Scott J. Couturier is a Rhysling-nominated poet and prose writer of the weird, liminal, and darkly fantastic. His work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Audient Void, Spectral Realms, The Dark Corner Zine, Tales from the Magician’s Skull, Space and Time Magazine, Cosmic Horror Monthly, and Weirdbook. His first collection of weird fiction, The Box, was just released by Hybrid Sequence Media.

Currently he works as a copy and content editor for Mission Point Press, living an obscure reverie in the wilds of northern Michigan with his partner/live-in editor and two cats.


Ode to a Spider

Yesterday, while moving a moldy bookcase,
I found beneath (in a three-walled enclosure
formed by shelving’s base) a nightmare
realm of webs and suffocating shadow, where
gluttony stalked in blackness; eight-legged,
thousand-eyed, stealthy as that malodorous
moist umbra in which it wove its abode.
Stinking speckles of mildew and rot, cold
air cloistered beneath a rack of decaying
yellow-paged volumes, all fraught with dust:
and there, unseen and unsuspected, a beast
feasting imperious in its unlit abattoir,
bloated jet of body, stringing threads of
terror in a microcosmic Night Land sans end.
Save, when my ministrations found its lair,
it scuttled and bobbed about in feeble dread,
snaring itself clumsily in subtle threads
of its own malignant weft. And I—poised with
flashlight in hand, eyeing this minute
monstrosity—saw for one moment myself
puny and ensnared in its dominion, mere prey
strayed unknowing into some cubby of Hell.


Horror of a disordered sheet
moving of its own accord: of rustling
sounds after twilight, clatter at pane
and scratching behind walls, tugs
on bedclothes and errant flickerings of
open flame: hearing whispers on
dusk’s wind to elation of fear,
quivering in terror’s exaltation,
brain fraught by visions drear
and expectation of horrid visitations,
rife intrusion of that rank beyond
which pulses in every shadow
like the rhythm of a vein, darkness
sentient and ascendant alongside
moon’s gaunt accentuation, and all
souls out in teeming droves to
plague periphery of uneasy eyes!

Linen shifts and twists in agony,
something inhumanly dead
seeking remembrance of repose,
a ghastly midnight torquing of
invisible limbs, cold and exiled
from any refuge of warming rest.
Dawn’s light at last fractures night
like something fragile, all fell things
creeping back to their demonian
idyll, in angles foreign yet ancillary
to daytime’s waking, walking delusion.


You see, they take you up inside this disc—
this kind of spatial-spectral craft where
everything blends into everything else,
a—a flying saucer, you know? And these
little gray beings—but not so little, from
where you’re lying—they’re staring down
at you, backlit by blinding light
and flooding your brain with thoughts
and images, psychic like you see on TV shows,
and the whole time you’re wondering,
“Is this real? Is this really happening?”

You especially wonder when they
roll out a multi-limbed mechanical apparatus,
faces not devoid but incapable of expression,
eyes wide as dinner plates
and Bible Black, with little mouth-slits
that move but make no sound. They’re
floating you around on an anti-grav electrum slab—
you can hear everything they’re gonna do to you.
There’s an eagerness, a readiness, a thirst.
You hear the whirring as their machine starts up—

Oh, wait, I hear the whirring.
You can’t hear it, just imagine it.

After that it’s all black, black as their eyes.
And you know what? I think I prefer it that way.
Except, sometimes when I’m asleep I remember
things I wish I could wipe away on waking.