first communions: a collection of dark fiction

Collected, for the first time, are sixteen of Geoffrey Girard's best, and darkest, tales...

The man who collects chips of bone from his willing victims... A legendary evil is adopted by a small, and thankful, village... The doomed girl invited to take part in a deliberate tragedy... A horrific church choir assembled after the zombie apocalypse... The boy who harvests spiders for a shadowy woman of magic... A fearsome town where the children’s nightmares are all real... The pain, price and beauty of blood and first loves...

From the curse of ancient evils to futuristic retirement homes where the dead still rule, haunted graveyards, planets of torture where all are equal, hockey-playing demon hunters, dark sorcerers battling in Algeria, and even voodoo-cursed pirates. Explore the darkest, and most majestic, extremes of us all in sixteen unique tales that will entertain, horrify and keep you thinking long after the last page is turned.

Let the communion begin…

first communions - Geoffrey Girard

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.Geoffrey Girard

Also Available...

"Not Fade Away" in Among the Shadows anthology 

"I'm sorry. What's that, Mr. Kurtz?"

"Therr goonda burnittuda grrownd."

"Is that right?" Beth still hasn't really heard him yet. But his tone sounds like a declaration of some kind and a reassuring 'Is-That-Right' usually does the trick. It suggests she's listening, open to learning something new. Old people like that. "All done, Mr. Kurtz?" she asks.

He looks away and waves his hand at the plate with some kind of accompanying 'Bah' straight out of Ebenezer Scrooge. She freezes. Flushes. Almost four months at Heritage Springs and it still makes her nervous when they get angry. Always a jolt. Most of the time, they don't get, well, anything. Just kinda sit there. Waiting.

Amazon - Kindle
Amazon - paperback

Among The Shadows

.Geoffrey Girard

"Unto the Lord a New Song" in Mountain Dead anthology 

Let me take you back. Queen Arlene in there had heard all about this church from one of the other holy hens who tells her all about this pastor's kid, 'you gotta go see this pastor's kid,' and this choir thing he's got going on out there and all. And then she, Arlene, well, she wouldn't just stop talking about it, I mean, with all those heads and all and what that kid was doing with 'em.

On Amazon [kindle]
On Smashwords

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.Geoffrey Girard

"For Restful Death I Cry" in Dark Futures anthology

A four-story C3 still inhabited by dozens of the undead. You’ve wandered each floor to make a quick head count, double checked their number before hauling in any equipment. Enough cloth to wrap all the bodies, canisters for the old fuel cells. Charges and nitroglycerin for the building. Other teams have already been through to strip out the copper wire, op fibers, and any viraglass. Now it's your turn. In two weeks, the crushers will roll in to recycle whatever worthwhile concrete and timber remain above, then flatten the rest to finish burying the recently departed. Not many here. One hundred and six. You've taken a couple days. There’s no real rush. They’ve been here some three hundred years...

"Fascinating to see how different authors go in a different direction from the same starting point. There's certainly enough variety here to keep the various dystopias from becoming too oppressive." -- Analog

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.Geoffrey Girard

"First Communions" in Dark Faith anthology

After, the blood stains remained on the driveway for years. Two lopsided blotches joined in the middle that, depending on who said, looked like big butterfly wings or the head of a mouse or two mushroom clouds exploding or maybe someone’s balls. They never really looked like a big misshapen heart. And as the stains grew smaller and fainter over time, you had to really imagine the mouse or balls or heart to really see them anymore. Or, even to see the stains. They’d been darker, of course, when it first happened, on the newly soaked concrete. When you could still see the smallest drops frozen in orbit just outside the two main spheres. When everyone, everyone, took turns riding bikes or walking the dog past the West’s house for another quick look to see where some girl had killed herself.

"Although the horror genre naturally lends itself to up close and personal examination of good and very nasty evil, little writing in that genre is faith inflected. This anthology addresses that gap." — Publishers Weekly

“Faith. Light and dark. Terrible beauty and mind-shattering horror. It’s all here, in what’s sure to be one of the year’s best anthologies.” —Shroud Magazine

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2010 Stoker Award Nominee 
for Superior Achievement in an Anthology

.Geoffrey Girard

"Psychomachia" in Harlan County Horrors anthology

Each night, except Sundays, the boy nests in one of two porch chairs and quietly watches his father and brother clean up at an old barrel filled with rain water from the roof. Mother won’t ever let either back into the house for dinner until they have. Always says Cleanliness is next to Godliness and that a man can’t root with pigs and still keep a clean nose. And so, soiled work clothes always stack up again for the next day. And weary hands scrub away another day’s dark labor. And the barrel water always turns black.

“In Geoffrey Girard's excellent Psychomachia, coal miners go mad after encountering an ancient evil deep in a coal mine. Utterly terrifying, and the imagery is so vivid that I felt as if I was there. I reread it twice just for the luxury of the language. (The Lexington Herald-Leader)

“Harlan County Horrors is a breathtaking thrill ride into the nightmarish backwoods of America’s Heartland. Visceral and imaginative, Mari Adkins invites you into the darkest recesses of the Appalachian landscape, navigating through the malefic folklore of a timeless place where the roots of horror run deep (Bob Freeman, author of Descendant)

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.Geoffrey Girard

"What You Know"  in Courting Morpheus anthology

It might have stopped with the lists they’d made.

But, she’d only glanced at them. Had they filled the page? Kept within the lines? Had Tess Barber put down anything at all? Was Brendon McCarty’s writing still hopelessly illegible? She hadn’t really looked at what they’d really put down.

She pressed back deeper into the kitchen’s shadows, body trembling. Buster barked again somewhere outside, but the dog’s voice sounded empty and distant. Like a ghost dog. She eyed the counter above and thought again of grabbing one of the many knives there, one of the really big ones.

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.Geoffrey Girard

"Collecting James" in Murky Depths  Issue #8 (may/2009)

Two dozen seemingly identical chips rested atop small black stands, displayed on the shelves like treasure. James reached into the wide rosewood cabinet to inspect one of the pieces. It was the size of a thick poker chip. An almost perfect circle of bone.  He took it off its stand and ran his fingers along the edge. Felt where the chip had been carefully, tenderly smoothed. He clutched it tightly, and suddenly heard the faint sound of strings. An abrupt rush of violins. A growing rhythm that quickly raced through his entire body. He heard notes, chord voicings moving...

"A dark and emotive story... The story's three characters were all disturbing in their own ways and made this a starkly potent piece." (SF Crowsnest)

"A well written little chiller." (SFRevu)

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.Geoffrey Girard

"Translatio"  in the anthology Gratia Placenti

It hung in the grey sunless sky like an enormous black balloon, bloated and dull, with a dozen rutted tendrils dangling loosely just beneath. Had Keller not been looking for one, he probably would have missed it completely. It would have become only another dark cloud or treetop lurking at the far corner of his eye. Every city had them by now. Hundreds. Some no bigger than a minivan. Others, he’d heard, were as large as stadiums. The creatures hovered in one spot for hours, days sometimes, drifting almost imperceptibly on some terrible unseen current. As if they were only sleeping. Watching. Waiting. Every so often, they “woke” and someone was killed.

"A twisted tale of servitude that starts dark and dives, without hesitation, for darker. Oppressively dark and daringly delivered, "Translatio" is likely to leave readers wondering if this anthology might be more than they can handle."  (Dark Scribe Magazine)

"A post-apocalyptic tale of mood, despair and purpose. A gripping tale..."  (FearZone)

"...very effective, dark and terrifying." (Horror World)

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.Geoffrey Girard

"The Twelve Year Bog" in The Rocking Chair Reader: Family Gatherings

This bog was smaller than the others, not much more than a dozen acres, but dense with the fattest and tastiest blueberries I’d ever picked. It was framed awkwardly in the tall dark trees of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, which surrounded the bushes on all sides and cast a mixture of wraithlike shadows and radiant sunlight over the deep-set field. Its boundaries were uneven and crooked, the dams built many years before.

My fingers were already stained blue in berry wax, collecting a hundred pounds a day. My grandfather, who’d worked the same fields for sixty years, watched us work and helped where he could. Though, he often just played his guitar. We slept on the porch each night with half a dozen other cousins. We ate our aunts’ various deep-dish cobblers and we all played penny poker until the first whippoorwill’s hoot. I was thirteen.

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.Geoffrey Girard
"Dark Harvest" in Writers of the Future XIX 

No one knew what it was at first, the black thing lying in Tomas Walker’s barley field, and guesses and opinion collected for three days before anyone even dared touch it.  On that third day, surrounded by hushed words of both encouragement and warning, Leo Barth carefully used his longest walking stick to roll the thing to its side so they could all get a better look.  Then, though none of them had ever seen one before, they somehow knew exactly what it was.  A crow-black hooded cloak hid most of the long body, its legs and arms limp and twisted in peculiar directions, broken, looking just as if one of the girls had dropped her cloth moppet.... ( Geoffrey Girard )

"The 19th installment contains more top-notch stories than last year's volume and is likely to satisfy science fiction and fantasy aficionados looking for fresh ideas and new twists on old conventions. Should be required reading for aspiring sci-fi and fantasy writers."  (Publishers Weekly)

"Dark Harvest will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. One that will keep you thinking long after you've read it."  (

"Geoffrey Girard brings us a story about what happens when you find your worst nightmare dying in a field, and it becomes a tourist attraction. Excellent writing, and a wonderful story." (

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Geoffrey Girard

"Wizards' Encore" reprinted in the anthology PRIME CODEX
Originally appeared in Beyond Centauri magazine  (4/2005) ]

After he’d defeated their kingdom, the French wizard came to speak to Kabir’s father. The Frenchman wore a burnous, the traditional desert robe dark and long, a camel’s-hair cord wrapped tight around his fat and large forehead. He had dead, white skin, his face bare and corpselike with hard sharp eyes of a stone, blue as the sky, gazing lewdly about the tent from under his robe’s hood. Djenoum, Kabir thought again. A demon.    

"Prime Codex can stand next to any 'Best of' in the field. Full of fresh thinking, innovative writing, and outbreaks of staggering beauty, Prime Codex should be at the top of your to-be-read pile." (Jay Lake, Winner of the 2004 John W. Campbell Award)

"I enjoyed 'Wizards' Encore' by Geoffrey Girard for the same reason that I liked The Prestige: the relentless and sometimes over-the-top rivalry that seems to exist between magicians. There's some lovely imagery here, especially when the showmanship of Robert-Houdin takes full form. Plus, you know, bugs are pretty creepy in general but Girard takes them to a whole new level. Very engaging, and definitely one worth checking out." (Wistful Writings)

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.Geoffrey Girard

Out of Print

Cain XP11  in Apex Magazine  (2007)

The novella thriller Cain Xp11 was serialized in Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, appearing in four installments in 2007.

CAIN XP11 was rewritten as the novel CAIN'S BLOOD and sold to Touchstone Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) in 2012. A teen version of the novel was also sold to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Both books will be published in Fall, 2013.

Part 1: “The Voice of Your Brother's Blood” - Issue 9 
Part 2: “Henry Lee Lucas Memorial Highway”
- Issue 10   
Part 3: “Sorry About the Blood”
- Issue 11   
Part 4: “The Wicked King”
- Issue 12  

Review: "Part one of Geoffrey Girard's serial, Cain XP11, is a must-read. Excellent storytelling and dialogue carry this first installment along at a clip... The last line is one of the strongest single lines I've ever read in any story, and I've never come across a writer who can deliver such an impact of both horror and humor in six simple words." (from Whispers of Wickedness)

Review: "The best I can personally hope for out of horror nowadays is to be vaguely creeped out, and even those thrills are becoming fewer and farther between for jaded old me. Then something like "The Henry Lee Lucas Memorial Highway" by Geoffrey Girard comes along. Part two of a four-part piece, but this piece standing alone makes for an excellent story."  (from

Review: "Gets pretty grisly but it has a heart, too." (from SFRevu)

Cain XP11

.Geoffrey Girard

"Where the Shadow Ended"  in The Willows magazine  (September '07)

Tom was familiar to the darkness, an adopted son. He woke to it each morning and scurried over its dim empty streets, then immediately climbed back into it again to work in pitch black flues for hours. Wedged in endless shadow, reaching tiny hands into the dark unknown to scrape clean the insides of London’s chimneys. His skin, hair and clothes were soot-dyed and black. It was rumored to be bad luck to step on a chimney sweep’s shadow, and Tom supposed that was because it was never really clear where the shadow ended and the boy began.

.Geoffrey Girard

"H. E. Double Hockey Stick" in the anthology Damned Nation 

Everyone on the team hated the twins. And not just the other players. Anyone who had anything even remotely to do with the Red Raiders hated them too. The coaches, all of the parents, refs, the kids they played against, the Zamboni guy, even the little old grandma who volunteered in the rink’s snack shop. The two boys were frail, pink-faced halfwits. Even for ten-year-olds who’d clearly never played hockey before, they stunk at everything from stick handling to shooting and, if possible, skated even worse. They didn’t know the rules or pay attention during practice. They couldn’t remember plays or formations. They didn’t even lace their stupid skates right. To make matters worse, Cory also suspected they were both demons straight from the pits of hell. ( Geoffrey Girard )

"Geoffrey Girard is my favorite! Hilarious and horrific. I need to read more of this guy's stuff." (

.Geoffrey Girard

"Universal Adaptor"  in Aoife's Kiss magazine  (Issue 21)

“Please don’t,” Paul said, then treated 45-23b with another thousand directed beams of hyper-radiation. The man’s mind punched back at it, betrayed and angry, and Paul ended up taking some of the jolt himself. The new pods they shared didn’t burn like the older models, but the rest was still there. A flash of loss, despair and defeat. Floating, hollow. Paul was only getting a taste of what his patient got, and it was terrible. But he didn’t try shaking it off because he knew that only time could make it go away and that it hurt like hell to rush the process. He relaxed and simply let the computer-driven despair settle in. Then he reminded himself it was just part of the job.
( Geoffrey Girard )

Review: "A story that could have gone to a much darker place, but the writer knew enough not to underestimate his audience. Just the hint at how dark it can go can be enough to send shivers of fear up your spine."  (PuttPutt Productions)

.Geoffrey Girard