"He was a solitary little boy, morose and distrustful of others. He hadn’t always been that way. He felt his parents used to love him but then it all seemed to change as if they changed.
Sometimes he’d catch his mother looking at him, as if she was sorry he was there. Her eyes were full of hurt and some kind of pain or was it something else, something she didn’t wish to tell him?
Maybe it was a secret she shared with his father. He didn’t know. He hoped things would get better but they didn’t. They got worse when his mom’s tummy got big.
“You’re going to have a baby brother or sister won’t that be nice?”
He used to nod and say sure because he thought it would be but then he wasn’t too certain because he didn’t understand the questioning look in his mother’s eyes.
“I hope it’s an easier birth. Yours wasn’t.”
How flat and annoyed her voice sounded every time she said that and she said it a lot.
His father spoke to him once; only once not twice, he counted.
“You okay son, is everything alright?”
He opened his mouth to spill his guts and to at last unburden himself but his father looked worried. It was as if whatever was up with his mother had rubbed off on his dad.
“Well here you go.”
His father smiled and gave him an extra fifty cents to buy a comic book. That’s all he had really--his comic books and his bike.
They gave him the bike for Christmas and he loved it. He thought of it as a peace offering.
"Next year this time there will be a little stranger here, but not a stranger for long."
Eventually the stranger came with his mother. Actually he had liked her being away even if it was only for a few days. A neighbor stayed with him. She was all excited.
“Nothing like a new baby coming home!”
Yeah big deal. The first sight of it made him want to puke. It was wrinkled and ugly and it screamed and if that wasn’t bad enough his parents were always looking at it and talking to it.
He never saw his mother without that thing in her arms or on her lap. All around him were bottles and diapers, dirty stinking diapers and a big pail she threw them into.
He retreated; he backed away from the whole lousy thing, from the ugly screamer and his parents and he immersed himself in his hobby.
He liked to study things, learn about things; nature and animals. And it was good because he could be a doctor someday.
His parents would be proud of him and so would the kids at school and what about his teacher?
He wouldn’t let them know though; he wanted to surprise them all; to keep it a secret thereby making it more dramatic when the moment would come and all would be revealed.
Meanwhile he’d work in private in the shed out back.
His father didn’t use it anymore. Hell he hadn’t even been inside it for more than a year which kind of made it his shed.
He loved the way the door whined open and the dark mustiness hit him. It was great being in his own private place.
Last week in school the teacher announced a special Show and Tell. She wanted everyone to know about it.
“We all have secrets, secrets we don’t wish anyone to know and sometimes we have secret places where we keep something, something we want to keep private.
That was true. If the shed was accessible to anyone, his secret pursuits weren’t. He kept them under lock and key in an old suitcase under the floorboards.
What kid didn’t have a place to stash his prized possessions?
Only last week on TV he saw a show about a boy with a secret hiding place. The boy kept all of his comic books there so his brother wouldn’t tear them up or slobber over them because the brother was younger.
He’d probably have to face those sorts of things when his own brother got a little older. He was pleased about the suitcase because it was light enough to carry to school for Show and Tell.
He could just picture the moment when he opened it up: the gasps and cheers and applause.
It was going to be hard to get through the week and wait for Show and Tell.
He finally lived to see Tuesday, it wasn’t easy. But he had and he was in school ready to go.
Nearly everyone commented on his suitcase. Most of it nasty and spiteful.
He just smiled. “You’ll see!"
The teacher even looked impressed.
His turn came third. The teacher motioned him up to the front.
“For Show and Tell today I have brought my collection, it’s a hobby you see. My parents don’t know about it no one does.”
One of his worst tormentors shouted out. The teacher shushed him but he only sniggered.
At last it came time to open the case. So he did. He wasn’t prepared for the look of horror on everyone’s face; horror and retching.
And if that wasn’t bad enough the teacher was shaking. “Get that out of here. Take it out at once.”
What was wrong with her, this was a big deal; he had revealed his greatest secret..."
(end of excerpt)
In this horror collection you'll find stories of vampires, zombies, murderous midgets, demon clowns, evil dolls, haunted cemeteries, a real shop of horrors, taxidermy gone haywire, serial killers and more!
Your worst fears and nightmares dished up for you with extra helpings of blood-curdling terror!
"There is no doubt that she soars above the endless parade of independent horror authors to shine as a true star in the darkness. With the brilliant anthology House of Horrors she proves why she is a perennial favorite. To put it simply, this is a great assembly of tales anyone would be proud to have in their collection"