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”
“There’s a killer on the loose.” said the TV. But Bob couldn’t hear because he’d already closed the bathroom door. Too bad he didn’t see the snake in the toilet bowl until he sat down.
Everyone else was camping, and she relished having the bed all to herself in the blissful quiet of a house free of childish voices and manly grumbling–at least until she woke up in the early morning to find the fan slowing to stillness and the alarm clock dark. A branch cracked outside, just beyond the window, and she slid sleep-warm fingers to the space under her husband’s pillow where she had hidden her phone and the family’s pistol. Instead, she found only a cold flashlight clasped by a small child’s detached hand.
Agnes groaned as the contractions came faster. Sam’s excitement grew, for this would truly be a Christmas to be remembered. The rest of the family was equally anticipating the joyous event.
The holiday feast preparations complete, the youngest generation jostled for the best seat at the vast table as the eldest took their rightful places. Grandpa said grace then offered the carving knife and fork to his still-weakened daughter. It was her right, as provider. Agnes blushed, glowing with pride in her achievement.
Afterwards, Sarah whispered to her, “Are you going to have another? This one was delicious!”
A tiny gerbil emerged from behind the dumpster and stared at me. He seemed to cock his head to the side, as a blur of variegated gerbil flesh surged across the blacktop and knocked me down. Their teeth tickled my skin as they nibbled, and I laughed. Until they bit deeper. When my echoed cries were at last silent, no one wondered where I was or cared that I had lived at all. Perhaps I never did.
In the Basement
When the light went out, Janey twisted her ankle coming down the uneven steps, landing hard enough on the dank floor to see stars. As she struggled to get up, she heard a wet scraping sound coming closer in the darkness; she crawled toward the sliver of light at the top of the stairs, but the sound, overlaid now with ragged breath and the thump-thumping of her heart in her ears, moved faster. When the claws wrapped around her ankle, no one was home to hear her screams.
Been sitting in front of my 30″ monitor for what seems to be forever. Watching FB updates scroll on and on like some distant self-perpetuating automated process.
It sucks been dead.
Once, in some vague, bright past, she had been afraid of the box, the rough wood, the locks, and the close, dank air.
She wasn’t afraid anymore; it swaddled her like a babe, kept her warm and close and safe.
A rush of cold light penetrated her sanctum, and a grasping hand clamped around her emaciated arm.
The house had been waiting for a long, long time.
A family entered, stayed, played, and bled.
After it was done feeding, the house settled in to wait again for its next meal.
Father threw his fork onto the kitchen table and said, “I can’t stand all that scurrying and scraping in the ceiling anymore!”
He grabbed his steak knife and jimmied the tongue-and-groove plank out of its anchor.
The children screamed as rodents rained on the evening meal.
He backed against his own front door and slid his fingers along the intricate woodwork for what he knew would be the last time. The darkness in the trembling wisps before him tasted his scent and whispered, “You have something we want.” Then Death himself learned that, yes, even he had a soul to lose.
After their dinner, just as the sun crept down mountains turned crimson, the boy opened the back door with trash bag in tow. When he reached the lid, the thing caught his eye and he let out a yelp. His mother opened the door, stopped dead and stared at ragged veins hanging from his open socket, and I stared longingly at the tender death inside her thigh.
Smokey Joe Mayes – No #gingerbash here, just illustrating the horrifying truth about us gingers 😉 #redpower
[…] Sounded fun, so I provided my sacrificial offering, seen here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/10/12/flash-fiction-challenge-scary-story-in-three-sentences/co… […]
Waking to a terrible blackness, she reached a trembling hand in front of her into the nothingness. Her hand met a blade; cold, purposeful and patiently awaiting her touch. Before a sound could escape her throat the blade had opened it and naught but blood spoke in her voice’s place.
Marcy read the article in her dad’s abandoned newspaper: the gory details of the serial killer’s latest victims. Her parents went out again that night, leaving her to herself; that was when the change always happened. As night fell — as the Shawn personality once more took her over fully — she left the house, the comforting weight of the knife in her hand.
Most people don’t know that the brain is a sham. You do all your thinking with a little blue gem, buried too deep in your flesh for regular instruments to catch. On a related note, you don’t remember me for the same reason my tongue makes it look like I’ve been drinking Kool Aid, or sucking on one of those candy rings you also wouldn’t remember, working the edges off those facets, darling, slick and wet.
She’d felt a sharp pain as they ran from the shambling dead things, and later, they discovered a long, shallow scratch down her arm. “You’ll be fine,” he’d reassured her, and she should have known better but he smiled his beautiful smile and her heart fluttered and she believed him.
It was hard to move now for the pain, hard to think for the hunger, and she couldn’t understand what he was saying, but she watched his full lips move and found that she wanted them in her stomach.
[…] This week’s flash fiction came to me very quickly. I’m usually a verbose writer, so being forced to get a story out with a deft style has been an interesting and educational experience. We were to write a scary story in three sentences, and here’s the link to Chuck’s post. […]
She bitched all summer long about getting the antivirus on this thing upgraded because of something some smartarse at work had told her about the new malware out there but the pro package was expensive and the new Resident Evil was coming out at the time and there were some really cool but subscription-only conspiracy sites I wanted to visit and freeware is, after all, free. I barely noticed her leaving because I had just discovered a totally awesome site about that UFO the Russians shot down just before the Berlin Wall fell – and the new game was the best ever. Now I’ve fired this thing up straight after work and all I’m getting is a frozen screen, a crawling blue bar, and one of those stupid Windows messages that says: “Launch code upload to targeting mainframe 89% complete: please remain in your home and await the new management’s instructions.”
Sorry – now down to 100 words…
She bitched all summer about getting the antivirus upgraded because of someone at work had told her about the new malware, but the pro package was expensive and there were some cool, subscription conspiracy sites I wanted to visit and freeware is free. I barely noticed her leaving because I had just discovered one about that UFO the Russians shot down just before the Wall fell. I’ve just logged on and all I’m getting is a blue bar and a messages that says: “launch code upload to targeting mainframe 89% complete: remain in your home and await new management instructions.”
I am clearly on a Latent Dark kick these days… so here’s mine.
“The afterlife is a doorway,” the priest had told Joe as he lay on his deathbed, “a place far better than the one you leave behind.”
But they never told you about the shadows you take with you, the hungry ones with teeth.
Joe considered this as they consumed him, killing him a second time.
“The charity is all set up, you’re good to go,” said his attorney, grinning. Alan grinned back, thanked him with a handshake, and left the office to go to the spanking-new youth center to prep for the soft opening. His first task: To make sure the boys locker room showers were clean, and inviting.
Fun challenge. Here’s mine:
The shadows swallowed him whole after his torch went out, leaving nothing behind but bones. The bones are all that’s left, a small pile glistening in the corner like ghosts in the dark.
My match has almost burned out.
Arm aching like a bee-sting from the shot, I walked into the kitchen where my husband was reading the paper.
“The CDC says the latest batch of flu vaccinations is contaminated–they don’t know what the virus is, but it’s like Ebola.”
I looked down at my shaking fingers, to see blood welling from the nail beds.
I apologize if this doesn’t fit the mold. I’m green to writing and learning the craft. This is the scariest–most realistic situation that I could muster, outside of the dentists chair. I used a little run on with the “and so” as I tried to fit it into three sentences. I’m also sure this isn’t an original concept, but it is horror provoking to me (yes. shit does happen).
Rachael had been holding onto this secret for a few years, but today was a very bad day and so she spoke it softly as she climbed into bed.
“Dadda, our neighbor… he touches me.”
“It’s way past your bed time and you have school tomorrow.” he tucked her in, kissed her forehead, and then closed the door.
Only 1 post allowed?
The toys scattered across the silent nursery looked hazy through the window that was Monica’s little red happy pill. She vaguely remembered putting something in the dryer (Tom could finally stop nagging her about doing that, at least), and its steady thumping and strangely sweet smell assured her something was in there. The pile of wet clothes lay untouched in their basket, and the words escaped from her lips like demons fleeing the possessed: “The laundry is not done.”
I ignored the skittering sounds coming from within the walls and didn’t contemplate the large, dark stain on the carpet. Instead, I pulled the moth-eaten coverlet to the floor and settled on the bed with my laptop. Cold fingers of dread wrapped around my throat, strangling my cry as I realized this creep show hotel didn’t have wi-fi.
The shrieking came from all around, suffocating him and dragging him down as the madness crept up. “This too shall pass, this too shall pass” he repeated endlessly in a broken whimper, hands pressed tight to his ears. Her hand touched his shoulder and he whipped around, eyes wide and staring, “I’ve given her some Calpol love, she’ll sleep for a bit now.”
She slept; snuggled in the darkness dreaming of nothing, of quiet, of peace.
Awoken she was cold, pressed tightly against the ceiling, stuck with force like glue, her gaze following her strewn limbs scattered beneath her.
Below, as she felt the last of her blood trickle, drip, splish to the floor, the soulless child with the black unblinking eyes continued to stare.
For the third time that day, I turned around to the whisper, “Keep going, keep going,” but again, nothing there.
Sure, I’d been unsettled and sour for a few weeks, but that whisper—it had to be the wind, my clothes rustling, just some random sound, nothing there.
But when I hit that hard curve off that cliff on Canyon Drive, and I heard it again, “Keep going, keep going,” I did—and there was nothing there, nothing.
[Chuck, I’m going to the LA conference too; I’ll be at your “Earn Your Audience” talk. Can’t wait!]
She slept; snuggled in darkness dreaming of nothing, of quiet, of peace.
Awoken, she was cold, pressed tightly against the ceiling; stuck with force like glue, her gaze following her scattered limbs strewn beneath her.
Below, as she felt the last of her blood trickle, drip, splish to the floor, the soulless child with endless black unblinking eyes continued to stare.
The metal heap that used to be Martin’s car was wound tightly around the concrete pillar.
As Martin came to he realized he could not move due to an iron rod that went into his left eye and out of the base of his neck.
He wondered why he was still alive when the pain set in.
He quivered beneath his covers, hoping beyond all hope that it wasn’t a clown.
Whatever it was moved now through his room, shuffling over the carpet, tipping over a toy truck, mumbling and giggling quietly.
When finally the noises stopped, he counted slowly to one hundred (just to be safe) before peeking out from beneath his sheets and finding that the door to his closet was opened, and that there, against the ceiling, bobbed one pink balloon.
Little Sarah laughed, the wind making a pennant of her hair as she clung to the black stallion’s neck, all but flying over the heather.
It was three days before the searchers found the ragged rope of her entrails gently rocking in the reedbeds. MacIntyre called a halt and squeezed his eyes shut, wishing just once a tourist would pay attention when the locals ‘quaintly’ warned them about the kelpie.
When the stake pierced her heart and she morphed, aging hundreds of years in seconds, I felt sorry for her for a moment. But then I heard a noise, and knew I was not alone. They were in the shadows gathering, ready to take revenge, to drain every ounce of blood from my being, and then they came, fangs and claws first but my blade sent them scampering and caterwauling back into the darkness, until I felt something swoosh by my ear and land on my back and then I knew my time as a human was passing…
The strain of the door’s rusted hinges split the silence of the house.
His back facing the door, he assured himself that no one was in the room with him.
He was wrong.
The big house breathed heavily and sighed as I put down my books.
“Hello Mother, would you like some tea, I’ll put the water on.”
There’s something wriggling beneath my skin. I tear myself open, screams rushing out of me as I dig into my body. In the end I’m dying, but I’m free of the creature, and it is free of me.
Ellen’s husband was working late, and in the darkness of the master bedroom, she waited naked and nestled under covers, floating on the brink of sleep. Her breath caught at the sound of gentle footsteps, and as she sensed his body slip into bed beside her, she grinned knowingly, her pulse quickening, her nipples hardening as she groped blindly toward him beneath the sheets. She heard her husband’s voice say from the doorway, “Honey, you tracked mud all throu–” before an axe blade split his skull, and a scream died in her throat.
Ellen’s husband was working late, and in the darkness of the master bedroom, she waited nude and nestled under the covers, floating on the brink of sleep. Her breath caught at the sound of gentle footsteps, and as she sensed his body slip into bed beside her, she grinned knowingly, her pulse quickening, her nipples hardening as she groped blindly toward him beneath the sheets. She heard her husband’s voice say from the doorway, “Honey, you tracked mud all throu–” before an axe blade split his skull, and a scream died in her strangling throat.
I was on the bed, laptop balanced on my thighs, watching one of those jump-scare Youtube videos. Someone had jokingly commented, “Don’t look up.”
But when I felt something touch the side of my knee, all I could think was, “Don’t look behind the laptop screen.”
After a week of procrastinating, tending to the responsibilities of the office and home, Bill had the house to himself. No wife, no kids, no phone calls. Now he would finally begin on that story. He had to hurry, though. I can’t go on forever stuck in a damn cubicle, his mind screamed. Look at me, the monitor screamed. Feed me, his soul screamed. Then he heard the key in the front door. “Honey, we’re home!” His wife and kids entered the house like a band of assassins. Death to another day of writing.
Nov. 24 2012: I love this place! way better than that dreary P.O.S downtown.
Dec. 13 2012 : I haven’t slept in three days because of the sound and I think the rash has gotten worse.
Dec. 23rd 2012: They’re all in the basement now, all quiet, all silent.
Butt-naked with a plastic bag twisted over his head, prone in a spreading pool of urine, in death his captor was more ridiculous than monstrous.
The youth turned his back on four years of torment and humiliation, climbed the cellar steps, and reached for the door handle: twist, pull, just once more, and he’d be free.
And then, impossibly, behind him the bag crackled and that ice-laced voice grated out, freezing his fingers before they could close around the handle: ‘I told you never to do that, boy.’
It is momentary that place of recognition where life meets death and consciousness admits its ending. It was momentary when his eyes faded to the void of nothingness that only death or blind men see. Some of the blood will never wash, the little flickers that seep into the cracks of the white tiling, it will never wash.
“One the one hand, it did use some fantastic adjectives.” She looked down, glum.
On the other hand… well, she didn’t know if you could call the twitching faceless grub her hand any longer.
[…] my web trawling last night I took a look at the great blog Terrible Minds, the musings of author and kick ass risotto chef Chuck Wendig. I discovered that he sets a writing […]
I stared into the bright light of the single bulb that hung from the ceiling, pulling with all my strength at the heavy leather straps that bound me to the table.
Doctor Gretel cackled as he shuffled towards me, his hands gripping the circular saw, it’s rusty blade screaming my doom each time he pulled the trigger.
His eyes wide with delight and wearing a sinister grin, the end come slowly as he pulled the trigger and ran the saw across my gut, a red spray of lifeblood and entrails an exclamation point, marking my role as his latest victim.
[…] in the comments section of Chuck’s blog announcing the FF challenge. Here’s the link: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/10/12/flash-fiction-challenge-scary-story-in-three-sentences/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]
Three sentences? Horror? Six words? Challenge Accepted. (I might’ve made up that last requirement but whatever…). Since I’m new to this, I decided to write as little as possible (which actually isn’t something “Writers Should Stop Doing Right Now”, in fact, I’m not “Caring About What Other Writers Are Doing”. So 6 words:
Pretty woman. Terrible mind. Missing model.
Here’s a funny one, just for giggles:
Angry afternoon. Dirty knife. Dead wife.
Maybe it wasn’t that funny, but the rhyme was.