Fan Fears: A collection of fear based stories

BOOK: Fan Fears: A collection of fear based stories
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FAN FEARS

 

MICHAEL BRAY

Copyright © 2016 Michael Bray

http://www.michaelbrayauthor.com

The moral right of Michael Bray to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ASIN: B01BI7M7C2

ALSO BY THE SAME AUTHOR

 

Dark Corners

MEAT

MEAT: Uncut

Whisper

Echoes (Whisper Trilogy book II)

Voices (Whisper Trilogy book III)

Funhouse

Forgotten Fears

From the Deep

Return to the Deep

Spawn of the Deep

The Island

Cody Rexell & the Death Worm

Project Apex

Eradication: Project Apex book II

The Void (With Albert Kivak)

Hope House Chronicles I: The Visit

Hope House Chronicles II: The Possession

Art (With Matt Shaw)

Monster (With Matt Shaw)

Home Video (With Matt Shaw)

Trapped (With Matt Shaw)

The House that Hell Built (With Matt Shaw & Stuart Keane)

Seat 6A

Cabin Fever

Shoebox

Scarecrows

Scratchers

Something in the Dark

 

 

 

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,

and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

- H. P. Lovecraft

 

 

There is no such thing as paranoia.

Your worst fears can come true at any moment.

- Hunter S. Thompson

 

To him who is in fear everything rustles.

- Sophocles
 

CONTENTS

 

Foreword by Matt Shaw

HOWL

(Fear submitted by Hazel Lennon)

BEAT

(Fear submitted by Colleen Cassidy)

CRAWL

(Fear submitted by Becky Narron-Heath)

EXHIBIT

(Fear submitted by Naomi Avery)

AWAKE

(Fear submitted by Lauriette Hutzler)

VERTIGO

(Fear submitted by Christina Sandoval)

DRIVE

(Fear submitted by Keith Parsons)

SANE

(Fear Submitted by Christina Cooper)

 

BONUS STORIES

 

WITH THESE HANDS

APARTMENT 11

THE LIGHT THAT BROUGHT THE DARK

THE VISIT

FOREWORD BY MATT SHAW

 

Horror is subjective. What one person finds scary, another may not. How many times have you been to the cinema, or read a book, which your friends have been raving about only to be disappointed with the experience? For whatever reason, you felt no emotion other than boredom and the sense of having
been there, done that
.

Although being known for my extreme horror, I do not stick to that particular genre for this very reason; some people are uncomfortable with gore and violence and others are bored of it. By changing it up a little and moving from extreme horror to psychological horror, or supernatural horror - there is more chance of having books out there which appeal to a larger audience - something I believe is important for writers to do. After all, we don’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into a sub-genre of horror which dies a death when the masses move away from it.

With supernatural, psychological and extreme horror out there in the market though, I was still finding various comments from people on social networking sites stating that - whilst they found the stories good - they still weren’t scared. And that’s when it hit me. Here I am second guessing what they want to read when I could just open the doors and ask them myself. You tell me about your life and your fears and I’ll write
that
story for you. I’ll make you uncomfortable to be in your own home and I’ll disturb your sleep pattern for months to come as the words plague and haunt you. I’ll give you the horror you have been waiting for. And so, with that in mind,
Literature-Ly You
was born; a service whereby I take the fears of my readers and put them in a very personalised story…

The characters in these books are not fictional. They are
you,
they are your
friends
and they are your
family
. The fears are not from my imagination, but from
your
own dark thoughts. The setting is not some random place picked because I once visited it as a child, it is
your
home. This is one hundred percent you and no two stories are ever the same because of it.

*

I have worked with Michael Bray across a handful of titles now (
Art, MONSTER, Home-Video, Trapped
and
The House That Hell Built
) and have always been impressed with how he crafts his segments of the story - or even his own standalone novels and short stories. Let’s not pretend he isn’t hard-working a prolific with what he puts out there for you to enjoy.

My work is completely different to the style that Michael tends to release; it is darker for sure. I was initially worried about how Michael was going to cope with the world’s I was creating for us to write but I had no reason to be. With
Art
, Michael was writing the part of the straight-laced, mess of a Detective and I was writing the serial killer, so I did not have much opportunity to see how dark Michael was willing to (and could) go. With
MONSTER
, he had several segments in which he could prove to me my concerns were unfounded and he ran with the concept of extreme horror; his own segments having a ‘real’ feel to them and being incredibly uncomfortable to read (in a good way). In fact, at one point, I had to ask him to step it down a gear - the one and only time I have asked him to shy away from writing a certain scene.

Seeing this side of Bray, and the different genres of standalone titles he had put out, it was clear that his imagination was strong in any direction he chose to turn and - more than that - he wasn’t scared to write taboo subjects where necessary. I had always had a respect for both his work and his work ethic but seeing him merrily dance in the genre I had thrust myself upon was impressive, a pleasure and proof that there was an incredible talent at work here.

For a little time, I contemplated having him killed.

 

*

 

Michael and I talk a fair bit. Writing
Art
together brought a friendship that I hope lasts the test of time, despite being at near opposite ends of the country. With this friendship comes something else, though… A good teammate to play Xbox with and - with regards to our writing - hints, tips and suggestions; one such suggestion being that Michael should branch out and offer his readers personalised stories too.

The fact that I am sitting here, on this sunny day, writing this introduction means he took this suggestion and he ran with it. Now I have not read the stories involved, at the time of writing this he is still giving them a good polish (ever the perfectionist) but I do know one thing is for sure: If you have ordered one of these tales from Michael, you’re about to lose a lot of sleep as your fears come to life upon the pages you’re about to read.

Having seen what Michael’s mind is capable of doing, all I shall say is, ‘Good luck.’

 

Matt Shaw

Author of
Sick B*stards, Rotting Dead F*cks, DOLLS, Evil Little things
and more!

www.mattshawpublications.co.uk

www.facebook.com/mattshawpublications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAN FEAR ONE:

HOWL

(Submitted by Hazel Lennon)

 

****

This one was actually the first response I had when I put out the call for readers to submit their fears to be turned into personalised stories. Hazel’s husband, Andrew, got in touch and asked me to write something based on Hazel’s fears (which, like the other stories, will be revealed at the end so as not to spoil the story). I had a little think about this one and wanted to explore the relationship between the different levels of the food chain, and how a hunter can very quickly become the hunted if circumstances allow. This story explores that idea.

***

 

 

First, she tasted copper, then the pain in her chest exploded. Hazel wiped her eyes and looked at her fingers, immediately able to associate the taste with what she saw.

Blood.

Her head hurt, the incessant whine inside cutting through her, not allowing her to think. She blinked as more blood ran into her eyes. It was then that she realised the noise wasn’t in her head, but in the car. She looked across from where she sat in the passenger seat, chest in agony where the seatbelt had pinned her in place. Andrew was slumped over the wheel, blood streaming from his nose and mouth, chest depressing the horn and making that awful incessant noise. She was sure he was dead and was about to scream when he moaned and shifted position, releasing pressure on the wheel and plunging their world into silence.

“Andy, are you okay?” She looked at her husband, waiting for him to tell her he was okay, that they had, by some miracle, escaped unscathed from the crash which had mangled their car. He didn’t respond. She looked around, trying to put it all together and figure out where they were, how they had arrived at that particular point in time. Slowly it came back, swimming out of the darkness of her memory and slotting into place. Andrew had surprised her with a holiday just for the two of them. A trip to Canada, as he knew that was one place she had always wanted to go. Her immediate reaction had been excitement, closely followed by worry about who was going to look after the kids while they were away. Andrew had thought of that too. He had arranged for Kelly Ann to come over from Newcastle to keep an eye on the house and kids. She had brought Mash with her, the sausage dog seeming to enjoy having a new environment to explore and make his own. Andrew had arranged the trip to coincide with the school holidays so she would be able to get time off her teaching job. It was all so perfect, so unbelievable to her that she didn’t believe it was true until they had actually got on the plane and set out on the long haul flight to Calgary (he had even paid for first class seats). When they arrived, it was already cold and threatening snow. She was desperate to know the details of the trip, which so far Andrew had declined to tell her. They had hired a car to drive to their destination, a log cabin deep in the Canadian wilderness. It was the absolute privacy and relaxation they needed which would give them respite from the daily grind of running their family household. They didn’t see a single vehicle on the road for the last few miles as they made their way deeper into the Canadian wilderness, the incredible vista of enormous pine trees set against a backdrop of crisp blue skies truly breathtaking and as far away as it was possible to get from home. The cabin itself was everything she had ever dreamed of. Simple and luxurious, a huge open fire dominating the living area. From outside, they had an incredible forest view and absolute isolation from the world. She remembered how she thought it was perfect, a moment she would never forget. That had been three days ago. She closed her eyes, trying to put the jigsaw back together and focus on the now, on what had happened to them. She looked out of the hole where the windscreen used to be at the tree trunk their hire car was now wrapped around, tiny diamonds of glass all over the crumpled front end of the car. A random thought came to her, one that had no bearing or place in the current situation.

Nobody knows we’re here. Nobody knows to look for us.

The thoughts came rationally as if the true gravity of their situation hadn’t yet hit home. The children knew they were on holiday of course, but part of the surprise had been the secrecy about their final destination.  She forced herself to focus and remember what had happened that had led them to the scene of the crash. She ran a hand through her hair, grimacing when she looked at her palm and saw blood.

The cabin

The cabin

The cabin

Yes, the cabin. They had set out to head back to town and get some supplies. Food, drink, enough to see them for a few days and the heavy snow that was expected. They were both excited about the snow coming. It would be a perfect little touch to add to their dream holiday. Although they both thought winters were cold back home in the UK, here in Canada it was a different story. At night, it got all the way down to minus fifteen, and probably less than that when the snow came. All at once, it was there, the full recollection of how they had arrived at their current location and how the crash had happened. Clarity, in turn, brought panic, and she started to claw at her seatbelt.

Stop it.

She heard her own voice in her head clearly. Unlike her, it was still calm and rational, something she was grateful for. She was starting to lose it, her mind unravelling as she realised just how grave the situation was. She exhaled, her breath pluming in the air. She could smell the snow, knowing that the cold, fresh edge to the breeze meant that it was on its way. She knew it could be lethal if they were exposed for too long. They needed help to get to safety. She couldn’t focus on any of that, though. All she could think of was the crash. It played over again in her head, the details of how they had ended up at the bottom of the hill in their crumpled mess of a car.

They had been driving towards town, which was around six miles from the cabin. The roads were narrow, the hillside dropping away to forest to their left, and climbing towards the snow dipped mountains on their right.  Andrew was talking about his writing, how he hoped to eventually transition to doing it full time and leaving the rat race behind. It was an exciting proposition, especially as he had already secured the services of an agent and released his first book, a collection of short stories called
Twisted Shorts
, which had been well received and had given them hope and optimism that this could be the start of an amazing future for them. She remembered the last words they said to each other before their world was transformed into a violent storm of broken glass and steel. He was talking about one of the hotels he had stayed in back in England which had a little staircase that led nowhere, a little reading nook and how he was freaked out about how odd the design was. She remembered laughing, and was about to remind him that he had already told her this story and sent her the photographs online when the car slewed off the road, the rear becoming light, the rumble of the tires silenced.

Ice.

Although the snow had yet to fall, it was cold enough for the ice to form. It was unexpected and sudden, the car snapping towards the edge of the road and the dizzying drop below. Andrew was an experienced driver and had immediately reacted, steering into the slide to correct it, when the wheels unexpectedly found grip and plunged them over the edge. She remembered the sound, how it was incredibly loud as glass shattered, steel crumpled and the car rolled to its final destination. She didn’t recall the impact with the tree, and for that she was grateful, as even to look at the way the front of the car was destroyed, it was obvious it was a mess.

“Andy, can you move?” she asked again, looking towards him. His eyes were open now, but they were glazed and vacant. She had been lucky, and despite the violence of the accident seemed to be okay. Andrew hadn’t been so fortunate. His legs were crushed, pinned in place by both the car and a thick tree branch, which had pierced the chassis with ease and skewered his calf before it came to rest in a splintered explosion in the foot well. Blood and woodchips pooled there, and she knew getting him out herself wasn’t an option. She needed to get some help.

“Don’t try to move, I’m going to see if I can get back to the road. Just stay still.”

He looked vacantly at her, eyes glassy in the dusk. She wasn’t sure if he had heard or understood her but knew time was against her already. It was already cold. In a few hours, it would be freezing. Hands shaking, she unclasped her seatbelt, noticing that a fingernail had been torn off in the crash. She wondered why it didn’t hurt and suspected she might well be in shock. She tried the door handle, but the frame was bent and misshaped, the release mechanism damaged.

“Agnn. Fnmmmm. Gnhhhh” She looked at Andy as he moaned and drifted in and out of consciousness. She knew she had to act or he was going to die. It was already cold and he had lost a lot of blood.

Phone.

Phone for help.

She looked at the carnage and knew that finding her phone was likely impossible. It had been in her hand when the accident happened, and in all likelihood had been tossed out of the car as they had rolled down the hill. She looked at Andrew, wondering if she could get to his, but one look at the way the car was folded and crushed against his legs told her that even if he did have it in his pocket, she couldn’t get to it without potentially causing him more pain. She would have to lean over him and reach around the thick branch pinning him in place. She was scared to move it, knowing that it might make things worse.  Even if she could get to it, she didn’t know who to call, couldn’t tell anyone where they were. Their phones didn’t work internationally and neither of them had any contact numbers for the Canadian authorities. Her only option was to try and get out of the car and manually find assistance.

She grabbed the edge of the broken windshield frame, wincing as glass dug into her palms and opened up fresh wounds. Ignoring them, she pulled herself forward, half falling, half climbing out through the front window and landing unceremoniously in the dirt at the side of the car. She lay there, breath fogging, body in pain, but she was still alive and still mobile. Carefully she got up, assessing the damage. One thing was apparent as she looked at the remains of the car. It was a miracle either of them had survived. It was barely recognisable anymore. It was a mess. The car had come to rest well into the treeline, the way ahead a dark tangle of branches now that the sun had dipped below the horizon and heralded the arrival of night. Behind, she could see the hole the car had made in the trees and the litter of broken branches and metal, the hillside gouged and covered in a trail of debris. She knew nobody would be able to see the car from the road. They were too deep into the treeline and completely out of sight. She poked her head back into the car.

“Will you be alright? I’m going to try and get back to the road and get some help.”

“Gnff. Fgrrrrmph.” She wasn’t sure how to interpret his groans, or why she was so calm under the circumstances but decided it didn’t matter. All that mattered was getting help. Although it went against her every instinct to leave him, she walked away from the car and followed the debris trail back towards the hill, realising she was unable to put much pressure on her right foot. It felt like a bad sprain in her ankle, maybe even a break. Gingerly, she hobbled towards the hillside and the inviting pale light of the moon which was now visible in the ever darkening sky.

She knew at a glance it was impossible. Even with her foot in good order, there was no way she could climb it. The first part of it where she stood wasn’t too bad. It was rocky with clumps of yellow grass, the gradient around forty degrees. A third of the way up, a vertical wall of rock extended twenty feet or so, before the hillside resumed its upward climb toward the road. Even though it seemed impossible, she hobbled as far as she could up the hill, half walking, and half climbing as she breathed in ragged gasps. She realised as she climbed that it was impossible for anyone to see the car or her from the road. The jutting piece of rock, a natural formation, blocked any visibility from above. Even if she stood at the tree line and waved her arms, nobody could see. Even so, she made for the wall anyway; the smooth sandstone eroded into a grip less face. No handholds, no footholds. It followed the curve of the road then was swallowed by more trees. It was then, as the hopelessness of the situation dawned on her, that the tears came. She pounded her fist on the wall and screamed anyway, screamed until her throat hurt and she could taste blood. Exhausted, she slumped to a sitting position, leaning on the rock face that prevented her from getting help. They had both previously commented on how isolated it was out there. No help would come.

We’re going to die out here.

It was the first time she had let herself believe it could be possible, and now that it was in her head, it was all she could think about. She imagined their children having to be told the news, that their parents were dead. Worse, they would be reported as missing first, prolonging her family’s heartbreak until the wreckage of their car was found. She imagined how it would be, to die out here, either through their injuries, hypothermia or starvation. She picked up a loose handful of stones and tossed them down the hill in frustration, watching them roll and tumble into the dark. It was then that she saw the lights. From her vantage point up the hill, she could see over the treetops. Beyond the black tangle of trees which seemed to stretch forever, she could see lights. Probably a farmhouse. She imagined an old man and woman sitting in front of an open fire, the woman perhaps knitting as the man sat with his feet up after a hard day’s labour, maybe reading his paper or tucking into a bowl of hot stew. Clichéd as it was, that was how it came to her. She also saw warmth, safety and help. She saw an option where they didn’t have to die, and where their children didn’t have to be brought up as orphans. She had no option. To reach it, she would have to go through the forest. Worse, she would have to leave Andrew behind. Part of her didn’t think she could do it until she thought of the alternative. She looked again at the lights in the distance, trying to gauge how far away they were. Judging it was next to impossible, and the truth of the matter was she knew it didn’t matter. She had to get there. With renewed optimism, she scrambled back down the hill, wincing at the pain in her ankle and chest where the seatbelt had done its job and pinned her in place during the crash. She rushed back to the car, leaning in through the passenger side window. Andrew hadn’t moved and if not for his wet rasping breaths, the occasional bubble of blood forming on his lips and then popping, he could have passed for being dead. Seeing him in such a way pained her. She felt warmth on her cheeks, and absently wiped away the tears before they could settle.

BOOK: Fan Fears: A collection of fear based stories
6.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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