Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Brevity is the soul of terror…

 

“What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?”
“I won’t tell you that, but I’ll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me… the most dreadful thing…”

Thus begins Peter Straub’s Ghost Story. I don’t remember a thing about the rest of the book, but the opening line reeled me in and has stayed in my brain all these long years. Reading it over as I write this, I still get chills. Turns out, you really don’t need very many words to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and send shivers down your spine. In the spirit of the Halloween season and so as not to tax your attention spans, I submit, for your consideration, some pithy portents from this collection of two line horror stories:

“I woke up to hear knocking on glass. At first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again.”

“Don’t be scared of the monsters, just look for them. Look to your left, to your right, under your bed, behind your dresser, in your closet but never look up, she hates being seen.”

“I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy, check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”

“She asked why I was breathing so heavily. I wasn’t.”

“I always thought my cat had a staring problem – she always seemed fixated on my face. Until one day, when I realized that she was always looking just behind me.”

“Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept. Now that I live alone, it is much more unsettling.”

“As the first shovelful of dirt landed on my chest, I finally managed to whisper “I’m not dead!” At first I thought they hadn’t heard me, but then one of them smiled and said “We know.””

“She’s back. HRC.”

Ok, that last one is mine. Happy Fall to you all!

Published in Group Writing
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  1. KentForrester Moderator

    I remember one that goes something like this.

    I was the last person on the earth. Then I heard something knocking at the door.

    • #1
    • October 9, 2019, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    I remember one that goes something like this.

    I was the last person on the earth. Then I heard something knocking at the door.

    That gave me goosebumps!

    • #2
    • October 9, 2019, at 10:10 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    We unlocked the door to the family vault to carry my father’s coffin in. My late wife’s decaying body was there just inside the door.

    • #3
    • October 9, 2019, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Michael Brehm Member

    It’s a bit like a haiku, but scary. I wholeheartedly approve.

    • #4
    • October 9, 2019, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Michael Brehm (View Comment):

    It’s a bit like a haiku, but scary. I wholeheartedly approve.

    Tiffany

    Her hair
    Drips like blood.
    Stripper.

    • #5
    • October 9, 2019, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Michael Brehm Member

    So I have this reoccurring dream where I’m riding a carnival ride through my basement. But I always wake up when the cart suddenly stops (by the boiler) and the voice behind my head whispers, “This is where it happened.”

    • #6
    • October 9, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    Michael Brehm (View Comment):

    So I have this reoccurring dream where I’m riding a carnival ride through my basement. But I always wake up when the cart suddenly stops (by the boiler) and the voice behind my head whispers, “This is where it happened.”

    Sounds like you should write a short story and find out what happened.

    • #7
    • October 9, 2019, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    Michael Brehm (View Comment):

    It’s a bit like a haiku, but scary. I wholeheartedly approve.

    Horror haiku! 

    • #8
    • October 9, 2019, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Michael Brehm (View Comment):

    So I have this reoccurring dream where I’m riding a carnival ride through my basement. But I always wake up when the cart suddenly stops (by the boiler) and the voice behind my head whispers, “This is where it happened.”

    Sounds like you should write a short story and find out what happened.

    Double frissons!

    • #9
    • October 9, 2019, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    This is fun! Thank you!

    • #10
    • October 9, 2019, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    USAhafan (View Comment):

    This is fun! Thank you!

    You’re welcome! Glad you like them.

    • #11
    • October 9, 2019, at 6:00 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    These really short tales, well calculated to keep you in suspense, continue October’s theme: “Trick or Treat!” This continues a marked quality improvement trend, I think, from my earlier musical meandering.

    Keep it up! Treat yourself and your friends to a post, nothing tricky about it. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #12
    • October 9, 2019, at 11:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. JosePluma Thatcher

    Gossamer Cat: “She’s back. HRC.”

    To quote a great man: “And that’s a good thing.”

    • #13
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. JosePluma Thatcher

    “Once a time, upon the stair, I saw a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today; I wish, I wish he’d go away.”

    –Hughes Mearns

    Okay, that’s fudging a bit, but if you can’t be creative with punctuation how is life worth living?

     

    • #14
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:21 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. BastiatJunior Member

    Gossamer Cat: “She’s back. HRC.”

    Scary future book title:

    The Presidency of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part I : The First Twelve Years

    • #15
    • October 11, 2019, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. GadgetGal Thatcher

    It’s not haiku, but….

    “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

    Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

    • #16
    • October 11, 2019, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. BastiatJunior Member

    GadgetGal (View Comment):

    It’s not haiku, but….

    “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

    Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

    Stephen King liked it so much he quoted it in Salem’s Lot.

    • #17
    • October 11, 2019, at 1:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    GadgetGal (View Comment):

    It’s not haiku, but….

    “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

    Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

    Triple frissons. All the way down to my toes! Masterful writing.

    • #18
    • October 11, 2019, at 3:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. carcat74 Member

    “I was told as a child to not try getting into the one locked room in our house. I found the key and unlocked the……

    • #19
    • October 13, 2019, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    carcat74 (View Comment):

    “I was told as a child to not try getting into the one locked room in our house. I found the key and unlocked the……

    Good one!

    • #20
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. BastiatJunior Member

    “It was early in the morning as I was woke up and heard a deep voice say my name. As my head cleared I saw Rod Serling, in my room, speaking to a television camera … “

    • #21
    • October 13, 2019, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    “It was early in the morning as I was woke up and heard a deep voice say my name. As my head cleared I saw Rod Serling, in my room, speaking to a television camera … ”

    That made me chuckle and think!

    • #22
    • October 13, 2019, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. carcat74 Member

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    carcat74 (View Comment):

    “I was told as a child to not try getting into the one locked room in our house. I found the key and unlocked the……

    Good one!

    thank you—waiting for someone to ask how I could write that…..

    • #23
    • October 13, 2019, at 5:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    carcat74 (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    carcat74 (View Comment):

    “I was told as a child to not try getting into the one locked room in our house. I found the key and unlocked the……

    Good one!

    thank you—waiting for someone to ask how I could write that…..

    I did think about that, but then decided it wasn’t necessary to know.

    • #24
    • October 13, 2019, at 5:35 PM PDT
    • Like