"The boundary line between instinct and reason is of a very shadowy nature"
-Edgar Allan Poe (1840)
With its twenty-one stories of serial killers and sociopaths, fixations and fetishes, breakdowns and bad decisions crafted by authors as diverse as their writing styles, Shadowy Natures leads fans of psychological horror down dark and treacherous roads to destinations they will be too unsettled to leave.
Under the tutelage of a charismatic caretaker, a young boy learns that the rules don’t apply to “exceptional” people; under the blinders of parental love, a parent considers the after-effects of his daughter’s criminal exoneration. One suburban dad finds himself inexplicably drawn to something he spies while walking the family pet, and another discovers buried compulsions awakened by his daughter’s dental deformity. Sorting through a deceased relative’s belongings, a family stumbles upon a horrific treasure, as a drifter with a dark secret wanders the Old West. While a military officer spends his days delivering despair, a procrastinator is consumed by guilt after making a deadly mistake, and a businessman stumbles upon a bizarre family photo gallery. Postpartum paranoia and isolation threaten one mother’s sanity until an outside threat pushes her over the edge while another mother picks at her son’s psychological scabs until he scrambles for release. Urban blight bears down on a convenience store owner; a middle-aged man takes a terminally ill acquaintance captive to avenge his lover’s death; a depressed suburban housewife makes a strange new friend, and a neglected teen finds solace and inspiration in a vicious classmate’s company. When her brother moves back into the family home, a woman becomes consumed by what he leaves behind; when a man disappears, his sister considers the warning signs he may have been leaving since childhood. One couple abandons urban life for the isolating wilderness while another plays a dangerous game, hoping to rekindle their relationship. While one son revisits the scene of his father’s horrific crime spree, another returns home to ponder his family’s well-hidden secret.
From unique twists on traditional terror tropes to fresh frights found in the most innocuous of places, these tales will surprise and unnerve even the most veteran horror fans. Featuring brand new fiction from Jeremy Billingsley, C.W. Blackwell, Barrie Darke, Matthew R. Davis, Christina Delia, KC Grifant, Liam Hogan, K.N. Johnson, Thomas Kearnes, Rudy Kremberg, Scotty Milder, Bryan Miller, Hollee Nelson, Elin Olausson, James Edward O’Brien, Andrew Punzo, Lee Rozelle, Joseph Rubas, Paul Stansfield, Louis Stephenson, and Thomas Vaughn.
from Dark Ink Books, the home of Kane Hodder's and Tom Savini's exclusive biographies
“Mandibular Fixation” by Lee Rozelle
A father intent on rising in status within his church fixates on his daughter's unusual dental abnormality
“Drifter” by C.W. Blackwell
A mysterious drifter headed west on the Oregon Trail searches for assistance in burying his deceased companion
“Taking Out the Garbage” by Thomas Vaughn
A convenience store owner in a high crime area finds one neighborhood resident particularly unsettling
“Seven Days of Dog Walking” by Scotty Milder
A man embroiled in a mid-life crisis becomes overly interested in a neighborhood teen's evening activities
“In Control” by Joseph Rubas
A man, bullied by his overbearing mother his whole life, snaps and enacts his revenge
“Maternal Bond” by KC Grifant
A new mother, exhausted from sleep deprivation, finds her California ranch home surrounded by hungry coyotes
“Ring Rock” by James Edward O’Brien
A couple abandons urban life for picturesque wilderness only to find the sinister danger hidden in isolation
“Uncle” by Elin Olausson
A young boy recalls growing up on the ground of his uncle's motel where residents mysteriously go missing
“In a Mother’s Eyes” by Andrew Punzo
A military officer who spends his days delivering despair stumbles upon a new degree of grief
“Accessory” by K.N. Johnson
A reclusive teenage girl is selected by a popular girl at school and soon becomes her assistant in a progressively growing crime spree
“The Wolf Gang” by Barrie Darke
A man stays over at the home of one of his work colleagues, where he learns that domestic bliss is never “picture perfect”
“His Death Brings No Respite” by Thomas Kearnes
A middle-aged widower takes his terminally ill romantic rival hostage in hopes of attaining a confession that may or may not be due him
“My Father’s Home” by Jeremy Billingsley
The son of a monster revisits the scene of his parent’s horrific crime spree in search of closure
“Itch” by Louis Stephenson
A sister obsesses over her brother's skin disorder until it consumes every aspect of her life
“Heart Skull Heart” by Bryan Miller
A father learns that his daughter's favorite pastime may be encouraging depressed classmates to commit suicide
“Cuckoo” by Liam Hogan
Half-remembered traumatic childhood memories and a sibling rivalry soon reveal a darker family truth
“Lemonade” by Paul Stansfield
While sorting through her dead grandfather's possessions, a woman finds a collection of "books of pain," classic novels bound not in hardcover but human skin
“Roger” by Hollee Nelson
A girl recalls the progression of her brother from obstinate child to serial killer on the run
“Walking on Knives” by Matthew R. Davis
A couple, wanting to spice up their intimacy, role play in a dangerous game that quickly spins out of their control
“Christmas Shopper” by Rudy Kremberg
A procrastinating holiday shopper accidentally runs over a stranger in a mall parking lot, then becomes consumed by the guilt
“Like Abigail Winchell” by Christina Delia
A depressed housewife, slowly eaten away by suburban ennui, makes a strange new friend
"These 21 dreadfully dark tales held me captive from first to last story...[they are] still embedded in my mind days after finishing"
“Dark prose and wildly unique stories...I suggest giving this book a looksie!”
"A terrific and terrifying selection of stories that will make you squirm in your seat and force you to get up to check the doors and windows before you go to sleep"
"The perfect anthology with 21 dark tales that will get in your head, squirming and pulsing until you have to look away..There is something in here for every fan of horror and/or dark fiction"
"Unnerving... I think horror fans would enjoy [Shadowy Natures]"