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Shivers VII

by Richard T Chizmar;

  Print book : Fiction

Selected story summaries   (2018-10-28)


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by billborre

"Red Rover, Red Rover" by Norman Partridge - Bill and Jason intend to camp out at the lake overnight because they've heard stories about the little girl who drowned there haunting it. Bill sees a man throw a sack containing a dog from the overpass into the lake and swims out to rescue it. Mr. Rose is the father of the little girl who drowned and he confronts the boys over the dog. He says he didn't believe the stories about his daughter at first but he's heard her calling for her pet and he wants to return Red Rover to her. The boys refuse taking him to be unhinged with grief and he pursues and attacks them. Mr. Rose holds Jason's under the water so Bill throws a stone into his forehead to loosen his grip. Jason has cut his foot on a beer bottle and can't run so they hide in a blackberry thicket. They hear Mr. Rose calling for the dog as he tries to seize them through the thicket. They make their way back down the deer path to the small beach while Mr. Rose is caught in the thicket. When Jason trips over something in the darkness they are shocked to discover that it is Mr. Rose's body who has died from the impact of Bill's stone. An eerie little girl's rises into a duet with her father's spirit as the dog trembles and Mr. Rose's ghost bears down upon them.

"Severance Package" by Bev Vincent - Jerry stabs Todd from work when he's told that he's going to receive a severance package. Jerry calls a stranger named Victor and sets up a gay sex encounter to frame him for Todd's murder. Jerry tells Victor to tie him to the bed and dominate him but when the police arrive he tells Victor they are part of the sex fantasy and to play along. The cop warns Victor to put the knife down twice and when he doesn't Victor is shot dead. The police buy Jerry's story and he takes Todd's old job at the company. One night in bed he is awoken by the sense of being bound just like the night of his frame job. Todd's ghost visits him and tells him the dead can only visit the living who are about to die. Todd tells Jerry that he can expect to pay for his evil in the afterlife. Todd leaves and Victor's ghost appears seeking revenge. Jerry dies from a heart attack after being raped by the ghost.

"As She Lay There Dying" by Brian James Freeman - After a runner's wife drops dead during her morning run he experiences a kind of runner's block which prevents him from getting on the road and doing what he enjoys. After having a nightmare where he sees his dead wife and a student who have crawled from their graves to enjoy a run he resolves to get over his mental affliction. He's enjoying his run until he nears the hill where his wife was buried and he hears no other sound than pounding footsteps gaining upon him. To frightened to look behind him he looks towards the hill where he sees a silhouette lift her arms towards him. He runs faster towards the hill and vows to embrace whatever he finds there waiting for him.

"Bone By Bone" by Scott Nicholson - Roger heads to a farmhouse where a murder occurred to write an article for a horror publication when a spooky deputy shows up at midnight. He asks Roger if he wants to see the well where the woman's body was found and leads him to it. When Roger looks into the well with his flashlight he sees the skeletons of two small children inside and they begin to climb the sides of the well. The terrified Roger asks the deputy if he can retrieve his laptop before he goes but the deputy tells him to get off the land and keep the secret.

"The Storybook Forest” by Norman Prentiss - Craig, Skates and Eddie enter an abandoned amusement park based on a storybook theme. The three of them get on a saucer cup ride and one of the heavy cups flips over and traps Eddie under it. Craig and Skates tell Eddie they're going to go look for something they can use as a pry bar. Craig and Skates locate a metal bar and make their way back to Eddie. On the way back Skates tells Craig spooky imaginative possible fates for Eddie while they were looking for something to free him with.

"That Long Black Train" by Travis Heermann - Sean and Phil board a cursed train in Vietnam that devours souls. After Phil is killed by a Frenchman's bodyguard Sean manages to kill both the Frenchman and his bodyguard. The train slows and releases the girls Sean had attempted to save in exchange for the sacrifice and Sean has sealed the bargain with the supernatural entity by agreeing to become the new "conductor".

"Echoes" by Don D'Ammassa - Vincent finds that his violent fantasies of revenge against those who've wronged him are coming true due to psychic clones of himself who carry out the dastardly deeds. When Vincent actually sees them disperse on his lawn heading off to their missions of violence he gets into his car and drives to a bar where he picks a fight so that he will have an alibi. 

"Plant Life" by Greg F. Gifune - A couple with a mystery in their garden breathe a sigh of relief when their video recorder reveals a blooming Datura plant along the fence and the wife disposes of it believing it to have produced hallucinations that plagued them. Unfortunately for them, the garden conceals something worse, ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers pods.

"Arbeit Macht Frei" by Del James - David regrets his decision to steal a small brick from the Auschwitz death camp when he and his parents return home. He is awakened during the night in his room by all the screams of the victims and takes the brick from his dresser. He slams it into his head over and over repeating "Work will set you free." 

"Zombie Dreams" by Tim Waggoner - The protagonist flees through the woods pursued by what appear to him to be three zombie hunters. The irony of the story's end reveals the protagonist is the zombie and his perception of his normality is a mere illusion moments before the human hunter puts a bullet through the creature's head.

"Bovine" by Joel Arnold - Herb the farmer thinks his wife Camille has died in the cow pen and the cows are protectively encircling her body but maybe his mind is going because the cows behave strangely and the narrator informs us Herb is coughing up undigested pieces of Camille's body.

"GPS" by Rick Hautala - A man who murders is ex-wife and son is tormented by his guilty conscience manifested in the GPS speaking in the dead woman's voice as he travels four days down the road from Maine to Florida with the body of his son in the trunk.

"I Am Become Poe" by Kevin Quigley - A deranged man roleplays as the protagonist of "The Black Cat", "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado", killing his wife with an ax and entombing his friend in the subbasement alive.

"Breakbone" by Bill Pronzini - Jack regrets his sympathy towards a large man that he treats to a meal and a ride after the man tells him his nickname is Breakbone and murders a hitchhiker that he forces Jack to pick up.

"Born Dead" by Lisa Tuttle - A woman's baby is born dead but continues to grow into a boy and then a man. She brings home an employee of her company to become his wife.












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