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Short Horror Stories Vol. 22: Scary Ghosts, Monsters, Demons, and Hauntings (Supernatural Suspense Collection) Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
Dane took hold of the cracked, brown doorknob, twisted it, and jerked the door open. A flight of shallow, thin stairs climbed steeply to the attic. Dane clambered up the stairs, the door remaining open behind him.
The stairs ended at a small landing and another door nearly identical to the first. When he opened it, he saw a part of the attic he had never seen before. His eyes flickered over the room, seeking a place to hide while cataloging everything he saw. He noted an old bassinette and a short dresser, a small bed, and an open, worn armoire. His eyes took in the tattered, oval rug on the floor, the colors faded from years of neglect.
He stepped forward, and the door eased closed behind him, clicking shut and locking of its own accord.
Dane's breath rushed out in clouds of white as he shivered at the biting cold in the room. Gritting his teeth, Dane barreled into the armoire and hid in the shadows, leaving the furniture's doors ajar. A terrible chill settled in him, and he clenched his jaw to keep his teeth from chattering.
He stood still, fear raking his body.
The doorknob rattled, and his mother shrieked as she pounded on the door. He heard the wood crack, and the hinges groaned, straining with the pressure of his mother's rage.
Her fury won, and the door exploded inward.
Splinters reached as far as the armoire, peppering it lightly. Dane listened for his mother's voice, which penetrated the cold air and the thin wood of his hiding place.
"What the hell?" His mother's voice was thick with incredulity. "Where did this room come from?"
He listened as she took several steps in, and then he caught sight of her as she walked to the near wall. She pulled her ragged, untidy black hair out of her face and peered through a crack in the wall.
"Well, I'll be damned. That's the attic." She shook her head and stepped back, her pale skin, stretched taut over high cheekbones, was flushed, both from her exertions and her drunkenness. Her brown eyes were glazed over, her thin lips parted and speckled with saliva. From where he hid, Dane could smell the alcohol and the reek of stale cigarettes.
She swayed on her feet, the scuffed white sneakers seemingly fixed to the floor. Both her faded jeans and the checkered red and white flannel shirt she wore were too large for her. Despite the shirt's size, it could not hide her distended midsection.
As she stood close to the wall, his mother removed a pack of Virginia Slims cigarettes from her breast pocket. She fished out a cigarette and lit it, exhaling the smoke through her nose as she clumsily put the pack away.
"Now, if I was a miserable little brat, where would I hide?" She grinned as she smoked, and Dane squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. It was a game his mother loved to play when she knew he was cornered. When there was nowhere for him to escape to, where any movement would give him away. She knew she had him in the room, and she wanted him to suffer for it accordingly.
"Where is that little brat? The apple of his mother's eye? The one his mother can't get enough of?" Her voice took on a purring rhythm, and he opened his eyes. She glanced lazily about the room, seeming to see nothing, but he knew from experience that she had a fair idea as to where he had hidden himself.
The light above her head flickered, and the soft smile on her face changed to a frown. She looked up. It flickered again, and she reached up to tighten the bulb.
She staggered backward, a look of surprise on her face. The cigarette leaped out of her mouth as though it had been struck.
"What the hell?!" She jerked around, as though trying to find someone. When no one appeared, she kicked aside a piece of wood and dropped to her knees to peer under the bed, and she let out a crow of triumph. She flopped down, reached under, and pulled out an object. "Got you! I got you!"
She didn't have him, and Dane stared in mute horror at what she did have.
In her hands was a mummy. Or what looked like a mummy. After a moment, he realized it was actually a body in a nightgown, soft red hair spilling out from the mummified head.
- ASIN : B0876QP68L
- Publisher : ScareStreet.com (June 15, 2020)
- Publication date : June 15, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 188 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 37 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #376,850 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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"The Changeling" by Lizzette Adele Ardena: Subtle...subtle..terror, from parental anxiety, to joy and hope...to the destruction of everything good. Nightmare-producing. If you think it's too good to be true....
This is a relatively modern story, maybe mid-20th century, but the feel is of a medieval Morality Play.
(And also undertones of Fae.)
"Swamp Hunt" by Ron Ripley: How free-ranging ought a parent to be? Or: how long does a vengeful Spectre hang on? Parent Julia discovers the uncomfortable answers.
"Secrets in the House." This one has a definite Hitchcockian bent to it. Boy finds a secret room to escape the abuse of his alcoholic mother. Mother enters room looking for boy. Mother grabs what she thinks is the boy's arm- and then the fun begins. Love the ending.
"The Changeling." Young parents have a baby who doesn't seem to want to eat or thrive. He gets weaker almost to the point of starvation, then a miracle happens. He recovers. He not only recovers, he develops faster than other kids his age. Miracle of God or something far, far more sinister?
"Swamp Hunt." A mother comes to the edge of a swamp to pick up her daughter who had been on a school outing. Problem is, the daughter runs into the swamp and ignores her mother's demands that she return. So, mothers being what they are, Momma walks into the swamp to get her daughter. Second problem is, the daughter isn't alone and the entity she is with is decidedly not human
Ron Ripley really comes out swinging with a terrible mom, and a child who is looking for escape. This one sent shivers down my spine. Grab this volume, and get a wonderful chill of delight with these stories.