Growing Shadows in the Desert

The DuFresnes are gone.

The sheriff’s horse disappeared weeks ago.

Now the vampire that took them wants to chat…

If you’re looking for scares that unnerve instead of nauseate, look no further. Horror stories from Danielle Williams lean towards slow-burn scares and the unsettling. If you take your creeps with a PG-13 sensibility—think The Sixth Sense, The Outer Limits, or The Twilight Zone—this is a story for you.

A short story set in the Worlds of Hriana universe. Contains a preview chapter of The Horror of Hriana.


His spurs clinked as he drew over the dirt. His horse had been turned weeks ago.

—weeks! Going on a month. A month since the DuFresnes disappeared…and that savage family, too…

and the sheriff had been forced to go on foot ever since.

He was picking his way down off a hill, glancing up to take in the scrub brush and dirt that lay before him. Soon his shadow would grow long.

He stumbled, throwing up dust. Yes, he didn’t want to be late for that golden hour, when the wicked sun would be full at his back and the creature—fiend—whatever—would be trapped in its lair.

He paused, breathing. Sweat dampened his moustache. When he looked up again, he saw it.

The lean-to had been abandoned by its owner long before the fiend arrived, so that wasn’t what shocked him. It was the little square of neat-knit planting rows stitched into the earth beside the claim. It didn’t eat, so why was it planting?


And how many more homesteaders would it take?

The sheriff hurried to the valley floor. Someone had to stop it. The law was him, and more importantly, the homesteaders were his—no, in his watchcare. The Wilkersons were sickening, lying on their straw ticks exhausted even as he walked. He wouldn’t let another family be lost. So he would confront the fiend.

Even though it had been the fiend’s idea.