Short Stories

Crystal Lake

The Dullahan’s Reckoning

Shallow Waters, Volume 9
Crystal Lake Publishing 08/17/2023

Take a Deep Breath and Dive Beneath the Surface of Shallow Waters—Where Nothing Stays Buried!

With 19 Dark Fiction & Horror tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the mystery that lies beneath.

Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction contest hosted by the multiple award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing (including the HWA’s Specialty Press Award). Every month a new contest/theme is issued online and via our newsletter. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page (an exclusive behind the scenes community of readers and authors), where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner every month.

What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the winners as well as the most popular of our finalists. This is the final volume in the series.

Volume 9 includes:

Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“In My Mind, the Deep Calls” by Maxwell Marais
“Motel 8” by Francesca Maria
“Read Me If You Forget” by Gregg Stewart
“No. It Doesn’t” by Jay Bechtol
“One Wrong Number” by Andrew Martin Robinson
“Salt” by Tom Deady
“Welcome to the Race” by K. J. Shepherd
“Senseless Act of Violence” by Evan Bond
“The Dullahan’s Reckoning” by Claire Davon
“The Manual” by Jay Bechtol
“Pagliacci’s Ghost” by Naching T. Kassa
“Rain” by Jim Horlock
“Corporate Types” by Derek Clendening
“A High Degree of Difficulty” by Tom Deady
“Shadow Dust” by Diana Olney
“S/MART” by Jonah Buck
“Unholy Night” by Francesca Maria
“The Cut” by Amanda M. Blake
“Fifteen Years” by Jay Bechtol

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.


Humphrey cursed when his driver stopped. He could think of no reason to halt in the night. Fear sweat dotted his forehead, his bad heart beating an irregular rhythm in his chest.

He banged on the window.

“Why are we halting? This hour is not safe.” His voice quavered despite his efforts. Once it commanded the attention of men. Now it sounded as weak as the old man he had become.

The horses let out frightened whinnies. Humphrey clutched the pistol he held in his lap. The driver had a similar gun at his hip. Highwaymen roamed these lanes, prepared to rob the unwary, but Humphrey feared it was no bandit they faced.

He’d been warned this might happen. Still, he’d had no choice but to ride. If he did not, he might be dead by morning. Only his physician could help him.

“My lord, I had to stop. The road is blocked. It is…not human.”

He had prepared for this. Humphrey Randolph could not be felled by ordinary means—or supernatural ones.

He jerked on the curtains and reeled back. No man could ever be prepared for the Dullahan.