specials | December, 21st 2010 by Del

Twelve Days - Anthology

Yuletide Greetings, short story fans! Today is National Short Story Day. It’s also the shortest day of the year, which we plan to celebrate in true short fiction style by bringing you our Twelve Days Christmas Anthology. Twelve science-fiction, fantasy and horror flash fiction stories to mark the shortest day, and the longest night. Before you know it, the daylight will be gone and we’ll be plunged into the darkest of winter nights, the one night of the year where it feels the darkness will never end.

Download the eBook (epub)
Download the eBook (PDF)

We asked writers submitting to Dark Fiction Magazine to keep in mind the traditional Twelve Days Of Christmas song, a song which ended with the lines:

Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Plenty of material for imaginative writers to play with and play they most certainly did. The Dark Fiction Magazine Team had a great time reading through the submissions and it was a very tough call when it came to selecting our final twelve tales. Still, our twelve winners were eventually picked, the stories recorded, and we’re proud to present them to you here and now.

So, stop worrying about train delays, Christmas presents still to buy, and trying to remember if you’ve sent a card to absolutely everyone you know: relax, put your feet up, give up one of those shortest day hours to some fine fiction with a truly Christmas feel.

Table of Contents:

Milk by Jennifer Williams read by Kim Lakin-Smith
Just One Night by Terry Martin read by Saxon Bullock
Ten Lords-a-leaping by Kev Rooney read by Donna Scott
The Wintermachine by Scott Harrison read by Kim Lakin-Smith
It’s Just a Game by Neil Beynon read by Mark Deniz
Nine Ladies Dancing by Marc Williams read by Del Lakin-Smith
Seven Swans-a-swimming by Martin McGrath read by Alex Davis
Five Gold Rings by Peter Morrison read by Paul Holmes
Ten Lords Leaping by Stuart Young read by Marty Perret
Seven Swans by Chris Lewis read by Sam Moffat
The Fifth day by Alison Littlewood read by Sharon Ring
Truelove by David Hartley read by David Moore
Our Twelve Days Anthology authors:

Jennifer WilliamsJennifer Williams (@sennydreadful) is a fantasy and horror writer from South East London. When not frowning over her notebook in coffee shops and pubs, she can usually be found shouting excitedly at the Xbox, or recording a podcast about shouting at Xboxes. Her short stories have appeared in Hub magazine and Black Static, and she is currently working on her next novel, which has mutated into a science-fiction/crime series, much to her own surprise.

Terry MartinTerry Martin (@Lucifal) is the publisher and editor-in-chief of award-winning magazine/anthology Murky Depths. It’s his baby. He’s pleased that Dark Fiction is doing on the web what he’s been doing in print for over three years, only MD has comics too. Under the House of Murky Depths imprint he’s also published comics and paperbacks (notably Sam Stone’s Vampire Gene series) and has been instrumental in turning Richard Calder’s Dead Girls book into a graphic novel, Act 1 being published in January, 2011. He’s had a few stories published before – though editing means little time for writing these days – and used to write a monthly column for a sports magazine.

Kev RooneyKev Rooney is a Northampton based writer and artist who doesn’t believe in happy endings, only brief respites. Find more of his work at or follow @cult_of_nyx on Twitter.

Scott HarrisonScott Harrison is an author and playwright, whose stage plays have been performed both in the UK and the US. He has short stories appearing in forthcoming anthologies, including Obverse Books’ ‘Faction Paradox – A Romance in Twelve Parts’, and has co-edited the collection ‘Voices From The Past’ with Lee Harris. He has written for HUB Magazine, contributes to SHINY SHELF, and held the post of writer-in-residence for The Dreaming Theatre Company for several years. He is currently co-writing a novel with Pan Book of Horror editor Johnny Mains, as well as working on a solo Steampunk novel titled ‘Dark Engine’. You can catch up with him on Twitter (@scottvharrison) or on his blog at

Neil BeynonNeil Beynon is a London based writer who works across science fiction, fantasy and horror with his work having appeared in Murky Depths, Ballista, Jupiter SF and Illuminations: The Friday Flash Fiction anthology. You can find his blog on an eclectic number of subjects, including writing, genre and some free examples of his work, at He also Tweets far too often for his own good at

Marc WilliamsMarc is a geologist by trade who started writing during periods of machine down-time while drilling trial holes in London. His work as a Geoenvironmental Engineer in the derelict industrial areas of the east end gave him a love of atmospheric buildings and intricate mechanical objects. In addition to writing he fills his spare time searching out locations with an individual quality, from derelict mines to former cold war bunkers with time for the odd yoga routine in between.

Martin McGrathMartin McGrath (@martinmcgrath) is originally from Northern Ireland but has lived in England for many, many years. He’s had short fiction published in various publications, some of which are actually still being published – like Jupiter SF & Albedo One. The idea for “Seven Swans a-Swimming” popped into his head during a conversation with his daughter but – to make it clear – she was never in danger of ending up in a lake…
Peter MorrisonPeter Morrison (@remotevoices) is a Glasgow based writer, who specialises in odd fiction, like science fiction stories sliding strangely into horror while he isn’t looking. He has a number of stories published online to date, on sites such as Mythaxis, Weaponizer and Telling of Tales. He is currently trying to keep track of a dozen works in progress.

Stuart YoungStuart Young has had stories published in We Fade to GreyThe Mammoth Book of Future Cops and Catastrophia. He has also published three short story collections and won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella. The rumours about him and Princess Gretchen of Helmdavia are completely unfounded, he and the princess are just tiddlywinks partners.

Chris LewisChris Lewis wonders what he’s doing here. He was born in Surrey in 1971 and now lives in Bath, UK with his wonderful boyfriend of eleven years. He works just outside the city as a GP. His sole fiction output since leaving school has been two unfinished Nanowrimo novels. Unsurprisingly these remain unpublished, and fêted by precisely no-one. He is very excited (and pleasantly bemused) to have a story included in the Twelve Days Anthology, and hopes it’ll be a springboard to future writing success. His tweets of little or no import can be found at, where he would welcome new followers.
Alison LittlewoodAlison J. Littlewood lives in West Yorkshire, England, where she hoards books, dreams dreams and writes short fiction – mainly in the dark fantasy and horror genres. Alison has contributed to Black Static, Murky Depths, Dark Horizons, Not One Of Us and the Never Again anthology. She recently finished her novel, A Cold Season.Visit her at

David HartleyDave Hartley is a short story writer from Preston now living in Manchester with two rabbits, five guinea pigs, three rats and one human. He is the author of two blog sites; one for collaborative film reviews ( and the other for fiction and general nonsense about rabbits ( For further insights into his mysterious world, follow him on



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  • Peter

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    am writing on behalf of Ben Wood.

    has recently started his own fiction story site called Army of Puppets.


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