Split Scream Volume Five, by Lindsey Croal and Bitter Karella

15 Jun 2024

The Book

Split Scream Volume 5
Pages: 168
Age Group: Adult
Published on 23 Jul 2024
Publisher: Tenebrous Press
Available on:


The latest volume of editor Alex Ebenstein's acclaimed series arrives, featuring brand new Weird Horror novelettes from Bitter Karella (Midnight Pals) and Lyndsey Croal (Have You Decided on Your Question)! 

The Ballad of Horse Girl - Bitter Karella

California, 1860. The corrupt judge and snake oil baron, Lazarus Dives, murdered her family; now the nameless drifter known only as the Horse Girl is out for revenge. But can a man who’s sold his soul to the devil for eternal life be killed? It’ll be no easy task; but with extra motivation in the form of a bounty on the judge by Death herself, the Horse Girl plans to collect—even if it costs her soul. A classic Western tale of retribution meets supernatural horror.

The Girl with Barnacles for Eyes - Lyndsey Croal

Every year, the enigmatic Curator sails into Evie’s coastal town to display his wonders from beneath the ocean. Each time, Evie is drawn by the fascinating sights. But this year, he’s brought something different: a captive girl with barnacles for eyes. Evie risks everything to free her, ignoring her Ma’s warnings to stay away from the freak of nature. But is the Girl truly a monster, or is there more than meets the eye?

My Review

Split Scream is a series of volumes featuring two novelettes, under the edition of Alex Ebenstein, and currently being published by Tenebrous Press. It's an excellent way to get a taste of the authors, and to enjoy different proposals to what we would read usually. In this review, we are covering Volume Five, scheduled for July, and featuring novelettes by Lindsey Croal and Bitter Karella.

In The Girl with Barnacles for Eyes, by Lindsey Croal, we have a story built around melancholy and lack of liberty; a girl trapped in a boat that became an attraction that earns money for an abusive man. And Evie, a girl from the village that gets absolutely obsessed with the girl; an obsession that not only puts her in danger, but that eventually comes to reveal the truth about her family. A story full of tension with a fairytale feeling that is concluded in a bittersweet manner.

In comparison, in The Ballad of Horse Girl, by Bitter Karella, we have a piece of weird western with horror elements; a story with an incredible potential and a world and characters that perfectly could stand in a longer form. The quest for vengeance of Horse Girl will take her on a journey through California in order to take down the cruel Judge, a man who has reached an agreement with Death. Killing him is the only way she will get retribution, but at which price? An action packed novelette with enigmatic characters that I would love to see taken into other pieces.

A book that I devoured, with two different stories, but showcasing the talent of both authors; perfect if you are looking for something short and full of the weird elements that have become the Tenebrous Press trademark.

The Author/s

Lindsey Croal

Lindsey Croal

Lyndsey is an Edinburgh-based author of strange and speculative fiction. She is a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awardee, British Fantasy Award Finalist, Ladies of Horror Fiction Writers Grant Recipient, and former Hawthornden Fellow. Her short fiction and essays have been published in over eighty magazines and anthologies, and have placed or been shortlisted in several competitions including with Mslexia, British Fantasy Society, Apex Magazine, the Cymera Fest Prize for Speculative Fiction, Escape Pod, and Fractured Lit. Her debut two-part audio drama ‘Daughter of Fire and Water’ was released in 2021 with the Alternative Stories and Fake Realities podcast and was a BFA-finalist for Best Audio in 2022. Her novelette ‘Have You Decided on Your Question’ was published by Shortwave Publishing in 2023 and she has two short story collections forthcoming – LIMELIGHT from Shortwave Publishing in 2024 and DARK Crescent from Luna Press Publishing in 2025. She has also edited a number of projects including ‘Ghostlore: An Audio Fiction Anthology’ and Shoreline of Infinity Magazine’s Climate Change Special.

In 2019, she co-founded Edinburgh Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers and feels fortunate to have such an active literary scene on her doorstep. She is also a full member of SFWA.

Her writing is influenced by her professional background in climate and nature policy as well as her experience growing up in remote places.

Bitter Karella

Bitter Karella

Bitter Karella is the writer and horror aficionado behind the microfiction comedy account @Midnight_pals, which asks what if all your favorite horror writers gathered around the campfire to tell scary stories. When not writing twitter jokes, she also dabbles in cartooning and text game design. Her horror text games, available on itchio, include Night House, All Visitors Welcome, Toadstools, and Santa Carcossa Nights.