Thriller Horror

(Content Warning: Violence, Murder, Language, Crude Humor.)

Detective Jeff Star sat at his desk in the 31st precinct of Ruby City, staring at a new batch of grotesque pictures from the latest crime scene. A serial killer was on the hunt in his hometown, and he made a solemn vow to catch the scumbag. The latest victim, Alison, suffered from Agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder. A detailed report from her psychiatrist, Doctor Jeremiah Isaack, revealed a detailed look into Alison’s lifestyle.  

She lived alone in her home and never ventured outside for anything. Doctor Isaack stated in his report that he had to make special home visits to monitor her progress. Alison was thirty-four years old and worked from home as a computer programmer. If Alison needed anything, she would order it online to be hand-delivered to her house.

It was a surprise even to Doctor Isaack when Alison’s body was found outside tied to a tree. It was almost like she was forced to face her fears because the cause of death was cardiac arrest. Alison was so scared her heart basically exploded in her chest.

Jeff’s thoughts were suddenly interrupted when Detective Bob Eager slammed a book down on his desk.

“What the hell, Bob?” Jeff barked.

Bob gasped and said, “It’s here! I finally got it.” 

Jeff grabbed the book and read the title out loud. “Tales from Mr. Macabre by Daniel R. Hayes.”

“Yes,” Bob bragged. “Do you know how hard this book is to find? It’s sold out everywhere!”

“Well… I’m glad you finally got it,” Jeff grumbled. “Can’t you see I’m working here?”

Bob rolled his eyes and retorted, “What’s a matter with you, don’t like horror novels?”

Jeff bit his lower lip and fired, “My whole life is a horror story!”

“I-I’m sorry,” Bob stuttered. “I thought I would give you a good reading recommendation. You know… to help with your lonely nights.”

Jeff shrugged and took a deep breath. “Thanks, Bob. Maybe I’ll get around to it later if I have time. Right now, I have my work cut out for me.”

Bob nodded and sat down in the spare chair next to Jeff’s desk. “Well, my man, what do you have so far?”

“Take a look,” Jeff said, handing Bob the case file. “I got five victims deader than a limp dick on an old man hooked up to a Viagra drip!”

Bob laughed and looked through the vanilla folder with wide eyes and spoke aloud as he read, “Let’s see… We have a male victim beaten to death with a blunt weapon. A female stuffed with insects. Another male all busted up found in a trash bag, and another female who was drowned.”

“Yeah,” Jeff smirked, “and they were all found in the Ruby City Canal!” 

“Hmph!” Bob huffed. “Well, I don’t envy you on this one. Do you have any leads?”

Jeff scrunched his forehead and replied, “As a matter of fact, I do. Can you guess the one thing these victims have in common?”


“They all have the same psychiatrist, Doctor Jeremiah Isaack!” 

Bob laughed. “You think the doctor did it?”

Jeff slowly nodded his head. “I do. In some twisted way, I think this doctor knows more than what he’s saying.”

“Do you need backup?”

“Thanks, Bob, but no. This son-of-a-bitch is mine!” 

Bob lifted his cheeks to reveal a wry smile. “You know, I still remember that one case where those children were murdered. You insisted it was their mother, and no one believed you. Ha, you were right in the end, though, so who am I to doubt you now?” 

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bob. I’m off to pay the good doctor a visit!”

“Can’t you wait until morning? It’s awfully late!”

“Not a chance in hell,” Jeff yelled, grabbing his jacket. “Crime doesn’t care what time it is. The doctor has a lot to answer for!”   

Driving through Ruby City, the smell of pollution filled Jeff’s car, so he briskly rolled the window up. The only thing on his mind was solving the case. In his fifteen years as a detective, Jeff had secured a flawless one-hundred percent success rate in all cases. Failure was never an option, and he often worked days without sleep to see a case to its finality. Jeff’s obsession was legendary among his peers, and over the years, Jeff developed a unique nickname. Through jealousy or praise, he became known as The Star Detective.

Pulling into Doctor Isaack’s private parking lot, Jeff noticed that everyone else had already left for the night, yet one light remained in the good doctor’s office.

“Now,” Jeff said to himself, “why would the doctor still be here? The star detective is about to find out.” 

Jeff casually walked to the entrance and saw his reflection in the front doors. He paused to tuck his white dress shirt into his black pants and smoothed out the wrinkles in his brown trench coat. In the long hours of studying the case file, Jeff didn’t have time to change clothes to look fanciful, so his raunchy appearance would have to do. 

The entrance was unlocked, much to Jeff’s surprise, so he stepped in, keeping a watchful eye. The office was dimly lit, so Jeff followed the glowing lights down a narrow hallway to Doctor Isaack’s office.

Before entering, Jeff called out, “Doctor Isaack, this is detective Jeff Star. May I enter?”

A rustic voice called back, “Yes… please enter, detective Star. I’ve been expecting you!”

Jeff opened the door, puzzled by what the doctor said. “What do you mean you’ve been expecting me?”

“Never mind that,” Doctor Isaack babbled. “Please, please come in!”

The office was immaculate with decorative lamps, bookshelves lined with fancy novels, plush carpet, exquisite furniture, and a mind-blowing fish tank. The good doctor sat behind his desk with fingers intertwined.

“Nice office, doctor,” Jeff said with a dash of sarcasm.

“Thank you, detective. Please sit and let us converse.”

Jeff sat down in a green cushioned chair to face Isaack. “I know you’ve answered some questions before, but I had a few more I’d like to run by you.”

Isaack slowly tugged his lips into a devilish grin and replied, “Very well, detective, this is your time after all, so ask away!” 

“My time?” Jeff queried. “What do you mean, my time?”

“Awe, detective… don’t be so shy. This is your time to discuss anything you wish.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, doctor. You act as if I’m one of your patients.”

Doctor Isaack nodded in affirmation and jotted down a few notes. After a slight hum that would rock a hummingbird to sleep, he gently closed his book like it was hiding a delicate flower.

Jeff grimaced, rose from his seat, and snapped, “Are you taking notes on me!?”

“Do not be alarmed, detective. I’m just scribbling some doo-dads in my personal journal.”

“Give it to me,” Jeff ordered. “I want to take a look at it!”

Isaack rose from his chair and cradled the journal like a mother protecting her child. “I bet you would like to feast your eyes on my personal writings. What delicious secrets are stored within, hmm?”

Jeff narrowed his eyes and scowled. “Look at you dressed in your fancy attire, thinking you’re better than everyone else. I have you pegged as the killer, and I bet my career that the truth lies within that book!”

Laughter erupted from Doctor Isaack as the thrill of the moment exploded right before his steely eyes. “My, my, detective, so afraid to fail. Tell me… what was your relationship with your mother like?”

Rage boiled within Jeff like molten lava from a sleeping volcano suddenly waking to devour the world. He balled his fist swung across the desk, but the deadly punch missed its mark. Doctor Isaack telegraphed the maneuver with lightning-quick reflexes.

“You bastard!” Jeff snarled. “You’re under arrest for murder, but not before I get a few punches in!”

Once again, the good doctor cackled. “That’s it, detective! Face your fear so that I might help you!”

Isaack scurried away and took a stance behind his glowing fish tank. “You suffer from Atychiphobia – an extreme fear of failing. I suspect that you suffered some kind of failure in your childhood that sent you on this current path of righteousness!”

“You’re the one who’s crazy,” Jeff screamed from behind the aquarium, trying to grasp the doctor.

“Ha, ha, ho, hum!” Isaack giggled. “I’ve had my eye on you for a long time. The legendary star detective who solved every case he’s ever worked on. When I learned of your involvement in this case, I knew we would meet eventually.”

“Give it up, Isaack! I have a fresh can of whoop-ass for ya!”

“No!” bellowed Isaack. “I can not allow you to interrupt my good work! This city is counting on me to cleanse their sins and heal their wounds!” 

Jeff could no longer control himself. In his frustration, he shoved the fish tank over on Doctor Isaack. The aquarium shattered in a tsunami of broken glass, leaving the goldfish to flop around on the wet carpet.

“NO!!” Isaack shrieked. “My babies!”

The doctor frantically scrambled along the floor, picking up his slimy pets in a desperate attempt to save their lives. His feeble hopes were crushed as Jeff quickly pounced like a roaring lion. Punch after punch collided on the doctor’s face, and Jeff was sure he heard bones crunching.

“Admit it, you bastard! You killed those people in some sort of sick twisted game!”

“Yes!” admitted Isaack, shielding his face. “I did it all, and I’m proud of it!” 

The onslaught of punches came to a sudden stop. Doctor Isaack was like a wounded puppy whimpering for his mother. Jeff took a deep breath and reached for the handcuffs in his back pocket. He decided that enough was enough, and it was time to claim victory once more with another case solved.

Taking his eye off the prize for only half a second, a shard of glass slashed through Jeff’s throat, allowing a waterfall of blood to shower down on the good doctor. Isaack was not a whimpering puppy but a possum playing dead. His attack was vicious and primal.

Jeff fell to the floor, gasping for air. His vision was failing. Doctor Isaack picked up another piece of glass and stood over his newest victim. “You see, by failing, you have now faced your fears! How does it feel to be cured?”

No words came from Jeff, only gargling sounds of death.

“Now, I must tell you that killing you will bring me much joy. My babies are dead because of you!”

Isaack stabbed the glass into Jeff’s right eye and then stomped down, impaling his brain with a loud squishy sound. The light from Jeff’s soul faded to black like someone had turned off the television.

“Another miracle!” Isaack said to himself. “Where’s my journal? I need to record this event while it’s fresh.”

Over the next few hours, Doctor Isaack cleaned up the crime scene, locked the office, and carried Jeff’s corpse to his car. He opened the trunk and slammed Jeff’s body down. Closing the lid, Isaack declared, “Now it’s off to the canal to dispose of you like all the others!” 

Isaack turned to enter his vehicle, but a strange silhouette of a slender man stood in the darkness, watching.

A cold shiver raced down Isaack’s spine, “Who’s there?”

Stepping away from the darkness was a man wearing a black trench coat with a matching fedora hat. His eyes were glowing red, and a dark gloom hid his face. He spoke in a deep, haunting voice.

“I know what you did… BOY!!”

Doctor Isaack could hear his heart thumping in his chest. The exhilaration of his good work had disappeared. In its place was fear, sheer terror ravaging his soul.

“This is not what it looks like!” slurred Isaack. “Who are you?”

The weight of each footstep from the stranger was like a thousand lightning strikes as he approached. “I am but a Shadow from a world where festering sinners like you pay a great price.”

“I don’t understand. What are you talking about?”

“You owe a debt for your transgressions, and I am here to collect!” the Shadow growled.

“You’re crazy,” Isaack gulped. “Would you like to join one of my private sessions?”

The Shadow placed a finger to his smoky lips and warned, “Shhhh! I think you should meet my special friend, Hot Head.”

“Hot Head? Where is he? What does he want?”

A gust of wind blasted through the parking lot and rocked Doctor Isaack. The Shadow stood firm like an unmovable mountain, trench coat flapping. “I’m afraid he’s hungry. It’s been a while since our last appearance in Gemstone City!” 

Suddenly, an image of a devastating fireball burned through Isaack’s mind as he remembered that Gemstone City was destroyed decades ago. His neck hair stood erect as he heard a growling sound coming from behind.

Isaack turned and saw a mighty hellhound creature the size of a grizzly bear with mangy black fur and burning skin underneath lit on fire. Black wispy smoke wafted through the air burning Isaack’s nose. The sulfur smell was putrid, and the doctor could taste bile in his mouth. The beast’s eyes burned with vengeful flames, and its massive shark-like maw dripped with boiling saliva. 

“Oh, my God!”

Hot Head was primed, ready to pounce at his master’s command.

“Please, don’t hurt me!”

The mighty beast snarled and abruptly burped a fiery flame, which piqued Isaack’s interest. Studying the mind and body language was second nature to the doctor.

“Ah, you must be a pyromaniac!” Isaack exclaimed. “You love fire, huh, boy?”

Hot Head glanced at his master, who was watching ever so closely. The Shadow acknowledged his pet with a slight nod. Permission to do whatever he wanted.

Paw after massive paw inched closer to the trembling doctor.

“Listen,” Isaack ordered, patting the air for Hot Head to halt. “I can help you face your fears. I can make you better!”

The fiery hellhound did not cease and burped yet another flame that seemed to agitate him further. The beast howled underneath the glowing moonlight. Panic took over Isaack, who wanted to run away, but some unforeseen force held him in place. He was frozen in fear.

The Shadow crowed, “Now, now… I think it’s time you took your own medicine… BOY!”

“No, NO!” cried Isaack. “Good boy, that’s a good boy. Stay away from me!”

Doctor Isaack’s eyes were transfixed on Hot Head as the beast spewed forth a fiery inferno of flames straight from Hell. Isaack’s blood-curdling scream could be heard throughout Ruby City as he was roasted alive.

No longer able to stand, Isaack fell to the ground, and Hot Head pounced like a lion to a mouse and ate what was left of the doctor. Crunch after crunch filled the Shadow’s ears. A joyful symphony of dark justice paid in full.

The Shadow looked around the landscape of Ruby City and then at his faithful companion, who stood defiantly by his side. “Another city filled with sin. The debt here is enormous, my friend. I hope you’re still hungry!”

Hot Head’s lips quivered, salivating for the meals to come. The Shadow and the beast together again, a triumph of evil. The legendary duo marched towards Ruby City and faded away in the wind.

Their adventures were just beginning! 

Daniel R. Hayes 

April 19, 2022 19:51

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L.M. Lydon
15:50 Apr 22, 2022

I like the idea of the serial killer being the psychologist who literally used the victims' fears as the cause of death. Great concept! Enjoyed reading this story very much and I'm glad the doctor didn't "get away with it". But the poor fish...


Daniel R. Hayes
17:29 Apr 22, 2022

Thanks, I really appreciate those wonderful comments. I too, feel bad for the fish, but they were the causalities of evil...


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16:40 Apr 26, 2022

HOT HEAD YEAH BABY Always fun in the Daniel Hayes funhouse. I do like this Doctor Issack character. Great line here: “My, my, detective, so afraid to fail. Tell me… what was your relationship with your mother like?” GOT 'EM


Daniel R. Hayes
16:59 Apr 26, 2022

Thank you so much, Diedra!! This story was super fun to write, and is a follow-up to the first story "Star Crazed." I think the first story was an origin story for a new villain and with this one, I had to kill him. What better way than to bring back my legacy characters? Sort of a warm up for the next novel :) Thanks again!


17:33 Apr 26, 2022

It may be time to find a graphic artist for your serial :)


Daniel R. Hayes
19:07 Apr 26, 2022

I agree, I think that would be cool! :)


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Riel Rosehill
20:34 Apr 21, 2022

Hey Daniel, The story continues! This was fun - but the fish? How could you? I would've killed the man too if it was my aquarium. Those fish were innocent bystanders! Btw I loved the scene where the doc started making notes on the detective that was awesome. But then came this part: “Look at you dressed in your fancy attire, thinking you’re better than everyone else. I have you pegged as the killer" and I absolutely lost it because I just read “Look at you dressed in your fancy attire, thinking you’re better than everyone else. I have you...


Daniel R. Hayes
20:49 Apr 21, 2022

Hi Riel, I'm so glad you liked this one. Yeah, I thought it was funny too. I didn't catch that when I wrote it, but yeah, it's a neat way to look at it ;) The story was super fun to write, and after a little break, my mind feels fresh with new ideas and more fun things to create :) Thanks Again!


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❀Leo Fall❀
13:26 Apr 21, 2022

I found the comparisons one of the detectives made hilarious. The fact he called the fish his babies was, just- gold. The ending felt a little rushed, but that's simply because I wasn't expecting Shadow and Hot Head. I find those two interesting- I can't wait to see what else you come up with.


Daniel R. Hayes
19:41 Apr 21, 2022

I'm so glad you liked this one. With these word limits, I wanted the Shadow and Hot Head to make a cameo and kill the doctor. You can find the main Hot Head short stories along with the spin offs in my archives if you would like to read more about them or check out After Dark Fairy Talez, as those stories have been featured on that channel. The links can be found on my bio description. The Hot Head universe has become so large I realized that the short story format can no longer contain my imagination, so for my second novel, I hope to expan...


❀Leo Fall❀
19:53 Apr 21, 2022

After I read this I decided to check out your bio- I noticed that. When I have the time I'll for sure check those stories out!


Daniel R. Hayes
20:15 Apr 21, 2022

Thanks, that means a lot. No story I write is perfect, but as writers the struggle to become better goes on and on. I was amazed when I was asked if those stories could be on that channel, and of course, I said yes, and he did a great job with them! :)


❀Leo Fall❀
22:05 Apr 21, 2022

I definitely agree with that, everyone works to get better at their craft. I'll give 'em a read/listen : )


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Francis Daisy
11:39 Apr 20, 2022

Daniel, How fabulous that the book recommendation was your very own! And that it is a best seller! Yay! This is yet another story that had me hooked right from the start. Can't wait to read the next chapter!


Daniel R. Hayes
21:05 Apr 20, 2022

Thank you, Francis. I'm so glad you liked this one. This was a joy to write and even I couldn't stand the doctor, so he had to go :) I thought it was a bold move to put my own upcoming book in there, but then I thought... well, I've interjected myself into "Tales from Mr. Macabre," so it wasn't that much of a stretch :) Thanks again!!


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Keya Jadav
06:18 Apr 20, 2022

Amazing story once again, Daniel! Had me in the mist of curiosity the whole time and I couldn't stop reading. Perfect follow up, I'd say. But I am kind of happy the doctor took a sip of his own medicine. I'd love to hear more of the shadow and hot head. And all the best for your book!


Daniel R. Hayes
20:59 Apr 20, 2022

Thanks Keya! I'm so glad you liked this one. The doctor was so bad I wanted him to meet a grisly end... lol. Hot Head started out as a series of short stories I wrote a long time ago, here on Reedsy, and they got so popular I realized they couldn't exist in short story form. So, my next novel will be an all new complete story of them. I can't wait to get started on that project. :)


Keya Jadav
02:28 Apr 21, 2022

That's great! Keep me updated with your upcoming masterpiece :)


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Shea West
02:57 Apr 20, 2022

Daniel, I love seeing the continuation of your characters from stories past. And the fabulous name drop of your upcoming novel!!! Get that bad boy out into the wild. **One edit, you spelled the doctors name different in the very beginning.


Daniel R. Hayes
05:58 Apr 20, 2022

Hi Shea, thanks for those wonderful comments! I had so much fun writing this story. I saw the opportunity to bring back some classic characters and to be honest I couldn't resist. I wanted to kill the doctor and I thought it was a really cool way to do it :) Yeah, I thought the name drop of my book was a cool idea. Gotta be brave and face the world and I can't be shy about it. In the real world the book is almost done, I can't wait for people to see it!! Also, thanks for that typo catch, I thought I caught everything, but like I said, ...


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Daniel R. Hayes
20:01 Apr 19, 2022

Author's Note: Hello dear readers, I thought this story deserved an author's note to explain a few things. This is a follow up to my last story "Star Crazed." I highly recommend that you check that out. This story also brings back 2 legacy characters which is the sole focus of my second novel which I'm about to start writing. My first novel "Tales from Mr. Macabre" is on the second editing phase, and I hope to have that out soon! As I gear up for the next novel, I saw the perfect opportunity to bring these legacy characters back, and ...


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Jes Jess
08:45 Apr 26, 2022



Daniel R. Hayes
16:01 Apr 26, 2022



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