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The Three-Sentence Horror Story
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 2:30 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


Just in time for Halloweena crepuscularly [sic] creepy, frightfully-fun writer's exercise: the three-sentence horror story.

 

Can you send a shiver of terror or horror up the spine of your reader in only three sentences? Perhaps you'd prefer the humorous approach. In any event: 'tis a challenge, to be sure! 

 

The prose must be as concentrated as modern-day laundry detergent, the over-all effect haiku-like. There is zero room for excess verbiage, weak words or imprecise language. Every single word and punctuation mark must bear its own weight and work to amplify the story's desired effect. The line break is critical; it can make or break your—what's shorter than flash fiction—dart fiction? Hyper-flash fiction?    

 

The three-sentence horror story is more poem than prose. And that's why it's such a great exercise for working writers: It forces you to pay laser-like, focused attention to your own words, diction, sentence variety, punctuation and paragraph structure. 

 

I urge you to try it. Have fun!

 

To start us off:

..................................................................................................................................

 

“Mommy, your face!”

“A mask that hid my insectile maw.”

Her shrieks woke up the neighborhood.

 

..................................................................................................................................

 

He jolted awake in the dark. “My god, what a nightmare!”

He jolted awake in the dark . . .

 

..................................................................................................................................

 

Shakespearean scholar Richard Tompkins stood before the mirror gazing at the red ruin of his face.

In the sink: gore-spattered hammer, knife and pliers. 

In his fists: a pound of flesh.

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/28/2015, 8:48 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 9:33 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Vekoslav sopped up the remaining gore with the little girl, whose eyes widened as her head neared the ogre's mouth. "Getcha getcha getcha," cooed the beast. Her muffled screams stopped with bone-crunching suddenness.
Atthys Gage
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 10:56 AM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467


Ribbon-thin and split lengthwise, the long tongue lapped the last drip from puckered, clotted flesh.

"As with all contracts, sir," he spoke, red spit flecking his sibilants, "the devil is in the details."

He flounced a handsome, silk handkerchief and dabbed his brittle bone lips.


Russell Giles
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 2:39 PM
Joined: 3/4/2014
Posts: 19


With a triumphant shriek, she slammed the door behind her.  She locked the bolt, engaged the chain, wedged a chair against the handle.  It was most unfortunate she didn't see the window.
James Blackford
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 7:56 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 12


Corvan struck the match against the stone wall, once, twice, three times before it crumpled in his fingers. He cursed under his breath, hoping to god that whatever was following him didn't see the mini fireworks show he just put on in the complete darkness of the cave. The footsteps quieted then stopped altogether as a clawed hand wrapped around his fingers and a child's voice whispered in his ear.

--edited by James Blackford on 10/12/2014, 8:45 PM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 8:56 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


 

 

“The bones of the little ones always stick in my teeth.”

“Then don’t eat the little ones.”

“But they’re the easiest to catch.”

 

 

Detective Brown found the missing kid’s cell phone in the middle of bedroom floor. With a grunt, he picked up the phone and accessed the photo album. Damn it, another selfie of another terrified teenager - fifteenth one this week.

 


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014 5:06 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


Hi! Here's what I wrote:

 

The smell of metal and disinfectant hit her fast. Feeling dizzy, Katelyn reached to try to soothe her pounding head. Too bad Dr. Michaels hand was already in her head. 

 

This is fun! I hope you don't mind me sharing some of these on social media...

--edited by Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant on 10/13/2014, 5:09 PM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014 11:47 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Janet: Not at all! Thanks for joining us in our ghoulish good fun.
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 12:07 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


One more:

............................................

 

Scarecrow Michael Jackson came skipping toward her, hand-in-hand with Tinman Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross the Cowardly Lion. The wizard Richard Pryor followed in their wake: “Crazy-ass muthafuckas!” he said.

 

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in 1939 Oz-land anymore . . .” said Dorothy. 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/27/2015, 6:06 PM--


Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 1:20 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


I'm working on my entry, Carl. It's kinda got away from me. How does a three sentence story get away from you? Keep in mind who you're talking to here.
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:55 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Mimi: I understand. It's trickier than it looks. Can't wait to see what you come with! 

 

Love reading what everyone's contributed so far. Keep 'em coming, folks!


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 3:19 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


Three more from Yours truly:

..............................................

 

“What makes you think you’re a ‘ghost dervish’ ?”

“I have half-integer spin; I can penetrate walls, floor and ceilings at will; I have little or no mass.”

“Ah, I see your problem—you’re a neutrino.”

 

 

The little building quaked in terror. “I’m having vivid nightmares of shrink-wrapped pallets, rows and rows of boxed product, forklifts. The next full moon I fear I’ll become a . . . a . . . werehouse!”  

 

 

              Finished plucking the petals off daisies, Frankenstein’s monster picked up the little girl and threw her into the water.          

              A young boy came rocketing across the deck and hit the monster from behind, just above the knees, knocking him into the pool amongst the laughing, shrieking children.     

             “Your turn!” the boy chortled with glee.

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/27/2015, 6:08 PM--


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 10:16 AM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


This is really hard to do! It took me almost an hour to think of a story.
Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 1:54 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014


I am asked by a friend of longstanding to comment on a rather forbidding piece (saints preserve me from these would-be authors!) entitled ‘Thoughts On The Universe’, which I perceive to be fairly hopeless, truly daunting, extravagant of both style and content, at best semi-coherent, at worst, and this is what I begin to fear, proof positive of serious mental deterioration, for the preface states the author’s purpose to be the following: to express and elucidate the reaction of what he calls ‘the natural man’ at unnatural beliefs encountered in excursions through an auxilliary world, access to which Zogby (we called him Soggy back at school – some of us terrorized him, I’m afraid, he was loath to use the john at night, fearful of targeted booby-traps, impacting his bedding on various occasions) … crap, I’ve lost my train of thought, I do that … yes, Soggy claims he has access, through a portal miraculously opened to him in his disorganized basement (dare I opine, in his disorganized mind?) when he uttered an incantation which he had often heard his mum pronounce but of which he'd never extracted from her the import, this after stubbing a toe reaching for a put-by jar of the mysteriously disappeared (decamped, he's always insisted) Hepula’s preserved pears, he always adored his poire Mama, he called it, pears soaked in vodka syrup, we all did, another sore spot, the concoction drew down steadily over the course of the term no matter how hard he worked to protect it.

.

I shall give my full attention to the nonsense (no less than what I promised, I fear to be examined at some point on the sincerity of my effort) though I see already that I have my work cut out for me, the introduction being so challenging that I dread the Full Monty, and I am beginning to experience a resurgence of the emotions I entertained when the police dug up that self-same basement floor in search of the gone-missing mamakins, namely, that sad-sack Soggy has gone flat-out wigs on us at last.

.

How I was induced to take on this task, suffice it to say that as a doctor of psychology I was bound to be intrigued by the author’s highly inflammatory quotes from the opus; on top of that, he promised that a letter awaited me with suggestions for the dedication, from which I was to choose my favorite, for he intends to honor me for my steadfast support back at St. Albans … I guess he never suspected me behind the bullying after all … ah, here it is … ha, here’s an oddment for you, what the devil can he mean by this: To My Old Friend Westphall, I’ll have the last laugh out of this sick joke we call life, for I have the advantage over you at last and so, dear boy, read on and be amazed, aghast, and, I trust, enriched (for all the good it will do you) by secrets vouchsafed to me as the son of my mother, the old lush, off on a decade-long toot in God-knows-what level of hell, leaving me to deal with absurd suspicions of having done the old bat in.

.

FYI: I have taken my cue, style-wise, from The Poet At The Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. This one goes on my shelf of very favorite books, to be read and enjoyed again and again. Bonus feature: packed with obscure classical references that I can use for Sly. The discarded books gods were good to me at the last library sale.


--edited by Mimi Speike on 10/15/2014, 7:46 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:18 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


LOL!

OMG, Mimi, you've caught whatever Carl has! Hie thee to Dallas for quarantine!

 

Seriously -your story is great!!! I enjoyed a good laugh.


Zach Heher
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 3:59 PM
Let me try something.

 

The door burst open as a shadow of a red eyed demon stood in the hall. Its eyes burned with rage. When she opened her gnarled jaws she howled to me, "ZACH, I TOLD YOU TO TAKE OUT THE DAMN GARBAGE!"

 

Whatcha think?


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 4:52 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@GD: Lol! Indeed.

 

@Zach: I think you're in trouble with your wife, girlfriend and/or mother. 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/15/2014, 5:18 PM--


Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 4:58 PM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


That was funny, Zach!
James Hold
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:32 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 3


 

 

This may not qualify. I modified it from something I posted at Smashwords. Anyway...

 

 

"Ooh," the co-ed donned her flimsy negligee, "I think I'll go investigate that strange noise."

Hack! Thud!

 


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 10:35 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@James Hold: God help me, I giggled. I'm going to Hell . . .

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/17/2014, 5:59 PM--


James Blackford
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 10:48 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 12


"Now I lay me down to sleep," Timmy paused and forced his gaze downward, trying not to stare at the man with no eyes that hid in the shadows of his room.

"I pray the lord my soul to keep," he slowly craned his head back up to see the man had moved and was now standing at the foot of Timmy's bed, his black teeth clenched in a smile.

"If I die before I wake," 

Timmy paused again as the man raised a bony finger to his lips, blood running down the eyeball that was perched on its tip.


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:18 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


“I love you.”

“Thank you.”

:::sock!:::

 

 

Smithers came awake with a start. He’d always slept nude; never had a problem before.

What the $%#! just crawled up his . . .

 

 

There was the merest whisper-tickle at his neck, then sky and ground revolved—once, twice, three times—followed by a sodden thump. He stared up at the jeering crowd from near ground level: top-most head in a basket of severed heads. Darkness. 

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/19/2014, 5:33 AM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Friday, October 17, 2014 5:58 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


I guess I'll have to keep this thread going all by myself . . . 

.........................

 

“That’s silly, Daddy; unicorns don’t light their farts.”

 

“Of course they do! Where do you think perfume comes from?”


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Friday, October 17, 2014 6:01 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Ha!

 

I thought about this all morning, and the most terrifying thing I could think of was this:

 

 

Friday morning.

Crazy week almost over.

No more coffee in the kitchen cabinet.


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Friday, October 17, 2014 6:06 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@Lucy: That is terrifying, heh!
James Hold
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 12:03 AM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 3


"Oh, sorry," said the vampire phlebotomist. "It's my first day. Let me get a bandage for your neck."
Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 7:38 AM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142


@James I like that one!
Joe Niewierski
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 10:42 AM
Joined: 7/30/2013
Posts: 1


Great to see some AuthorStand-ers in a co-op forum thread!

 

"They come for you when you're at your lowest.

"I've been in far worse positions than I am now."

"Then cherish your ignorance for what little time you have left."

 


James Blackford
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 3:34 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 12


i've never really posted on a forum much before, so im not privy to the etiquette, so if this isn't kosher i'll take it down. But in the spirit of writing and Halloween, how about, not so much a writing contest, but a Halloween themed, story writing trading critique thing. Something like a story 4k words or under involving Halloween, where people that want to trade critiques can post a link on this forum, and anyone that reviews your story, you review theirs? or something? I always loved that about Authorstand because it was a guarenteed way to get feedback. Anyway lemme know your thoughts, thanks

--edited by James Blackford on 10/19/2014, 1:52 PM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2014 5:31 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


 

The man put on his happy-time face: red rubber nose, silver-glitter eyelashes, white pancake make-up and black lipstick.

 

From the basement below, a muffled screech: half ball-gagged retch, half stifled scream—followed by a desperate rattle of chains. 

 

“Coming,” the clown called, as he picked up dildo and power drill.

…………………………………………

 

ZAP!

 

POW!

 

Bat-maaan . . .

 

…………………………………………

 

The bullet-riddled Sopwith Camel burst into flame and started a controlled, sharply-angled descent toward open ground below.

 

A clenched beagle fist pumped in the prop wash of the windmilling blades powered by the high-torque, 9-cylinder Clerget rotary engine.

 

“Curse you, Red Baron!”

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/27/2015, 6:11 PM--


James Blackford
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2014 12:38 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 12


Thomas laughed as he grabbed the toy retractable knife from the shelf.

"Get a load of this." he made a face at his girlfriend, then stabbed it hard into his thigh, he screamed.

Blood pooled around the blade and the shopkeeper smiled, locking the door behind him.


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2014 11:05 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


@James Blackford re: critique trading--yes, of course--go for it. Great idea. I'd start a new thread, though, so that it's easier to keep track of folks who want to participate.
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2014 12:36 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


“You cannot destroy me, priest; your crucifix holds no power over an agnostic such as I!”

 

Father Richards held his back-up talisman stiff-armed before him as he advanced upon the vampire: a foot-long question mark made of sterling silver.

 

“AAIEEE!” cried the vampire, flinging his cape over his face and sinking to the floor with a defeated whimper.

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/27/2015, 6:12 PM--


James Blackford
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2014 2:16 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 12


@ Lucy, could you link the new thread in this one so folks can make their way over there? people like me that suck at navigating forums would appreciate it, thanks
Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2014 3:51 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Hi James--I haven't started a thread for you--you should go ahead and make one so that you can describe what you'd like folks to do!
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:41 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


In lurid, two-foot-high letters the sign proclaimed: Horror of the Wax Museum! Thousands of Chilling Exhibits!


They paid their admittance fee and entered, only to findrow-upon-row, rank upon yellow-brown-speckled-with-pinpricks-of-blood rankof used Q-tips.

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/27/2015, 6:13 PM--


Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:46 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


OMG Carl--ew!!!!  shocked

 

Pretty hysterical, though . . .


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 3:18 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


Heh-heh! Well, it is a horror thread . . .    

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 10/21/2014, 3:18 PM--


Angela Martello
Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:42 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394


Carl, Carl, Carl. . . way to freak me out and make me guffaw at the same time. . .

 

Here's another. Man, these are hard to pull off!

 

-------------------------------

The alarm clock across the room, perched high on the chest of drawers, began its incessant, nerve-wracking, high-pitched chirping with the sole purpose of forcing Jimmy to wake up and get the hell out of bed -- even though the damn sun wasn't up yet.

"Shut the hell up!" groaned Jimmy as he flung a sneaker in the general direction of the shrill cacophony.

"Yo, man, that hurt. . ."

 

 

 


Russell Giles
Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 12:18 AM
Joined: 3/4/2014
Posts: 19


Yup, I'm pretty sure Carl wins this one.  No reason to stop the momentum though.

 

"Ah, I got a caramelized eyeball, a bit of blood-gristle, and a dead man's tongue: what'd you get, Chernobog?"

"Smarties."

"Ewww!"


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:22 AM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Night Of The Newborn: New Carl Meets Old Carl, A Sci Fi Channel Movie

 

The baby came out screaming and beat the doctor to death with his unusually hardened placenta and wrapped his umbilical cord 

around the nurse, who ran dragging him into the hallway, not realizing she was bait.

 

Around the corner careened Old Carl in his wheelchair, eyes fixed on the buxom nurse, face all contorted, spittle dribbling from his 

chin....


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:41 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


 

It was a dark and stormy night.

 

The opposite of a sunny, cloudless day.

 

:::crumples paper::: 

 

.......................................................................

 

"Run, Bambi, run!"

 

A shot rang out and the bouncer crumpled to the floor.

 

Bambi ranthrough the room and down corridor, lungs afire, heart pounding in her chestgrateful for the stamina she'd built up in long, late-night training sessions gyrating on the club's stripper pole.   

 

.......................................................................

 

"Mother, I don't want to eat my brains!"

 

"You're not eating your brains; you're eating his brains!" Mrs. Barkly said with an exasperated sigh.

 

Eight-year-old Elizabeth poked moodily at the severed head rolling around in her bowl—semantics, she thought.

 

--edited by Carl E. Reed on 9/27/2015, 6:14 PM--


James Blackford
Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 9:13 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 12


"Ahh, Mr. Baker, you're finally awake" the doctor said, giving the man in the hospital bed a wide smile.

"You'll be happy to know the operation was a complete success." the doc smiled, glancing out the window at the setting sun.

"And just in time too, i've got a hot date in-" he froze, staring at his empty wrist where the Rolex used to be, then to the bandage covering the stitches on the patient's stomach, and groaned.

 

--edited by James Blackford on 10/22/2014, 9:23 PM--


GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 10:17 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


Theirs Not To Reason Why

 

Duke donned the newly issued Light Brigade power armor and read the ready lights: environmental controls on, target systems on, rockets & machine guns on, and he felt the surge of invincibility that power armor always gave him as he strode into battle.

 

Even when the firefight turned against his squad, he knew their power armor could quickly get them all to safety before the unexpected hordes of enemy soldiers overran their position.

 

Suddenly another ready light came on, one he'd never seen before and instead of retreating, his squad charged into the valley of death as he read, "Remote Control On."


Robert G. Moons
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 1:24 AM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 18


The door exploded into pieces as the werewolf burst in and instantly
transfixed on Darryl with predatory eyes.

 
Darryl reached down, picked up a foot long sliver of the door, threw
it past the horror whose blood-red eyes followed the projectile as it
spun out the door.

 
When the hulking creature eagerly ran to fetch the stick, Darryl walked
over to a drawer, pulled out his favourite gun, a magnum, loaded with
silver hollow-points.

--edited by Robert G. Moons on 10/23/2014, 9:40 AM--


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 9:29 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@GD: That's a great short story there! I'd love to see you expand that into a 10-pager.
Carl E. Reed
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 9:37 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


"You may feel a little pressure."

 

Vincent "Whispering Death" Accardo, hit man for the Bonanno crime family, writhed in the dentist's chair, unable to break the bonds of the masking tape that held him fast.

 

The dentist lit the stick of dynamite jammed into Vincent's mouth.


GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:03 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Carl: regarding your post of October 23, 2014 9:29 AM, "@GD: That's a great short story there! I'd love to see you expand that into a 10-pager;" which referred to my post of October 22, 2014 10:17 PM, I hereby give you all & any of my rights to the story idea.


You can do real justice to a zany idea like remote control power armor. You might even throw in a sidekick wielding a nuclear hand grenade.


Write it if you will, I'd love to read it! biggrin


Carl E. Reed
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 4:59 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608


@GD: Thanks, buddy! I'm a-stealin' that idear right quick-like, but acknowledgin' ma debt to you'n as "based on a right-powerful idea by the honorable G. D. Deckard" in all weird manuscripts to come from such scritch-scribbling. You hain't gots to sue me, like Harlan Ellison had to a-them jokers what made the first Terminator film rippin' off his old Outer Limits episode script.
GD Deckard
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:18 PM
Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 159


@Carl

Ha! Go for it old friend & luck to Ye.


 

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