- Series: Terror in the Shadows (Book 2)
- Paperback: 170 pages
- Publisher: Independently published (March 13, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1798899256
- ISBN-13: 978-1798899250
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 22 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,364,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Terror in the Shadows Volume 2: Scary Ghosts, Paranormal & Supernatural Horror Short Stories Anthology Paperback – March 13, 2019
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From the Inside Flap
Excerpt from A. I. Nasser's Cafeville:
Cafeville was evil.
The stories were plenty, and my father usually had a damn good time telling them to me. He'd relate one happening after the other, always just before bedtime, making sure I went to sleep with enough demons in my head to host a party. I remember my mother chastising him about it, and how he'd always raise his hands up in mock defeat, telling me that 'the old ball and chain has spoken, son,' just before sending me off to bed. Alone.
I think he secretly enjoyed it. It was the New England part of him, the gene that always made sure everyone knew just how messed up that part of the world was. Connecticut, he used to tell me, was the breeding ground for everything that was wrong with this country. All the things that scraped against the outside of your window on a stormy night, or knocked on the inside of your closet door when you knew there was nothing behind it.
And in the middle of it all was Cafeville. Or, at least, that's what my father believed.
The old man had a weird sense of humor. And as I grew older, his stories became a little more ludicrous every year. The girl who ran away because she had done the nasty with a demon. The vengeful spirit in an old Victorian whose husband had been cheating on her. The curse of the Crawford family, jumping from one generation to the other.
A thing of nightmares, Benji. Don't ever go back.
And I didn't. Since the day I was born and for the thirty years that followed, Cafeville had always been just a name to me. A town that was no different than any other coastal fishing town no one's ever heard of. And, to be frank, I was more than content with leaving it that way. After all, I had no connections to it. No family was waiting for the return of their prodigal son. For all I knew, my father had probably never even been there himself, and had made the whole thing up.
Whatever happens, Benji, you steer clear of that town. Y'hear me, boy?
"Loud and clear, old man."
I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose, taking in deep breaths as I fought to stay awake at the wheel. It was a long drive from Minnesota, and the weather wasn't helping. It was like winter was having a tantrum and decided to give one last hoorah before storming out and slamming the door behind it. In the falling rain, I could barely see a few yards ahead of me, and the constant swishing of the windshield wipers had slowly become an annoying drumming in the back of my head.
21 hours, 1400 miles.
"You're a royal pain in the ass, you know that?"
I looked down at the urn sitting majestically on the passenger seat of my Honda Civic, my father's initials etched into the copper coating with the perfect cursive only a funeral parlor could pull off.
The two letters looked like they were smiling at me. As if my father were laughing at how, even in death, he was putting me through another nightmare.
"I wish you were alive," I sighed as I pulled away from the curb. "At least then I could make sure Mom gave you hell for this."
It was another twenty minutes before I saw the Cafeville welcome sign, 'proud town of population 2800,' the words painted in a neon yellow that even the rain couldn't hide. I steeled myself, gripped the steering wheel harder as the car swerved a bit, and eased off the gas. I fully intended to get in and out within a day. I didn't need an accident slowing me down.
You'd be just another story, Benji. Another tale a father tells his son.
"And you sure had a lot of those, didn't ya, Pops." I smiled to myself.
The main road into town was thankfully empty. Although it was almost four in the afternoon, the gray skies made it seem like dusk, and through the sheets of rain I could barely make out a few people walking briskly along the sidewalks under the protection of store canopies. The wind had picked up, and the rain battered against my windshield, making it almost impossible for me to keep going. I slowed the car down and gently pulled into a parking spot beside a Ford F-150 that had seen better days. Turning off the engine, I peered at the store fronts, trying to see who was still crazy enough to stay open in this weather.
The light of what looked like a grocery store acted as a small beacon of hope in the raging storm. I pulled my coat tighter around me, slid the hood over my head, and patted my father's urn.
"You stay right here," I said. "Don't go anywhere, and don't talk to strangers."
I waited, almost expecting a reply, and then chuckled as I opened the door to the elements. The rain rushed in like a screaming child, eager and gleeful, and I had to use both hands to force the door closed. Tightening the straps of my hood and hunching my shoulders, I raced toward the store. The hanging canopy clinked and swished in the wind, and for a brief moment I hesitated, waiting to see if it would break free.
The falling rain quickly found its way through my coat and forced me to keep going until I shouldered my way into the welcoming warmth of the store.
"Not the best of afternoons to be drivin' 'round."
I looked up at the woman smiling at me from behind the counter, her hand poised over a few cartons of cigarettes she had apparently been emptying onto the shelves behind her. Her hair was tied back in a high ponytail, and the AC/DC shirt she wore contrasted heavily with the small-town girl look she had going on.
I returned the smile, slid my hood back, and shook my head. "Definitely not."
"Best find yerself a place to lay low," she continued. "Wherever yer goin', ye won't get far in that."
"Probably just lock myself in the car and take a nap," I replied. "Been driving for so long, don't know if it's the rain or lack of sleep that's blurring my vision."
"Li'l bit a both, I bet," the woman said, returning to her task. "There's a nice little bed and breakfast 'round the corner. Sally can pro'bly set ye up." She gave me a once over and met my eyes. "Besides, it ain't tourist season jus' yet."
My smile widened. "Not a tourist. Well, not technically." I gestured toward the cigarettes. "I'd like two packs of those, and a bottle of water."
"Water's in the back," the woman replied and pushed two packs out of her pile, then leaned on the counter and waited.
I thanked her, made my way to the fridge with the bottled water, and returned with two, and a pack of Cheetos. The woman kept her eyes on me as she bagged my things and gave me back my change. Her green eyes sparkled mischief and a whole lot of curiosity. I caught myself absently checking her naked ring finger.
"Around the corner, huh?"
She nodded. "Best walk it. Shouldn't be drivin' in this weather."
"Kristen," she said. "Ye take care."
I nodded and gave her one last smile before pulling my hood up and exiting into the storm.
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There were a handful of stories like 'Wild Child' and 'Cafeville' that were really fun until the end. I felt the endings in these two stories in particular, were left hanging in a way that felt unfinished. Not the good cliffhanger ending either but more like "well that was unsatisfying..." sort of way because there were still details that I wanted to know about.
All in all, other than about 3-4 stories not having the greatest of endings, this was a great collection of short stories to read in the dark, and feel the chills.
Thom Bowers is a great narrator and one I've come to enjoy. He is always able to bring the spooky atmosphere to life and has plenty of tones and voices for the different characters.
I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.
This collection is written by some of the best talent that Scare Street has to offer. I can't say if Scare Street has cornered the horror genre but they have most certainly staked a claim to a prime spot. I am anxious to read more from these authors.