They Move Below
Horror lives in the shadows.
It exists under the earth’s surface in ancient caves; below the vast sea’s undulating waves; under dense forest cover; within a storm’s thick, rolling clouds; and downstairs in our homes, when we hear the knife drawer rattle in the night. Even our minds and bodies harbour the alien under the skin, the childhood nightmares in our subconscious.
Darkness hides things, no matter how much we strain our eyes. And sometimes those things are looking back at us.
In this collection of fifteen scary stories to tell in the dark, Karl Drinkwater sews flesh onto the bones of our worst fears, full of creeping menace that seeps from urban legends and folk horror. Ideal for fans of Stephen King’s Night Shift and Skeleton Crew.
If you buy here then more money goes to the author. Yay! But if you prefer to buy from online stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook or Apple then that’s cool too: here are links to the book on those sites (including print versions where available).
"It's like a tasting menu of your favourite foods. As you begin each story you don't know what form the horror will take or what devious twist will appear. Suspense, creepiness, best read with the lights dim."
— Terry, Goodreads
"The short story Web is worth picking up the collection for on its own."
— Altered Instinct's top five reads for Halloween
"Darkness, intrigue and your worst nightmares await you in this brilliant collection. No two stories are the same yet all will leave you freaked out. Also the different style of writing each story was very appealing. The author has quite a way of drawing you in and painting very believable characters and plots in only a few pages that actually left me wanting more. Some had cliffhanger type endings and others simply leave you gasping. A great collection of stories that will play on your everyday fears, leave you with goosebumps, make you uncomfortable and possibly checking under the bed, behind the shower curtain and leaving the light on. A perfect introduction to anyone wanting to read horror."
— Cooking The Books
"Dark stories that grab you! Normally I would shy away from short stories because they never seem to have the "time" to pull me in and many leave me feeling like I missed something when they end. This is not the case with They Move Below! I couldn't wait to read the next one but didn't want the current one to end. So much variety but also so similar because of the dark theme of the collection, which is what grabbed me right away. I loved the different dialects in the stories. So much so that I felt like attempting to read them aloud. The stories are all so unique and I enjoyed the book thoroughly."
— Sherrsun, Amazon
"What a fantastic collection of horror stories! This is one of the rare cases where there isn’t a single dud in the bunch.
Another thing I appreciated with this collection is the range of the stories. You’ve got some creature horror, some cosmic horror, horror based in folklore and fairy tales, vampires, serial killers…really, there’s something for everyone here. There’s also an undercurrent to each story that makes the reader consider whether maybe, just maybe, humans are the worst big-baddie of all. It isn’t done in a way that’s on the nose or preachy, there’s just enough of a hint of it to each story that it made me stop and reconsider: is it really supernatural? And if it is, did the people in the story maybe deserve what they had coming? I like a horror story that can make me think while also scaring the everloving crap out of me, so this aspect of the collection really worked for me.
A few of the standouts in this collection for me were Just Telling Stories, Breaking the Ice and Second Transcript. Just Telling Stories pays homage to some classic horror novels and movies, while also adding its own folklore to the mix. Again, this could have come across as a cheap gimmick, but it works so well within the frame of the overall story that I found myself jumping at every little sound while I read. Breaking the Ice and Second Transcript are companion stories, documenting the same event from different characters’ perspectives. I LOVED both of these! Both stories are formatted as the transcript of a police interrogation, and the format lent itself beautifully to building up an intense suspense within the stories. The second part, Second Transcript, especially got under my skin. I couldn’t help but put the book down and get out of bed to check that my door was locked when I finished this story!
This is a really strong collection, where each story is different and unique but fits perfectly within the collection as a whole. The writing in each story is fantastic."
— Sci-fi & Scary
"So creepy and cool. As I laid alone in bed on one of the coldest nights of the year covered in multiple blankets in the dark listening the wind howl I couldn't have had a better book to read and freak me out. The writing of this collection of creepy and intense short stories were superb. They left just enough to imagination to make you add in your own frighten conclusions. I highly recommend this book if you love to be scared."
— Tricia Schiro, Amazon
"Short, scary, snacks...with bite. It's hard to account for how disturbing they are. They all left me with dreadful images that will be hard to forget. I loved it!"
— Catriona, Goodreads
"Horror, like most genres, possesses a plethora of tropes. Utilizing them again in the same old ways is never entertaining, but playing a new riff on old tropes is. Witness: Karl Drinkwater's THEY MOVE BELOW is a case in point. In fifteen tales, Mr. Drinkwater looks into the Shadows; and discovers the Shadows are looking back at us. Read in the daylight, or read with a friend; but don't read alone."
— The Haunted Reading Room
"These stories are short, but full of atmosphere, creep-factor, and inventive story-telling. Each section has something different to bring to the table, and as such, will keep you on your toes. These are great shorts that you can easily see being told around an eerie campfire. I appreciate the fact, too, that much of what happens in these stories is left up to your imagination. Not in an unfulfilling, anti-climactic way, but in a way that lets your imagination run a little wild with it. I definitely recommend this one to all you horror fans!"
— John-Michael Lelievre, Goodreads
"I am blown away by this collection. Every sentence is stunningly crafted in this literary masterpiece. For me the stand-out was the title story They Move Below, a lost-at-sea psychological eco-thriller using the vastness as the ocean to mirror the great unknowns of outer space. A lot of time and care was put into the order of these stories and the authenticity of the dialogue, so brimming with eloquence I consider it the most poignant of prose-poetry."
— Morgan Bell, Goodreads
"If you read this before bed, don't expect to sleep. An excellent collection of creepy tales that are guaranteed to keep you up at night!"
— emf, Amazon
"Scary and packed full of twists. A RED RIBBON WINNER and highly recommended."
— Wishing Shelf Awards
"Like all of Karl’s other work I’ve read, the writing is excellent. Each tale is unique, some horrific, and all leave the reader’s imagination run wild."
— Banshee Irish Horror Blog
"An excellent collection of creepy, scary, disturbing stories. If you're a lover of this genre, you won't go wrong with Drinkwater's works."
— E.M. McIntyre, Goodreads
"It's nice to see Drinkwater playing around with form here - with some stories framed around internet chat logs, others in the shape of police interviews. [...] For me, the best of the short story collection was an unexpected one - Web tells a tale of a Somali woman who has been subjected to genital mutilation, and the mental illness she appears to be suffering from. It's a tough tale emotionally to read, but brilliantly done. The harsh honesty of the tale almost feels out of place alongside the fantasy horrors of the other stories - but it's perhaps the most horrific of all for that. Other excellent tales in this set are the nightmarish cave journey of Claws Truth Forebear and How It Got There, which is a treat."
— Altered Instinct
"Wow, what an impressive, creative collection of dark tales. The thing I liked most, however, was how the author made an effort to mix up the presentation of the stories...some are straightforward narratives, a couple are interviews, another one uses social media and a couple other are "transmissions". This is something more writers should make an effort to do."
— James Marquis, Goodreads
"Being Halloween I wanted to read and review something a little (or a lot) creepy. I decided on They Move Below by Karl Drinkwater. They Move Below is a collection of 16 short stories and contains some of the creepiest tales I've read in a long time.
I've always thought that museums can be creepy places and I couldn't put into words how creepy they may be at night...Karl Drinkwater however has done just that in Creeping Jesus! As a parent this also terrified me as the thought of school trips gets closer as my Nerdling gets older.
"Holyyyyyy Crap" - these are the exact notes I write about Just Telling Stories. This story was absolutely terrifying and I think pretty much everyone's worst nightmare (or definitely mine at least). I struggled going to the bathroom in the night after reading this for a good while and probably will again now I've thought about it to review it! It really has stuck with me. There are also some really nice nods to Dean Koontz and other popular horror tales.
In Claws Truth Forebear the main character really learns a hard lesson about not taking things that aren't yours, I don't want to spoil what the feeling you get through this story is, but I will say that I felt it extremely intensely and it was a very difficult read to get through as I felt like I was suffering with the main character. A really excellently written story.
Web is another story along a similar vein as If That Looking Glass Gets Broken in that you aren't sure if what is happening is the result of hallucinations from too much Nutmeg or if it is the slow mental breakdown of a woman who has suffered so, so much. Either way a painful read and you really feel for the main character and just want it to be ok for her.
With the story, Scissor Man, Karl Drinkwater has created a classic urban legend that could easily rival the bogey man as the Scissor Man seems even more horrifying to me personally. It also leaves you questioning what really happens right at the end.
I absolutely loved Sinker! This story was so incredibly well thought out and I don't think I've ever read anything like this before. What happens comes so out of the blue and was nothing like what I was expecting with a hunter becoming the hunted story. Though only a short story, I could picture the village clearly as well as the main character and I felt like I was right there with him.
Overall an absolutely excellent collection and one I would definitely recommend to lovers of horror. There is also extra bits at the back where Karl Drinkwater talks about the inspiration behind each story and I thought that was incredibly interesting and actually answered some of my ponderings from while I was reading the stories.
I gave this book 5 stars."
— Life of a Nerdish Mum
"Sixteen creepy short stories that will have the hair on the back of your neck standing, holding your breath and listening out for things that go bump in the night. The majority of them left me creeped out and back to how I felt back in the days when I first read horror. I would be hard pushed to pick a favourite however of the lot, but I think "Just Telling Stories" two 'friends' in a hotel room freaking each other with scary tales which is something we used to do as kids. And "Claws Truth Forebear" a story that will have you feeling claustrophobic whilst the characters struggle through enclosed spaces and examining the consequences of one's actions. Drinkwater has the knack of creating a tense and terrifying atmosphere that draws in the readers and creeps them out almost from the get go."
— So Many Books, So Little Time
"This was a great book. Very dark at times and fast paced. You felt like you knew the characters intimately, and the plots and settings were vivid. My favorites were Creeping Jesus, and Just telling stories, which when he mentions Dean Koontz and the book Midnight, he had me hooked; Dean Koontz is one of my all time favorite authors and Midnight, one of my favorite books. These stories have a 10+ creep factor (that's good, by the way). I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves horror. You're not gonna find many books out there that does what They Move Below does--scare the hell out of you."
— William Todd, Amazon UK
"These stories were top of the line scares. Well written, vivid imagery, beautifully thought out plots, and authentic voice to his characters. I read all but the last four stories in one sitting. Couldn't put it down. You won't be disappointed."
— William Todd, Amazon
"This collection of mind-boggling scary stories is one to inspire. The collection is remarkably well written, with imagery that will chill you to your very bones. All of the stories contained well thought out plots and built tension gradually, drawing the reader into their dark world. Beautifully written."
— Daccari Buchelli, Amazon
"Do not read this at night in bed if you want to get to sleep. The stories in this range from head scratchers to scare the living s**t out of you. Great spooky read, so long as you leave the lights on! Well worth the price!"
— Jimrcottage, Amazon
"All these wonderful short stories, every one of them different. If you love a good horror story, grab it, it will get your skin crawling and tingling."
— debbie bridgford, Amazon
"There are things lurking in the most innocent of places that are just waiting to grab you as their prey. One of the things that affected me most was that I could not avert my eyes away as I easily do during a horror movie. This collection of stories is definitely recommended for those who love get their skins crawling and tingling."
— Ginny Clyde, Goodreads
"There are some seriously creepy stories. I love Stephen King's short stories and I loved these too so I hope that persuades you horror fans to try this one."
— Rhian, Goodreads
"All of the stories in this collection are a great length, normally taking somewhere between 15 minutes to 45 minutes to read from start to finish. I find great horror stories tend to sometimes be more about the things you don’t know than the things you do. Karl Drinkwater has expertly ended several of the stories with great handfuls of doubt, leaving you guessing and drawing your own conclusions. I thoroughly enjoyed this approach, especially as it makes you think and consider what you have just read before moving onto the next story. Would I recommend this book? I would, to both established fans of the genre and to first time horror readers too. Karl has created a collection of very readable stories which give a comprehensive view of the genre. Don’t miss out!"
"Well, could a horror collection get any more diverse? Not just in the content but in the presentation! A superb collection of chills, thrills, and mind-f*cks! There are plenty of great stories in this bunch, but my favourites are a story told through two separate police interviews, and the haunted museum. These two for me were incredible. I also adore Karl's writing, that seems to adapt to the needs and demands of the given story. A short story collection is often a hit or miss concept for many authors. Some writers just cannot grasp that a story, characters, and purpose have to be delivered in a matter of a few pages. Karl takes this challenge and proves he can master short stories with the best of them! I have read one novel from this author (which was spectacular) but these short stories show just how talented and versatile he is. And at a lengthy 398 pages, Karl has been rather generous. Normally authors will only invest so much of their time in short story collections. Page count usually ranges from as low as 50 pages to 100. So Karl is really spoiling us not only with the quantity but quality as well. Bounce from horror to horror, soak up multiple forms of evil, and have yourself a genuinely memorable reading experience!"
— Wesley Thomas, Goodreads
"They Move Below is a magnificent collection of stories. What impressed me so much about They Move Below, however, is the quality of Karl Drinkwater’s prose. He writes with considerable sophistication and an almost urbane style that is so pleasurable to read. I also enjoyed the variety of the stories, with the different voices and perspectives. There’s such a range of presentational devices that They Move Below has something for every reader, from the police interview format of Breaking the Ice to the almost sexual vampiric Bleeding Sunset, Dancing Snowflakes. The direct speech feels natural and well constructed, especially the dialect in Sinker and Karl Drinkwater has the ability to present scenes very visually to draw in the reader. They Move Below is a vibrant, interesting and (for me) frequently unsettling collection of stories that deserve considerable success."
— Linda's Book Bag
"Chills guaranteed. They Move Below is a great collection of dark tales. Nobody is guaranteed to come through a story unscathed, and there was enough variety in the scenarios that I was able to read through more than one story in a single sitting and still think each new tale felt fresh. Mr Drinkwater has a delightfully warped imagination. A couple of the twists and shocks were quite perturbing (in a good way). A collection I absolutely recommend to horror fans. Now if you will excuse me it is late and I need to go and turn on all the lights..."
— Grab This Book
"Karl Drinkwater scares me. And I mean that in the best way possible. I ended up re-reading a couple of the stories included in this compilation because they are just that well written. I found myself being creeped out the most by, ironically enough, 'Creeping Jesus'. In fact, I still find myself thinking about it almost a week after having read that particular short story. Only a few pages but, for me, it hit something in that un-evolved reptilian level of my brain and hit it hard. Some of the stories are gory while others are much more cerebral (or, reptilian in my case). Almost all deserve a 2nd reading because they're so nuanced that you miss out on certain points that are picked up on the repeat reading. Kudos to Karl! He has another winner in this title and no matter how times you read (or re-read!) this book, keep the lights on."
— Victoria, Goodreads
"Beautifully crafted, thoroughly enjoyable horror stories by a fine writer. I was reminded of Stephen King's horror short stories: there's a similar technique of creating immediately well-rounded characters and then doing unspeakable things to them. I was scared shitless and loved every minute."
— Julie Cohen, Goodreads
"Talk about shivers and skin crawls... I'm still recovering. All these wonderful short stories, every one of them different and only varying on the scales weighing 'creepies' by the emotion and the level of it. Good sized tales, very reminiscent of Stephen King early days and Skeleton Crew, (and we all know where 'Children of the Corn' went on to become). I especially didn't like the one where he was lodged in the dark crack underground, no... come to think on it... there was a few I especially didn't like. I'd recommend this Book to anyone who can sit alone reading comfortably with this genre. Can't fault the writing (you know how we do that even when we're not trying), it flows nicely, getting the message across with ease."
— D. O'Brien, Goodreads
"You are really good at building up a slow atmosphere of uncanny and suspense, and also in creating characters in oblique strokes so that the reader has to do some satisfying work. [...] This is so freaking scary. [...] Okay, so I am properly terrified at this point reading this story [...] This is so clever and awful. [...] The stories I’ve read remind me really strongly of Stephen King’s horror shorts (which I LOVE): they have the same feeling of creeping, growing menace, the same sort of foreshadowing and inevitability, and then a twist of gut-churning horror at the end. And they all explore, to some extent, the idea and tropes of good old-fashioned horror movies: the teen party, the boat in trouble, the monster in the deep, the horror stories that come true. To a lover of the genre, they are an enormous treat. [...] I absolutely LOVED reading these."
— Julie Cohen, author, by email