October Literary Horoscopes
Words By Alyssa Jordan, Art By Joana Coccarelli
The Ram / Courageous, Adventurous, Independent / Domineering, Selfish, Arrogant
Guess what, Aries? It’s time to bust out your favorite candies and light those candles (bonus points if they’re spooky). This month will be all about fun and frivolity, which has to be a welcome change after that doozy of a summer. Embrace the season as early as you want, you Halloween junkie you.
Before you work on your pumpkin-carving technique, start with this platter of mini-horror treats.
- Tiny Terrors: Fifty Word Increments of Horror, by Sarina Dorie: These bite-sized stories range from the scary to the comedic. Looking for body horror? Check. Looking for painful hilarity? Check.
- Teaser: “He plunged his cleaver into the pages of the novel. Blood spurted from the binding. The words on the pages screamed and writhed. The writer stared in horror. ‘Now it’s ready to be published,’ the editor said.”
The Bull / Loyal, Friendly, Resourceful / Self-Indulgent, Possessive, Greedy
Toward the beginning of the month, your pad will be empty for a few days, but don’t let those four walls keep you caged (unless you want to be—hey, I don’t judge). If last month was all about solitude, then October is your time to shine in the friend department. Chat up a few coworkers and hit one or five Halloween parties.
Check out your ghoulish story pick first, though.
- The Monster on Her Cheek, by Rebecca Roland: Vivid, enthralling, and unique, this story gently peels back layers of the horror genre to reveal a surprisingly soulful core.
- Teaser: “The monster’s presence made Wendy’s stomach curdle. But it was tied to Jane through shared blood, a shared nervous system. It wasn’t her, but it was part of her, and Wendy had ignored it this whole time, ignoring part of her daughter.”
The Twins / Intelligent, Adaptable, Creative / Moody, Opportunistic, Inconsistent
This month, some oh-so-fun stress mountains will hit you like a ton of bricks. Stay the course and you’ll climb them in no time. Just don’t watch movies like 127 Hours for inspiration. You could try to adopt a Zen attitude, but then again, I hear bitchiness is good for the complexion.
Maybe this delightful read can help. Set down those hiking gloves and check it out.
- Zombie Widows, by Natalie Graham: Zombies, napalm, and widows, oh my! This one takes your classic zombie story and turns it on its head. The ending is a surprise, and it’s perfect (no spoilers).
- Teaser: “I didn’t know why it was only men who returned as zombies. Neither did anyone else. Scientists who studied the phenomenon (and weren’t squeezed to death by zombies) were puzzled.”
The Crab / Honest, Generous, Faithful / Insecure, Needy, Crabby
In the middle of October, you’ll need to leave your nest for some spontaneity. C’mon, I know it’s painful, but you’ll be rewarded for good behavior. That cutie you’ve awkwardly been making eye contact with, you know, before you dart away? They’ll be receptive to some down n’ dirty flirting around All Hallows’ Eve.
Remember to celebrate with some good ol’ howling at the moon. Tis the season, after all! Speaking of…
- The Greyhound, by Dafydd McKimm: This simple yet spellbinding premise makes for a fascinating read, and the non-linear format only adds to the suspense. Dip your toes into the water—you won’t regret it.
- Teaser: “On the Greyhound, everyone’s interested in each other’s secrets. You don’t get this sort of thing on a regular commuter bus—or so I hear from my sisters who spend more time on land than I do.”
The Lion / Cheery, Noble, Imaginative / Demanding, Boastful, Melodramatic
Don’t give into the soap opera that is your life just yet. I know the spotlight is tempting, but good things come to those who wait. Dive into the drama after the middle of the month and you’ll score two of your three desires. Don’t pout—you’ll only get one measly wish if you leap in now.
Since I can read your fortune, I should tell you that your October story pick is downright killer. Heh.
- The Eleventh Floor Ghost, by Megan Giddings: This flash fiction piece is utter perfection. At first, it’ll make you want to find a retro hotel, and assemble a monster girl gang. By the end, you’ll raise a silent toast to the Eleventh Floor Ghost.
- Teaser: “Enthusiastic guests try to request floors based on hauntings. Seventh Floor Ghost specializes in animals. She starts each evening by controlling cockroaches; forcing them to skitter across the carpets, move up and down the walls.”
The Maiden / Practical, Diligent, Kind / Obsessive, Self-Righteous, Compulsive
October might be topsy-curvy for you, Virgo. You’ll be a rock star when it comes to the three f’s: friends, family, and fun. Work is a whole other story, though. Your practical nature will demand that you fix this—and you should—but let that gorgeous hair down, too. Oh, and sharpen your nails around the 25th.
First thing’s first: Embrace the theme of transformation with this startling, vibrant read.
- The Fire Eaters, by Philippa Bowe: The story will take you to some unexpected places. It invites and frightens in equal measure, and it’ll make you want to shed your pesky skin.
- Teaser: “Then they appear. Extravagant leotards, jewel-coloured carapaces like exotic beetles, enclosing three women. Gleaming muscles, disorderly hair. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
The Scales / Compassionate, Trustworthy, Peacemaker / Disorganized, Materialistic, Indecisive
You might have felt like a zombie these past few months, but October is all about you! So buy your favorite chocolate, pop in a movie, and pull on your comfiest Grandma sweater. Keep doing you till your favorite holiday rolls around. After all, the dead won’t raise themselves.
The demons in your story pick have a similar problem, but they turn those lemons into some fine lemonade.
- Pocketful of Souls, by Jennifer Lee Rossman: A well written and delightfully creepy read, this one will put you in a Halloween mood, but leave you with a smile on your face.
- Teaser: “Amy put the soul in her basket and started up time again. She liked to make the souls look like chocolates; sometimes, when the Darkness wasn’t looking, she would nibble on them a bit.”
The Scorpion / Purposeful, Charismatic, Cunning / Aggressive, Manipulative, Possessive
October will be an irksome month of indecision for you. Try to ride it out and let your brain hang out in the slow lane (hey, we all need a break sometimes). Around the 20th, you can remedy this by communing with nature or throwing yourself into a creative project. If all fails, try some Beetlejuice therapy.
And read your story pick, of course.
- The Arms, by Jennifer Lynn Krohn: This thriller starts off with a jaw-dropping first line (kindly included below). It will grab you and not let go—I’m talking hook, line, and sinker.
- Teaser: “The father threw his daughter’s arms into the trash heap, but the next morning—the armless girl long gone—the two arms lay on the table as though the girl was still connected to them. The fingers on the right hand drummed out a beat.”
The Archer / Straightforward, Optimistic, Adventurous / Careless, Impatient, Hotheaded
The middle of fall will greet you like an old shirt-stealing, food-eating, lovable friend. Archers of your caliber thrive in winter, but you’ll still enjoy the crisp air and orange leaves of apple-bobbing season. Go with the flow—which you’re good at—and dig down deep to access that well of patience (I know it’s in there, somewhere).
Maybe this monthly read will help.
- Buckshot, by Alex Terrell: Told in a rhythmic, captivating style, this story pulses with life and curiosity. It’ll make a part of you want to get lost in the woods . . . but bring a flashlight, okay.
- Teaser: “Like the hands of a clock, they made revolutions around one another and ate in silence. And I watched them load their guns. They disappeared into the woods just before daybreak.”
The Mountain Sea-Goat / Traditional, Responsible, Ambitious / Unforgiving, Blunt, Pessimistic
Strut your stuff in October and ignore the haters. They’re just jealous of your sparkly to do lists and milky-gel pens (who isn’t, honestly). Take the time to feed professional and personal gremlins this month. Don’t forget to indulge a little, too—it’s pumpkin-spice season.
Speaking of indulgences, I handpicked this story just for you.
- Three Rules for Befriending Ghosts, by Benjamin Thomas: Your rule-loving mind is sure to adore this piece. It’s funny, insightful, and sweet. Plus, who doesn’t love a good ghost story?
- Teaser: “Yes. Even a ten-year old will pound her small spectral fists on the table when you put a hotel on Boardwalk. Flippin’ Monopoly, man.”
The Water-Bearer / Intellectual, Open-Minded, Outgoing / Unpredictable, Self-Conscious, Chaotic
Old relationships will rise from the grave this month (see what I did there). You might be tempted to give them the boot, but a few may warrant some stale Halloween candy and a conversation over spiked cider. You’ll be rewarded with another great hair day, not to mention a second date with your favorite barista.
While you’re busting out the cotton spider webs and dangly skeletons, I have a gorgeously penned story waiting in your queue.
- The Dead Are Not Hungry, by Justin Lawrence Daugherty: In this stunner, you will take a close look at one family’s heartbreak. The story is haunting and eerie and builds with purpose. Truly unlike any zombie tale you’ve read before.
- Teaser: “He watches her go and does not go after her. She doesn’t know him, and he wishes he could be unburdened with his knowing.”
The Fish / Charitable, Intuitive, Artistic / Timid, Impractical, Indolent
Obstacles will melt away like butter in your professional life. You’ll also hit some fitness goals this month, so keep breaking out the lime-green spandex! There might be a little doom n’ gloom on the horizon, but no need to worry about that yet. Much.
Anyway! Save this flash fiction piece for a well-deserved treat.
- A Warning from the Wood, by Madeleine Ebacher: Deep, dark, and ethereal, this one is an utter feast for the senses. It progresses nicely, and finishes neatly. You will want more, of course, but it doesn’t pay to be greedy.
- Teaser: “He didn’t know the damage already done. His eyes gone milky. He’d already been changed. The dirt, the bark was in him. He might have left the woods, but the woods had not left him.”