Terror in the Shadows vol. 19: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
Terror in the Shadows vol. 19: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
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The shadows are back with a nightmarish riddle just for you…
History’s greatest detective follows a trail of fiendish clues and discovers that madness is anything but “elementary”. A reality show’s attempt to cure a hoarder of her obsession unleashes a ravenous beast. And birds aren’t the only things squawking when a sinister scarecrow comes to life and stalks a young child…
Scare Street proudly brings you eleven ghastly tales of ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and more. This new collection is sure to delight fans of supernatural horror. And to celebrate, the shadows have a riddle for you to solve… if you dare.
“When trapped am I, life will thrive. But once I’m free, death arrives.” The words are scrawled in crimson across the walls of your padded cell. As you rock back and forth, pondering, you feel warm liquid running down your skin.
Your eyes are bleeding! Now your ears and mouth… The ruby red fluid spatters across the ivory floor. And too late, you realize the riddle’s morbid answer…
Your own blood…
Izzie wiped the sweat from her brow and squinted into the glaring light of the sunset. The last golden rays washed over the desert before the night began to gather.
“I thought you were cooking the hotdogs,” Antonio said.
He had their daughter perched on his hip, keeping the toddler far away from the growing flames of their backyard bonfire.
“I’ve got a few minutes until the water starts to boil. Don’t worry, I set a timer,” Izzie said. “I still don’t see why we couldn’t boil the water on the fire.”
He arched his eyebrows before shooting their daughter an accusing look. Maria had just entered her grabbing phase. There was no way she’d be able to resist a shiny pot dangling over pretty flames.
Izzie tickled Maria’s little potbelly until she giggled. “You just have to make things difficult, don’t you? Just like your daddy.”
“What did I do?”
“We wouldn’t have to boil water at all if you agreed to cook hotdogs the proper way. Shove them on a stick and hold them over the fire.”
“No one cooks them that way. They burn.”
“That’s the tastiest part,” she scoffed.
With their house situated right where suburbia gave way to the surrounding desert, night fell swiftly and without much in the way of competition. It wouldn’t be long until most of their light came from their little campfire. The brewing darkness chipped away at the day’s insufferable heat and the cicadas began to sing. It was Izzie’s favorite part of the day, when no one else was back from work yet and it felt like they had the whole world to themselves. Izzie grabbed a can of soda from the icebox, settled into a camping chair, and enjoyed the last of the sunset. It took her a moment to notice the solitary shadow making its way toward the house. Backlit by the sun’s glare, it was little more than a dark formless lump. But there was a presence about it that sent a shiver down Izzie’s spine.
He was too busy making faces for Maria’s amusement to notice.
“Honey,” Izzie said a little louder.
She pointed to the horizon only to find that the figure had already melted into the gathering night.
“The sunset?” Antonio asked with a smirk.
“You’re the only one that finds you funny.”
“Hey, Maria thinks I’m hilarious.”
“I’m serious,” Izzie replied. “I saw something. What if it was a coyote?”
He cradled Maria a little closer to his chest as he looked to the horizon again. The sun was gone. Darkness swelled to fill the space and shroud whatever had been wandering toward their home.
“Well, if it was one, we’re not going to see it now,” he said.
“Should we go inside?”
Antonio took a moment to think it over. “Nah, I think we’ll be fine. The fire will scare it off. Let’s just keep an eye out and not let Maria stray too far.”
Tension lingered in Izzie’s shoulders as Antonio pulled his camping chair a little closer. There had been something wrong about the shape that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, and it niggled at her. It didn’t take long for Antonio to notice.
“Is this going to be a thing?” he asked with an amused chuckle.
“You know; a thing,” he said. “One of those things that you latch onto and overthink until you drive yourself nuts.”
“I don’t do that.”
“Whatever you say, honey.” Antonio bounced Maria on his knee while adding, “But if you want to talk about it—”
“It wasn’t shaped like a coyote,” she blurted out.
“There it is,” he whispered to Maria. “Mommy’s sunk her teeth in again.”
“I’m only teasing. Come on, out with it. If it didn’t look like a coyote, what did it look like?”
“Okay,” he said slowly. “Why don’t you think it was a coyote?”
“It was too big,” she said.
“Size is a pretty hard thing to judge. Was it near anything you could use as a reference?”
“No.” She hesitated before adding, “But I’m sure it was too big to be a dog. It was tall and kinda narrow, I think.”
“I was looking into the sun.”
“Right,” he said. “So, what do you think it was?”
“I don’t know. I just didn’t like it.”
He turned to face her fully. “You didn’t like it? Did it wig you out?”
“Antonio,” she warned.
He laughed. “You can’t expect me not to tease you when you of all people are going on about bad mojo.”
“I didn’t say that. It’s just…” She groaned in frustration and slumped against her chair. “Instinct.”
Annoyed by the lack of attention, Maria squealed and smacked a tiny hand against Antonio’s face. Izzie let the conversation go and turned back to the vast expanse before them. That brief glimpse repeated endlessly in her mind. Each time, the formless shape morphed, taking on new dimensions to fit the different explanations she came up with. It didn’t take long for her to begin to doubt her memory of what it originally looked like. The only thing that remained the same was the nagging sensation that something wasn’t right. She huffed.
“You overthought it, huh?” Antonio chuckled.
“Even if you were right, I wouldn’t admit it.”
He froze, his teasing smirk gone in an instant. Jerking around, he fixed his gaze on the darkness beyond the fire. The murky shadows made it hard for Izzie to know exactly what they were looking at. A patch of white mist dipped and swayed as it steadily grew larger.
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