Terror in the Shadows vol. 20: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
Terror in the Shadows vol. 20: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
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Looking for some thrills and chills? The shadows have the perfect gift…
Online dating takes a twisted turn, when a woman’s perfect match turns out to be much more than he appears. A couple is shocked to discover a strange side effect from their kitty’s new collar. And the winner of a reality TV show discovers the final prize is not what he signed up for…
Scare Street proudly brings you twelve terrifying tales of supernatural horror and dark delights. This bone-chilling volume makes the perfect gift for the horror fan in your life. Just be sure you warn them before they start reading…
And the shadows have a piece of advice for those who go searching for terrifying thrills and sinister shivers…
Be careful what you wish for…
Jake locked the restaurant doors, pocketed the key, and started down the darkened hallway. All the resort guests had retreated to their cabins hours ago, leaving the ecolodge so quiet that he could hear his muffled footsteps. Shouldering his way out the front door, he found the rest of the evening staff already gathered outside. He checked his phone. He still had a few minutes left until the last bus down the mountain arrived. Something shifted beside him, and he grunted when Malika smacked his arm.
“Spider,” she said.
Jake’s skin crawled. “God, they’re everywhere.”
“It’s hatching season,” she said. “Hey, I heard rumors that another hiker went missing. What’s that about? You restaurant guys always have the gossip.”
“He wasn’t one of our guests,” Jake replied. “He’s staying in town and said he was going to take the hiking trail up to the resort. He got lost on the way.”
“On the way up, or the way back down?”
“Does it matter?”
She glanced up at him. “It would be creepier if we were the last people to see him alive. So, yeah, it matters.”
“He’s been missing for less than a day. He probably took a wrong turn, and they’ll find him at the waterfall tomorrow. Just like that other one a few weeks back.”
“Or he’ll never be seen again, like that couple a few months ago.” She paused and jerked her chin to the side. “Bus is here.”
Headlights flashed through the thick woods. The night-shift drivers were a bit more reckless than the day-shift ones, and they often got down the dark twisting road in record time. The bus swung around the parking lot and screeched to a stop in front of the group. Climbing onboard seemed to take the last of everyone’s energy. Jake flopped onto a worn seat with a pained groan, stretching out while Malika took the seat in front of him. She rested her back against the window, closed her eyes, and heaved a sigh.
“Wake me up when we get to town,” she mumbled.
Everyone relaxed as the bus started back down the mountain. The lights of the resort swiftly faded, and the bus windows became black mirrors. Muscle memory told Jake when to lean into the sharp turns of the winding road. The driver only hit the brakes when he was forced to. Like when the road nestled up against a cliff face that was devoid of any safety rails. Everyone on the bus had made the trip too many times, and was far too tired, to be concerned.
“There was a huge spider in one of the rooms today,” Malika said with her eyes still closed. “Maintenance found a dead rat in its nest.”
“Another one?” Jake looked up from his phone.
“I talked to a guest that insisted they saw one as big as a dog.”
“That’s not possible. Is it?”
“The woods are pretty thick around here. Anything could be hiding in there.”
The bus suddenly lurched to the side. People screamed, and tires screeched. Jake gripped the top of his chair but couldn’t keep himself from being thrown into the narrow aisle. His spine slammed against the edge of another seat and someone’s elbow cracked against his temple. Pain blurred his vision as the bus fishtailed. They sideswiped a cluster of trees and came to an abrupt halt. The bus gave a final heavy shudder before the engine died.
“Is everyone okay?” someone whispered.
Tentatively, people started to shift. With a slow groan, the bus lurched to the side. Jake froze, his blood as cold as ice. He was sure they were a second from falling over the cliff edge to their deaths. It didn’t seem real when the bus rocked then settled once again.
“It’s okay,” someone in the back said. “Only one of the back wheels went over. We’re all right.”
Jake’s eyes fluttered close as he sighed.
“Wait, are we stuck?” another person demanded.
The answer came almost instantly. “No, we can get out of this, right?”
Everyone started speaking at once. Jake ignored it all and wiped a hand over his face.
Malika peered down from her seat. “Hey, are you okay?”
“I think so,” Jake said. “Are you all right?”
Her eyes were wide, her face pale, but she nodded almost casually.
“What happened?” he asked.
They both turned to the front of the bus. The driver sat rigidly in his seat, clutching the wheel in a white-knuckled grip. The brilliant glow of the headlights illuminated the cracks that covered the windshield like cobwebs. It was all stained with blood. Malika crawled off her seat and staggered up the aisle. Jake scrambled to follow her. He cast fleeting glances at the coworkers they passed. Some were injured. Those that weren’t badly injured or in shock were checking on their friends.
Malika lightly touched the driver’s shoulder. He jumped with a startled cry.
“Easy,” she soothed. “It’s okay.”
“I couldn’t stop in time. He jumped out in front of us.”
“He?” Jake asked. “You hit a person?”
“I couldn’t stop,” the driver whispered.
“It’s okay. It wasn’t your fault,” Malika said.
“What was he even doing up here?” the driver asked.
“Open the doors,” Jake said. “I’ll go check on him. I’m sure it looks worse than it is. Probably just a broken arm or something.”
Numbly, the driver pressed a button and the doors opened.
“I’m coming with you,” Malika said in a rush. She turned back to the driver. “Can you get the bus moving again?”
“I might have killed him.”
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