March 3, 2016


Annie Neugebauer is a novelist, blogger, nationally award-winning poet, and two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated short story author with work appearing in more than a hundred publications, including Cemetery Dance, Black Static, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror volumes 3, 4, and 5. She’s a columnist and writing instructor for LitReactor. You can visit her at

I will strip you bare.

And I won’t stop at skin.
You can still hide a lot beneath skin.

And what about
this thin layer of muscle,
quivering and flexing
beneath my gaze?
That, too, must go.

And what of this strange cage
made of bones, curved
like sideways teeth
around your reality?
It must be opened.

And this nest of organs
covering you up —
what of them?
Surely you know
they must go as well.

It all must go.
I will keep removing layers
until the heart of you is exposed —
naked, bare —
pulsing out your truth
two fleshy beats at a time.

© Annie Neugebauer

Our 2022 Kickstarter—Rewards! Swag! Bonus content!

2022 Apex Magazine Kickstarter

Support Apex Magazine on Patreon!


  1. Regina Richards

    Powerful. Glad I read it in the daylight.

  2. Rich Weatherly

    Well done, Annie. It reminds me of the prolog of a novel I read last summer… shudders.

  3. Ashley B. Davis

    I know vampires are like, so passe, but that is exactly who I hear saying this words. *shiver* The language, the images–I LOVE it!

Submit a Comment