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”
“Isn’t it ironic,” he asked his wife as he chewed on the succulent meat. “How the one thing we hate most in others can be, under the right circumstances, a thing in which we derive enormous pleasure?”
His wife remained silent, watching him finish his meal, for she had no tongue with which to respond.
“Sir, this is Officer Williams of the California Highway Patrol. I’m calling about your daughter Emily. Are you sitting down right now?”
The old man woke, and found he couldn’t move anymore.
“Please, God,” he thought to himself, “please let someone check on me.”
No one did.
He hurried home as he did every night, a feeling of being followed growing more intense with every step that brought him closer to his new home; the Vanderfayr building.
He glanced over his shoulder as he turned the key, hurriedly stepping inside and collapsing against the door to keep out the lurking gloom.
As he lay there he became aware of something standing over him, a black silhouette with a grin made of too many teeth, “We’ve been waiting for you Adam.”
He watched the blood, piss and other shit drip, drip, drip into the stinking, cold basement regular as clockwork.
The foul smell caused him to choke, splutter and retch until he had puked the contents of his stomach into the pool of fetid liquid.
Weak, swaying and driven by thoughts of a maltreated childhood, his hand groped urgently with his trousers to disgorge more fluid into the rank mixture.
You will be lying in your bed, resting after the hardest of days, when the scratching will start. Your heart will race and throat will burn under the touch of bile. The windows will implode, and you will be eaten.
You will be in bed resting after the hardest of days when the scratching will start. Your heart will race and your throat will burn under the touch of bile. The windows will implode and you will be eaten.
I found a cat in a dumpster with a rope twisted around its neck, so I saved it and let it sleep at the foot of my bed that night, its orange eyes slitted and staring at me warily.
A year later and I understood why someone had tried to kill it, so I lured the little demon into my arms with a treat and broke its neck.
It still stares at me in the night.
I whispered in your ear the day you were born. Even now I look out through your eyes and murmur, “there, the knife.” Someday, you will pick it up and free me.
He gently climbed off the prone figure on the couch. It wasn’t wrong, he reasoned, pulling up his boxers. Dying counts as consent.
Moonlight through her window and the doll’s cradle by her bed crawling with white-toothed shadows chittering in the night; for just a moment, even before you start to wonder how they got there in the first place, you can’t understand why the fuck the rats are eating the doll.
And then the bloodshitfeardeathsulfur reek, the empty toddler bed and the broken circle around it, the realization that rats don’t have tentacles.
And the whispers in your head like screams that never end.
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, but He had to hurry. 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.
Dad came back from the dead today, wanting to eat my flesh.
He almost got me in the upstairs hallway.
Having no weapons to defend myself with, I make him chase me out into the street, into the path of an oncoming truck.
Timmy cowered under his bed, because there were no monsters there, anymore. Although he was holding his head tightly under a pillow, he could still hear the screams of his family, and he could feel the percussion of things–just *unimaginable* things–hitting the floor. His own door opened with a rush, and when he heard the guttural, inhuman voice say, “fresh meat,” he could swear it was salivating…but he was unable to pee his jammies any more than he already had.
With a five point harness and side-impact protection, securely latched into the middle back seat in the rear-facing position, the car seat was a safe haven for bright-eyed Zoe. It was far too late when I found her there one day after a day of errands, breath stilled, eyes dull, skin purple and oddly loose – just as if she had melted in the day’s heat. A sympathetic jury of my peers has determined that I am not at fault, but I see the truth staring back at me from every mirror.
“Listen!” she hissed, grabbing his wrist and dragging him toward the door. “I don’t care HOW important a client they are, a wall of fetuses in the bathroom is never a good sign!”
Another hard slap, another sharp knife, another scream in a night splattered by blood.
Another girl murdered, her last rattling breath grating across my ears.
I meant to be her angel, her hero, the saint that saved her; but as I blink and drop the blade that stole the light from her eyes, I realize that I am the killer, I am the evil – I am the monster.
an oldie, but a goodie:
“. . . And to this day, if you look through the keyhole, you can sometimes see the Ghost of the Albino Killer!”
“I’m looking through it right now and all I can see is a flat field of dull red, no room, even, just nothin’.”
“Albinos have red eyes.”
I gave up scrabbling at the coffin lid after a week. Now I lie here in the dark listening to the earth close its fist around me. Awake, aware, I wait.
@Amanda: Ouch. As a parent, that hurts.
@Andrew Jack: Nice!
@Chris: Oh dear christfuck. that’s disgusting. you fucking creep. loved it.
@Tevyn: No apologies necessary. That’s elegant, is what that is.
The twin little girls were lost in the woods, they said. We found their cabin and waited for their father to return from hunting, until we realized there was no father. And the twins were the hunters.
Keep them alive is difficult, yes, especially as they can’t move to feed themselves.
I suppose it may seem cruel, to you, but I think death is crueller.
And at least this way they can never leave me again.
Arnie and Jane were feeding the feral cats in the alley. Arnie checked again that there was nobody in sight. Satisfied, he pulled another piece of Jane from the bag and dropped it for the cats.
[…] by this scary story in three sentences I wrote for […]
So I wrote you a story:
They stay in the attic, just in the attic, we’re not sure why.
They took my son, my son is not my son, his eyes are dead, why would they do this to a child?
I’m the only one left, I have to go, I have to leave, I know where the gas line leads out of the house, I’m going to finish this, for my wife, for my son, before they take me, before they take anyone else.
Then I wrote another one around it:
Is this horror? I don’t really know. Here’s my effort, anyway:
Jane’s nagging had tormented him for years, always belittling, always complaining; the torrent of whining had ground his self esteem ever further into the floor.
Still, it would all be OK after today – he was finally going to do something about it, going to take his good friend Mister Meat Cleaver and fix everything after all this time.
She screamed as the first drops of blood hit her face, viscera arcing nicely across the room from the huge gash in his neck, a smile on his face as he put an end to things at last.
The chime of metal and cheerful humming wakes John and his eyes swim into focus to see the dank cellar and to feel his sweat soaked arms and legs secured to a rusty metal chair.
Coming into his view, John sees a lunatic with a grimy surgeon’s cap holding a bone saw in his ungloved, filthy hands so he panics, screams, and rocks the chair onto the moldy floor, slamming his head.
The surgeon reacts by mirroring his panic in a bizarre and childish way and, sobbing, he hastily saws into and through John’s neck to stop the noises.
She woke with a stifled scream: someone was choking her!
She struggled, tossing her body back and forth like a rattler in the grip of a snake hook.
At the final moment, when she knew she was going to die, she remembered it was her anniversary, and at the same time, she noticed the gold ring she had purchased more than ten years ago now on the finger of the hand gripped round her throat.
At the beginning, when she’d first been trapped in the catacombs Monica didn’t know how she’d survive, not with the black widows, the rats, the seeping pestilence from the raw sewage, or, most importantly, the zombie.
After a few weeks of miracles, Monica had become a convert to the religion of fate, good luck, and her own heretofore untapped reserves of courage and strength.
The day before she died, she learned that all of this, and none of it, were important in the end. A zombie could be killed, a thousand could not.
The experiment was simple, educational: Spend one week in the asylum becoming one of the patients she sentenced there.
Dr. Monica Crowley, despite certain misgivings, decided to save face and submit to the better judgment of her peers and was admitted as just another patient, a borderline sociopathic personality.
A year later she was on twenty-four hour lockdown, no one on the staff seemed to remember who she was, and she sometimes didn’t either, what with the constant injection of drugs meant to treat her violent behavior.
A loud crash rang out as the nurse knocked over the sample tray, sending bio-hazardous waste spralling over me. I looked down to see an used needle sticking out of my hand, the infection already spreading visibly across the skin. In that moment I knew the panic of a trapped bird, and then, just like that, it was over.
The sound filled my ears; a sudden, obnoxious beating. I reached out to it and touched it, cupping it gingerly in my palms. Her terrified, high pitched screams ended the same time as her heart exploded in a liquid pop from my squeezing.
I follow her into the frigid living-room and we share a snorting chuckle.
Three of our young children sit in front of the train set, mostly as we had left them.
“Once the ice melts, we’ll have to move them.”
In the hills of Kentucky there is a town called White Mills, it is a small community on the banks of a smaller river with a population just north of 150 people; the local newspaper comes from 20 miles away and features a ‘Who‘s Visited Who This Week’ column. It is home to a corner store, a garage by the name of Wease’s and a baseball diamond in need of repair. Halfway between the diamond and the corner store sits a house filled to the brim with what’s wrong with this world and the next; I grew up there.
~ A Father’s Love~
My second life begins with the hunger.
It strangles me in its grip, forcing me from my hell spawned torpor and bringing with it a preternatural clarity that makes things so… simple; it lets me see her in the dark,
hear her as she whimpers, smell her as she panics, grab her as she flees,-
‘Daddy, you’re hurting me, I can’t breathe…’
-feed on something I loved in a past life, emerging from my bloody chrysalis a perfect monster.
For a moment there I thought maybe he would leave me alone tonight. No such luck; my door creaked open and a sliver of light from the hallway lanced in then snuffed out when he closed the door behind him. I slid my small hand under the pillow and wrapped my fingers around the knife I’d smuggled from the dinner table.
She crept into the office, silent until the last, when he turned in his chair to face her.
She plunged the knife into the hollow at the base of his throat and, as blood spattered across his just completed manuscript, he uttered one final, breathless word.
Annie could see the rage building in Chuck with every slash he made.
Struggling, crawling, she stretched with all her might before he could strike with his mighty weapon.
But she couldn’t reach him in time, and she watched in horror as her story ran red from the gash of his pen as he sliced through her entry, because it was more than three sentences.
Weekend by the Lake
They stood over us in their plastic dime store masks, their maniacal laughter muffled and wet.
Through tears and snot I turned to look one last time at Michael, his eyes still open in shock, were now lifeless.
I went slack against the ropes, hoping my resolve to not react would make them hasten the inevitable; because for them this night had been about prolonging the end.
James opened the door and found his 5 year old daughter standing on the other side but, her eyes were not that of his daughter.
Reaching down, James takes hold of her head; however, the body with a mind of it’s own rips away and runs off, making the demon inside the head giggle from the look of horror on James’ face.
Without blinking, James looks down at the demon possessed head and says, “I’m a Psychiatrist and we can…”, his sentence cut off by the scream of the demon as it leaves the child and the family to their own demon.
Phillip got there early and let himself in quietly so he didn’t disturb anyone.
Jenny got home late after a double shift at the hospital and was so exhausted she took a shower and crawled straight into bed.
She never knew Phillip James Roberts was there under her bed waiting for her to fall asleep.
Though the battered sign on the hotel’s doors said no trespassing, she broke in on a dare. She held her breath and stepped carefully over the threshold, but the door slammed shut behind her and knocked the air out of her lungs as it shoved her forward. Then she heard her name, and though she shut her eyes she could not close her ears to the sound of children’s feet running above her head, along the second floor hallway, hurtling towards the stairs in front of her.
Nelson spread the corpse’s legs, licked his lips and reached below, his fingers thrilling at the touch of her cold dead flesh.
Suddenly, however, he felt a surge of hot pain and caught sight of splattering blood in his peripheral vision. Looking down at his swallowed limb he realised that the thing he had mounted was quite alive and, what’s more, that it had very sharp teeth.
Sucking the brains out of her skull with a straw, I glanced up and saw it was three and two.
“Low and away, low and away,” I muttered, blood and ooze dribbling down my chin.
A loud crack and I jerked, yanking the straw from her eye socket as four of the bastards in pinstripes ran the diamond and touched home.
“Never look into the mirror after 3 am,” the blind man warned me, “you’ll see what she can’t remember.”
Here I stand and I stare, unable to look away from the agonized, bloody child crawling into my living room as the man in the plague mask stalks her.
The moment passes and I stand with my reflection; the hallway dark behind me.
[…] Flash Fiction Challenge was, and I came back at a good time! This week’s challenge is a scary story in 3 sentences, but under 100 words. It must be a complete story, not a […]
My people will soon be erased, not just from the Earth but from all history, thanks to of the recently-proven solipsistic model of reality, which shows that existence is based on the beliefs of the majority and can be modified to suit your purposes — if you can convince enough people of your desired reality. Folks started with silly things, like changing the moon to green cheese, but unethical types soon realized that whole peoples can be simply believed out of existence. I wonder: once we’re gone will anybody remember who we once were, or campaign to restore us our lives and history?
Erik regained consciousness with a splash of cold water and a hard, head-dizzying smack across the face that drew blood where his teeth dug into the inside of his cheek.
His joints strained against the heavy chained manacles of the “rack,” his wrists and ankles bleeding freely from where the skin once was— they had been at this for hours. A hooded monk exerted pressure on the fly wheel once again, and Erik’s whimpers turned to screams as tendons and ligaments snapped, muscles ripped and bones crushed— and when he screamed no more, they tore his flesh.
When I awoke, my hands were sticky with old blood. I ran to the bathroom to find the source of the bleeding and the countenance reflected in the mirror chilled me to the bone. Chuck Wendig’s beard had attached itself to my face— tonight we will take over the world.
[…] just couldn’t help myself, I entered into Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Scary Story in 3 Sentences […]