Night Terrors Vol. 5: Short Horror Stories Anthology
Night Terrors Vol. 5: Short Horror Stories Anthology
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🗣 Narrated by Johnny Raven and Stephanie Shade
The dark side is waiting…
Fish N’ Chips lead a curious traveler to a sinister island, where the residents are more than they seem. Forbidden occult knowledge strands a pair of friends in a terrifying nexus of evil. And an ancient ice storm forces a wandering tribe to choose between following a bloodthirsty shaman, or the glowing lights in the sky…
Venture into new realms of terror with Scare Street’s latest bone-chilling collection. This spine-tingling volume contains fifteen ghastly tales of horror and the paranormal. More than enough to while away the hours, as you lose yourself in the shadows of the night.
The deeper you plunge into this realm of terror, the farther away the real world seems. But don’t worry… just turn the page and stay a bit longer.
We’re sure you’ll be able to find your way back. Just listen for the screams in the darkness.
And pray they aren’t your own…
This volume contains the following:
1. The Fish'r Men by David Turton
2. The Faces at the Window by Bob Johnston
3. From the Ashes by Bryan Wolford
4. The Neighbors by Peter Cronsberry
5. The Ferryman by Nicholas Paschall
6. Slug by Matias Travieso-Diaz
7. Folsom Lake by Karl Melton
8. Obsidian by Richard Beauchamp
9. Edward's Couch by Robert Douglas
10. What Lovely Petunias by Mark Towse
11. The Delirium of Negation by Justin Boote
12. I Just Write the Damned Thing by Samuel Thomas Fraser
13. A Clearing by Sam Lesek
14. Northern Lights by Drew Starling
15. Wind Chimes by Ron Ripley
7 hours and 18 minutes
The Fish’r Men
By David Turton
What in the name of God d’ya wanna go there for?”
The landlord leaned away from the bar as he spoke as if to flinch from an unseen assailant.
I swigged my ale and grinned.
“I’m a writer,” I replied, wiping the froth from my lips. “More specifically, I compile the Great British Fish n’ Chips Almanac. I keep my ear to the ground, and I heard someone—a reliable source—say that’s where they did the best fish n’ chips he’d ever tasted. In a tiny inn on Asunder Island.”
“Never heard anybody say that mind,” the landlord scoffed. “There’s not much there, y’know? Why don’t I rustle up some fish n’ chips, and we’ll see if that makes it into your annual?” “Almanac,” I corrected. “And I’m sorry, but I always take tips from this source. I need to visit the island. I’ve come a long way.”
“I’ll draw a map for yer, but ye’ll regret it. No one ever goes out there anymore. Strange folk down there. I s’pose ye’ll find out for yerself if you take a wander down the cliffs. Now, think here, ask yourself this… is yer source a friend or a foe?”
I rubbed my eyes as the landlord walked behind the bar and out of sight. Of course, the source was a friend. Why would he stitch me up? Steve Burley was a chef, a trusted pal for over a year. He’d given me a hot tip in South Devon that turned out to be the best fish n’ chips I’d ever tasted. And now, this recommendation, up to an area I’d seldom been. It had taken me a full day of train travel to reach the Northumberland coast in the wild upper reaches of North East England, and I was getting tired. I’d been busy compiling the fourth edition of the almanac, the 1911 issue, for the past three months. I loved the job, the traveling, the writing, the exploring. Fish n’ chips, the British staple. And my almanac was selling almost as much as that glorious dish.
My trips mainly took me to secluded coastal locations, generally the fresher the fish, the better it tasted. But fishing villages were unfriendly, edgy places at the best of times. Gruff locals whose accents I rarely understood. Tough men as rugged as the rocky shores where they made their living.
“Here ye go,” said the landlord, returning with a ragged piece of paper. He’d crudely drawn a map in thick lines of pencil. “Walk half a mile from here, toward the sea. When ye come to the cliff top, look for a path. It’s steep, mind, but ye should be able to get down if ye lower yerself. Crawl on yer back if needs be.”
I nodded and gestured for him to continue. The landlord traced a stubby, tar-blackened finger across the map.
“When ye reach the shore, there’s a path to the island. If ye dinnit see it, wait an hour or two.”
I squinted at him. “A path? To the island? So, it’s not a proper island?”
“Aye and no. If ye dinnit see the path, wait.”
“Isn’t there a boat I can catch?”
“Oh, ye can take a boat,” the landlord replied, an eyebrow raised and the beginnings of a smirk growing from the corner of his mouth, “if ye wanna drown, that is.”
I laughed and took the scrap of paper. This was turning out to be an interesting trip.
“Ye won’t find it so funny when yer there, son,” the landlord warned, his smile vanished.
“Rough place is it? Don’t worry, I’ve visited a few parochial, unwelcoming fishing places in the past, my friend.”
“Ye could say that,” the landlord replied, rubbing his chin. “Last warning, don’t go. However nice those fish n’ chips are, I can’t think they’d be worth a trip to the armpit of nowhere.” “What’ve you got against the place?” I asked. “Honestly?”
The landlord’s face seemed to darken a little as the light dwindled outside. “Nowt, I can explain. Go down there, ye’ll see. And then ye’ll wish ye followed me advice.”
I gave him a few coins for a tip and smiled. “Appreciate the advice. I’ll set off in the morning. Thanks for the map.”
I walked toward the living quarters and glanced back at the landlord. He eyed me silently, the same dark look on his face remained.
The morning’s sharp light burst through the window and stung my eyes. I stretched, washed, dressed, and packed.
After a steaming hot but bland breakfast of scrambled eggs and two rounds of toast, I was on my way. The landlord’s cool glare followed me out of the inn, without so much as a “good luck” or “see you soon” as I closed the heavy oak door and began on the path to the cliffs.
I grinned as I walked across the path that was framed by tall reeds of wild grass. A picturesque scene unraveled ahead, a luscious blur of greens, grays, and blues as the ground, sea, and sky collided in glorious color.
I quickened my pace as I heard Steve Burley’s words in my head. The best fish n’ chips I’ve ever tasted by a million miles. It’s the hidden gem to beat all hidden gems. The path bent left and then disappeared altogether underneath the dark grass that grew longer as I neared the gray rocks that lined the edge of the cliff. I picked up the landlord’s map that was becoming damp and smudged in the moist sea air. After searching up and down the cliff edge, the path appeared. A thin and subtle gap between the rocks that allowed me to shuffle my body downward and crawl, almost crab-like, my back to the floor, and my backpack scraping the damp earth.
I scuttled along in this strange fashion, my heels acting as brakes, displacing rocky soil as I descended the steep cliff, whose gradient was worsening the further I crawled down. I felt my britches rip at the sides as I scraped a series of jagged rocks.
“Shit!” I yelled, the syllables dragged out as I slid downward.
My hands burned as they trailed along the rough surface. I shut my eyes tight, waiting for a more severe drop that could break my legs or worse. But instead came a soft surface and a spray of sand as I landed face first with a mouthful of grit. I’d landed on the beach.
Pushing myself into a press-up position, I stood clumsily and took in my surroundings with a deep breath.
The shore lapped at the wet sand eighteen yards away from where I stood. In the distance, perhaps a mile beyond the shoreline, lay a gray island, a low piece of rock that had a stretch of sea running right through its middle, tearing the land in two. Asunder Island.
But there was no path. No route to the island that lay a mile ahead.
I could see what the landlord meant about taking a boat. It would be a death mission, the stretch of sea between the beach and Asunder Island was littered with black jagged rocks and surrounded by crashing waves. A vessel would be torn to shreds within seconds.
Swimming would be as dangerous as taking a boat. I sat and watched the gulls circle as the tide slowly retreated. Eighteen yards became twenty-five. Twenty-five became thirty. Then, as the water was over fifty yards away, I saw it. A couple of planks of wood with thick, wet rope laced in-between. Minutes later, more wooden slats were revealed. I rose to my feet and jumped up and down, yelling. The path to the island had been hidden when the tide had come in.
Another thirty minutes and the full route was revealed. I set off, walking carefully, step-by-step on the fixed wooden path. As I walked closer to the island, its shape became clear. Two jutting rocks with a huge stream in the middle. A grey stone building with a bellowing chimney sat on the left-hand side of the island. The right-hand rock had several low-rise buildings: scruffy, mismatched, sloped-roofed shacks that seemed as if they’d been put up by a dim-witted builder.
I reached the island and looked up at the rock face of its left-hand section. Despite the outgoing tide, the flow of the sea between the two parts of the island was fast.
I froze as I stared into the water and saw long white shapes zip underneath the current.
My heart stopped for a moment as one of the white sea creatures shimmied its way toward me. It swam quickly, darting between jagged rocks, its bright fin poking out the top of the water, cutting rough lines of surf in the blue-green waves.
I froze as it neared. Then, it stopped dead ten yards away from where the rocks met the deep water. Its snout broke through the surface. The thing was around a meter long and completely white as if albino, but its eyes were bright blue. Its nose bounced on top of the water. Was it sniffing me? A few seconds later, it was gone, swishing around and turning back to the crack between the rocks, zipping into the darker waters where I could no longer see it. It was like no sea creature I’d ever laid eyes on.
I stood motionless for a few seconds until a stiff easterly breeze blew from across the North Sea, slapping my face and shaking the fear out of my system. I climbed the rocks in front of me, using my fingers to grip the sparse ledges, and my upper body strength to haul myself up to the surface of the island.
The terrain was rugged, sparse outbreaks of grass and bushes punctuating the wide areas of dark gray rocks. For life to survive here, it would need to be tough to avoid being beaten down by the harsh elements. The wind bit, carrying an icy chill from the north. A path wound in front of me to a dimly lit building at the opposite end of the island. I followed the track and looked to my right. A thin footbridge in the distance linked the two large hunks of rock. There were no vehicles in sight, but on the right-hand side of the island was a tiny conurbation, the awkward series of stone shacks now clearly visible a couple of miles in the distance.
As the light began to dim, I caught the sudden sight of something moving. A person, crossing the bridge. They seemed to be coming toward me, and fast. I stopped dead in my tracks as the shadowy figure neared.
It was a woman. An old, naked woman with long, matted hair curling around her shoulders. Her saggy breasts and belly danced as she sprinted toward me.
As she came closer, I could see her face was contorted to a sinister, toothless grin, causing her heavy wrinkles to darken.
“The fish’rmen!” she yelled in a voice that was part-cackle, part-shriek. “’Ware the fish’rmen. Go! Go and turn back and leave and go forever and don’t come back. I’ve warned ye. No one can say I never. The fish’rmen, ’ware the fish’rmen. Go!”
And with that, she turned and sprinted away, laughing and shrieking in the morning light, throwing her outstretched arms in the air. She ran back over the bridge to the other side of the island until I could no longer see her.
Shaking my head at the delirious crone, I made my way to the gray building with the smoking chimney. How many more weird sights were in store for me in this bizarre place? As I approached the building, I saw lights in the windows. I smelled the hearty whiff of ale and heard the vibrant noise of people talking, chatting. A crudely painted sign hung from the side of the building, depicting a green octopus emerging from the sea.
It was the inn on Asunder Island, with its fish n’ chips to die for.
I pushed the door open with a loud creak and walked into the soft, yellow glow of the inn. The chatter stopped. Each of the inn’s eight customers turned to face me. Unfriendly, swarthy faces and large, glassy eyes stared back, cutting through the swathes of smoke in the air. Fishermen in knitted caps and thick blue jumpers. The place reeked of fresh fish and beer, a mix that was both mouth-watering and disgusting.
The room was small and furnished with wooden chairs, tables, and stools. The landlord leaned forward, his heavy, tattooed arms rested on the bar.
“H-Hello…” I offered, walking further into the room and closing the door behind me with another loud creak.
No response, just the sallow stares of eight men.
I looked the landlord in his bulging wide eyes.
“I’d like a fish supper and a room for the night, if you have a vacancy, please?”
The landlord stared at me for a few seconds before he responded.
“Two shillings,” he grunted. The eyes of the other men in the pub continued to bear down on me. The room felt small and was somehow reducing in size every second that went by.
I gave the landlord the money, and he handed a scrawled receipt in return. Although I didn’t ask, he poured a pint of bitter and handed it to me gruffly, some of the foam tipping over the lip of the glass and slapping onto the wooden bar.
“Fish n’ chips’ll be half an hour,” he said, spittle flying from his lips as he spoke with his thick Northumbrian accent that was a curious mix of Scottish and English.
I nodded at him. I never told any of the inns, restaurants, or cafés that I was a reviewer. Often, if they received a favorable write-up, I’d ensure my publisher sent a copy to the place in question. One they could proudly display to customers to spread the word about their accolade and, in turn, help to boost my sales.
“A couple of quick questions,” I said. The landlord’s eyes seemed to bulge wider at the prospect of sparking up a conversation. The other men in the pub continued to stare, they still hadn’t picked up the conversations they were holding prior to my entrance. “What kind of fish is it? I take it it’s local? What is it, haddock? Cod? I’m assuming cod?” It was important for my write-up that I knew.
“Aye, local, very local.”
“Cod?” I probed.
I nodded and took a swig of beer.
“Mind if I take my stuff to my room while I wait?”
The landlord grunted and nodded, disappearing behind the bar for a second before re-emerging with a long, rusty key.
“Upstairs, first door on the right.”
I stood and climbed the wooden stairs that creaked so loudly I thought they might collapse.
The room was, as I suspected, tiny and basic. A short wooden cot covered with grimy sheets lay on one side of the room. On the other side were a stool and a set of drawers. A small window looked back onto the mainland. I could see that the tide was in again, and the path had been swallowed by the sea once more.
I scrawled a few hasty notes about my trip so far, dumped my belongings, and made my way back down the stairs.
The low murmur of chatter had returned but again faded to silence as I re-entered the room. I took my seat and sipped my pint of bitter.
I looked around the room, attempting to avoid the locals’ stares that were burning into me. The walls were decorated with fishing photographs and paintings. But there was something different about the fish. One photo showed a proud fisherman with a huge octopus. Another showed six men holding a long, white eel. One painting depicted an enormous, red creature tearing a boat in two as it emerged from the sea.
“Yer fish n’ chips,” the landlord said as he dropped a large plate on the table in front of me.
The fish was colossal, its ends curling over the edge of the plate, and it was by no means small itself. The chips were thick wedges of potato charred at the edges. The batter on the fish was a brighter yellow than I’d ever seen before. Accompanying the meal was a large lemon, cut in half. I squeezed it over the fish and watched the juice run down the smooth surface of the batter.
My first mouthful of fish was the best sensation of my entire life up to that point.
It was thick, white, and meaty, with a moisture that made my entire body shudder. The fish melted away on my tongue, carrying with it a sharp zest, along with the light, crispy texture of the batter. The chips were equally sublime, a crunchy outer layer combined with the velvet potato inside. With every mouthful came more pleasure. I closed my eyes and allowed my senses to take it in. I was caught between two minds: I wanted to lap up the heavenly food as furiously as I could, increasing the volume of pleasure, but also to take my time so the ecstasy of this perfect meal would be prolonged.
I finished my feast, taking breaks in between mouthfuls of food to ensure my brain registered how good it was so I’d remember for my review.
I placed the cutlery on the plate, wiped my mouth with a napkin, and looked up from my meal. The entire pub was staring back at me. Was I eating noisily? I wondered.
The landlord interrupted my thoughts by grabbing my plate, causing the cutlery to chime as he clumsily gathered it from the table.
“Good?” he asked.
I nodded, wiping my mouth again. “The best. The best I’ve ever had,” I replied.
A smile broke out on the landlord’s swarthy face. It was the first sign of friendliness I’d seen from him since I walked through the door.
I looked around the pub again. All the customers wore the same crooked smile. I swigged my beer, draining the glass. As tasty as the ale was, it was a shame to wash away the beautiful, lingering taste of the meal.
I nodded at the landlord and walked out of the room, feeling the burning of nine pairs of eyes as I left. I climbed the stairs to my room and grabbed my notebook.
Scrawling frantically, I noted down every taste, each mouthful of the gorgeous meal. I described the pub, the island, my journey there. I’d tweak it, of course, when I returned home and used the typewriter. But for now, as much detail as possible would be in order. I didn’t want to forget a thing. Even the treacherous journey and the unfriendly welcome seemed to add to the quality of the meal, having to endure some trauma to be rewarded with the best dinner I’d ever had.
I heard the beginnings of a rainstorm rap at my window, increasing its noise until it was battering the glass, drowning out the sound of my pencil scratching against the paper.
Then, a sound that did rise above the background noise. My stomach gurgled and rumbled. I put my hand over my belly and kept writing. Icy pain stabbed me, and I lurched forward, dropping the pencil. I sprawled on the floor in agony. It felt like something was eating me from the inside out.
I screamed, but the only sound that escaped was a wet gurgle as blood rushed up and drizzled out of my mouth. I watched it fall from my chin and pool onto the wooden floor. My vision blurred.
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