Terror in the Shadows vol. 17: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
Terror in the Shadows vol. 17: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
Terror in the Shadows vol. 17: Terror in the Shadows Anthology

Terror in the Shadows vol. 17: Terror in the Shadows Anthology

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There’s always room for a few new guests...

The terror at Hotel Caligula continues, as ghost hunting enthusiasts explore its sinister corners. Ancient forces of nature turn the table on a lonely old man. And bullied teenagers discover that supernatural vengeance comes with a deadly price…

Scare Street welcomes you to this spine-tingling collection of a dozen fantastically frightening tales. We’re certain you’ll savor each and every one, as you journey into this realm of fear and nightmares.

There’s a dark, cozy room waiting just for you. A perfect place to start reading. But as you lose yourself in page after page of terror, you hear creaking outside your door. You try to turn the knob, but the room is locked from the outside!

There is no escape. Because in this realm, the living can check in. But they can’t check out…

209 pages

Nightly Visitors

Erik pushed the door open wide and allowed his brother to shuffle into the hotel room first. Ivar made the short journey to the first bed with his eyes closed and his feet barely lifting from the carpet.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Erik asked.

Ivar crumbled onto the bed and buried his head in a pillow. It took a bit more prompting to get a response. And even then, all he could muster was a soft grunt.

“I thought you grew out of sleepwalking when we were kids.”

Erik closed the door and crossed the room to leave the key card and his ghost hunting gear on top of his guitar case. Between the old boxy television and his guitar, there wasn’t any extra space atop the chipped dresser.

“Should we be worried?”

“It’s just been a lot of late nights,” Ivar grumbled, his words slurring together as he struggled to stay awake. “I’ll be all right.”

Erik wasn’t convinced, but there was no point pushing the issue with a nearly comatose man. Barely a few hours had passed since Ivar had supposedly blacked out. As Erik had originally heard it, Ivar had gone to take a shower. Then, somewhere between one second and the next, he’d found himself confused and standing beside the hotel’s pool several floors away.

It hadn’t taken long for the strange event to become gossip within their tour group. Everyone had joined Roads and Rites paranormal tours in the hope of having some kind of unexplainable experience. But when Erik had pushed his concerns, Ivar had changed the story, insisting to his worried big brother that he must have fallen asleep and dreamed about heading in for a shower. Erik had been skeptical about how that made it any better but decided to let it go. There was nothing he could do about it if Ivar wouldn’t admit there was a problem.

The neon lights of Los Angeles shone through the single window to illuminate the tiny room. Checking that his younger brother was sleeping peacefully, Erik turned off the overhead light and used the exterior glow to cross into the equally tiny bathroom. Washing his face and drinking a few mouthfuls of oddly warm water didn’t settle the uneasy feeling in his chest.

We’ve had a lot of late nights over the last month, a voice whispered in the back of his head. So why has Ivar only started sleepwalking now?

He tried to shake off his growing concern. It’s just the timing.

Hotel Caligula’s history was so full of stories about murder and madness that it had been dubbed “Hotel Blood” barely a few years after it was opened. The tour group had been excited to get to there. A full month of anticipation would naturally get them primed to see a few things.

A small ping cut through his thoughts. He looked over his shoulder. It was strange to know exactly what he was hearing but not understand why he was hearing it. Someone plucked another string of his guitar, allowing the single note to reverberate throughout the cramped space.

It only took two steps to get from the sink to the doorway. Erik gripped the frame with one hand and leaned out, first checking that his brother was still asleep, then looking to the dresser. The polished surface of his guitar reflected the city’s glow, making it shine from within its open case. All the ghost hunting gear was neatly stacked upon the bulbous end of the instrument. Erik rushed from the bathroom to clear everything off of his instrument, checking it as best he could for damage. His guitar case had been closed before… hadn’t it? He thought back, trying to remember, but he was too tired, his brain too foggy. Still, it wasn’t like him to pile things on top of his guitar like that.

What the hell is going on? He carefully scanned the room even as his gut told him there wasn’t an intruder. Maybe it was a ghost.

It was an appealing thought, even if it was easier to believe his sleep-deprived mind was just playing tricks on him. He turned on the electromagnetic frequency reader and spun in a slow circle to scan the room. The machine’s lights flashed, and the dial jumped, but it was nothing more than the normal background chatter. He contemplated taking a few photographs to see if it caught anything, but decided against it, not wanting to risk the flash waking his brother.

Too bad. Would have been fun to have a ghost roommate for the night.

Turning the EMF reader off and placing it atop the television, he headed back into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He wasn’t comfortable leaving Ivar alone again tonight and quickly sent a text to his ghost hunting buddy to let them know. Olivia replied that she had expected as much and had joined another group. His phone buzzed against the counter again as she added a promise to share anything interesting with him and instructions to let her know if he needed any help with Ivar.

Before he could reply, soft giggles drew his attention. For a heartbeat, he had thought that it was coming through the walls, but he quickly rejected the notion. The childish giggle was coming from their bedroom, barely a few feet behind him. Erik rushed back to the doorway and checked the minimal space. The room was awash in the reddish hue of a half dozen neon signs, pushing back the shadows without destroying them. Between the hum of the city and Ivar’s sporadic grumbling, there wasn’t any real silence, but the giggling had stopped. Erik couldn’t let it go. He couldn’t convince himself that it was a trick of his brain or some stray sound wafting in from the hallway.

I know what I heard.

Swallowing thickly, he looked around the room again, this time searching for any place a person could hide. There was really only one. Trying to be quiet, he approached the end of Ivar’s bed and lowered onto his knees. Tales of Hotel Blood flooded his brain. People thrown from windows, bodies found ripped into pieces, serial killers stalking the halls for months without detection.

A lot of things can happen in a locked room.

His heart pounded against his ribs, the rapid strikes becoming painful as he reached for the dangling bedsheets. The material swayed slightly, and he jerked his hand back.

It’s just the air conditioning, he told himself, even as his mind’s eye conjured an image of a madman laying beneath the mattress, knife in hand, waiting for him to pull back the sheets. Holding his breath, Erik snatched a handful of the bedding and flung it back.

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