“Stag In Winter”

I’m thrilled to announce that my 1,100-word dreamy horror story “Stag In Winter” is published in Cosmic Horror Monthly issue #33! It’s a little tale of a man who has lost his purpose finding one in a commune in the wilderness. It’s so nice to be needed. The Great Resignation meets Showtime’s Yellowjackets.

Please enjoy “Stag In Winter” in Cosmic Horror Monthly issue #33.

Author’s Notes

This story was born from the Codex Writers’ 2022 “Weekend Warrior” contest, where, for five consecutive Fridays, we’re given a prompt and write a story in 750 or fewer words. This story was prompted by: “Write about a character who transforms into an animal, but there’s a heavy price.” I’d just come off a mind-bending binge of Yellowjackets season 1 on Showtime, so this was stuck in my mind and needed to be dislodged. And when you only have a weekend to write a story, you fall back on what you know–and I’m all about writing about office job dissatisfaction and a person grasping for meaning.

In certain circles, the response to the feeling of meaninglessness brought about by too much modernity is to flee in the opposite direction. Back to Nature. Back to the basics. But systems of exploitation certainly predate corporatism, and I suspect that using the human craving for meaning, belonging, and status is a similarly ancient tool for leaders to guide followers toward self-sacrifice in the name of the group.

And who’s to say it’s wrong? In many tales, what makes the hero is that they choose meaningful action above their own continued survival. In this framework, self-annihilation can feel like fulfillment. (Just kidding: it’s wrong. Systems should not be set up so that self-annihilation is what constitutes a person’s meaning. That’s what makes this horror.)


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