The Monster of Dread End is a horror comic about a city street where children start disappearing. Is it the work of a maniac or something much worse? It was written by John Stanley and appeared in Ghost Stories #1 (1968). This is considered the scariest horror comic of all time.
Dread End was a deserted and desolate street. The tenement buildings were silent and abandoned. Nobody lived there anymore. At the top of the street, there was a barricade, with a sign that read “KEEP OUT”.
There was a time when Dread End was a busy, noisy street that echoed with the sound of children’s laughter. Then, one morning, the first one was found.
Just before dawn, a milkman was doing his rounds when he stumbled across something lying in the middle of the street. It looked like a bundle of children’s clothing. When he opened it up, he found human bones and human hair inside.
In a nearby house, a young boy woke up found his little sister missing. She was the first victim of the mysterious horror that came at night.
The police went from door to door, asking questions, but no one had seen or heard anything.
A few weeks passed and then, early one morning, a mother went upstairs to wake her son for school. When she opened the door to his bedroom, she found his bed empty and the window standing open.
Outside on the street, another balled up bundled up thing was found.
The police were baffled. They combed the area, but they couldn’t figure out what had happened to the children. Many people believed there was a maniac on the loose, preying on little boys and girls and no child was safe.
A week later, another child went missing. The panic-stricken inhabitants of Dread End began to flee, packing up their belongings and moving out one by one. Some of them were in such a hurry to get away from there that they left all their furniture behind.
The few who remained boarded up their windows and double-locked their doors. They were living in fear.
But again, the terror struck. One morning, a horrified mother found the boards on her window had been smashed and her twin daughters were gone.
All the police could do was evacuate the remaining residents and declare the street off limits to all.
As the years went by, the neighborhood became a deserted slum as the fearful residents of nearby streets moved out as well. Finally, Dread End was surrounded on all sides by silent, empty streets. After dark, no one dared to enter the no man’s land.
Jimmy White had only been 7 years old when his little sister became the first victim, he resolved that if the police didn’t find out what happened to her some day, he would.
As Jimmy grew older, he became more and more obsessed with the idea that the killer still lurked somewhere on that sinister block. When he turned 15, Jimmy felt he was old enough to solve the mystery himself.
One night, the teenager returned to Dread End. He made his way to the alley next to the house where he had once lived.
Crouched in the shadows and waited. lonely vigil.
The hours dragged by as he kept his lonely vigil, but the street was quiet. Nothing disturbed the unearthly silence. When a distant church bell struck five, Jimmy gave up and was about to leave when he noticed something. In the middle of the street, a manhole cover was being pushed aside. He quickly stepped back into the shadows and watched.
Something emerged from the manhole and Jimmy stared in horror, unable to believe his eyes.
Slowly, a giant claw-like hand, followed by a thick sinuous lizard-like arm, slithered out of the manhole…
Slowly, like a blind snake searching for something, the hand groped its way across the street and up the side of a wall… groping… groping… searching… searching…
Jimmy couldn’t take his eyes off it. All of a sudden, he tripped over a garbage can and it landed with a crash. As quick as a flash, the snake-like arm snapped back into the manhole and disappeared.
Jimmy waited in the shadows, barely daring to breathe. After a while, the monstrous hand came out of its hiding place and slowly crawled across the street.
Slowly, the hand groped towards the petrified boy. It stopped to explore a metal garbage can and, finding nothing, it picked it up and crushed it as if it was tissue paper. Then, to Jimmy’s relief, it turned and crawled out of sight.
Jimmy watched the repulsive arm as it continued to flow out of the manhole. It seemed endless. It seemed that the more of it that came out, the farther away the hand was getting. Then, he heard a noise above him and looked up.
It was too late. The monster had found him.
As fast as a rattle snake, the claw struck, but at the last moment Jimmy managed to Jimmy out of the way and the hand just grabbed thin air. The boy somehow managed to dodge the terrible claw again and again, but then it cornered him in the alley and he knew his luck had run out. He closed his eyes and waited for death.
Just as the claw was about to close around its prey and crush the life out of him, Jimmy heard a series of loud explosions that shattered the silence of the night.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Then, there was an uneasy silence. Jimmy opened his eyes. The claw lay motionless on the ground.
A policeman stepped into the alley. “Are you all right?” he asked. “Sorry we had to let it go so far, but we wanted to get as much of it out in the open as possible. We needed to make sure the explosions would kill it.”
“You were watching all the time?” Jimmy gasped.
“We’ve been keeping watch for years,” the policeman said. “It might have taken much longer if you hadn’t shown up.”
“So you knew it was there?” asked Jimmy.
“Yes, we caught a few fleeting glimpses of it,” the policeman explained. “But it never came out far enough for us to get it.”