"The boundary line between instinct and reason is of a very shadowy nature"
-Edgar Allan Poe (1840)
With its twenty-one stories of serial killers and sociopaths, fixations and fetishes, breakdowns and bad decisions crafted by authors as diverse as their writing styles, Shadowy Natures leads fans of psychological horror down dark and treacherous roads to destinations they will be too unsettled to leave.
Under the tutelage of a charismatic caretaker, a young boy learns that the rules don’t apply to “exceptional” people; under the blinders of parental love, a parent considers the after-effects of his daughter’s criminal exoneration. One suburban dad finds himself inexplicably drawn to something he spies while walking the family pet, and another discovers buried compulsions awakened by his daughter’s dental deformity. Sorting through a deceased relative’s belongings, a family stumbles upon a horrific treasure, as a drifter with a dark secret wanders the Old West. While a military officer spends his days delivering despair, a procrastinator is consumed by guilt after making a deadly mistake, and a businessman stumbles upon a bizarre family photo gallery. Postpartum paranoia and isolation threaten one mother’s sanity until an outside threat pushes her over the edge while another mother picks at her son’s psychological scabs until he scrambles for release. Urban blight bears down on a convenience store owner; a middle-aged man takes a terminally ill acquaintance captive to avenge his lover’s death; a depressed suburban housewife makes a strange new friend, and a neglected teen finds solace and inspiration in a vicious classmate’s company. When her brother moves back into the family home, a woman becomes consumed by what he leaves behind; when a man disappears, his sister considers the warning signs he may have been leaving since childhood. One couple abandons urban life for the isolating wilderness while another plays a dangerous game, hoping to rekindle their relationship. While one son revisits the scene of his father’s horrific crime spree, another returns home to ponder his family’s well-hidden secret.
From unique twists on traditional terror tropes to fresh frights found in the most innocuous of places, these tales will surprise and unnerve even the most veteran horror fans. Featuring brand new fiction from Jeremy Billingsley, C.W. Blackwell, Barrie Darke, Matthew R. Davis, Christina Delia, KC Grifant, Liam Hogan, K.N. Johnson, Thomas Kearnes, Rudy Kremberg, Scotty Milder, Bryan Miller, Hollee Nelson, Elin Olausson, James Edward O’Brien, Andrew Punzo, Lee Rozelle, Joseph Rubas, Paul Stansfield, Louis Stephenson, and Thomas Vaughn.