In Sickness by L.L. Soares and Laura Cooney

Plumbing the depths of Hell. Together.

Welcome to the dark worlds of Laura Cooney and L. L. Soares, two writers of dark fiction who also happen to be husband and wife. Let them be your guides for an excursion through the uncharted regions of the horrific and the surreal.

Here are just some of the strange sights you’ll see along the way:

• A ghost girl takes her living playmate on an eerie hunt for buried treasure.

• On Halloween night, a college student finds a little black dress that’s more than just a fashion accessory.

• A sasquatch hides in the rhododendrons, waiting for the woman he loves.

• A group of super-smart monkeys are in the mood to peel a meal, but it ain’t bananas they’re craving.

• A husband and wife, bound together in a web of tragic secrets, are haunted by strange, pig-faced children.

Cover art by Valerie Kahn-Dorato and interior art throughout by Mechelle Sizemore.

49, 661 words

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Table of Contents:

Part One: Laura Cooney


“The Hirsute You”

“Puppy Love”

“A Crown of Mushrooms”

“Number 808″

Part Two: L.L. Soares

“Little Black Dress”

“Second Chances”

“Mating Room”

“Head Games”

“The No! Place”

“Private Exhibition”

Part Three: Laura Cooney & L.L. Soares in Collaboration

“In Sickness”


From “Puppy Love” by Laura Cooney:

To bite or not to bite? Now that’s a question.

Even now I can feel that aching sting. The indentations in the flesh, like potholes and pockmarks. My mother used Vaseline to soothe it, but savagery cannot be smoothed over. The pain was memorable, meaningful and lasting. Lasting in its effects and affecting in its lasting. That unusual age of three and four and five when we’re little beasts. Strongly it was pulling at me, lips withdrawing to show teeth ready to gnaw and slice and tear. Satisfied in inflicting and feeling pain. A joy of crippled fingers.

There is a chasm like a bite mark and a bite mark like a chasm.

Most stories don’t begin on page one; usually, it’s page three where it all starts. Just as lives begin at about age three because we can’t remember before then, and I never believe people who say they do. They claim to remember feeding at their mother’s breast or learning how to walk. That’s pure crap; either they are intentionally deceiving us or themselves.

My first memories were of biting my brother’s fingers and of him biting me back. We sat in front of the television; our baby legs folded underneath us, and what caused the disagreement didn’t matter. What matters is that it ended with our fingers in each other’s mouths. We showed one another no mercy, but bit down like a fox on a chicken or a cat on a mouse, with the madness of one man beating on another man. Let’s make no mistake: we are animals, too.

I sit here now with my unbroken, unblemished skin, fingers laid flat on my desk. They do not throb and my mother is not here rubbing Vaseline on them. I put my finger in my mouth and bite down on it, gently like a tamed animal.


“Laura Cooney and L. L. Soares are the Bonnie and Clyde of the horror genre, and this collection is a fully loaded clip of shots to the head. You’re going to dig it!” ~ Brian Keene , author of A Gathering of Crows and The Last Zombie

“Just be thankful that you, the reader, are not in any of the situations the characters in L.L. Soares’ stories find themselves in. Soares’ bare bones writing style has you committed even before you realize it; on edge without yet knowing why; and drawn toward conclusions whose sole intent is to simply frighten you to your core.

“And while Soares attacks you from the outside, his wife, Laura Cooney goes within. She finds a psychological scab and then picks at it until it begins to bleed, until it reveals more than just fluid and soft flesh. Cooney is after the hard-wiring beneath, the life-bred horrors that are a part of our own worst natures, and she exposes them every chance she gets.

“L.L. Soares and Laura Cooney combine to create a tag team unprecedented in modern horror. The heart of darkness has just grown several shades darker.” ~Kurt Newton , author of The Wishnik and Black Butterflies

“L.L. Soares and Laura Cooney have created stories that are consistently first-rate and terrifying, horrific and touching. I highly recommend this collection!” ~Daniel G. Keohane, author of Solomon’s Grave


Antibacterial Pope

Shroud Magazine

Matthew Fryer

Author Websites:

L.L. Soares

Laura Cooney

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