Check out what The Scary Reviews said about Monsters Exist!
Review copy provided by in exchange for an honest review
Growing up we have all heard stories or urban legends about monsters and creatures. We’ve seen footage or reports that feel sketchy at best. But we all want to believe them, and why not, it’s fun to think the impossible could be possible. Monsters Exist has 14 short stories covering a variety of monsters. I found a number of stories in this anthology really good. Many hit the spot fulfilling my horror expectations while many fell short and could use more polishing. I’ll cover a few that really hit the spot for this horror fan.
The first story Legend Tripperswas a solid tale, an urban legend, and very well told. I liked the characters and plot. I thought the ending gave it that little extra kick to seal the deal making it feel like a story I’ve heard as a kid. Never Sleep Again was a breath of fresh air. This was my kind of story with a beginning, middle and end. I was reminded this was one of my own fears as a child. It was a nice expansion and twist on the classical childhood fear of monsters under the bed. The Voice from the Bottom of the well was a slow mover but the twist at the end gave it a nice finish for me. The antagonist was strongly written to be hated, making the twist better. Eclipse at Wolfcreek was creepy as hell, and well-constructed. We get two monsters, one was the Mothman, the other an old lady. I’m not sure which one was more frightening but I enjoyed the scares equally. No. 7 had great pacing and tension. The monster was never explicitly revealed or described but it wasn’t necessary here. There was enough hints and clues for the reader to fill in the blanks. Criatura was a fast read and fun read with a good sense of humor about the monsters. It had plenty of the blood and guts variety horror but not over the top. I’m a horror fan through and through but I find spiders one of the nastiest creatures in existence. Bitten took that weakness and repulsion of those eight-legged monsters and made me cringe all the way to the end of the story. This was a perfect length for a short story. It had a solid plot, including an ending to raise the hairs on your arms. Well done sir, well done.
From the time we are young, we fear the monster under the bed or in the closet, making it impossible to sleep without a nightlight. Then, we hear stories of Bigfoot, and maybe even the Mothman around campfires. When we are adults, we wonder if there might actually be supernatural creatures lurking in the shadows. Are these tall tales and urban legends only metaphors for what horrific things humanity is capable of-or do monsters exist? Go to some terrifying places with this cast of authors. You will be dragged into mystifying realities where demonic fairies hide, where devil monkeys lure carnival-goers to their demise, where Goatmen seek to destroy their prey, and where the goddess of death puts out a hit on victims of her choice. These shocking tales will have you biting your nails and locating that childhood nightlight. Because, in the end, we all know monsters do exist.
This is such a great anthology about monsters of all shapes and sizes. This book holds monsters that we all have feared since our childhood. It is the things that go bump in the night. It is the stories we tell around campfires. They are the urban legends and the tall tales.
Let me be straight forward with you now. I have never read any of these authors before. Now that I have, I will definitely be reading their other work. Each author brought something to the table. I thought the editors did a great job of ordering the stories as well. There was not a bad story in this anthology! With that being said, let’s get to the stories.
The anthology gets off to a strong start with Master Vermin by Wallace Boothill. This story is about rats taking over Baltimore. Think the bubonic plague with a twist! It is a great story!
5/5 rabid vermin!
Legend Trippers by Theresa Braun is amazing! Ever wonder why there is never any proof of urban legends? Read this story and you will know why! The story is about a Goatman. Great story!
The Murder of Crows by S.J. Budd is crazy cool! A mysterious lady gets into a serial killers cab. He tries to kill her, but he can’t. Turns out he owes her a debt! I will never look at crows the same way again!
Wicked Congregation by Gary Buller is terrifying! This is about sacrifice and fairies. This story is told as a confession or a recounting of events. I have wanted to visit England for a while now, but I might hold off due to the fairies that reside there. Great story!
5/5 wicked fairies!
Playing Dead by S.E. Casey is amazing! Who doesn’t like a circus that pops up overnight in your town? I don’t know what it is about them, but you just have to check them out. Am I right? The story is set in New Hampshire at a circus. This story deals with loss, nightmares, and depression. Great story! Didn’t see that ending coming!
5/5 devil monkeys!
Lake Monster by Mr. Deadman is crazy! Two friends go on a fishing trip, but things go terribly wrong! Great story!
5/5 bloated carcasses!
Never Sleep Again by Calvin Demmer is creepy! There is a serial killer on the loose. The serial killer has killed 4 people. The only thing left behind is dirt under the victims’ beds. This story will make you want to leap from your bed. You never know what might be under your bed! Great story!
5/5 sleepless nights!
The Voice from the Bottom of the Well by Philip W. Kleaver is mind blowing! Johanna hears a voice at the bottom of an old well near her house in Massachusetts. The thing at the bottom of the well is hungry. Johanna must feed it, and boy did she! Awesome story!
5/5 creepy wells!
Eclipse of Wolfcreek by Sylvia Mann is eerie! I have heard of the Mothman, but this story takes the legend to the next level. Great story!
5/5 red eyes!
No. 7 by William Marchese is crazy! This story has zombies and soldiers. Great story!
Criatura by John Palisano is great! He breaks down in the desert. He runs into La Criatura, a desert creature with white fur. He finally makes it to his destination the next day, but he is different. He has transformed. Great story! I honestly have never heard of a Criatura until I read this story.
Bitten by Christopher Powers will make your skin crawl! Charles goes to the Congo Basin on a trip and gets far more than what he was looking for. He finds a new species of spider in the sausage tree. The spiders are great hunters. One spider has hunted Charles down. Great story!
Kelpies by Leo X. Robertson is wicked! This is the first time that I have ever heard the term Kelpie before. A Kelpie lures a man into the water. Turns out he can go home anytime he likes, but he doesn’t. Years later he meets his son. Crazy story!
5/5 wicked Kelpie!
Bloodstream Revolution by M.R. Tapir was a good read! This story is about Chupacabras during the Mexican Revolution. I enjoyed this story!
This is a great anthology that everyone should read! This book doesn’t have any low points because the stories are balanced out so well. I highly recommend this book to fans of horror, tall tales, and legends!
Just about every weekend I run a special or giveaway on select titles. I really don’t care about the money. I’m not in this business to make bank. What I want is to create a platform where authors can reach readers like you, and that means I’m willing to make some very persuasive offers from time to time. I present Name Your Price.
I have a small inventory of paperback for Book of Horrors I, Book of Horrors II, Monsters Exist, and The Ancient Ones. You name your price, anywhere from a dollar to a million dollars, and that’ll be the price for the selected book. You could technically ask for zero and get a free book + shipping ($3). It’s stupid simple. Use the form below to make a request.
Shipping: While I don’t care about the money, shipping gets expensive fast. Any offer of $5 or more gets FREE SHIPPING as long as US domestic. International shipping gets really expensive, especially to certain regions. I will offer free shipping to the UK for orders $10 or more.
Do I regret my actions? Of course—every waking moment the memories fester inside my mind, and at night let loose. Darkness is their natural habitat, so I suppose it makes sense. Yet, as I rock atop the sheets in solitary silence, I am confident I would not change a thing. My actions, no matter how obscene, were for the greater good, as you are about to discover.
You are all in grave danger.
Let me tell my story, and then you might understand where I am coming from.
Perhaps older than the English woodland engulfing it, the church was a small, black building that sagged under its own weight. The mossy grey tiles bowed under decades of leaf litter, and walls appeared to sink into the ground as if the surrounding graveyard wished to reclaim them. This ancient place was my destination, as I travelled with a great burden on my shoulders. A shining sun would have kissed lush grass, colonies of plump mushrooms and snowdrops, but my work required the cover of darkness.
Two earthy grooves, once carthorse tracks, were overgrown, and foliage brushed the underside of my car as I descended the valley. The deeper I travelled, the greater the sense of dread, and I was thankful for the occasional island of moonlight breaking through the canopy above. I navigated by memory while two bony nubs on my left hand, where my ring and pinkie finger had been, tingled. Skeletal branches thickened and encroached on my path, scraping windows, and almost entombing the car before the headlights found an opening and the walls of that cursed place.
Within a little clearing, I reluctantly killed the engine, and an eerie quiet descended, weighty and foreboding. Branches did not rustle, and animals did not call. My father was a ranger here and taught me how to identify all the different sounds. Had I heard anything—a hoot, or a fox cry—it would have brought at least a little comfort. Instead, I scratched the stump of my fingers in absolute silence.
It came from the trunk, and a breath froze in my lungs. In the rearview mirror, I saw lightly waving underbrush and one nervous eye. For the longest moment, I held still, ears straining until my chest burned. Satisfied that all was well, I exhaled a measured breath, and grabbing a flashlight from the passenger seat, exited the car.
The white beam of my flashlight sliced the cloying darkness, falling on the little wooden gate of the cemetery. Rusted horseshoes, thick with tufts of moss, hung from the waterlogged boards. Random nails and streaks of maroon suggested there were others at one time, but they were somehow displaced. On my last visit, as father had dragged me along painfully by my upper arm, I had seen and heard wind chimes in the trees, but these were likely buried under dead leaves, or tangled within the tall grass where they fell.
I angled the circular beam up a noticeboard beside the arched doorway. Once containing parish notices, it was now vacant, and more horseshoes hung, black with rust from the swollen frame. Further up, there was an overhanging roof with a diminutive bell tower overlooked the clearing.
A low moan escaped my lips.
Decayed and bloody, a carcass stretched across the opening where a long absent bell had once chimed. Pointed ribs were parted like the jaws of a carnivorous animal, and bloated sacks of rotted organs swayed in the breeze. Sausage strands of intestines spilt from its severed gut and snaked down the tiles.
“A sheep,” I whispered, not liking the tension in my voice. “It’s a bloody sheep.”
Broken yellow teeth grinned amongst matted curls of wool, and milky white eyes appeared to gaze into hell. I don’t know how long the fetid creature had been up there, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was some kind of warning. Someone wanted to keep people away from this place—and for a good reason.
A branch snapped.
I wheeled around.
The flashlight found vacant woodland, and overgrown bushes shrouded in shadow.
I reasoned that it might be a fox or badger, but the throbbing stumps of my left hand told me otherwise.
I was being watched.
Lifting the gate from a drift of soil, I pushed it open. A blistered nail snapped, and a horseshoe fell into the grass. Quietly, I made my way up the lichen-spotted flags to the porch, observing strange, white pebbles dotted in and around the headstones. On closer inspection, I saw animal skulls of varying shapes and sizes jutting from the grass, hollow eyes observing my progress. There was something blasphemous about their placement, something unclean and alien.
Like many others of its time, this rural church remained unlocked, and two iron rings served as handles. A strange symbol was crudely painted on the wood in something dark and viscous that smelled coppery and rotten like old blood. These were the same doors my parents had dragged me through when I was ten years old. Mum had been sobbing, and dad had been muttering distractedly under his breath. Neither of them would look me in the eye, or had answered my panicked questions. That was the last time I had ever seen her.
I pulled the doors, and they parted down the middle. The loud creak of rusty hinges made me wince. As if escaping the terrible space within, the odour of damp and decaying plant matter rushed past me. It was dim inside, but the roof at the front of the church had caved in, and moonlight cascaded onto a granite altar scattered with dead leaves. At either side of a narrow aisle, there were three short pews, which I guessed would have seated no more than twenty or thirty parishioners back in its day. One of the benches had collapsed into the rotten floor, creating a deep hole.
I moved gingerly towards the front, testing each spongy board with a toe before proceeding. The atmosphere was claustrophobic, and moonlight charged the air with unseen electricity. There was very little by way of religious paraphernalia. Animal skulls hung where crucifixes should have been, and half-moons of iron were fixed beneath broken and faded stained glass. The ancient creatures here preceded Christianity, and the locals tried more arcane methods to keep them at bay.
The church roof curved like the upturned bow of a ship, and within the jagged edges of broken tile, the moon was a silver penny against a sea of black. An ancient oak partially obscured my view, gnarled branches hanging over the rear of the structure as if to embrace it. Within the creaking boughs were sunken hollows, and inside movement.
My left hand prickled like it’d brushed against stinging nettles, and I retreated to collect my offering from the car. Moving abroad had crossed my mind many times, a means of escape from this nightmare—but dad’s words repeated in my skull.
“You have to sate their hunger, or they will infest. You’re the son of a High Peak Ranger, like my grandfather, and his grandfather before. If they don’t get what’s coming to them, they will destroy the High Peak and then come for you. Mark my words. Remember Ashopton?”
I prayed what I was doing would satisfy them for another twenty years, knowing what I would do after that since I didn’t want to visit this place again.
That is when I saw it, sitting at one of the pews.
I thought it might be a doll left behind by a long-dead parishioner—until its head tilted to one side. Pinprick eyes glowed a strange shade of blue within recessed sockets, following me as I moved against the altar. Its face was narrow and skeletal—as pale as porcelain. Papery wings, threaded with veins folded at its back. A serpentine tongue elongated between razor teeth and licked purple lips. My missing fingers throbbed. How I’d laughed when mum said, They’re real, son, but not like in the stories or picture books…
I wasn’t laughing now.
I’d screamed as they converged on mum. My dad had cried out, too, but more out of surprise than anything else. A ranger for over thirty years, he was an expert on these things but hadn’t been aware of their keen sense of smell. Neither of us had known that mum was with child until they finally bore through the white skin of her belly. She was the starter, and my unborn brother the main course. Blind panic mixed with guilty relief since I had been reprieved, for I was meant to be the sacrificial lamb. They coveted the young.
Dad had run. Isn’t that what he’d always done when confronted with a problem? Foolish and meek, I fought back, an act of futility that almost cost me my life. Instead, I paid with two fingers.
The doll in front of me now stood with the assistance of twiggy arms, a perfectly formed miniature person. Its clawed feet tapped against the wood as it shifted in anticipation. Hunching its shoulders, it threw an ugly face to the sky, shrieking like a bird of prey. A rustling, like autumn leaves, sounded from the holes in the towering oak, the darkness inside the warrens undulating and blinking with the movement of hundreds of tiny faces.
Springing on my heels, I headed toward the open doors. Bare boards wobbled and bent underfoot. Expanding, the creature’s wings were the size of dinner plates, mottled with greens and browns that shamed the stained glass. It emitted another cry as I rushed by.
Suddenly my front foot crashed through a section of rotten board, and into the mulchy ground beneath. I toppled forward, my ankle twisting painfully.
Scrambling to my feet, a fire erupted at my shoulder blade, and everything tinted a deep shade of red. Serrated teeth excavated deep into the flesh and blood blossomed, warm and wet, over my shirt. I reached a hand around, pulling the creature away. My skin stretched and tightened before it finally let loose, surprisingly light like a bundle of twigs. Everything flared white, my brain screaming in protest. I launched it back at the altar, where the others crawled and floated, infesting the church like cockroaches.
It hit one corner of the stone and fell from view. The others watched it descend and turned their glowing eyes on me. They were everywhere—climbing the walls, chattering as they navigated the seats of the front row, fluttering in and around the silver blades of moonlight. Timeless and unforgiving, they had resided in this woodland before the church was even conceived, and would still be here long after I died. I knew that I was running out of time.
Outside, a light breeze cooled the wound on my back. I pocketed the flashlight and moved to the rear of my car. Opening the trunk, I lifted her dead weight in both arms, a shoulder blade flaring in protest. She was drowsy, but fluttering eyelids told me that she was close to being awake. The last drink she consumed was orange juice laced with sleeping pills, a prescription of mine to help with depression. She didn’t partake in alcohol, but I certainly did—to gain courage.
“What are you doing…where are we?” she groggily asked as I limped back to the church. “William, answer me.” Her eyes widened, lingering on the shadows. Her body trembled.
We passed the gate into the graveyard.
“I’m so sorry, Susan, but it has to be this way.”
Glassy eyes widened, focusing. She bucked with her lower back, and I almost lost grip but managed to regain my composure. I had removed the belt from her jeans to tie her wrists. As the shadow of the church fell on us, Susan whimpered.
She must have heard them, too.
I’m not a monster, and, of course, I am sorry. I’d trawled through countless pathetic faces on dating websites before I found the ideal candidate. Initially, her doe-eyed stare and talk of romance bored me to tears; but somewhere along the line, it became a real thing. It was like repeating the word love somehow made it tangible. Entering the church with her in my arms like a newly wedded couple crossing the threshold, I honestly felt love for Susan.
The walls within crawled with grey creatures and their cold, pinprick glares. The fairy folk of the High Peak Countryside all gathered for their twenty-year congregation. I dared not allow my eyes to linger at any single point, lest it send me mad. These terrible residents were a million miles away from the famous Cottingley fairies photographed by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths back in 1917.
The newspapers reported how amazing it was when the young girls had captured beautiful winged cryptids on camera. They failed to mention the girls had vanished three days later, never returning from a picnic in the woods. Their parents, one of them a High Peak Ranger, hadn’t reported their disappearance. They had remembered how the remote village of Ashopton had succumbed after missing a sacrifice, and how they had to break the great dam to flood it.
Susan’s eyes widened as they sniffed the air and followed us with intent, their wings making a dry rustle. None of them attacked, but they chitter-chattered to one another in an urgent series of clicks and whistles. They knew what was coming.
“Please, William, don’t do this,” Susan whispered. “You don’t have to do this.”
I blocked out her pleas and gaped at the slab where countless children had lain before. I never forgave my dad for what had happened in 1977, but when I visited his death bed, he told me, “They like the young ones. It is in their nature. Every twenty years they take a little piece of our future so we may keep the rest.”
Avoiding the splintered hole I made, I laid Susan down on the slab, her bottom resting in the deep groove of the font. She sobbed, mascara running in black torrents down her freckled cheeks. One of the fairies flapped over to the pulpit and hung from the lectern like a hungry gargoyle.
“Please, William. I love you. I want to be with you forever. It doesn’t have to be this way…”
I closed my eyes, allowing my thoughts to drift away. Breathed in, breathed out—counted to ten. My stomach felt like it was swinging between my knees.
I reached forward, caressing the round bump of her stomach. It was like a watermelon, except something rippled beneath the surface of her taught skin, a foot or an elbow perhaps.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, turning away.
Shoulders shaking like a mourner at a funeral, I headed to the exit, my car waiting. They fell upon her in a leathery flap of wings. She screamed, but it eventually tapered away into a low, wet gargle.
I did not dare turn back.
The forensic people matched the tread marks to my car and deduced the identities of the bodies from Susan’s dental records. They found traces of blood engrained in the imperfect stone around the font, too. But did they think to search the hollows of that old oak? Did they not look in the nooks and crannies beneath the rotten pews? If they did, then they might have seen little eyes, like balls of blue fire.
I sometimes wonder how many of us there are out there in the big, wide world. Men and women perceived as murderers, when all they are guilty of is saving the world from creatures beyond comprehension. There are things out there in our woods and suburbs that hunt us while we sleep, and it is people like me keeping them from your door.
You don’t believe? Pah. I knew it would be useless. No one has listened for two decades, and the authorities repeatedly refuse my parole.
Well, it’s too late.
It has been twenty years to the day since I made my sacrifice, and I am the last of my kind. Heed my advice. Run. Get as far away from the Peak District as you can. A full moon is heavy in the sky, and the nubs on my left hand are itching like crazy.
About the author: Gary Buller is an author from Manchester England where he lives with his long suffering partner Lisa, daughter Holly, and dog Chico. He grew up in the Peak District where hauntingly beautiful landscapes inspired him to write. He is a huge fan of all things macabre and loves a tale with a twist. He is an associate member of the Horror Writers Association.
Leave a tip
Feel free to leave a tip. The donation would go towards the upkeep of the website.
With a healthy four out of five stars, Monsters Exist stands out as a bold and engaging title. Everyone with a Kindle knows that Amazon lets just about anything in, and because of that there is a lot of dumpster stories flooding the Kindle store. Well, Monsters Exist is far from that. But don’t take my word for it, check out this review.
What are we reading?: Deadman’s Tome, Monsters Exist, edited by Mr Deadman and Theresa Braun.
Give me the short version: No, really, it’s all in the title.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, online horror magazine Deadman’s Tome (founded 2008 as Demonic Tome) has been rapidly spreading its tentacles of outré horror. Monsters Exist is a wonderfully neat concept with wide appeal; short stories about monsters; and from a publisher known for edginess this collection is actually very accessible – you can read it over lunch without losing it.
People always want something different from stories and of course we all have our best and brightest cryptid. I’ve got a nose for what bends the brain so I’m calling out my favourites as:
• The traditional brutal simplicity of Christopher Powers’ Bitten.
• Some unexpected silver-tongued social critique in Leo X Robertson’s Kelpies.
• Mr Deadman himself’s Lake Monster, with its quick-step dialogue and the hilariously great characterisation.
• And my top highlight: to join SE Casey in a frictionless slide into the unnerving with Playing Dead is always a treat.
Something which I haven’t seen much of in other anthologies, Monsters Exist popped author bios at the end of each story. This was super convenient and I loved being able to look the author up (and buy more stories) while still in the moment.
My favourite bit: “The kissing tent’s side flaps were rolled up allowing a glimpse of Ms. Pinn, the retired town librarian, making out with a much younger man. Harry’s heart jumped at the sight of her grey hair that had been torn away from its bun, the feral kiss too deep and passionate to be appropriate in any context.” – Playing Dead, SE Casey.
From the time we are young, we fear the monster under the bed or in the closet, making it impossible to sleep without a nightlight. Then, we hear stories of Bigfoot, and maybe even the Mothman around campfires. When we are adults, we wonder if there might actually be supernatural creatures lurking in the shadows. Are these tall tales and urban legends only metaphors for what horrific things humanity is capable of—or do monsters exist?
Go to some terrifying places with this cast of authors. You will be dragged into mystifying realities where demonic fairies hide, where devil monkeys lure carnival-goers to their demise, where Goatmen seek to destroy their prey, and where the goddess of death puts out a hit on victims of her choice. These shocking tales will have you biting your nails and locating that childhood nightlight. Because, in the end, we all know monsters do exist.
Deadman’s Tome Monsters Exist features the following authors:
Philip W. Kleaver
Leo X. Robertson
Order the eBook version today to receive Monsters Exist on your Amazon Kindle or other Kindle App supported device
Get access to Monsters Exist and other issues for a dollar becoming a patron of Deadman’s Tome. Go to https://www.patreon.com/deadmanstome and pledge a dollar, and you’ll be able to listen to Monsters Exist readings, as well as readings from other issues.
This Friday at 10PM CST, Texas Cryptid Hunter meets with Mr. Deadman and the Dynamite Marchese to talk about creatures and animals that may or may not exists. That’s right, we’re going to go deep with a legit hunter and ask him about sasquatch, chupacabra, and other creatures that might exist in the wilderness.
Every Friday (sometimes Saturday) at 10PM (CST), Mr. Deadman and Marchese host a podcast that features interesting guests, exploration of the paranormal, discussion of conspiracy theories, and the occasional angry rant. Call in during the show using phone number: 2816172830
Tonight on the Deadman’s Tome podcast, Gerard Simonelli, Co-Founder of Seekers Club of the Paranormal, meets with Mr. Deadman and The Dynamite Marchese to talk about ghosts and the paranormal. Do ghosts exists? Is there not a chance, a slight chance that paranormal monsters could exist? Let’s find out together tonight at 10PM CST.
You can also find us in Real Vision Radio’s internet radio station!
Behind a veil of secrecy, lost in a barrage of fake news, and buried deep under layers of ignorance is a simple truth that only the truly skeptical understand: monsters exist.
Many refuse to accept this fact, but once woke, it is undeniable that creatures do indeed live amongst us. I could say that these cryptid creatures are kept from the populous by some globalist illuminati, but that’s a cop-out. The truth is, non-believers are either willfully ignorant or overly skeptical.
Those that are willfully ignorant would rather live their life distracted by Kim Kardashian’s ass, Dave Chappell, Beyonce, and beer without ever wanting to worry about the possibility of monsters. For them, I don’t hold any ill feelings. I understand the bliss of ignorance. If I could purge the red pill from my system, I would.
For those that are overly skeptical, I’m in possession of evidence that offer definitive proof as to the origin and activity of certain cryptid freaks such as Bigfoot, Lake Monster, Goat Man, and Chupacabra.
I am working diligently with a select team of trusted professionals and will produce the evidence. If all goes well, the personal accounts and evidence will be available in July 2017.
Follow #DTMonsters for updates.