The Horror Zine
The Messenger
Ian Hunter

The January Featured Poet is Ian Hunter

Please feel free to email Ian at:

Ian Hunter


It’s the best service there is
But you can criticize the timing
And the numbers
Always the numbers

The capsized ferry
The cruise ship with too few lifeboats
The burning skyscraper
The airplane scraping along the runway,
flaring like a match about to catch

The old
The young
Taken before their time
But it was their time
It just was

Don’t shoot the messenger
Who strides the planet
balancing shades of smoldering ruins
which hold huddled, blackened corpses
Stacked ghosts of ships with decks of water
and gentle, bobbing corpses
doing a dance we have yet to join

He whisks them away
As quickly as he can
Dancing off stage
Through the swinging doors
Giving us a tantalizing glimpse of something
dropping off the dead
and coming back
all too-quickly
for more


Get used to that coffin
Those dimensions
That cramping
Definitely not enough room
to swing a cat
Let alone stretch your arms
Flexing toes will have to do
Tensing calf muscles
It’s not as if you are going
Just drowse
Bask in the comfy whiteness
Padded cushions all around
Once, or twice, when
he gets round to you
The keeper of the dead
will pull you out
Ask how you are doing
And if you have a mind
feel like resisting
You could always try and sit up
Rise against those protesting hands
And look at all those other drawers
That stretch into infinity


Press 1 to hear the taunts of playground bullies

Press 2 to hear your neighbor’s threats if you tell anyone what he did

Press 3 to hear the doctor say your mother will never regain consciousness

Press 4 to hear the life-support machine being switched off

Press 5 to hear your demented father accuse you of stealing

Press 6 to hear the shriek of the smoke detector going off in the middle of
the night

Press 7 to hear the sermon beside the open graves

Press 8 to hear her say there is no reason to stay together

Press 9 to hear the doctor’s prognosis which chills you to the bone

Press 0 to hear what’s left of your future


The ground does not need them
It has taken its fill
Fleshy pieces are no more
He imagines the earth
taking a deep breath, a deep sigh
that pushes up these bones
These gifts
He is always grateful
as he digs a new grave
Stacking the remains of limbs
in little piles, strange kindling
Mere diversions, adornments
Guardians of his greater endeavor
The pyramid of skulls
No mere pile
Each one nestling,
nuzzling against the other
Placement is a matter of precision
Carelessness means disaster
The loss of a lower jaw,
a cratered skull, or worse
With a steady hand
he lights the candles on the floor
and steps back
to watch the dead talk


































Ian Hunter lives in Scotland where he writes stories and poems and edits anthologies as well as being the poetry editor of the British Fantasy Society's journal "Dark Horizons." His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK, the USA and Canada, and this year a collection of some of his previously published poems appeared under the title Second Hand Poems. More about his adventures can be found out at The accompanying picture of him shows him holding what he thinks is the perfect mocha in a coffee shop in the wonderful East Neuk of Fife. 

See Dark Horizons HERE.

Dark Horizons 57

Dark Horizons 54

Raw Terror
























































Raw Terror Dark Horizons 54