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3320+ Horror Short Stories to read

Submitted by writers on Reedsy Prompts to our weekly writing contest . From hauntings and murderers to terrifying creatures from the deep, our collection of horror stories will have you breaking out in cold sweats. Take a look… if you dare.

🏆 Winning stories

“ maniacal, manipulative, psychotic ” by lindsay flo.

The storm had felt like a rumor all day, but now, the sky was delivering. For a second, like a knife catching a glint of light and refracting it in multitude, everything gleamed white. The lightning split the whole sky in half, and in that moment, it was brighter than daylight. The tops of the gravestones seemed to pulse like strobe lights in a night club before blackness settled them down again.She was kneeling in front of her sister’s grave. She came here often—after all, that’s what a mourning sister did—but she felt ...

“ Adelaide's Cemetery ” by Lucy Joyce

Death was accompanied by the patter of nurses’ rubber-soled shoes marching briskly along linoleum floors. The smell of antiseptic solution. A gurney wheel, in need of oil, squeaking rhythmically as another patient was rushed past. Starchy white sheets, and the sharp and angular shapes of nurses headdresses.  My body revolted against the crisp order in violent expulsions of browns, greens, and yellows ...

“ Someone Has Died ” by Lonnie Russo

TW: This story contains several depictions and descriptions of death. Someone has died. Of this, I am certain. I know it because I always know it. As I lie here alone in this big, empty bed and listen to the rain, I remember it as it returns to me, this feeling, this dread, skittering up and down my throat with a thousand little legs. It settles in my stomach like a great stone, a solid, sickening weight. It is rancid in its heaviness and unmistakable in its familiarity. Someone has died. I do not know who.<...

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“ the long goodbye ” by sophia jowers.

CW: Death, grief I couldn’t even bring myself to throw out your mug. It wasn’t even a nice mug. The rim was chipped. The ceramic was lumpy—I was almost positive you’d made it yourself—and for some reason, you’d painted it the color of pea soup. Out of all of your things, this should have been the easiest to get rid of. And instead I stood in the kitchen for fifteen minutes, like a...

“ Virtual Dead ” by Kitty Turner

Lines. A grid of intersecting lines. Texture like birdshot through fine white paper. I moved my eyes. The glare was blinding at first. Blue sky and the leaves of a tree resolved through a window. Where am I, I thought. Woven in between the beep, beep, beep of my heart, I heard my name.“Lydia, are you there?” The sound came from a woman in white who I recognized as my doctor. Her name escaped me, but the knowledge that I was in a research hospital dawned—I had volunteered for bio-augmentation. I was here by choice....

“ The Light Dies if I Close My Eyes ” by Dan Coglianese

Dear Reedsy community: my fellow writers and readers, You’re all in on it, aren’t you? The truth is, you’re all pretending, right? Believe me, if just one of you said you knew me, I might believe it. Do you know me? Frankly, this is the last place I still exist. I fear that soon this will be gone too. Wait, let me guess: You have no idea what I’m talking about? You thin...

horror story essay 300 words

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“ danger keep out ” by patricia merewether.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.T. S. EliotI stumbled upon the area while photographing and cataloging wild mushrooms of Michigan for MSU, a job I believe is the best in the world, at least ...

“ The Man Made of Broken Glass ” by Henry Corrigan

The Man Made of Broken Glass By Henry Corrigan “Hello, I would like a Red Eye and a blueberry scone, please.” “Don’t be so formal, child. You need to loosen up.” “Nine two eight two zero one three. Nine two eight two zero one three.” “Stop that. I raised you too well for you ...

“ Twenty-Three, Fifty-One ” by Olivia Lake

Age: 23/51 Because he was my physics teacher, I was now in grad school. I said so in my application - my love of physics was sparked and nurtured by Mr. Turner from the moment I stepped into his class. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what I would have majored in undergrad, if I would have done research on semiconductors, if I would have pursued my PhD. When he was my physics teac...

“ Too Much Talk ” by Ralph Emery Barhydt

Note: this story is about random sexuality, with a twist.“Take off your clothes.”“What?”“You heard me, take off your clothes.”“Who in holy hell are you?”“I am your next lover.”“Oh my god. Are you crazy? Go back under the rock you slithered out from.”“Am I good looking?”“Who cares?”“Just ask yourself, ‘is this dude good looking.’”“Why should I do that”“It’s important. Just do it.”“OK. Jane is this piece of garbage good looking. Hmm. Well, yes, he...

“ In the belly of the beast ” by Elka Rae

In the belly of the beast I sat, being digested slowly. Every day I am here, I am rotting, rotting, and the calluses on my hands are losing the touch of a woodsman’s labor. I’m surrounded by soft flesh while above me every beautiful sound outside is muted by layers of fat and muscle. My ax is still beside me; the blade is growing dull from all the times I’ve swung into my meaty prison since I was swallowed. All it did wa...

“ Feeding Time ” by Phillip Norman

April 4, 2023, 11:13 PM Empty empty empty empty. Same word repeated for page after tear-stained page. Journal tucked beneath loose floorboard, begging to be found. Caked with dust. Covered in rodent bones. 1121 Lexington Avenue, Boise. Corner property. Quiet part of town. Five houses each side of block. Right side neighbors hear screams. Twice monthly, like clockw...

“ The Stalker ” by Meghin Lane

“So, you’re telling me you’ve killed someone?” “You don’t have to say it like that.” “How am I supposed to say it, Henry? You literally just told me you ended someone’s life! How can I feel safe around you now? I don’t even know who you are anymore!” “I did it for you, don’t you understand? I am not a cold-hearted killer, Mila. You are looking at me as if I’m just a psychopath. I had a reason!” <...

“ Fodder ” by Lizz Dimercurio

“911, what's your emergency?” “Help! My crazy neighbor is trying to get in to kill his cat!” “Ma’am.  Please slow down.  You say your neighbor is trying to break in?  Where are you now?” “In my house.  He’s pounding on the door.  You can’t have him, Frank!  He’s mine now!” “Ma’am.  Why won’t you give him his cat?”...

“ If a Butterfly Flaps its Wings ” by Theresa Tiller

If a Butterfly Flaps Its Wings… Robert Wrecks It The highway was almost deserted as Robert navigated his minivan towards home. Behind him, his three children slept; in the darkness, Robert smiled to himself. A Newbery, he thought. 20 years listening to critics take my work apart at the seams….and now…a f...

“ Alice is missing ” by Ash Egan

"Oh aye, I'm up here every evening. First time I've seen anything like that though. I take Bobby up here for his walk after tea most days. Catching the last of the sun. The hill knackers him out and then we get some peace and quiet in the evening. Yeah, it was right over there, just in that dip as you come over the top, where all that moor grass is. A light as bright as anything. I couldn't look straight at it. I thought maybe the sun was bouncing off a bit of mirror or glass. People fly-tip up here sometimes you see, dumping ru...

“ Table For Two ” by Joseph Sauers

‘I don’t recall seeing a restaurant on this road, not out here, anyway.’‘Nottingham Road just before the cattery.’‘Sounds… nice. I hope it’s worth coming.’‘It’d better be, I’ve already recommended it to Angela.’‘Who’s Angela?’

“ Interview 12 ” by Caity G

"Agent Mark Jeffries, ID 582934. Interview 12 concerning the incident at Hope Town Community School on September 8th, 2022." "Before we begin, state your first and last name, age, and occupation for the record, please." "Penelope Waters, 27, be honest I don't know what my official title was, but I worked as a sort of assistant in the school library. Kind of did a bit of everything...

“ Hourglass ” by Dan Coglianese

The morning of his son’s 18th birthday, Bradley Gore stood outside the bedroom door with equal parts trepidation and pride. In the fleeting moments of his son’s childhood, he thought about the majestic home he had built, both figuratively and literally, around his son. Built for protection. Nestled safely inside a gated community, Bradley took every precaution to prepare for this day. The door ...

“ The Writing Competition - A Monologue ” by Nicholas Travis-Beck

Story contains: Explicit language and hints of violence and gore. “Yes, yes, come in, come in. Everybody, choose a desk. No, it doesn’t matter which. There is no assigned seating. Yes, I am in fact the man who wrote My Dog Ate My Deaf Neighbor. What’s that? Please, just take your seat. There will be time for questions here in a bit. “Okay, everyone’s in a desk? Good. Okay, my name is Mr. Goodwater. Please, keep your bottled water jokes to yourselves as I have heard them all before. “I suppose I will start out...

“ Hemlock and Lupin ” by Caroline Clausen

"Who are you?""Who am I? Who are you? This is my house.""Is it now? Interesting.""Who are you and what are you doing in my house?""I'm Hemlock.""Like the poison?""Like the tree.""Well, Hemlock, I think you should leave.""Whatever the lady of the house requests. Can I ask for her name before I go?""Lupin.""Like the wolf?""Like the flower."---"You're here again.""I am.""I'm dreaming again.""You are.""You're not act...

The Best Horror Short Stories

Horror stories. What is it that you think of first? Maybe it’s malevolent, otherworldly spirits. Or perhaps it’s psychopaths, serial killers, and struggling writers driven mad by a deserted hotel? Whatever it is, there’s one thing that unites you and every other horror lover out there — adrenaline. You know the feeling: your skin crawls, your heart pounds, a shiver runs down your spine. And, as all the best horror story writers will tell you, the cause of this feeling isn’t just the presence of a monster, but the creation of suspense. 

That’s where short stories come in. Think Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, H. P. Lovecraft: some of their best horrors take the form of a short story. Tales that climb steadily towards a dark and horrific denouement. The kind of thing that, if you’re brave enough, you’d tell your friends around a campfire — a torch casting spooky shadows on your face. 

Looking for some spine-chilling horror stories?

If you’re into creepy stories that keep you awake at night, then look no further than our collection of short horror stories, compiled from submissions to our weekly writing contest. Here we’ve gathered together all the scary stories that made us want to lock our laptops in a cupboard and hide under the blankets. And at the top of the page, is the cream of the crop: horror stories that have either won our competition or been shortlisted. 

Lots of promising new writers have emerged from this collection, deftly creating atmosphere and building that all-important suspense. So who knows? You might just discover the next Stephen King. And if you enjoy this collection of horror stories, then why not try your hand at writing your own? You could join this week’s short story contest , and walk away with the cash prize — and a shot at publication in Prompted , our new literary magazine!

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Horror Story

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It was a wonderful day in southern Spain and Sara and Kevin was out for a walk in the mouintains on their last vacation day. The view was extrodernery, olive plantings turning the otherwise dry land green and small white houses forming tiny villages, everything bathing in the strong Andalusian sunlight. As they walked upon an old path with a high cliff on the left-hand-side they passed a yellow sign with some text and the cliff painted in black, but since neither of them spoke Spanish they thought nothing of it.

They walked on by and enjoyed each others companies very much, holding hands and talking about their holiday. Suddenly Sara stopped and claimed that she heard a noice of a rock falling down from the mountain beside them, but Kevin assured her that it was perfectly okay for them to continue their walk, since he was enjoying it so much. Just a second after he spoke those words a loud noise shoke the ground and before they even had time to react, massive rocks were flying down from the cliff just beside them.

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“ She followed all my directions. It was really easy to contact her and respond very fast as well. ”

They threw themselves against a big tree next to the path as rocks kept falling down and dust started to fill the air. The horrible moment seemed to last forever….. At last it stopped, and everything turned dead silence. After a few seconds a voice was heard shouting: ‘’Sara , are you okay? Where are you? It was Kevin ofcourse. He was lying under the tree, and seemed to be safe and sound despite the horrible incident.

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A few seconds went by without an answer from Sara. He started panicing and shouting, even louder and more anxious than before. Then silently, but still, a wage sound was heard. Kevin jumped up from the place he was lying on and started to look around.

There, on the path, under a pile of rocks he saw a red thing but he couldn’t distinguish what it was. Coming closer, he saw that Sara was lying there and that the red was from her T-shirt which she wore that day. He quickly grabbed the biggest rock on top and started to push, at first it was all still which made Kevin again to panic. With all his force he pushed once again and now it slowly started to move and finally, after an heroic effort the rock slid off and Sara could get loose. She miraculously was also without any severe injuries and hugged Kevin harder than ever before, and they agreed that they won’t ignore signs they don’t understand ever again.

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Short Horror Story Essay

horror story essay 300 words

Little Shop Of Horrors: A Short Story

We stood there, complete eye contact and not a word uttered. I had just received some of the best news ever, yet he looked at me like he wanted to gouge my eyes out. I felt like he should be happy for me, I mean we were friends after all. At least I thought we were. I could tell he was mad, I knew why, unsure of what to say I let time pass for what seemed like forever. Then, he turned and walked away. That morning was when cast lists were posted. They were taped to the cold meatal wall of the playhouse, which is one of the theaters at camp. Cast list went up at 6:45am and about 400 groggy teenagers showed up to get a look. One of the shows camp was doing was Little Shop of Horrors. For those of you who do not know, Little Shop of Horrors is…

Summary Of Monkey's Paw By W. Jacobs

Do you think that wishing on a talisman could change or take away lives? in the “Monkey’s Paw” by W.W Jacobs there is a family torn apart by an evil talisman. Sgt. Major Morris is the most responsible for the white family son Herbert’s death, which will be seen through several examples throughout the text. This brief evidence will show that Sgt. Major Morris is responsible for Herbert’s death. As shown on page 34 where Sgt Major Morris said “well it’s just a bit of what you might call magic”…

How To Write An Alternate Ending To The Monkey's Paw

The Monkey's Paw (ending) There was a knocking on the door. “Its Herbert It’s Herbert!”she cried. Mr. White immediately grabbed Mrs. White. Mrs White screaming “let me go, let me go, It's our son Herbert! You're scared of your own son?” Mrs White trying her best to get away from Mr White and she finally did. The knocking was getting louder and louder. Mr White ran to the living room looking for the monkey's paw but couldn't find it. Mrs White screaming “Herbert, Herbert! I'm coming!” Mr White…

The Monkey's Paw Sparknotes

Summary of The Monkey’s Paw The Monkey’s Paw is about a talisman created by a fakir that grants three wishes per person. When Sergeant-Major Morris, a friend of Randall who visits him to catch up, he tells Randall about the story of the legend of the Monkey’s Paw. Morris gives the paw to Randall after warning him and telling about the past wishes, but Randall chooses to keep it and makes his first wish for two-hundred pounds. The morning after, Sammy, Randall’s only son, goes off to work and…

The Monkey's Paw, By W. Jacobs

I wish this paper was over. The Monkey’s Paw is a short horror story written by W.W. Jacobs. The story follows the White family who are given a wish granting monkey paw from Mr. White’s old army buddy. What seems to be a treasure is quickly deduced to actually be a curse. The wishes all become true, but only do so with a terrible twist of fate. Ultimately this leads to the White’s misery, and the death of their son Herbert. This classic tale has been reimagined through multiple mediums including…

W. Jacobs The Monkey's Paw

“The Monkey’s Paw” is a short horror story with death, magic, and fate. When Mr. White receives an enchanted monkey’s paw, he is told that it will grant three wishes. He does not, however, know the twisted consequences his greed will bring. The author of this mysterious story, W.W Jacobs, develops the theme “man should not interfere with fate” by using characters actions, dialogue, and events in the story. Mr. White’s character is very curious, But he can also be considerably Reckless when it…

Monkey's Paw Analysis

paw from destroying. I feel Mr. White believes it to be precious with enormous power, which there should be no harm than blessing to keep. Taking it one step further, the act of Mr. White saving the paw prospects him to make the wish that takes away Herbert’s life. In fact, I believe without Mr. White’s intention of keeping the paw, the paw will be destroyed and therefore Herbert will not die. Apart from that, I advocate the attitude of blaming Mr. White for Herbert’s death is the fact that Mr.…

Comparing There Will Come Soft Rain And The Monkey's Paw

Reading There will come soft rain, and The monkey’s paw, i can say that the tone that the author is trying to put out from the stories is an eerie/creepy one. In There will come soft rain, The author is trying to put a weird tone into. They're both trying to make the reader wonder what’s going on. In There will come soft rain it is very confusing till the very end. The Story all together is very eerie feeling. The story is about a house that is running by itself. The entire story is based in…

How Does W. Jacobs Create Suspense In The Monkey's Paw

of the story that has the reader’s hair standing up straight. The weather in the story is “dark, cold, and wet” (1). This tells the reader that something bad might happen this day. Also the place where the story takes place in is very creepy. It says that the family lives in an isolated house next to the new cemetery. Also Mr. White says “Of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst” (1). The action in the story also heightens the suspense.…

Monkey's Paw

Have you ever received something in your life that seemed to be great, but in the end it changes your life forever? In the story “The Monkey’s Paw” by WWW.Jacobs, a family was given a paw that granted them three wishes. They made the wishes, but one particular wish resulted in their son, Herbert’s, death. Sergeant Major Morris is the most responsible for Herbert’s death which will be seen through several examples from the text. The evidence will show that Sergeant Major Morris is responsible…

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Scary Story

“Scary Story”

One evening, I gathered enough courage to approach his house. Assuming that probably his old age had landed him to bed and did not hear my knocks, I voluntarily opened the door which was apparently unlocked. The creepy sound of the door made me begin thinking that this was a bad idea and that I should retreat. One thing led to another, I was standing somewhere in the middle of the room, and the door had locked itself.

As I made my way further into the house, I noticed that cobwebs filled the room. For a moment, I stopped and cleaned my glass owing to the dust that filled the room. Not only had it collected on my glasses, but my hair and hood as well. Making my way further, I found myself in the resting room. He did not have much, and the room had a single chair at the center that swayed voluntarily from its western design. Directly in front was a television that kept making noise without showing any signal. There was also furniture that was seemingly the resting point of the parrot. There was a significant framed picture of someone who looked like the owner of the house, and a young woman who I assumed had been the wife.

I was already restless and had it not been for my eagerness; I would have raced back home. The room was stuffy and dusty. Instantaneously, I heard some sound in the room. On looking back, I could see nothing and decided it was in my mind. I did not want to believe that is real. At this moment I had already made up my mind to leave. Then the voice came clear. Apparently, it was the parrot. I have been expecting this, so it did not move me. Nearing the door leading to upstairs, I noticed a shadow, enormous and frightening. Just before I could contemplate the view of what I saw, it went missing. Eventually, I found myself up the stairs trying to catch a glimpse of where the sound of the parrot came from. I am not sure, but I believe I thought that I wanted to rescue the animal.

I entered the first room upstairs which must have been the owner’s bedroom. Everything was misplaced in this place I wondered if he ever found anything he wanted. It was beginning to get dark. I could not see well, but there appeared to be something like human blood smeared on the walls. Water was running in the dirty bathtub and a human hand, flimsy and hairy, was hanging from the sink. I immediately turned around to run away and on whipping my head, whoop! There was the scary old man! He stood right in front of me with his supporting stick and the parrot right on his shoulder. Blood was drooping from the parrot’s beaks with entirely blackened eyes.

I said to myself this was a scary dream; nothing as frightening as this would merely happen, and to an innocent sole like me. The man’s eyes were wide open; his hair looked like he had just got an electric shock. His hands looked messy, with what appeared like human’s intestines and his tongue was licking his lips like the way a prey contemplates on a meal. Worse still, every second that passed, the man came nearer, and I just stood there unable to move. Whatever his method, the man would obviously decapitate me. I noticed an open window behind me. I wanted to believe that there would be a branch of the old tree that stood beside the house. Without time to think, I turned around and jumped. Holding on to the branch, I did not take time to land and just let myself do. Of course, I got hurt from the landing, but that was not a problem at that moment. I ran home and decided to keep quiet since it would sound a home alone story. I never wanted to think, leave alone having a glimpse of the house ever again.

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