Shale samples containing single pre-machined slots were tested under uniaxial compression directed along with bedding layers. Observed fractures were initiated by the slots, however, their further development was controlled by the shale bedding layers. Slots normal to the loading direction also cause fracturing and reduce failure load. The fracturing is initiated by tensile stress generated at the slot surface due to convergence of the initial open slot. Therefore, the presence of initial aperture in pre-existing cracks or fractures is capable of changing the mechanism of fracture generation. Three kinds of macroscopic fractures are observed: tensile fractures along bedding layers, shear fractures along the inclined direction, and buckling fractures at the final failure moment. Three types of microcracks are identified: shear microcracks produced from initial weak micro-planes unrelated to the bedding layers, tensile microcracks produced from the shear microcracks in the form of wing cracks, and shear microcracks induced by high uniaxial compression stress. The growth of wing cracks can be assisted by the bedding layers. The research results will contribute to the understanding of failure mechanisms of rocks containing prominent bedding layers.