Read Anything Can Be Dangerous Online

Authors: Matt Hults

Tags: #vampires, #thriller, #horror, #zombies, #fun, #scary, #monsters

Anything Can Be Dangerous

ANYTHING CAN BE DANGEROUS

by

MATT HULTS

 

BOOKS of the DEAD

 

This book is a work of fiction. All
characters, events, dialog, and situations in this book are
fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely
coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used
or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in
the case of reprinted excerpts for the purpose of
reviews.

 

For more information, contact:
[email protected]

 

Visit us at:
BOOKS of the
DEAD

 

FIRST EDITION

Smashwords Edition

 

Copyright 2011 by Matt Hults

Edited by Matt Hults and James Roy
Daley

Photo Credit - Danielle
Tunstall

Cover Model - Paige Rohanna
Walker

Graphic Design - Cynthia
Gould

E-book Design - James Roy
Daley

 

“Anything Can be Dangerous,” copyright
2011. Original for this anthology.

“The Finger,”
copyright
2007. First appeared in
Undead: Skin and
Bones
by Permuted Press.

“Feeding Frenzy,” copyright 2007. First
appeared in
Fried! Fast Food, Slow
Death
by Graveside Tales.

“Through the Valley of Death” copyright
2011. First appeared in
Best New Vampire
Tales Volume One
by Books of the Dead Press

“Husk (Preview)” copyright
2011.

 

* * *

 

Great books from:

BOOKS of the DEAD

BEST
NEW ZOMBIE TALES (VOL. 1)

BEST
NEW ZOMBIE TALES (VOL. 2)

BEST
NEW ZOMBIE TALES (VOL. 3)

CLASSIC VAMPIRE TALES (VOL.1)

BEST
NEW VAMPIRE TALES (VOL. 1)

MATT
HULTS - HUSK

MATT
HULTS - ANYTHING CAN BE DANGEROUS

JAMES ROY DALEY - TERROR TOWN

JAMES ROY DALEY - 13 DROPS OF BLOOD

JAMES ROY DALEY - INTO HELL

JAMES ROY DALEY ~ THE DEAD PARADE

GARY
BRANDNER - THE HOWLING

GARY
BRANDNER - THE HOWLING II

GARY
BRANDNER - THE HOWLING III

PAUL
KANE - PAIN CAGES

 

* * *

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ANYTHING
CAN BE DANGEROUS

FEEDING FRENZY

THROUGH THE VALLEY OF
DEATH

THE FINGER

PREVIEW: MATT HULTS -
HUSK

PREVIEW: GARY BRANDNER’S - THE
HOWLING

PREVIEW: GARY BRANDNER’S - THE HOWLING
II

PREVIEW: GARY BRANDNER’S - THE HOWLING
III

PREVIEW: JAMES ROY DALEY’S - TERROR
TOWN

PREVIEW: JAMES ROY DALEY’S - INTO
HELL

PREVIEW: PAUL KANE’S - PAIN
CAGES

 

* * *

 

A word from the publisher:

 

I wrote an introduction for Matt
Hults’ wonderful debut novel HUSK, and made reference to a story he
wrote called ‘Anything Can be Dangerous.’ Matt keeps telling me
that he loves the intro and that it makes him laugh every time he
reads it. At some point it occurred to Matt that he wanted the
story I mentioned to be made available, and he asked me to put
together a little one-story sampler, selling me on the concept that
it would make a great promotional tool for his novel. Being the
grumpy old fart that I am I tried to blow Matt off, telling him
that I was far too busy to promote his book in any way, shape, or
form. I think my exact words were,
You
promote the stupid thing... I’m tired and drunk; get out of my
face.
Of course, this didn’t go over too well and he
successfully managed to twist my rubber arm and get me to do
something intelligent.

I set aside the things I was currently
working on, including the paperback version of Husk, along with the
upcoming titles Zombie Kong, Living Death Race 2000, Into Hell,
Best New Zombie Tales #3, Best New Vampire Tales #1 (paperback),
the paperback version of my sophomore novel Terror Town, the ebook
version of my first novel The Dead Parade, Best New Werewolf Tales
#1, plus the re-release of Gary Brandner’s famous ‘The Howling’
trilogy––book one, two, and three.

When I told Matt I was busy, I’m sure
he had no idea what I was talking about, or that I was
so
busy. But Matt’s one smart cookie,
and I’m guessing that upon reading this little note he’ll be able
to understand the spot I’m in. He’ll also figure out that a
one-story sampler isn’t my style––so what you’re looking at here is
a four-story sampler plus a preview for HUSK.

The first story is called Anything Can
Be Dangerous. It’s a whole lot of fun and the only place it’s
available is right here, inside this collection. Enjoy.

 

James Roy Daley

 

* * *

 

ANYTHING CAN BE
DANGEROUS

 

1.

 

This must be what a kid
with a normal childhood feels like on Christmas
morning
, Greg Shader thought as he opened the box
containing his new laptop computer. He stripped off the shipping
tape and tossed the Styrofoam packing material aside, exposing the
long sought-after prize waiting inside.

The sleek silver machine was sealed in
a clear plastic bag, which gave off the quintessential smell of new
electronics when Greg pulled it out of the box, but his childlike
smile of delight suddenly melted from his face when he turned it
over and spotted the bold red-letter message written across its
front side:

 

WARNING:

PLASTIC BAGS CAN BE
DANGEROUS.

 

He stared at the bag silently, holding
it in front of him as if his body had become nothing more than a
lifeless mound of sculpted clay.

The label’s warning was followed by
the advice that plastic bags should be kept away from babies and
children due to the risk of suffocation, and even though Greg
understood the obligatory legal nature of the notice, the phrasing
of the first sentence triggered an outbreak of goosebumps across
his skin.

To anyone else, the linkage of those
particular words might’ve seemed normal, maybe even humorous. Greg
knew that for every warning label ever made—especially the absurd
ones—there was someone who’d done what it cautioned against and
lived to sue about it. Consequently, everything needed a warning
label these days, or a sign, or a sticker. What unnerved him
about
this
warning, however,
was how much it read like something his mother would’ve said when
he was a child.


Anything can be dangerous,
Gregory,” she used to tell him, “so never let your guard down for
an instant!”

The message on the bag struck him like
her words from the grave.

But she was gone. Long
gone.

As was her insane mistrust of everyday
items.

Discarding his thoughts of the past,
he cut through the seal at the top of the bag and unwrapped the
computer. Living alone, he had no children or pets to worry about,
so he tossed the empty bag on the floor, along with the box and its
packing material. Those simple inanimate objects might have
represented potentially deadly hazards in his mother’s eyes, but to
him they constituted nothing more than trash.

He spent the next hour installing
various office-related programs onto the laptop’s hard drive and
transferring backup files of his second suspense novel from his
out-of-date desktop.

As an unemployed insurance selection
specialist turned author, the laptop represented a huge milestone
in his new writing career, proving that his dream of being able to
tell stories for a living and still pay the bills on time could
soon become a reality.

Around four his cell phone rang, and
Greg answered using the caller ID glowing on the display. “Hey,
Jackass.”


Ah, man, you changed my
title,” Len Moore replied. “What happened to Numb-nuts?”


Got a new bill collector.
What’s up with you, bro?”


Oh, you know, just reaping
the benefits of working at a hospital.”


Better health
insurance?”


No. Dating nurses. I’ve
got a hot lead on two new RN’s down in Peds. I could set up a
double if you’re game?”

Greg ran a hand over the stubble on
his chin. “Let’s get some details first. What am I walking
into?”


Her name’s Mia, and I’m
telling you, bud, this girl has the body of a goddess. You won’t
regret it.”


She isn’t like the last
‘goddess’ you set me up with, is she? You remember, the one who
looked more like Zeus than Athena.”


No, I promise. That was a
one-time thing caused by radiation exposure. Won’t happen
again.”

Greg laughed. He’d heard that one
before. Despite Len’s track record as a matchmaker a date sounded
like a good idea, even if it was a blind one. He hadn’t been with a
girl for over a month, and the potential for sex was always
appealing.


Okay, I’m in. Where are we
meeting?”

Greg took down the address. He still
had a number of errands to run before getting ready, so after
talking with Len he shutdown the computer and closed it up for the
day.

Before leaving the room he collected
all the trash from the floor, gathering the computer’s packing
supplies into the box for safekeeping, just in case he needed to
return it later, thus avoiding any restocking fees.

He found everything but the bag it had
been wrapped in.

He stood where he was, looking left
and right around the edge of the bed, finding nothing but clean
white carpet.

He knelt down and looked under the
bed.

Still nothing.

Plastic Bags Can Be
Dangerous.

He banished the thought from his
mind.


Thanks a lot, Mom,” he
said to the empty room.

He tossed the box onto the bed and
went to find his car keys, not giving the mislaid bag another
moment of his concern.

 

 

2.

 

Greg got home after one in the
morning.

He parked in the driveway of the
detached garage then walked to the front of the house to unlock the
door, smiling to himself while he strode through the summer night
air.

Mia was spectacular. Beyond
spectacular. Far better than Len could’ve ever described, because
her personality was as intoxicating as her appearance.

And what an appearance: red hair;
green eyes; slim body; pert breasts. Greg had always possessed the
looks and wit to win the ladies’ attention, but Mia’s charm and
beauty had actually made him second guess his ability to entice
her. For the first time since high school he’d actually felt
awkward around a girl.

They’d started the evening off at a
bar on the riverfront, staying only long enough for a quick drink
and a round of introductions. After that, they relocated to a
racetrack just north of the city, where Len’s cousin was driving in
a demolition derby. There were live bands and plenty of food and
drinks, but the show’s entire atmosphere reeked of redneck
testosterone. Mia hated it, and so did Greg, and their mutual
distaste of the event made them instant allies. About twenty
minutes into the first melee of eardrum-splitting automotive battle
they ducked away and took Greg’s car back to Minneapolis. By then,
his initial bout of shyness had passed.

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