Night Terrors Vol. 2: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 2: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 2: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 2: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 2: Short Horror Stories Anthology

Night Terrors Vol. 2: Short Horror Stories Anthology

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Listen to a sample here:

🗣 Narrated by Johnny Raven and Stephanie Shade

Nightmares can’t really hurt you… can they?

An evil from beyond the stars haunts a young boy and his father at Roswell Airbase. The survivors of a sunken warship take refuge on a deserted island, and discover they are not alone. And terror checks in at an old motel, when a vacationing family finds themselves trapped in an ancient curse…

Scare Street journeys into the night to bring you a new volume of skin-crawling terror. This macabre collection contains thirteen chilling tales of supernatural horror. And each story will sweep you away to a world of dark dreams and fantastical nightmares…

Some believe that if you see yourself die in your dreams, then your heart will stop. But that’s just an old wives’ tale, isn’t it? After all, the icy chill of death lurks within every story in this ghastly tome. And your heart hasn’t stopped yet.

In fact, with each turn of the page, you can hear it beating faster and faster…

This bone-chilling supernatural collection contains:

Live Bait by Jude Reid
The Hungry Worm by Michael D. Nye
The Magician Needs a Volunteer by Matt Brandenburg
Lab Incident, 1947 by Martin Zeigler
A House Divided by M. B. Vujacic
Sundown and Shadows by Michelle Tang
The Old Coach Inn by Kris Ashton
Ashes to Ashes by Robert Douglas
Folie-a-Deux by Gina Easton
Do Something Funny by Clark Boyd
Fertile Soil by Brian Sperl
Night Dive by Drew Starling
Home Sick by Ron Ripley

7 hours and 19 minutes

215 pages

Live Bait

By Jude Reid

We were all dead from the moment the torpedo hit the Grangemouth. It just took some of us longer to realize than others.

There were five of us in the lifeboat: my brother Iain and I, a Lieutenant of Marines named Horton, the ship’s telegrapher Charlie Sengupta—listed at fourteen years of age, but who looked closer to twelve—and a big Maltese stoker who spoke no English but whose name, Charlie told us, was Joe Abela. We had the luxury of a week’s water supply meant for ten, but at Horton's insistence, we kept the ration short. Abela was suffering more than the rest of us, an eight-inch gouge torn out of his thigh by a piece of shrapnel.

The wound opened every time he moved and gave off a sickly, pungent smell of decay.

There must have been other survivors. We’d seen the other lifeboats cast off during those last, desperate moments on board, and surely not all of them had been pulled down with the ship as she broke deep and took on water—but once we were out in the open sea, we might have been the only men alive in the world. Half our crew had been killed outright as the U-boat’s torpedo ripped a twenty-foot hole through the stern, most of the rest drowning below decks as she sank. I thought we were lucky, those of us who found a space on the life-rafts and made it far enough away that the ship couldn’t drag us under in her wake. If I’d known what was to come, I’d have gone down with the Grangemouth and thanked God for my good fortune.

On the first day, we put our backs to the oars and headed on an eastward bearing, thinking we might retrace our ship’s route across the Aegean, but we soon gave up any hope of that. We had tarps to shield us during the blistering heat of noon and the freezing nighttime air, a case of flares, and a portable wireless transmitter-receiver that would have been a lifesaver, if only it had been working.

Close to dawn on the third day, Charlie woke us with a yell, the boat rolling wildly under us.

“Sit down before you have us over,” Iain said, eyes still closed.

“It’s land,” Charlie said. “Lieutenant, wake up. There’s land ahead.”

The boat pitched as Horton got to his feet, leaning across the side as if getting three feet closer would make a difference to the quality of his view. “The boy’s right, by God,” Horton said. “Could it be Malta, do you suppose? Ask Abela, Charlie.”

The lascar knew a few words of Maltese and seemed to have a natural flair for languages. Abela’s eyes remained unfocused, but he answered the boy’s halting question with a few words of his own.

“He says there’s lots of islands out here. Too far south for Malta, he thinks.” “I’ll take a desert island over another day of this,” Iain said, getting up from the bottom of the boat. “Up you get, Gus, give me a hand.”

Horton nodded with approval. “Take the oars, men. Give way together.”

Iain rolled his eyes at me. Horton seemed to have appointed himself cox of our crew, maintaining rigorous attention to discipline that the rest of us had more or less lost in our new role as castaways. My brother had never shown much reverence to the officer class, and he reserved special contempt for the Grangemouth’s Marines, who were, in his opinion, an inferior sort of seamen compared to the rest of us. I was sure that when the water ran short, Horton would be first over the side.

I took the other oar, and between us, we navigated toward the rocks. The worst heat of the day was yet to come, but my mouth was already dry and my skin chafed with salt. Charlie was leaning over the bow like an eager dog, the waters below us turning from midnight to a clear pale turquoise.

"Doesn’t look like much,” Iain muttered, as we got our first sight of the island—little more than a bare rocky spur sticking up from the ocean.

“It’s land,” I reminded him. “Count your blessings.”

Iain and I dragged the boat up the beach, while Charlie helped Abela limp his way through the shallows and settled him with his back to a rock. Even that small exertion had turned him grey with exhaustion, and thick greenish pus was leaking through the bandage around his thigh. Horton was already striding away from us. “Hello?” he shouted. “Anyone home?”

I glanced at Iain, who shrugged.

The report of a pistol echoed off the cliff face, and the rock erupted in a shrieking cloud of black, fluttering shapes that obliterated the sun. Seabirds—gannets, cormorants, shearwaters, and petrels—took the air, screaming at the invasion of their home, feathers and droppings littering the rocks. The shot had come from Horton’s Webley revolver, which was pointing skyward.

“Did you see something, sir?” I asked.

He shook his head, a brisk, impatient movement. “Let off a shot to attract attention,” he said. “I’ve no wish to wait any longer than necessary for the natives to arrive.” If there were humans on the island, I thought, they’d be heading straight in the opposite direction right now.

"Nobody home, sir?" Charlie asked, and Horton shook his head.

"Hurry up," he snapped, putting his foot upon a rock as though he were a game hunter and the island was his prize. “Inland. That’s where we’ll find water and shelter if there’s any to be had.”

I glanced back at Charlie and Abela. The big man’s eyes were closed. Charlie was looking up at me with a pleading expression.

“Best to leave a lookout on the beach, sir, I’d have thought,” I said. “Be a shame to miss a ship if one came in sight.”

Horton scowled at me, turned, and strode away. “Be quick, then. Those two can wait for now, we’ll get the work done. See if you can catch us some fish for supper.”

“And what’s he to use for bait?” Iain asked. “Ship’s biscuit?”

Horton ignored him, and Charlie flashed me a quick smile of thanks. Iain and I hurried to catch the lieutenant, and the three of us picked our way across the rocks, following the line of the shore and attempting an uneasy scramble up the sloping rocks. The stone was warm under my hands, the clear sky holding the promise of scorching heat to come. Used to masts and rigging as we were, Iain and I made light work of the climb, and soon we were at the top, our legs dangling over the edge.

“Good view,” I said.

We were perched on a flat plateau of scrub grass and bare rock, spattered with bird droppings and downy feathers. To the west, a gentle slope led part-way down the hill, ending abruptly in a sheer cliff that promised a fatal drop onto the rocks below. No smoke, no houses, no boats—only the mirror of the sea that stretched to the hazy horizon.

“I’d have preferred a bit more land and a bit less ocean, if I’m honest with you,” Iain answered.

“You’re never happy.”

Horton, scarlet-faced and sweating, heaved himself over the cliff edge where he lay, gasping like a landed fish.

“Nothing up here,” Iain said with a cheerful smile. “Might as well head down, eh?” Horton glared at him. I hurriedly passed the Lieutenant my canteen, and he took a few grudging gulps of water, wiping his mouth on the cuff of his shirt.

“There might be land westward,” I said, pointing into the hazy distance. “Once the mists clear, we’ll get a better look. And if we could get a beacon going, they’ll see it miles out to sea.”

I didn’t add that there was nothing to burn. Iain knew, and I think Horton did as well, that by the time the sea brought us enough driftwood for a half-decent fire, the water we’d brought would be long gone—and us with it. The little island had looked like salvation from the life-raft, but now it seemed we’d simply swapped one death for another.

Charlie was waiting for us when we got down. It must have been close to noon by then, our shadows barely visible on the yellow sand. He’d made good use of the time, emptying the boat of the tarps and the precious jerry cans, dragging them up the beach.

“I found a cave,” he said, pride beaming from his round face.

“Good lad,” Iain said, and even Horton’s sour expression seemed to soften.

From the outside, our new home wasn’t much to look at—little more than a fissure in the rock shoulder height and half as wide—but inside, it opened into a roomy cavern, lit with one of our surviving electric lanterns, shadows receding into the hillside. It stank of fish and rotting seaweed, but the shade was welcome after the burning light outside. Abela was propped against the cavern’s wall, all but insensible, a thick film of sweat coating his skin. I put a hand to his brow and brought it away hot and clammy. “Not so good?” I said to Charlie, who shook his head.

“I washed the wound and put sulfa powder on it,” he said. “Not sure it’s doing much good though.”

“He’ll not last long in that state,” Iain said under his breath, and I was forced to agree.

“One of us’ll have to keep a lookout on the shore,” I suggested. “In case a ship passes, we can maybe attract their attention.”

“And hope they see you waving your shirt?” Iain’s voice was thick with scorn. “They’d best have keen eyes.”

“What about the wireless?” Horton said.

“It’s broken,” Charlie said. “Must have been damaged, maybe the shock when the torpedo hit us.” He looked at his feet, the dim light not quite hiding the color that spread across his face. I thought back to our desperate scramble from the Grangemouth onto the lifeboat and the clatter as he’d dropped the case that held the wireless. I decided to keep my silence.

“Can you fix it, then?” Horton asked.

Charlie spread his hands. “I don’t know.”
“Well, strip it down and try,” Horton said, as though explaining to a child. “You’re hardly going to make it worse, are you?”

Iain had wandered away a little distance and was listening intently to the depths of the cavern. A moment later, he turned and motioned for me to join him. “Do you hear that?” he asked me.

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