Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Roadside Horrors by Cora Buhlert


Release Date: October 31, 2022
Subgenre: Horror collection

About Roadside Horrors:


 Roads are interstitial spaces, their only purpose to take you from one place to another.

In most cases, roads only connect two places in the real world. But occasionally, a road crosses the borderline into the unknown. That’s when things can come through, terrible things that lurk by the side of the road for the unwary traveller.

A car full of drunk teenagers on their way home from a festival encounter something terrible in the woods of Northwest Germany…

Nina delivers newspapers in the wee hours of the night and pays no attention to the pets that go missing in the neighbourhood… or the strange sounds echoing from the sewer grilles…

On a lonely country road in northern Spain, a truck driver encounters the ghosts of a terrible past…

So buckle up and get ready to meet the horrors that lurk by the side of the road. But be careful, because every encounter with them might be your last…

This is a collection of three tales of roadside horror of 9500 words altogether by Hugo winner Cora Buhlert.




Eight hours into a twenty hour trip, hauling asparagus from Andalusia to Germany, things started to go wrong.

It began with an accident on the autopista AP-7. A fellow truck driver crashed his rig into the central guardrail just behind Vinarós. No big deal, except that it was a cement truck. The cement spilled all over the autopista, causing a huge mess and blocking the entire highway for hell knew how long.

I got lucky and barely managed to pull into the Benicarlo exit before I got caught up in the traffic jam. So I was driving my semi along the old N-340, a single lane road that wound its way through villages and small towns along the Mediterranean coast.

It was just past midnight and the road was quiet. Apparently, most of my colleagues had decided to try their luck on the autopista, hoping that the cement spill would be cleaned up soon. And at this time of night, few others were on the road.

I’d just passed through a typical Catalan fisher village, picturesque by day and dark and dead by night.

Though the village was nothing compared to the darkness that awaited me once I’d left the town limits behind. The village at least had a few wan streetlights, plus the occasional neon sign. Out here, it was completely dark. Not a single light relieved the gloom.

I could only see as far as my headlights, so I drove slowly. After all, the road was narrow and winding, closely hugging the coastline, and a forty-ton truck is not the most manoeuvrable of vehicles.

The beam of my headlights struck the burned out husk of a building by the roadside. A faded sign still clung to the façade. It flashed by too fast for me to read.

Up ahead, there was a sharp curve, so I braked. The road was flanked by a wall here, a pockmarked brick wall, blackened with age.

I rounded the curve, my truck going maybe thirty kilometres per hour. And then I saw her. A little girl, maybe five or six, with blonde pigtails standing by the side of the road. She was dressed in a blue bathing suit with bright red flowers, though it was only March and the nights were still cold. In her hand, she was carrying a toy bucket and a plastic shovel. She was staring at me with blank eyes, like the proverbial deer in the headlights.

I hit the brakes. I had no idea what this little girl was doing out here or where she’d come from, right in the middle of nowhere. All I knew was that she shouldn’t be out here, all alone at night in a bathing suit.

But before my truck could come to a halt, I saw that she wasn’t alone. Because next to the little girl, there was a woman. An attractive young woman, with luscious red hair that fell to her tanned shoulders. She was wearing sunglasses — in the middle of the night — and an orange bikini that revealed more than it hid.

Next to the woman, there was a man in swim trunks. His chest was hairy and he wore a pornstar moustache. Then another man, older and potbellied, in shorts and a half open shirt. A little boy on a tricycle. A teenaged girl in a yellow sundress, her face dusted with freckles. An old woman in a shapeless gown emblazoned with colourful flowers.

There was a whole procession of them. People of all ages, twenty or more, in bathing suits or summer clothes, standing by the side of the road in the middle of a cold night in March, staring at my truck. Those stares were the most unnerving thing about it all. Because their eyes were strangely vacant, almost as if they were all on drugs. And who knows, maybe they were?


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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey. Cora is the winner of the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer and the 2021 Space Cowboy Award.


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