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 Mark's first time. He'd thought about it a lot and planned it out meticulously. He knew exactly how and where he would do it, but he didn't know who, until he saw her. It was the perfect murder. The only two people aware of the crime were the killer and the victim, and the victim can't talk...right?
Now her voice is in his head, taunting him. Mark fears that he may be losing his mind, but this feels like something more.
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.
Story 10: "Inside Voice"
Caleb's not so popular in the real world, but he loves his video games. For him, nothing quite matches the thrill of hunting enemies in complex battle maps, while chatting with his online friends.
Emily is trapped in a dark place and she's not alone. While looking for a way out, she hears Caleb, but she's not the only one that's found him.
Now Caleb and Emily are prey in a real-life hunt on the most terrifying level of all—Coal Ridge.
Story 11: "Elizabeth"
In December 1968 Shelley Elementary in Coal Ridge lost a teacher and gained a guardian angel.
A widowed school teacher, Elizabeth Felger led a simple life with good friends and year after year of students she adored. When she saw one of them in danger on her way home from a card game, Elizabeth rushed in without hesitation and came face to face with a secret that has been preying on the people of Coal Ridge.
They say that no good deed goes unpunished. She may have saved the boy, but Elizabeth didn't come away a survivor, she came away as something much more...bait.
Story 12: "The Curmudgeon"
Live alone, die alone, that's David's motto. All he wants is to be left alone, but something has other plans for him.
David is convinced that someone is messing with him, they're stealing lawn ornaments and putting them on his porch. Officer Greg Rogers just wants to get through his shift and get home to his wife and daughter, but whoever is messing with the most infamous curmudgeon in Coal Ridge is making his job more difficult.
These two will get more than they bargained for, because it's New Year's Eve in Coal Ridge and they must play...
Story 13: “Happy Wednesday”
Valentine’s Day is a festival of romantic love filled with gifts of cards, flowers, and presents. For most it is celebrated by romantic meals, chocolates, and red roses.
Melissa hates Valentine’s Day, but even though they had to trudge into work, Jason wants to show her how special it can be. The problem is, in Coal Ridge this Valentine’s Day comes with cold, snow, and soul devouring monsters.
Now Chief Carabelli has quite the situation on his hands. Something bad went down and he has questions, but the answers he’s getting just aren’t adding up.
Story 14: “Kick the Can”
Since the early 1960s Hank McDonald had been fighting against the mysterious disappearances and unexplained deaths that haunted Coal Ridge. When things got worse in the late seventies, he took on a protégé to help him deal with it. Together they’d been able to save a lot of people, but in the summer of 1981, when a group of teens disappeared, it turned into the world’s deadliest game of Kick the Can.
As in all games, you win some and you lose some.
Story 15: “Unforgivable”
We all mess up sometimes. For most of us it’s a mistake or bad decision that carries some degree of consequence. For Nick Densico, it was much, much worse.
After twenty-seven years, he’s returned to his hometown. Things have changed. Many of the places he used to know are gone. The town has moved on, but Nick is still trapped in his worst moment, unwilling to let go of the past. The problem is, in Coal Ridge when the past catches up with you it is unforgiving.
Story 16: “The Festival”
The Fourth of July Fireman’s Festival has food, rides, and games—there is something for everyone. It is the one event that brings out the residents of Coal Ridge and brings back those who have moved away, but when an uninvited guest shows up, the festivities turn deadly.
After a longtime firefighter finds himself trapped between worlds with a soul devouring monster, all his skills are put to the test. Will he be able to rescue them all, or will someone be left behind?