by Antonio Simon, Jr,
& Darren Worrow
Ten Terrifying Tales of Horror and Suspense
Prepare for extreme horror.
This unique collection of ten stories features a range of international talent: award-winning authors, masters of horror, rising stars, and fresh new voices in the genre.
Take care as you reach into these dark places, for the things here bite, and you may withdraw a hand short of a few fingers.
Genre: HorrorPurchase link(s): Amazon Smashwords BAM iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Demons, Ghosts, Wizards, Assassins, Haunting, Anthology
Release Date: April 30, 2016
Publisher: Darkwater Syndicate, Inc
Excerpt & More on each story
Water, Ice, and Vice by Antonio Simon, Jr
Jeremy’s new apartment harbors a demonic wish-granting fridge, which he uses to exact bloody vengeance on his obnoxious roommate.
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The Dinner Party by Trevor Boelter
A dinner party devolves into a massacre when the blood flows as freely as the wine.
Routine by Mia Bravo
Edward’s life is neat and orderly, just the way he likes it. It doesn’t stay that way for long once bizarre apparitions threaten to end his life, and worse – break his daily routine.
The Final Spell by Mark Meier
Ken, a modern-day wizard, risks life and liberty in pursuit of the ultimate magick. How far will he go to obtain limitless power?
Back Through the Mist by J.S. Watts
Police Sergeant Comberton’s investigation of a baffling murder strains her resolve to its breaking point. When the enquiry takes an otherworldly turn, she questions whether the past holds the key to her future.
Spawn by Paige Reiring
Assassin-for-hire Alice’s personality is so keen, it can kill. She’ll need every edge she can get when the hunter becomes the hunted.
The Pied Piper’s Appetite by Rich Phelan
A competitive eater leads a ghastly double life in pursuit of a gruesome personal crusade.
Riana in the Gray Dusk by Viktoria Faust
A hastily taken photograph leads to a shocking revelation and a rare glimpse at a singular individual.
The Autobiography of an Unsuccessful Author by Brittany Gonzalez
A one-hit-wonder’s search for inspiration blurs the line between reality and insanity, with horrifying results.
Crying by Darren Worrow
Vinny’s research into an urban legend about a haunted painting reveals more about himself than he ever dared to ask.
Water, Ice, and Vice Excerpt:
His eyes flew to the door in time to catch the deadbolt knob flip to the unlocked position. He wheeled to face the fridge and barked his request in a single harsh whisper. The jets filled his glass with a chilled black liquid.
Scott barreled into the foyer and stopped abruptly, surprised to see his roommate.
“Where the hell have you been, brah?” he asked. “And what happened to your face?”
“I’ve been sick,” said Jeremy. He coughed into his fist, not out of theatrics, but it emphasized his point just the same.
“Yeah, well, don’t drink out of the same glass as me.” The tiniest bit of regret darkened Scott’s face. It was of the sort of expression one put on when he knew he’d done wrong but refused to own up. He glanced down at his feet for a moment before resuming eye contact.
“I…” Scott stammered. “I don’t want to catch what you have.”
“You won’t,” Jeremy said, taking a shuffling step toward him.
“But there’s worse than this, you know,” Jeremy went on. He chortled inwardly. Scott’s unease brought a wry smile to his face. Everything was so backward. What did this two-hundred pound gorilla have to fear from a sickly bookworm? And yet, backward though it was, this could not get any more real. In his weakness, Jeremy had found a strength no one, not even a bully like Scott, could resist.
Jeremy plodded forward. “I poured you a drink.” His eyebrows – what remained of them between frailty and scabby sores – bobbed excitedly. “This one is special.”
“You keep that away from me!” Scott roared. He backed against the wall and put out an arm to ward him off. “Come closer and I’ll snap you in half!”
Jeremy spread his arms, smiling, inviting him to do his worst. “You wouldn’t dare touch me,” he hissed. “I am a leper.”
“Stay back, man!” Scott yelled, wild-eyed. “Stay back or else I swear I’ll kick your ass!”
Jeremy halted in place, then rocked forward and lunged for Scott. Scott took the bait, launching himself in a headlong tackle that folded Jeremy over Scott’s shoulder. Jeremy landed flat-backed against the floor with Scott on top of him.
“What were you thinking, picking a fight with me?” Scott screamed in Jeremy’s face. “If your face weren’t already rotting off, I’d pound your skull in.”
Jeremy shifted his weight, attempting to sit up. Scott forced him back down with a shove. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Scott noticed the cup still in Jeremy’s hand. Much of its contents had spilled onto the floor, but about a third remained. Scott’s hand descended onto Jeremy’s, enveloping it like a catcher’s mitt grips a baseball.
“Well, would you look at what we have here?” Scott taunted as he wrested the cup from Jeremy’s feeble grip. “You sneaky little rat. It’s poison, isn’t it?”
Jeremy snorted up some phlegm and spat in Scott’s face.
“With my compliments,” he added.
Scott’s lips drew back in a tooth-baring sneer, and it was quite a sight as every muscle north of his shoulders corded up in the movement. Even the tendons in his neck stood at attention, bulging visibly under his skin. He clamped his free hand onto Jeremy’s lower jaw and worked his mouth open.
“Bottoms up, bitch!” he screamed as he poured the drink down Jeremy’s throat.
Jeremy choked on the fizzy black drink as it shot straight into his gullet. It had a complex taste – intensely sweet at first but with a bitter finish, not unlike diet cola. He coughed as its bubbles burned his nostrils, but slowly his coughing gave way to laugher.
“What’s so funny?” Scott demanded, sounding not so sure of himself anymore.
Jeremy gave a weak smile. “I got you.”
Scott’s brow furrowed. “Huh?”
“That was never meant for you to drink.” Jeremy reached back behind his head and curled his fingers around the lower lip of the refrigerator door.
“It was for me,” Jeremy went on. “A tall, ice-cold glass of revenge!”
As the last word left his lips, he yanked the refrigerator door open.
What came next happened so quickly that, in retrospect, it would take Jeremy weeks to piece together the events. Once he’d felt fairly certain of what he’d witnessed, he wished he could shove the memory back into whatever forgotten broom closet his brain had filed it in.
It happened like this.
First, both refrigerator doors flapped open like a mighty black bird stretching its wings. Then a tanged mass of gleaming mechanical tentacles burst from inside the appliance. Scott screamed – at least, Jeremy thought he did. He wasn’t sure if he’d had enough time to.
The tentacles hammered into Scott, knocking him bodily into the air. Scott landed on his shoulder blades and immediately sat up, began scrabbling furiously at the ground with his heels and hands to backpedal away from the fridge.
It was a futile effort.
A pair of tentacles whipped around his ankles and dragged him toward the fridge’s waiting maw. The appliance spread his legs as though to snap him like a wishbone. Scott had one leg in each of the refrigerator’s chambers, one in the cooler and the other in the freezer. The doors clapped shut against Scott’s kneecaps.
Scott howled with each impact, leaping and arching his back, looking like a maggot tossed into a hot skillet. The doors opened and slammed shut again, and again, and with each blow Scott’s legs were bent at odder and odder angles.
The refrigerator let up on its assault, letting its doors hang open, but did not release Scott. From within the appliance’s chambers, its mechanical tentacles slinked out in unison. The tentacle tips fanned open, blossoming like flowers in spring, shaping themselves into drills, saws, pincers, claws – chromed metal monstrosities that prodded and stabbed and ripped and groped and tore.
Two scissor-pincers accordioned out of the fridge and bit down just beneath Scott’s shoulders. Jeremy could not bear to watch as a pair of whirring circular saws plunged onto Scott’s body. Jeremy covered his face with his arms, but little was left to the imagination between Scott’s screams and the hot jets of blood that doused him.
It was over in moments. Jeremy withdrew his trembling hands from his face, and what he saw made his stomach clench to the size of tennis ball. Scott lay sprawled on the floor at the center of a corona of blood. His arms were gone, having been severed just above the biceps. Knowing how the fridge operated, Jeremy surmised it had drawn the arms into itself, perhaps to keep them as trophies or even a midnight snack.
Jeremy staggered across the kitchen to the phone mounted on the wall. He unhooked it from its receiver and dialed 9-11.
The enormity of what he’d witnessed struck him with the force of a mallet on a railroad spike. His ears rang. He heard not a word the public safety operator said.
“Uh,” he murmured into the phone.
His ears popped. In a heartbeat, his hearing came rushing back.
“Caller, what is your emergency?” Judging by the operator’s insistence, this had not been the first time she had asked that question during the call.
“I…” Jeremy paused, swallowed hard in a dry throat. “I’d like to report a murder.”
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