Flash Fiction Challenge: Horror In Three Sentences

Last week’s challenge: Roll For Your Title

This week’s challenge is easy to describe, but hard to execute:

Write a scary story in three sentences.

That’s it.

Remember: a proper story has a beginning, middle and an end.

It is not merely a vignette.

And, no, really — make it scary.

You will write these stories in the comments below, not at your websites or blog spaces.

I’ll pick my top three favorites to get the whole suite of my writing-related e-books (not including the newest, The Kick-Ass Writer, which will soon be published by Writer’s Digest, nudge nudge).

You’ve got one week.

Due by Friday the 18th, noon EST. One entry only.


  • “Where are the children?” Ms.Smith called from up the stairs,
    “Oh don’t worry, your husband came by and picked them up.” The babysitter said,
    “What father?”

  • I have no explanation for why I dragged a dead man down my stairs and tied him to a chair in my basement. He had my name, my wallet and id; he had my face. I was so sure he was dead until his eyes shot open and he said, “It’s too late to change it now.”

  • All i can think of during the thrusts were how we used to play catch, what happened to you Daddy? You haven’t been the same since Mamma died. I wanted to scream but the zipper was closed

  • The leaves had just fallen in the cemetery Amanda walked in; it was
    the 3 year anniversary of her boyfriend’s passing. She saw an open
    spot a deep hole; she blinked, everything went dark, Amanda woke up
    her head hurt and she opened her eyes. She screamed, no one could hear
    her, she was 6 feet under in the hole being buried alive “forever and
    always” she heard.

  • He lunged for the doorknob as the sound of her heels echoed in the dark hallway, clanking louder and louder with each step. “Please open, please open,” he repeated as he violently jerked and pushed the knob. When the footsteps stopped and the hallway quieted, he stiffened, his eyes wide as her fangs slid into his neck.

  • This isn’t one I wrote myself, and it isn’t three sentences, but my favorite short horror story is just one sentence long:

    He was alone, and in the dark; he reached for the matches, and they were put in his hand.

  • Just before he usually announced the nights guests, the man on the television turned to face the camera and spoke directly to Emma, in a voice that was barely louder than a whisper. He told her it was time to make things better, and that she was not to be scared, and that it was just like last time. When the man on the television went back to introducing the guests, as if he had not spoken to her at all, Emma took the knife from the coffee table and went out of her front door, into the night.

  • All i could think of during the thrusts were how we used to play catch, happened to you Daddy? You haven’t been the same since Mamma died. I wanted to scream but the zipper was closed

    • sorry, exclude this entry, for some reason, the one i posted last night didnt show up in the comments so i typed it again, but now its there…. fml lol sorry

  • Designed and built to bring its victims face-to-face with death incarnate, the intricate Labyrinth circles and weaves upon itself until entrants lose their bearings in a swirl of confusing mist.

    Toe-tip poised before the beast, Theseus right fist hoists the blade, his sweaty left grips an unspooled thread trailing into the darkness.

    But the beast—wiry-haired body, wicked-horned head, death incarnate—the Minotaur wears Theseus’ own face; the Labyrinth has brought him back to himself, again.

  • As the warm water is dripping down my back I think I hear the bathroom door creak open. I stick my head out from behind the curtain and look around expecting to find the cat, but I see nothing and slip back into the steamy shower. I grab the bottle of shampoo and squeeze some of it into my palm, turning back around to face the water and to begin washing my hair I see long, wrinkly, fingers pulling back the curtain.

  • Eyes shut, face splashed with cold water, I hear a noise, I see a face …covered in blood . With the water continued running, I opened my eyes and looked up. There was nothing but a cold breeze lingering in the air.

  • The sun rises like always, but its brightness continues to grow even after cresting the horizon. Faster then reason it fills the sky with a brilliant luminescence, the azure backdrop of morning burns away before it like fireworks and for the first time I see stars during the day. It takes my breath away.

  • There was a knock on the door, when my husband opened it he was shot, he died, later I killed him. I wasn’t done with my husband, I resurrected him, he wasn’t leaving me like that. He brought something back with him.

  • My emotions run wild right before I sleep, as if my body knows it will enjoy the show of the nightly euphoric scenarios the mind decides to put itself through. I heard the TV on in the other room which I suspected was my mother trying to catch me sneaking out again, as I was not one to follow rules or even acknowledge them. The dark abyss that appears after I close my eyes is the only thing I remember every night except this night had an incommensurable meaning, due to the fact I will never wake up from that night; I will never crawl back out of the darkness.

  • Jim shot up as he heard the gut wrenching screams from down the dirt road. He could feel his heart pounding through his chest, begging to be released. Jim fought to keep his eyes open as they moved toward the sky and when they finally met the moon he murmured, ” God Dammit…Red again.”

  • He was paralyzed in his sleep, somewhere in the fog that lies between dream and awake where he was no longer whole.

    “Wake up,” he pleaded with himself as the shadows in the corner of his eye drew closer and closer, “please, please wake up.”

    Yet his words went unheeded as no noise was able to escape from his lips, and all the while the nightmares in his peripheral grew more and more real.

  • October 17, 2013 at 10:25 PM // Reply

    I wake with the feeling of eyes on me, fumbling with the lamp as I sit up in bed.
    Yellow light blazes from the bulb, revealing my nine year old holding a bulging pillowcase in the doorway.
    “I found the lost puppy mommy and I’ve made him special” he states gleefully, while a mewling cry escapes from the pillowcase.

  • Carl woke up in the oppressive darkness, feeling like something was wrong. “Quiet now”, a strange, rasping voice said, “go back to sleep.” Carl felt weariness overcome him of its own accord, and he felt a soft breath on his cheek as he fell back into a restless sleep.

  • It wasn’t until Jamie ducked into a rubble-strewn, crumbling alleyway that he finally got a brief moment to recover and try to collect his thoughts while he gasped and panted, thinking desperately about his next move. After a few labored breaths, he chanced a glimpse back into the silent, gloomy city, still awestruck at how swiftly the city had fallen to them; how quickly and viciously everyone he’d known and loved had been torn from his grasp. A shrill cry interrupted his thoughts; the last thing he remembered was pain and the last thing he saw was darkness.

  • The heavy breathing on the back of her neck sent the feeling of seven sets of spider legs crawling across her spine. When Denise looked back, she wouldn’t be able to make out a shape in the nearly pitch-black room, but she knew he’d be there. Slowly, Denise wheeled her head around only to realize she was wrong—the light shone off his white teeth as well as the cold steel of the knife in his hand.

  • The challenge came from nowhere. Write fast, scary, and short. I took the challenge, but there were no words, no plot, just the aching emptiness of a story excised surgically.

  • I found a dead eyed human skull on the beach today that the tide revealed to me. I took it home because it told me to and I swore it give me a mischievous little grin. Now it sits by bedside and I fear I will awaken a different man.

  • My mother used to say “Words are life”, I wish she had been wrong.
    I thought it was just an idea, but then I put his name on paper, why did I do it.
    Now there is blood everywhere, entrails littering the hallways no one is left, O god why wasn’t my mom wrong.

  • It was the tapping at the windowsill that always troubled me at night, the ostensible psychosomatic fear that nightmares didn’t belong in sleeping hours. I’d always cover my head with the blankets, irrationally terrified, but decided one evening to face my fears. The face at the window was pallid and long, the visage of a corpse, and its pale tongue, alight with maggots, made the rhythmic tap-tap-tap on the glass.

  • Seeing him squirm, kicking and whimpering using his last breath trying to move. Then the tail stops wagging. Giving me the satisfaction and pride of murder… something I enjoy. As i continued to swing, I heard my neighbor in the distance whistle but Buddy would never be coming back.

  • Michael and Erin Jacobs have been together since junior year of college, been married for 15 years, have 2 kids; but as Michael made love to Erin he felt that he did not know this woman. Sensing she was losing Michael’s concentration, Erin placed a hand on Michael’s face, turning it slightly so he was looking into her eyes, which were now glowing a spectral green. Michael looked frightened as Erin’s vagina clamped together tightly on her husband’s penis, severing it, sending him screaming and recoiling in pain and blood.

  • The call from her daughter was brief, just a panicked “Mom, he’s” and a truncated scream as the line went dead. The authorities searched for three torturous months, every long day more desperate than the last. A year later she began returning home via UPS, one gift-wrapped organ at a time.

  • The Endless Dark

    Irma Boggs told herself calm down, calm down, calm down, goddamn it calm down as her mind reeled drunkenly in the vivid black, as she felt her hot breath hit a barrier mere inches from her face and return to be breathed in again though not forever, she thought, no….

    She remembered her husband lunging at her when she confronted him, that bastard lunging at her while Kaylin cried and screamed on the floor in front of the T.V., and then what she couldn’t remember, but this box, this blackness, this silence oh god, oh god, oh god, think Irma think and she closed her eyes and slowed her breathing….

    But her eyes burst open as she felt something move against her leg, something waking up in the warm and humid dark, something her husband buried alive with her — and the puling thrum of her heart clenched tight against the thought of a rat, a possum, a ghostie ghoulie with teeth and eyes oh god, oh god she just couldn’t see — and before she could draw her breath to scream or pull up her legs to kick and flail against the creature squeeze those eyes shut it’ll eat your eyes first: a small, frightened voice whispered, “Mama?”

  • He cried and fought as they dragged him into the woods and let loose the wolves. See the blindfold tonight across the sky. And although the scared stars don’t want to see, we do, and so we smile and cheer long past the child’s bleeding silence.

  • A little birdy looked at me, and its eyes began to glow–like something possessed, I thought at best, so I said, “It’s time to go!”
    I started to leave, and I grabbed my girl, but she stopped and shook her head: “I like it here,” she said with a grin, “Let’s feed the birds instead.”
    Her eyes glowed too, so I killed her, quick, though the waste was just absurd; I felt a bit foolish my girlfriend got ghoulish, so I stomped the hell out of the bird.

  • “The dust motes fell heavy with the weight of the Autumn sun”, she boomed at the empty room and laughed, shaking the bed frame into a clatter of iron submission, “but they vanished before they kissed her exposed flesh.” She trailed off as she scratched the red spot that had been growing on her belly for the last two days, started up on her elbows and saw a small green leaf and a red bud. A rose was blooming from her stomach and she could feel all the pain of the world, hear every simpleton thought and smell the creaking settling house that wanted to rip her bones.

  • He tried so hard to get his mother to listen to him, but it was no use. Her reckless behavior spiraled out of control. He looked down at her small form on the hardwood floor, unmoving as though in slumber, neck bent at an odd angle, a halo of shattered glass around her head, a duster laying loosely atop her frozen fingers.

  • She’s half-awake when she starts to feel breathing at the back of her neck. Then she feels these awesome sensations as one hand cups her breast, pinching her nipples, as the other hand slides down, down under her panties making her feel so damn good that she wants more, all of it, and this fully woke her up. Now, with one finger already inside her doing its job, she realized she’s supposed to be living alone in the house.

  • To have found the lake was a joy in itself; we’d been told of its existence by a friend, of the abandoned logging road winding its way around the mountain, and the short, steep trail to a pool so still and clear we would never see its like again. Mist and steam wreathed their tendrils across the surface and we dived in, laughing as the sticks in the bottom knocked against our ankles, and wrapped, tightly…As the water closed over, and my last view of the sky was the marbled blue beneath the surface, I wondered if we’d been the trade; especially when my friend used the phrase,”never see its like again”.

  • So, just an FYI — I have about, ohh, 300 entries of these to go through.

    And I just flew 30 hours to get home.

    So, gimme a week to actually *read* these and I’ll pick my top three. 🙂

    — c.

  • It does not matter to me who is next. I only kill as a gift for her. Don’t turn around, and please turn off all the lights when you sleep; it makes embracing the darkness easier.

  • Her soft humming echoed along the blank white-washed walls as she rinsed her lone plate in the kitchen sink. She had no idea how close he was, his eyes tugging at the loose strap of her dress. When the glass shattered on the tile floor, the walls stayed silent and never uttered what they saw.

  • I just had fun reading them. Mine wouldn’t have been scary anyway. Something along the lines of
    “There was this awful smell and I found my way to the kitchen refrigerator…
    Upon opening I found my sister had left me a tuna fish sammich…
    The horror…now I must disinfect the entire inside!”

  • (Late as ever. Ah, well. It’s the process.)

    My eyes opened in shock at his tiny, perfect voice.

    “Mama,” it whispered, “I want to go play.”

    My son had been dead for six weeks.

  • My wife stared at me and I stared at the knife as blood, my blood, slowly dripped unto the hardwood floor. What no one tells you, is that you feel everything while you choke on your own blood, warm and sticky as it slips into your lungs and feels like a panic attack. “Shhhhh, it’s ok, sweetie, Momma is going to send you home.”

    Definitely too late to enter, but i thought it might be fun to give it a shot. Turns out, it was!

  • Dora’s burning crimson eyes that glowed with visions of Ben’s transgression, stuck to his skull as he tossed and turned, wrapped in his own intestines. Her talon like claws grasped around his neck and he begged her for one last breath, for forgiveness, from the depths of his lungs. Dora declined and he could feel the warmth of her razor claws seep into his throat, until he woke up in a bloody daze.

    I just realized that I am also too late too enter, but figured I should post what I wrote anyway.

  • Her text message, “Dad, please stop walking around the kitchen! You’re freaking me out.” My eyebrows arched as I spill the coffee on the office desk.

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