading as soon as possible. At a Saturday night party with his girlfriend and the boy he really wants to be with, teenage Jesse plays a seemingly harmless game in a darkened closet, only to find the consequences of that one night ringing out for the rest of his days. An absolutely riveting exploration of the life not lived, this one is sure to haunt you.
“Spirit Tasting List for Ridley House, April 2016” by Alex Acks
Over the last decade, Alex Acks has been steadily crafting speculative stories that challenge conventional narratives and structures in some truly inventive, inspired ways. As suggested by the title, this tale arranges itself as a tasting list, only instead of a traditional wine or beer list, the reader is invited to sample literal spirits, all while the dark past of the house is slowly revealed. The original publisher Shimmer has sadly been defunct for a few years now, but the site’s archive remains online, including this unforgettable story. Take this particular ghost tour at your own risk.
“Horror Story” by Carmen Maria Machado
A horror author who needs no introduction, Carmen Maria Machado has become synonymous with fantastic queer horror fiction. This pithy short story manages to pack quite a lot of emotional resonance into less than 1,500 words. It starts out in familiar territory: after they move into their new home, a couple finds themselves being haunted in increasingly strange and unnerving ways. However, with Machado’s signature wit and inventive approach, this one takes you places you never expected to go. Read this one with the lights on.
“You Were Once Wild Here” by Carlie St. George
Carlie St. George is among the most searingly creative voices working in the horror genre today, and her short fiction—in particular her stories that have appeared in The Dark Magazine—is absolutely inimitable. In “You Were Once Wild Here,” the fraught relationship between Laura and Emily takes center stage, the tale twisting and turning against a backdrop of werewolves, horror, and even a hint of noir. For fans of St. George’s short fiction, there’s very good news: her debut collection, You Fed Us to the Roses, is due out October 2022 from Robot Dinosaur Press.
“Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma
All right, so technically, this one is a novelette instead of a short story, but if you have a few extra minutes to spare, this harrowing tale is more than worth your time. Generational trauma, snake monsters, and a central love story that endures through many years and many transformations, this story has got every element you need for a disturbing and affecting foray into horror. And once you’ve read this devastating novelette, be sure to check out Sharma’s award-winning collection, All the Fabulous Beasts, out now from Undertow Publications.