Night Terrors Vol. 7: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 7: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 7: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 7: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 7: Short Horror Stories Anthology

Night Terrors Vol. 7: Short Horror Stories Anthology

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🗣 Narrated by Johnny Raven and Stephanie Shade

Tonight’s forecast calls for terror…

Survivors trapped in a sunken vessel find themselves hunted through the depths by a deadly adversary. A skeptical journalist discovers the sinister inhabitants of a fake haunted house are all too real. And a husband commits murder to protect his wife, only to learn he has created something even more dangerous…

A dark and stormy night of terror awaits in Scare Street’s latest bone-chilling collection. This sinister volume contains fourteen tales of terror and supernatural horror. And each story brings you deeper into the dark realm of nightmares.

As you devour each tale with morbid delight, black clouds roll across the sky. Thunder rumbles in the distance, and jagged lightning screams above.

Be sure to close the window. You wouldn’t want to let the storm inside. After all, this is perfect weather for ghosts and ghouls to roam the night…

This volume features the following stories:

1. 
A Sinking Feeling by Warren Benedetto
2. 
The Winter Cabin by Nate Lock
3. 
How to Make a Troll by Andrew Jensen
4. 
Mistress Edge’s House of Horrors by P. L. McMillan
5. 
Groundhog Day by John Wayne Comunale
6. 
Into the Shadows by B. D. Prince
7. 
The Rancher by Al Hagan
8. 
Trial by Water by Renee Miller
9. 
Sugar Day by Peter Cronsberry
10. 
A Cold Day in Helheim by Kohl Neal
11. 
Testing Times by Kris Ashton
12. 
Coming Home to Mansion Hill by C. B. Channell
13. 
The Backward Man by Caleb Stephens
14. 
Dead Dogs and Murdered Men by Ron Ripley

7 hours and 12 minutes

213 pages


A Sinking Feeling

By Warren Benedetto

“How long before help comes?” Andrei asked.

The two of us were sitting on a sodden mattress that was semi-submerged under the water. It wasn’t exactly a life raft, but it was buoyant enough to keep us somewhat dry. Without the mattress, we’d be in the water up to our necks. With it, the water was only up to our ribs.

I glanced at Andrei. Wet hair stuck to his face in thick, matted strips that looked like rotting seaweed. Beads of water clung to his spiny, rust-colored beard. The chattering of his teeth reminded me of the clicking of Scrabble tiles in a velvet bag.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “A few hours? They’ll probably need to wait until the sun is up.”

“But they’ll come, right?”

I nodded. “They’ll come.” I tried to sound more certain than I was.

The ship had an emergency beacon, that much I knew. When triggered, it was supposed to send a distress signal, along with GPS coordinates and a bunch of other data that could be used to help locate the damaged vessel. If it worked, help should be on the way. If it worked. In the meantime, we were on our own.

I have no idea what hit us. We were asleep when it happened. Both of us were thrown from our bunks, sliding across the suddenly slanted floor and crashing painfully into the opposite wall. I managed to stand and stumble over piles of fallen debris toward the cabin door. Before opening it, I paused to peer through the peephole into the hallway. It was a good thing I did. Otherwise, we’d be dead.

An irregular gash, maybe 15 feet long, was gouged through the hull right outside our cabin. A torrent of water the color of graphite foamed in through the breach, transforming the narrow hallway into rapids that roared angrily toward the front of the ship. My stomach cartwheeled when I saw it. The ship was nose-down. It was taking on water at an incredible rate. That could mean only one thing: we were sinking.

The descent was quick. At first, I could hear the screams of others in my crew echoing through the ship, overlapping with the sounds of rushing water and rending metal. Some were begging for help. Others seemed to be praying. Others wailed inconsolably. Then, one by one, each of them fell silent. Even after the screams ended, there was still some banging, metal on metal, as if someone was hitting a wrench against a pipe. The pattern was unmistakable: S-O-S. Soon, that, too, subsided, growing weaker and weaker until it tapered off to nothing.

Andrei and I called for help until our voices were raw. After a while, we lapsed into silence as well. There was no use wasting our breath. We were too far gone. We both sat quietly on the crooked floor, each of us lost in our thoughts, waiting for the end to come.

I mostly thought about my mother. She was an addict who used to go missing for days on end, taking off with whoever was supplying drugs to her at the time. She’d stumble home for a few days, burn a quesadilla or two in a halfhearted attempt at mothering, then disappear again.

Nighttime was the worst. I’d sit in the dark for hours, huddled on the filthy mattress in our tiny one-room apartment, waiting for her to return. I always left the door unlocked in case she forgot to bring her keys. As I grew older, her absences grew longer. Hours turned to days, and days turned into weeks. Eventually, I started locking the door again.

A few months after I last saw her, I found out she had OD’d in a hotel room in Arizona, 350 miles from home. The police found her with a needle in her arm and a baby in her belly.

I was twelve.

I guess my mind went there because it was the last time that I remember feeling so scared and alone. I had the same sense of being completely powerless. There were no good options. No good outcomes. No matter what I might do, I was doomed.

The funny thing is, I was wrong about that. I turned out all right. I moved in with my grandmother, finished high school, took some community college classes, and ultimately ended up finding a life as a ship’s cook.

I knew being at sea was risky. Intellectually, that made sense. But I never felt like I was really in danger. There were some close calls, sure, some wicked storms that made me puke on my shoes, but I always felt like, ultimately, everything was under control. Until we sank, that is.

When the ship hit bottom, I was sure I was dead. The hull let out a mournful groan that sounded like a whale song. Then, there was a series of bangs, one after the other, like a ten-car pileup on the freeway. A second later, the whole room turned upside down, sending Andrei and me tumbling ass over elbows. It was like being in a snow globe thrown from an airplane.

Our cabin ended up almost entirely inverted, with the angle where the floor met the wall now steepled overhead. We were trapped in a triangular pocket of air that was maybe five feet wide and ten feet long. From our position on the floating mattress, we only had a few inches of headroom. It was tight.

Andrei’s voice broke me out of my thoughts. He sounded far away. Lost. Numb.

“Marla had her ultrasound last Tuesday,” he said absently.

“Oh, yeah? Boy or girl?”

“Girl. We’re gonna name her Ripley.”

“Ripley? Like, from Alien?”

He looked up and smiled a little. “Pretty badass, right?”

“Pretty badass,” I agreed.

I looked down through the murky brown water. I could dimly make out the shape of the cabin door far below us. An emergency beacon over the door frame flickered erratically, filling the space with an eerie glow that reminded me of a vintage horror film. Diffused through the filthy liquid, the light had a sickly yellow cast. It made the whole scene feel like a literal nightmare.

I shook my head bitterly. That door was supposed to have been watertight. It wasn’t. It had been closed and locked—it still was—but the cabin had flooded anyway. The damage to the ship must have deformed the door frame enough to compromise the seal, allowing water to rush in around the edges. Within minutes, the space filled up to our waists, then to our armpits, then to our shoulders.

And then… it stopped. I didn’t know why. Maybe the pressure equalized, somehow. Maybe there was something about the way the air was trapped, like when you put a glass into a fish tank upside down.

Or maybe something wanted to keep us alive until it was ready for us. Suddenly, a hollow clunk resonated through the ship. The surface of the water rippled and sloshed, distorting my view of the door below. That sound was followed by another, one that my concussion-dulled brain had trouble processing.

“What was that?” Andrei asked. He looked around nervously.

I held up my hand to silence him then placed my ear against the wall. The metal was cold and slimy against my face.

I didn’t know how long we had been underwater at that point—we had no way to measure time—but for however long it was, we hadn’t heard any noises outside of our own movement and the occasional groan of the ship’s structure as it settled into the ocean floor. But this noise was different.

Something was moving. And it was close.

I listened in silence for a few seconds. Then, I heard the sound again, louder this time. It was a dissonant squeal that reminded me of a garden rake dragging slowly across a pane of glass. I didn’t know what was making the sound, but I wasn’t taking any chances. It could be a diver or one of those underwater drones with a camera on the end. I thought maybe we were being rescued. Maybe we had been found.

I wasn’t wrong. We had been found. Just not like we hoped.

“Hey!” I shouted. The sound was explosive in the enclosed space. It was startling, even to me. I began pounding my palm against the wall. “Hey! We’re in here!”

Andrei balled up his fists and joined in the ruckus, drumming on the wall as hard as he could. “Help!” he yelled. “Hey! Hello! Can you hear us? Hello?”

We kept at it for a solid minute, making as much noise as we could. Then, we stopped and listened.

The water around us had grown still. I could see to the bottom again, all the way down to the door. As I looked, I felt my heart stall. My breathing stopped. Everything seemed to slow to a halt.

Somehow, during the short time while Andrei and I were pounding on the wall, someone—or something—had opened the door. Where once there had been the unmistakable architecture of the door’s horizontal handle and crisscrossing support struts, there was now nothing but a yawning black chasm opening into the lightless depths below.

“Andrei,” I said quietly. “The door.”

Andrei looked at me with a quizzical expression. “What?”

“The door,” I said again, more urgently this time. “It’s—”

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