Where I grew up in England, there were lots of coal mines. But while the miners are long gone, now, the mine workings are still there—thousands of tunnels under towns and villages, even out under the seabed for miles.
Not surprisingly, down the years there have been plenty of accidents and one even supposedly occurred right under a pub where my mates and I used to drink. Five men trapped by a roof collapse, slowly running out of air and hope as rescuers battled in vain to dig them out.
Grim, certainly, but commonplace enough in the old days.
We had our favorite corner in that pub, as groups of young men tend to do, a little apart from the rest of the tables. Sometimes, when it was quiet, we could hear something. A sort of tapping sound, coming from under our feet. It sounded a lot like metal on rock. Men working frantically with picks, for instance.
The logical explanation was an air hammer effect from an old sewage line. That’s what the barman told us and we half-believed him.
Until that night when a new waitress, a student fresh from London, went down into the cellar to change a barrel. I’ll never forget her scrambling out of that trapdoor behind the bar, screaming about men in the cellar. Crawling toward her, she said, faces pale under smudges of black dust. Moaning. Pleading.
Of course, she’d heard the story of the trapped miners and imagination did the rest.
Some people are easily spooked by simple things like darkness and silence.
Or, say, ghosts.
I hope that doesn’t include you. Because Tavern of Terror Volume 9 brings you 12 stories of the weird, the horrific, and the bizarre—a heady brew concocted from best-quality nightmares, sometimes enlivened with a twist of humor.
So why not make a night of it?
It’s probably safer inside than out, after all. What with it getting dark, and the fog rolling in off of the bay…
Other volumes in the series:
See you in the shadows,