Anyway, Shadows 2 is more, and even more so less, of the same: whisper-quiet short horror fiction of traditional chills and shivers, mostly filler and mostly too tame and polite to offer any real horror. The paucity of imagination is unsettling in itself: two stories feature the same style of twist ending; one features the hero dispatching a witch by dumping a bucket of water on her; while others simply disappear the moment you turn the page, wispy and insubstantial, either too obscure or too dull to elicit much reaction.
Intriguing and oddly affecting, "The Closing of Old Doors" by Peter D. Pautz has its protagonist rising from the grave--a story that idly imagines the unlikeliest of zombie apocalypses, long before that scenario became a cliche:
A multitude so great that, given the mere ability to move, to walk uninhibited, could stroll their way to power. With time at their leisure, and bodies stayed from decay by their need, their pent-up frustration, such an ungodly throng could rise to ascendancy by their presence alone, by sheer numbers. An election here, a lobby there. Referendum, plebiscite; even their own candidates. All secretly. No reason to invite physical resistance. Use democracy, the will of the people.
To start with, he wasn't called Mackintosh Willy. I never knew who gave him that name... One has to call one's fears something, if only to gain the illusion of control. Still, sometimes I wonder how much of his monstrousness we created. Wondering helps me not to ponder my responsibility for what happened at the end.
He had turned his radio louder; a misshapen Elvis Presley blundered out of the static, then sank back into incoherence as a neighboring wave band seeped into his voice... I could see only the dimming sky, trees on the far side of the lake diluted by haze, the gleam of bottle caps like eyes atop a floating mound of litter...
Dark Companions and Dark Gods respectively. I know Grant hated how the splatterpunks rose up a few years later, and that horror in general became more graphically violent, but that's simply how the genre evolved; it couldn't sustain itself on the mostly meek and mild stories herein. There is no use in trying to deny it: Shadows 2 is for horror fiction completists only; everyone else can step into the light.