Terror in the Shadows vol. 22: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
Terror in the Shadows vol. 22: Terror in the Shadows Anthology
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At night, the city belongs to the shadows…
Urban decay takes on a whole new meaning, when a hoodlum’s violent crime triggers terrifying supernatural forces. Somewhere over the rainbow, one lucky soul discovers that his fortune comes with a dark cost. And a gravedigger discovers that leaving old bones unburied lures a pack of sinister creatures to feed…
Scare Street proudly presents twelve bone-chilling tales of terror and suspense. A dozen diabolical delights to keep your mind occupied as you walk home, wandering through the dark city streets.
At night, the city seems empty and gloomy, almost lonely. You whistle as you walk down a cold, damp alley. After all, there’s nothing to fear. This isn’t a haunted castle or a fog-shrouded graveyard.
Then you hear a splash…
Footsteps behind you stomp through a puddle. A low growl fills the air. You run down the alley, gasping for breath. But instead of a busy street, you find only a brick wall. You’ve come to a dead end!
And as the growling grows louder, a painful realization hits you—
In this concrete jungle, you are the prey…
Hugo tightened his grip and yanked the steering wheel. They crossed a narrow bridge and, with a sudden thump, entered the parking lot. He stomped on the breaks. The wheels couldn’t find traction on the gravel, and they fishtailed before coming to a sharp stop. The long-haul truck that had been tailgating them for the last half hour continued down the empty road. The driver left them with one final blast of their airhorn. It was a low, mournful sound that made Hugo tense.
“Do you think he’s thanking us or mocking us?” Donna asked, still braced between the dashboard and passenger seat.
Jackie cussed and smacked a fist against the back of the driver’s seat. “I should have jotted down that guy’s license plate. Did anyone see a ‘How’s my driving?’ bumper sticker?”
“I didn’t look,” Donna said.
“I had other things on my mind,” Hugo mumbled.
The ground rumbled as another semitrailer barreled past. Taking the back roads had been a mistake. The narrow one-way road was perched on top of a small but steep-sided hill. For hours their only options had been to keep going or take a nosedive into a ditch. They were lucky to have stumbled across the roadside attraction.
“What is this place anyway?” Jackie asked abruptly.
Hugo smiled. “All that fuss to be the navigator and you don’t know where we are?”
Jackie unfolded the huge state map. “About that, I didn’t want to bother you at the time, but I’m pretty sure we passed our turnoff a bit back.”
Hugo twisted around to look at her. “This is a one-way road. We can’t backtrack.”
“I know. As soon as I find out where we are, I’ll sort out a way to loop back around. Or we can find somewhere new to go. It’s not like we’re working on a strict travel plan.”
Donna unclicked her seat belt and squirmed her torso out of the passenger window. “Botanical Garden and Rest Stop.”
“Thanks, hon,” Jackie said. She ran her finger along the veins of the map. “But I need the exact business name.”
“That’s it. Botanical Garden and Rest Stop.”
“Not that creative,” Hugo said.
“Or super honest,” Donna countered.
Jackie frowned. “It’s not on the map.”
“That’s the trouble with using outdated technology.” Hugo pulled his phone out of the cupholder and did a quick search. “We didn’t cross a state line back there, did we?”
“No,” Jackie said.
He searched again. “I can’t find anything. No advertisement, no reviews, no pictures.”
Donna slipped back inside. “They are a bit out of the way.”
“Wouldn’t that mean they’d have to go harder on the advertisement?” Hugo asked. “How do they stay in business?”
“We can ask them when we’re getting directions and stretching our legs,” Donna said.
Jackie refolded her map. “I could use a bathroom break.”
“Guys...” Donna said, pausing dramatically, “they have a hedge maze.”
Hugo shrugged one shoulder. “Yeah okay, I’ll go. Jackie?”
“I’ve never been in one before. Why not?”
Hugo quickly parked the car in the shade beside the hedge wall. It didn’t look like a proper parking spot, but it was nicely out of the way. He didn’t even bother to look around until they were done using the public bathrooms and were wandering back out front. The towering hedge wall that surrounded the square property made it hard to even glimpse the actual roadside attraction. The entrance was just an archway gouged out of the foliage and marked by a thin ticket box. The sign Donna had read earlier was out by the road. Beyond that the only decoration was a countdown billboard hanging to one side of the entrance, just above the bathrooms.
With unwavering enthusiasm, Donna dragged her friends closer to the ticket box. An elderly woman put aside her crossword puzzle to greet them with a smile.
“Well, hello there. You lot made quite the entrance.”
“Sorry about that.” Before Hugo could explain, another semitrailer barreled down the street, coming and going with a wail of its airhorn. “We were hoping you might be able to help us with some directions.”
The woman’s head tilted slightly. “You’re lost?”
“Technically. I know which turnoff we need, but I think we missed it,” Jackie said.
With a sheepish smile, she pulled the map out of her back pocket and indicated where they were heading.
“Oh, you’re very lost,” the lady said. “Is anyone waiting for you? You can use our phone to let them know you won’t be getting there tonight.”
“Thanks, but we have mobiles,” Jackie said.
“And no one’s waiting on us.” Hugo was surprised when both his friends glared at him.
“What about your hotel booking?” the woman asked.
“We’re kind of winging the whole trip,” Hugo said.
Jackie quickly regained the woman’s attention. As they talked, Donna dragged Hugo back a few steps and hit him in the arm.
“Ow. What was that for?”
“Traveling Safe 101—there is always someone who will miss you if you disappear. Like a Navy SEAL brother or an aunt with connections to the mafia,” she whispered sharply.
“It’s not like we’re going to be here long. Besides, she’s just a little old lady.” He dodged Donna’s next swing and held up his hands. “Okay, I’m sorry.”
There was another long, monotone bellow, and Hugo absentmindedly looked toward the road. The sound died away without a truck ever passing by. His brow furrowed, but he didn’t have time to think about it before Jackie turned around and presented him with his ticket. He reflexively reached for his wallet before remembering that they had pooled their money for the trip.
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