British writer and editor Trevor Denyer is renown across the globe for his award-winning, long running magazine Midnight Street. He also previously edited and published the critically acclaimed magazines Roadworks and Legend.

He has been published in many iconic print and online magazines, including Scheherazade, Enigmatic Tales, Night Dreams, Nasty Piece of Work, and, of course, The Horror Zine,and in several anthologies, including After Death andHelp! Wanted – Tales of On-the-Job Terror.

Most recently, his poetry was included in BFS Horizons, published by The British Fantasy Society.

He is now the editor and publisher for Midnight Street Press, producing anthologies and collections, including, most recently, Strange Days, Railroad Tales and two volumes of Roads Less Travelled, featuring novellas, interviews and bibliographies by talented writers working outside of the mainstream.

He has published two short story and two poetry collections, and is in the process of collecting together all of his previously commercially published stories and poetry, to be released through  Midnight Street Press.


By Trevor Denyer

Barry was frightened.

When he had left, the storm was no more than dark clouds on the horizon.Now the full force of it was battering him. The wind tore at his thin clothing and rain lashed him unremittingly. His body was numb with cold and he feared that if he did not soon find shelter he would freeze to death in the howling bedlam of the night.

Darkness pressed upon him, hiding the elements; but then, when he least expected it; the impenetrable, inky blackness was split apart as lightning illuminated his surroundings for an instant. Then he could see everything, sharply defined in stabs of light, before the darkness crashed back. The impression remained, seared against his sight until his eyes readjusted to the gloom.

He had set out from the warmth and safety of his girlfriend, Andrea’s flat an hour before. Dusk was falling, with the chill of late September freshening the air.It had not lasted long. As he climbed the hill, leaving the town smouldering in the mists of the valley, he could see thunderheads building and rolling up the fading daylight.

Now he realized how foolish he had been in deciding to walk home rather than wait for the train. He had assured Andrea that he would be alright, despite the two hour walk that lay ahead of him.

He was frightened. He had never liked storms, always fearing that the savage forces of destruction violently released would find and destroy him.

Earlier he had searched desperately for his phone, repeatedly turning out pockets and digging into his rucksack. It wasn’t there, no matter how many times he searched. Eventually he recalled leaving it on Andrea’s bedside cabinet after they had finished making love. He cursed his forgetfulness.

He stood in despair.Lightning sizzled around him and thunder crashed above, as if Hell itself had risen up. He cowered beneath it, covering his ears in the vain hope that it would go away.

The next instant, vivid light revealed the cloaked figure. Barry froze, his breath catching in his throat. Blind darkness returned, and there was only the sound of wind and rain beating against him. Then the thunder crashed over him, rolling away from the hilltop. As the unruly echoes fled into the night, he thought he heard a dry, rasping voice speak his name.

It was incongruous in this wet and windy hell. It was a dusty, dead voice, dragged from catacombs where mummified corpses hang, screaming into eternity.

“Who’s there?” he whispered, more to himself; believing that his mind was playing tricks.

“I can offer you shelter from the storm.”

The figure felt so close that Barry could smell its breath. It was the sour-sweet smell of death. He reached forward, feeling the soaked sleeve of his coat tugging at his arm, but there was nobody.

Barry pulled back his arm and gasped. The shock of expectation was greater than that of discovery. He prepared to struggle fearfully on through the storm, hoping that someone might venture along this lonely road and offer him a lift.

His heart labored as if the air around him was being removed. The alien situation made him desperate for familiarity. He yearned to be home, or safe with Andrea. He wondered desperately whether she was worried about him. Surely she would arrange for someone to come looking.

But there was nobody around. The darkness howled at him and the rain soaked him. He ached for shelter.

Suddenly the world exploded in a violent conflagration of sizzling, white light. Barry turned in alarm and saw in the fading aftermath of the lightning strike, a part of the winter bare tree behind him splitting away from a fiery mid-point wound, and cascading down towards him.

He somehow found the energy to run. The crippled tree crashed to earth, its topmost branches skimming his coat, but finding no snag through which to tear at his back.

He turned and stared wide-eyed at the remnants of tree. The jagged point where the lightning had struck still burned hopelessly against the deluge.

There was a rustle behind him and Barry whirled around in alarm, expecting to see the hooded figure again. He gasped in surprise.

Rising above him was a three storey house, timber framed with white walls that appeared to glow like a beacon amongst the chaos of the storm. He could see it clearly, though there seemed to be no windows from this aspect. There was a large wooden door stained with something dark, like bad blood.

Barry ventured closer, his legs feeling suddenly weak as he felt an overwhelming sense of relief. As he approached, the door swung noiselessly open, revealing impenetrable darkness within, like the maw of some hideous animal.He hesitated for an instant, then wondered why. The closer he got, the more welcoming the house appeared.His fear was being coaxed to sleep, but he didn’t mind. Beyond the door lay shelter…

Shelter from the storm.

Inside, the house was dimly lit. A green glow bled subtly from everything. Barry found himself in a narrow entrance hall with stairs rising ahead of him and disappearing into the gloom. There was a thick layer of dust everywhere, rounding off edges like a corrupt snowfall. Outside, he could still hear the crashing of the storm, but the sound was muffled as if it had been gagged. An overwhelming sense of well-being filled him now that he had found shelter.

He moved cautiously forward, passing a closed door to his right that was almost hidden. He felt a shudder of unease as he passed, which interrupted the placebo of well-being for an instant, like an icy finger trailing down his spine.

The stairs beckoned and he began climbing. Dust wafted upwards, each mote seemingly suspended in the vague light. As he climbed, the light dimmed until, by the time he reached the top of the stairs he was unable to identify the shapes ahead of him, hunched in the shadows.

He crept gingerly forward, stretching his hand out in front of him.Unease was gradually replacing the calm he’d felt earlier as the landing grew darker.

There must be people here, he thought. They were probably asleep, though how anybody could sleep during such a storm, he did not know. He must find the bedroom doors soon, he reasoned. At least he was no longer getting wet, though his clothes clung to him like an extra skin.

Something moved ahead of him. It stirred in the shadows; a dark, dusty bulk that rose up, sighing as it did so.

“Who’s there?” he asked, his voice weak and wavering. The entity did not answer but began dragging itself forward. Barry was frozen to the spot, his fear a spike that impaled him to the floor. His mind was paralyzed and his vision had narrowed to a point where the only thing he saw was the gradually emerging features of the predator before him.

As it drew closer, the phantom grew less substantial until Barry could make out the vague lines of the landing through the shadowy, diminishing bulk of the specter.It was almost upon him, but had faded to virtually nothing and was no more solid than the veil of dust that hung on the fetid air. His mind grasped at what felt like a reasonable assumption that what it couldn’t comprehend was no more than illusion.

As his heartbeat began to slow he peered more closely at what had appeared so terrifying. It was then that the ghost drew suddenly together, pulling back the dissipating matter and sucking in air. Barry felt the force dragging him towards it. He fought desperately, gasping for air.

Then the full horror revealed itself.

The thing had retained the general shape of a man, though none of the facial details remained. The orifices of the face now served only to vomit forth a slithering, putrid army of maggots. The chest was bare and rippling. As Barry watchedin terrified fascination, the parched skin of the chest split from sternum to stomach and disgorged a writhing horde of black beetles, some as large as his hand. They fell to the floor and scuttled towards him, leaving behind an afterbirth of spiders that wriggled in a viscid fluid being expelled from the chest cavity.

Barry tried to turn away but something held his head in a vice-like grip. He could smell the dry, deathly breath of the hooded figure who had enticed him into the house. He felt icy, skeletal fingers holding his head rigid. As the first fat, black beetle reached him and began chewing at his shoe and then his foot, he screamed and screamed…

…and screamed himself awake.

He was sweating but shivering. His heart pounded, threatening to burst from his chest. He shuddered at the thought. Fighting desperately for breath, he managed to sit up in bed.  The screams had made his throat dry like taut wire. It was as if the breath he had taken to voice his terror had not been replaced. He fought the reluctant night air, dragging it into his lungs until his heart slowed and his breathing calmed.

There were hands upon him and a concerned face staring at him in alarm. Andrea was saying something with those full lips. Her blond hair hung untidily around her attractive face, appearing pale in the night light.

He did not answer because he could not hear. Instead, there was a roaring in his ears. She turned away and he felt panic rising again. Then the room was flooded with light and she was holding him close to her nakedness.

Her breasts pressed against him, the nipples hardening. He felt himself responding despite the terror of the dream. It had felt so real, yet despite this, it began to fade in his mind, consigned to nightmare.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“A nightmare…Sorry.” He felt his need, suddenly desperate.

“Are you okay? You screamed.”

“Yes. I know…”

She smiled, aware of his obvious need. “I want you.  Make love to me…”



Afterwards they lay together, cradled in each other’s arms. Andrea asked him what the nightmare had been about, but he had difficulty remembering now. He smiled at her, the hot smell of their lovemaking comforting them.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s over now.”
He drifted into an exhausted sleep and began to dream. He was floating in the air. The smell of rain was all about. He felt a vague unease at the thought of rain. He could not remember why. He began drifting downwards. Beneath him was a house, rising from the darkness like a devil from Hell. 

Suddenly the rain began and the storm crashed around him. He remembered the nightmare…

“Did you enjoy that?” the dry, deathly voice asked. Barry turned wildly but nobody was there. He stood in the green luminescent hallway. The main door was closed, shutting out the storm that raged beyond it.

He glanced towards the staircase in alarm, but there was no sign of the specter. In front of him was the recessed door he now remembered passing when he had first entered the house. His distraught mind told him that there was nowhere else to go. He pushed the door open. It swung silently inwards.

“Andrea was the dream,” the demented voice cackled. “This is reality.”

He peered into the darkness of the room. There were shapes moving. They dragged themselves towards him until he could see them in the green glow. They were people; some half-rotted, others with terrible wounds that had festered and were rimmed with mould and slime. Before him was a tableau of terror.

“Is the storm over yet?” one of them asked liquidly.“We seem to have been here so long… so long…”

“Enter,” said the dry voice of the Keeper. “You have nowhere else to go.You asked for shelter from the storm and that you will have, until Hell freezes over…”

The creature chuckled mischievously as the door closed behind Barry, plunging the room into darkness.