Calyptra Mortiferum cover


Calyptra Mortiferum book cover

Fear that gets under your skin.

A butterfly sanctuary welcomes a new species of moth. Uncovering its secrets will be deadly…

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Calyptra Mortiferum



    • Horror Suspense
    • Literature & Fiction
    • Short Story


    • eBook



“I’m a horror snob. Sorry, I said it. Most horror writing falls flat on me. When I’m asked to review horror I’m the one who is afraid. How will I balance honesty while reviewing it fairly? Calyptra Mortiferum instead was an unsettling pleasure. The frankness and inevitability made me feel like I was sitting beside a mad conductor driving his train, with me on it, off a cliff. As I went off the edge and stared into the abyss below I smiled. The writing showed confidence in the story to let it go without unnecessary dressing. The result is a tight, short horror story that we don’t see enough of.”– Leto Armitage, Author (April, 2022)
“Marlowe crafts a nightmarish, skin crawling, and hair raising tale that leaves the reader feeling like the little buggers are under their own skin. A quick and enjoyable read if you don’t mind losing a little sleep”– Noel, (April, 2022)

“The pacing of this story is absolutely flawless. The author deftly stacks one more layer of horror upon the last, then one more, then just one more, so that the reader follows sedately along, lulled into something akin to Matthias’s faith that the scientific journey is the thing. I was completely drawn in, from first to last. I look forward to much more from this talented storyteller. Brava!”

– Suzanna Lundale, Author (April, 2022)

“A fantastic short story! It gave me a strong mental picture of the events throughout and I found the detached narrative of the MC very effective. Loved the way Marlowe used body horror in such a way to be visceral without being ‘gross for grossness sake.’ As the wife of a science brained person, the MC’s utter lack of self-preservation was extremely relatable. Even though you knew the ending was coming, the final visual still gave you that hint of a shiver a good horror story needs.”

– Kitty Catastrophe, Digital Artist (April, 2022)

“Got a truly creepy wake-up this morning with the truly creepy Calyptra Mortiferum by F.K. Marlowe. As my wife put it, visceral. More importantly, potential. I can’t wait to see larger, more ambitious works from her in the future!”

– Kate Flemming, International Romance Author (April, 2022)

“Like all the best short stories, Calyptra Mortiferum left me wanting more. The story feels like an engaging prequel to a much larger work. Now that I’m hooked I can only hope FK Marlowe has plans for additional instalments.

Part of the story’s appeal is in its believable. The liberal doses of scientific facts help suspend disbelief. The result is a more thought-provoking and horrific story as the reader can’t hide behind a concept too fantastical to be true.”

– Sam Kennedy, (April, 2022)

“Most horror relies on surprises or shocks, the kind of things that create jump scares but immediately leave your mind. The author here doesn’t rely on that but lays it all out. You know what is coming and it happens anyway as the story progresses and hours later you still find yourself trying to get into the head of the main character as your skin crawls. A great short read.”

– Rogan and Melinda, (April, 2022)

“You’ll be sleeping with the light on after reading F.K. Marlowe’s tale of blood-sucking lepidoptera: not least to attract the local nightlife away from you.”

– Jason Rhodes, (May, 2022)

“This is a creepy-crawly little short story that you can really sink your proboscis into.”

– Jason Rhodes, (May, 2022)

“A great little read that will leave you squirming.”

– Doug, (May, 2022)


“The discovery of a new species of vampiric moth was a shot in the arm, really, just as funding for the butterfly sanctuary had been running dry. Interest from the media led to an almost immediate flood of donations, as well as a hike in entrance revenues. Blood money, Matthias joked to his fiancé, Deborah, who didn’t find it amusing. The whole thing already made her so squeamish that she waited for him in the parking lot at nights to avoid coming in.

The moths themselves were odd, disconcerting creatures. A scientist doesn’t speak in terms of beauty or ugliness, of course; the thrill of discovery confers an allure upon any specimen, and yet, Matthias found them difficult to look at for long, even under a microscope. Like their cousins, the orthograptra, their long, tapered wings resembled dead leaves, but the new species had developed this feature to mimic a state of advanced decomposition, with semi-circular patches of black-brown apparent decay ringed by a lurid yellow border. Their bodies were covered in a grey fuzz that looked like mould. The whole disguise was so effective as to be repellent; sometimes he felt as though he could smell them.

It was their proboscises, though, that visitors came to see, those long, curved mouth parts specially adapted to pierce human skin and drink blood. Unlike their close relatives vampire moths, Professor Durmo had already been able to ascertain that both male and female moths in the new species she had dubbed Nightshade possessed and utilised this macabre, crowd-drawing ability. ”


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