Haunted Coal Ridge
Set in a small, somewhat geographically secluded town in the Midwest, the blue collar people of Coal Ridge are friendly and laid back, enjoying block parties, gossip, and the simple joys that come with being a close knit community. Because everyone knows everyone else, secrets are hard to keep, but some are so well hidden that they've been forgotten. These are a series of short stories that explore a supernatural awakening that tests the bonds of family and community.
Story 1: "The Stadium"
Football Friday night in Coal Ridge is about more than a game, it's the community gathering to support the school, the kids, and one another. While Cynthia Ramsey and her husband Mike sit in the stands cheering on their son, a shadow of the town's past hovers nearby, waiting for the moment to strike. A typically pleasant October evening, was about to devolve into a waking nightmare, with their only way out hidden in a childhood event that even those who experienced deny.
Story 2: "Reflections"
Being forced to endure a part-time job in Wooddale Park for something that was barely her fault, Sandy is trapped between her mother's lectures and the responsibilities of watching over the kids on the playground. As her friends go on with their social lives, she leads a group of children to see the froggies at Miller's Pond and ends up in a horror filled, waking nightmare. Something in the pond hungers for the kids and it's up to the teenager to keep them safe.
Story 3: "They Must Play"
Some people are so strange. It isn't enough that her neighbor has a group of small decorative pig statues in her front yard, but putting up a playset and staging them around it is a little much.
With all she had going wrong in her life, it was easy for Julie to forget the old adage about judging others before walking in their shoes. She gets a painful reminder when she discovers that those pigs weren't just staged that way. They need to be kept busy or they'll make their own brand of bloody fun.
Story 4: "The Cage"
Something hunts the people of Coal Ridge. Hank has spent decades fighting it, but with his time running out, he needs to find a way to stop it.
Bruce was a lifelong screw-up until he met Hank, who knew that finding a purpose would make things worse.
Faced with an undefeatable evil, Hank and Bruce decide that the only way to protect their friends and neighbors is to trap it, but in doing so they will trap themselves. One in death and the other with a lifelong responsibility he doesn't want, because something that can be trapped can also be released.
Story 5: "Voices"
It was the perfect murder. The only two people aware of the crime are the killer and the victim, and the victim can't talk…or can she?
Mark planned it out meticulously and thought he got away with it, but he couldn't have been more wrong. Now his victim won't leave him alone. She taunts him constantly, but he won…didn't he?
She's stuck. She doesn't know where, but she knows how she got here. Smart, resourceful, angry, and definitely not alone, she will figure out a way to get home, but there's one thing she needs first. Revenge.
Story 6: "Treasure Mine"
Best friends. Lucky people have one. Joey, Mickey, and Chris each have two.
When one of them is being forced to move away, the other two decide that they're going to do whatever it takes to keep them together, even if it means ignoring the warning signs to delve into an abandoned coal mine. Unfortunately, the chest they find doesn't contain treasure.
Story 7: "Marjorie"
The summer of '63. As a park aid, Gracie's job was to watch the children and she loved it.
Among the throngs of them, one child looked out of place. She had no idea just how out of place the little girl in the white dress was until she was face-to-face with something that went beyond her worst nightmare. With hope fading, that little girl might be her only chance.
Story 8: "Under the Bed"
What do you do when the monster under your bed is real?
Like many kids her age, Meaghan has a vivid imagination, and after a scare at Miller's Pond, she's acquired an imaginary friend. When she gets scared that the monster under her bed is going to get her, it all seems pretty routine. The problem is that Meghan lives in Coal Ridge, where monsters are real, imaginary friends are more than they seem, and routine is terrifying.
Story 9: "The Investigator"
Private Investigator, Bill Jacobs, is in the business of cheating spouses and insurance fraud. His work might seem mundane, but it pays the bills and lets him be his own boss. Bill likes things to stay status quo, but after growing up in Coal Ridge, he should have known better.
Mila Franco's best friend has gone missing. The police have all but given up, but she knows that her friend is out there and needs her help.
Soon a reluctant PI and his unwanted side kick are on the case, but what started as a search for a missing teenager will bring them face to face with a dark secret that has been recently released from its cage, and its hungry.