I'm looking for a short story that terrified me as a child. It appeared in a YA horror collection about monsters. None of the other stories stuck with me, but the one about “Mr. Monstro” kept me awake many a night.

It's the story of a boy who's caught outside alone at night. A mysterious voice warns him to stay in the light, because there's a horror lurking in the darkness named Mr. Monstro, a skeletal and murderous man. The story frightens the boy, who can't easily continue without leaving the pool of light he's standing in, so the speaker tries to comfort the boy and offers to escort him through the darkness. The boy is about to accept when he spots the man's skeletal hand. Before the boy can even object, the man starts protesting too much, claiming that he's not Mr. Monstro, just the unfortunate victim of a fire. . . .

I read this story around the same time as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981), but I don't think it was published in that collection – I think the story was actually titled “Mr. Monstro.”

  • Strangely enough, someone seems to have lifted this idea for a blog post. scaryforkids.com/story-ideas – FuzzyBoots Jul 12 '15 at 15:14
  • This story sounds really familiar-- are you sure the monster is called Mr. Monstro? Was it illustrated and did the kid kind of look like someone from the 1800s? – Brittany Rode Dec 20 '17 at 15:15
  • @BrittanyRode Hm, that doesn’t ring any bells. I vaguely recall some images, but I’m not sure whether they are from illustrations or my imagination. I seem to recall the image of a pool of light under a street lamp, maybe a park bench? – Bradd Szonye Dec 20 '17 at 19:14

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