Flash Fiction Challenge: Scary Story In Three Sentences


Last week’s challenge — “Five Titles Make A Challenge” — exists for your perusal. Oh, and a quick housekeeping note: still reading through the last Epic Game of Aspects stories to determine my favorite! Gimme time. You guys did some awesome stuff and there’s a good amount to go through. Soon!

Today is easy.

Er, easy to describe, difficult to do.

This is another “write a story in three sentences” challenge except —

Drum roll please, make it scary. (Meaning: horror.)

And please, under 100 words.

This one’s a little different from all the others in that, I don’t want you to post at your respective online spaces. I want you to post here, in the comments. I’ll pick a favorite of the stories and send that person something scary. Er, “scary,” maybe, I dunno.

Remember: a story is not a vignette.

It has a beginning, middle and an end. It is not merely a snapshot in time.

You have, as usual, one week. Due by October 19th, noon EST. Though, note — I’ll be in Los Angeles that day at Storyworld and the Writer’s Digest West conference giving a talk and doing some panels (so if you’re out that way, do come say “hi”). So I’ll get to the stories after the weekend is over and I’ve flown home, drunk and filled with the glittery dream poison that is Los Angeles.


165 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Scary Story In Three Sentences”

  1. How about:

    Mary sat at the kitchen table, face-down on the wooden surface with blood gushing from her wrists.

    Jon stood in the doorway; a bag at his feet and a look of terror in his eyes.

    He tiptoed between the vermilion pools, retrieved his fallen lighter from her hand and left, licking his fingers as he went.

  2. “The Soup Eaters”

    A man and woman sit at their table eating soup.

    “Give me more meat,” says the woman.

    “That’s all there is,” replies the man. “There is no more.”

    At that moment the woman ceases to love the man. She feels no remorse later when she boils him in a pot to make a more substantial soup.

    But it wasn’t him she boiled. She is surprised by how thrilled she feels when he joins her at the dinner table. There is more than enough for two now.

    Together they eat and wonder whom she might have boiled.

  3. Dagmar felt the Gs kick in as he brought his ship around, the skin on his face tingled, his eyes watered.

    The Belandian was wrong footed, that is it would have been if it had any feet, and overshot, passing underneath as Dagmar brought his ship about.

    Lining his nose up with the Belandian’s midsection he targeted manually and let rip with his disruptors

  4. After ten minutes of digging in the refrigerator, Dave pulled out what he hoped was a newer candy bar from the back when he heard the unmistakeable sound of electronics popping and sizzling.

    “Fuck,” he said under his breath as he slammed the door shut and ran to his office.

    To his horror, he found little Delilah play-typing with her upside down bottle on his laptop as wisps of smoke and the smell of ozone filled the air.

  5. Blood and other fluids stained the straw, but a night that should have ended in joy had turned into the stuff of nightmares. It sat there inside the mangled corpse, huge black eyes glistening and newborn face twisted with dark desires that should have been impossible… and the midwife knew it was too late to run. So this is how it ends, she thought.

  6. The child always kept both his hands under the pillow, both his feet as far as he could from the sides of the bed, and he tried very hard not to move. He told himself many, many times he had to keep awake in the dark and not to move.

    But he fell asleep, always, and one feet would peek out of the blanket, one hand would slip out, hanging past the edge of the mattress, and he would wake up to ice cold fingers touching his skin.

  7. Stephen stood in the hallway as the lights flickered like fireflies and that old familiar metallic smell filled the air. He stared at the lifeless bodies that littered the tile floor, the knife still in his left hand. The door swung behind him and he smirked, staring at the rising sun as the light hit the sign: Bricklesburg Psychiatric Hospital.

  8. “Grin”

    That maniacal smile was off-center, like it had been stuck to her face by something that didn’t understand human anatomy. She said “Hello” to me six times before we reached the first stop, each time cocking her head slightly upwards and to the left.

    She never blinked.

    The train bounced onward and my knuckles turned white.

    Her smile rose.

    The sun set.

    I closed my eyes.

    I exhaled as I opened them again. Her mouth had moved to the top of her head and was opening slowly, exposing a hedge-maze of thorn-like teeth.

    I was going to be late.

  9. They watched for days as this blackness was regurgitated from the ocean slithering its way up from the depths.

    Now some ancient voice spoke through the thunder and with stupor and obedience they lined the beach and listened.

    I use the last of my strength and my broken, bleeding, fingernails; I claw the word “Croatoan” into the tree.

  10. “This too shall pass.” repeated Sarah, hands and feet bound to the darkness of the basement.

    “True, but not quickly.” Said the voice behind her.

    The voice was right.

  11. The Virtuous Man

    Ezra inherited the old farmhouse from Uncle Isaac; his parents abandoned him here every summer; as he entered the old place, he recalled Isaac explaining “how frivolous folk full of sin surrendered to iniquities”. When Ezra turned eighteen, he never saw Isaac again, but those old feelings rushed over him as he grabbed his chainsaw off its hook in the basement, and went to the “waiting ditch”, hoping a car would come by soon; it was a hot Texas night, and the words of his uncle echoed in his ears…”Patience, boy, patience. They’ll be along. God rewards the virtuous man.”

  12. Really, it was just a few growth hormones, something to help booster the bees’ immune systems.

    Fleeing through the house, their buzzing made the very air hum with nauseating sub-sonic vibration.

    When he awoke, the amber light of his geometrically perfect cell illuminated only the wiggling pupae in front of him – and it was hatching.

  13. Jack awoke to terrible, mind-numbing pain, every bone in his body shattered, trapped in a chasm of the earth and surrounded in darkness so pure that his mind could not hope to describe it.

    Quickly, though, the pain gave way to horror as he realized that he was not alone here in this dark expanse, for his skin tickled with the dance of a million tiny creatures, all curious to explore this thing that had fallen into their world.

    As consciousness again slipped away, he realized one last, terrible thing: they were already starting to eat him.

  14. I don’t want to be eaten by ghosts, so here goes:

    “It’s amazing how real they are,” Alice thought, admiring the portraits hanging in La Vie Capturé, the traveling art show of the most captivating portraits in Europe. When she saw the door to his studio cracked open, the unexpected glimmer of light from within catching her eye, she crept inside to see the master at work, learning a secret she should never have known.

    She was soon paralyzed by the drugs, lying motionless as the artist painted the final strokes and laid the glass on her face, just before hanging his newest addition to the walls of La Vie Capturé.

  15. I lay in complete darkness and hear the muffled voices of my friends and family as if from an eternity away.

    I wish now I had requested the glass coffin, but I didn’t and regret won’t change what is to come.

    As the voices fade, I shed some tears before I too fade away myself.

  16. The last crack of thunder smashed the ochre painted pane from the ornate window framed by his aunts floral curtains in the foyer.

    Jake saw it wasn’t raining or lightening when he craned his shaking neck to stare at the dry porch planks in the dark, outside the sharded hole.

    The driver’s gloved hand grabbed his scalp, thudded his adams apple down, hard.

  17. Standing in the blackness beneath her life wasn’t the thing that gave Clair pause.

    She had always embraced the dark, dank cellar and many times before had even prepared the barrels of acid used to dispose of the dismembered bodies.

    The thing that created the spiked ice ball in the pit of her stomach was the knowledge that Marcel being down here with her meant only one thing: this time, the vat was for her.

  18. “You’ll be surprised how this will end,” he’d been told as the chainsaw came to loud noisy life.

    And now with his right arm, the last full limb, being severed indelicately just below the shoulder – this was an experience akin to a good shave. It felt clean, the spatter made a wonderful design on the floral wallpaper, and the smile on his torturer’s face was oddly amusing.

    What a wonderful world, he thought as he passed out from the pain and loss of blood.

  19. Truth really is stranger than fiction, she thought, as she kneeled down for a closer look. He always used to say that, but she had thought he was wrong – now she would have to admit he was right, but she would never have to admit it to his face. She had never seen this much brain splatter, not even in Tales from the Crypt…

  20. Confined by faulty synaptic connections, Elizabeth could only watch events unfold.
    The gelding grazing lifted its head, gleaned the wind on which a penetrating scent of vile conveyed her coming demise. Elizabeth observed the time and how much longer fate seemed to take to arrive when you could see it coming.

  21. The air was full of their summer evenings under the pine boughs and stinging hospital smells as he brought the glass to his lips.
    His cheeks were wet and snot trickled from his nose, diamonds patterns were biting into his hand as he clenched his old .38; she had been gone for 3 years.
    A cold slim hand with ragged nails settled onto his shoulder and a parody of her voice whispered from behind him, “It’s time to go; you got what you asked for.”

  22. @Chuck – my bad, didn’t read the specs properly!

    Have now…

    The chopper swung into position overhead, Mary was jostled as everyone tried to get the best position, then a body fell.

    A young Oriental man hit the ground and bounced, he came to rest with his leg buckled under him, and looked around dazed at the feral faces.

    Mary smiled licking her lips, she turned to Johnny who was already entering the feeding frenzy and shouted. “I’ve not had Chinese in ages!”

  23. “I’ll see you in little bits!” Allen called over his shoulder as he made his way to the entry of the house.

    “What?” his wife asked over the hum of her hairdryer.

    “You heard me,” Allen said nodding to the man with the fire axe as they passed each other in the hall.

  24. A Matter of Execution

    Ezra inherited his uncle’s small Texas farm and all the baggage the old man left—the chainsaw, the hockey mask, the blood-soaked sweater with ugly stripes, and his crazy knife gloves. The man’s heart was in the right place, but his methods were both crude and melodramatic. Ezra turned the place into a lovely bed-and-breakfast where he served eggs benedict on freshly baked English muffins with an aromatic hazelnut coffee blend which nicely concealed the almond scent of cyanide as the gurgled screams from the Ashfords could presently attest.

  25. Sam

    Skip didn’t like Sam, but the cabin-dwelling loner fascinated the writer in him, except for late autumn when Sam always shot his summer dog, not wanting to deal with an animal over the winter that was never housebroken.

    Skip walked his own dog in the light snow cover, past the fresh grave, where lone dog paw prints left the crumbly mound; that was neither a wanderer nor coyote, and the prints headed toward Sam’s cabin.

    Sam had finally gone too far, and Skip was secretly happy; he hoped he could witness the attack and write about it.

  26. You bastard what the fuck have you done with my son?”

    The man on the doorstep grinned his shit-eating grin, holding the polariod of the little boy – tied to a chair in a cluttered, dimly-lit tool-shed – up a little higher.

    Then he put the barrel of the revolver into his mouth, and squeezed the trigger.

  27. Dinner Discussion

    Conrad looked away, out the shattered windows, shivering, thinking about food, remembering when the nukes went off, what sixth months ago, and rationalizing what they were about to do was the only choice they had because all the other food was gone, buried under dead and ash.

    “Cut me a slice and get it over with,” Conrad said, wiping tears from his eyes and drool from his mouth.

    Libby picked up the knife and fork and carved their roasted baby like a Thanksgiving turkey and said, “I don’t feel right about this.”

  28. It’s my fourth night with her, and this time I’ve got my tape recorder.

    She’s dead asleep when the gibbering starts, surging from her mouth, horrid and ancient, stabbing my temples. I lift the recorder but her hand lurches into my face, her fingers press into my eye sockets, my scream drowns her out.

  29. John collapsed as the hand crushed his neck, the nails cutting deep into the skin, crimson droplets of blood trickling donward. He tried to scream, tried to call for help, but all the energy left his body at that moment as his soul was torn from his mortal form.

    Releasing John’s empty corpse, the red-haired man that had attacked John smiled, relishing the rush of energy, a fresh freckle burned onto his pale face.

  30. In on honor of what’s going down in the Twin Cities this weekend:

    “The Pub Crawl”

    We’d waited half an hour to get in (which means something in mid-October Minneapolis). Then it took fifteen minutes to get to the bar, every inch of progress a trophy won from the crowd (some of whom had barely bothered with their zombie costume at all).

    When the feeding started, we couldn’t leave fast enough.

  31. I admired the painting on the wall, of a girl child smiling in red dress. A flash of silver caught my eye, and I bent closer, peering at the point of brightness peeking out from behind the child’s back. The blade slid across my throat, and I turned as I fell, catching a final glimpse of that innocent smile before the blood on the knife fell across my eyes.

  32. We’d all thought it was a joke, that it would never actually happen. On that cold November morning we realized the extent of our folly, but it was too late. Kim Kardashian had just been elected president of the United States.

  33. The book lay off to one side, forgotten now. Nancy watched as the thing that used to be her brother took it’s first wet, shuddering breath.
    “It was just a story,” She whispered, as it turned to her.

  34. A footstep I heard sounded off the floorboards shriek outside my door. It feels that one gasp later – in the time it took to throw the covers over my face – I could sense someone hanging over me like the Grim Reaper himself. I guess it’s time to discover whether our childhood belief that hiding under our blanket will fool a ravenous murderer.

  35. From your flat in the city, the voice calls to you. Others have been recruited to study the house, to determine what disturbance, if any, exists there, but none have been called by the voice. As you travel to the house, you feel more and more as though you belong here, as though you are coming home. The others hear the structures creaks and groans, feel the icy blast as things move unseen, but none hear the voice. Only you belong here. You belong to the house.

  36. “It’s just a scratch,” he’d reassured her when they got home after an especially close call with the shambling creatures.

    He’d smiled his beautiful smile, and something had fluttered in her chest and she’d believed him.

    But he had lied, she realized now, the idea lurching through her brain like one of the creatues, so when he frowned and asked, “What’s wrong?” she brought her face next to his and looked hungrily at those full red lips, and smiled, and did what came naturally.

  37. Larry was surfing the internet for porn. Click after click after click unwittigly led him to a very wrong and illegal site. An hour later the FBI was at his door.

  38. Try as she might, she couldn’t shake the darkness rumbling at her, blocking out the light. She could remember the sickening sound of metal on metal, and she could hear the disembodied voices using phrases like, “near total decapitation…rapid blood loss…no pulse,” but they made no sense. All she understood was the blackness sucking her into the void…then nothing

  39. Timmy crawled into bed with mommy. The voices had woken him again. But mommy smelled funny and her skin was wet, and no matter how much he cried, her eyes wouldn’t open.

  40. Okay, let’s give this a shot, then!

    –x–

    “Fregoli”

    I see him everywhere now.

    At the butcher’s shop, carving up a rack of meat, brisk wrist movements as the knife gleams and florescent lights buzz – at the front of the classroom, lecturing on meaningful semiotics with one hand on the desk – at the dentist’s office, pumping novocaine beneath my teeth – sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee from a chipped porcelain mug as he asks if I’m sure I’m alright – watching me across the courtyard, not saying a word, just watching – handing me my groceries with a grin – disappearing into the crowd at the airport as I cancel my ticket – his fingers like iron against the hood of my sweater, immobile, to hold me back from the oncoming train (“No,” he murmurs in my ear, “It won’t be that easy, not for you”).

    I wake up screaming, he catches my eye, and winks.

  41. As the moon crested amid the decrepit stars, the fog lifted, revealing that the body was gone. I set the grave aflame, before leaving the cemetery. Sometimes, the dead refuse to stay where they belong.

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