Scott Hardie | November 2, 2013
Strunk & White's writing advice to omit needless words is a fertile idea for creative experiments, because of elegance in simplicity. The classic short story Knock by Fredric Brown has been said to contain the scariest story ever told in two sentences:

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.
For Halloween, Reddit users drafted their own two-sentence scary stories, some of which are quite impressive, and might be short enough to be tweeted in full.

Can you tell a scary story in two sentences? I'll give it a shot:

An infirm old man on his deathbed was terrified of dying alone that night, so he weakly telephoned the only relative he had, an estranged brother whom he had driven away by playing cruel pranks. After hanging up, he was relieved that the brother reluctantly agreed to come over, until he remembered that his house was locked and all the lights were off.

Steve West | November 2, 2013
I believe in the boogeyman and that he's moved into the house next door to me. Every night for a week I've heard the eerie sounds of knives scraping against whetstones and insane cackles mixed with the keening of my name.

Steve West | November 2, 2013
They say that everyone in the world has a doppelganger, someone who resembles you perfectly. I met mine today when he walked out of my house telling my wife and kids that he would be home in time for dinner and then turned and looked me square in the eye and smiled as a drop of spittle rolled down his chin.

Samir Mehta | November 3, 2013
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Samir Mehta | November 3, 2013
I knew I didn't have much time to warn them so I ran as fast as I could into the crowded town square. They stared at me expectantly as I gestured wildly and remembered too late that it had taken my tongue.

Scott Hardie | November 3, 2013
These are great. :-)

Steve West | November 3, 2013
He stared into Molly's startlingly blue eyes and asked, "What shall we have for our meal, my Love and I'll say up front that I had my heart set on brains?" Molly didn't reply as her head had been neatly severed from her body in preparation for that evening's supper.

Samir Mehta | November 3, 2013
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Steve West | November 3, 2013
The private detective was stunned when what he thought was a routine divorce case caused the suspect he was trailing to toss a grenade through his car window and he shouted to his small son, "Throw that out the window, quick!" "But Daddy," the young boy replied with a trembling voice, "you said I should never be a litterbu..."

Steve West | November 6, 2013
After four hours of being locked in the walk-in freezer, Ritchie was desperately thinking of how to make himself taste terrible. The restaurant at which he worked, and in whose freezer he was currently locked, was famous for their home-made burgers and his attempts to locate something to break down the door merely served to uncover six, neatly wrapped, human arms.

Scott Hardie | November 7, 2013
Lying paralyzed in the wet leaves at the bottom of the ravine, Amber could only watch helplessly as a murder of carrion crows gathered in the branches above her, the hunger and anticipation manifest in their posture. Able to move only her eyes, she shifted her gaze and spotted the wreckage of her car nearby, and the leather purse where it had been flung out with her, and the wallet that laid open to reveal her organ donor card.

Steve West | November 8, 2013
Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH! Paralyzed by the first painful bite, I no longer feel any pain but I can both see and hear the aliens as they take bite after bite of my legs with their blood-drenched mouths.

Steve West | November 27, 2013
I pulled open the closet door just a crack because I couldn't help myself, despite the groaning noise emanating from within. From the sliver of light I could just make out the massive eye that stared at me as I realized the thing within had pushed the door open from the inside just a crack.

Steve West | July 8, 2014
On a distant planet lighted by six suns, a cosmic inevitability occurred. Every 2000 years, the orbit of the planet lined up the suns and variety of moons so that a total eclipse occurred for a planet that had no experience with darkness - total population insanity ensued. (Two sentence synopsis of Asimov's fantastic short story, "Nightfall", 1941)

Steve West | July 9, 2014
As I was tucking in my two-year old he said, "Goodbye." When I corrected him that now we say 'Good night', he replied, "No, this time it's Goodbye."

Scott Hardie | July 9, 2014
It's strange that the radio show host keeps telling me to shoot people. I don't own a radio.

Steve West | November 15, 2014
He met Ruth, his wife of twenty years, at the scenic overlook they'd admired together on countless occasions. Any hopes he had of recovering their marriage after her numerous infidelities were dashed after brief moments and he tossed her both figuratively and literally and then drove home ruthlessly.

Scott Hardie | May 29, 2018

Steve West | November 28, 2018
For your execution, we've selected Lingchi or Death by a Thousand Cuts except we'll only commit one per day. Since many of your wounds will at least partially heal - this may take a while.

Steve West | November 30, 2018
Human bone is stronger than steel or iron so I began paving new roads with the skulls of my enemies. After all, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands more people than good roads.

Steve West | November 30, 2018
I know that ghosts exist because there's one in my house who moves things around, makes ghastly noises, and writes eerie messages on the walls. I know it's a ghost because it's me.

Steve West | November 30, 2018
There's a new gravestone at the cemetery with my name carved on it with quite beautiful ornate figures and flowers. I didn't order it and the date of death is tomorrow.

Scott Hardie | November 30, 2018

Steve West | May 23, 2019
Knowledge of grammar easily distinguishes the difference of "Look ahead in the road" from "Look, a head in the road". Knowledge of grammar was moot in Myrna's case as the amount of blood pooling from her severed head made the difference irrelevant.

Steve West | January 27, 2021
Gazing out my window, I see the snowbanks melting, revealing what has been sleeping beneath them all winter. They are hungry.

Samir Mehta | January 27, 2021
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Erik Bates | January 27, 2021
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Steve West | November 29, 2021
In the year 2053, a girl lays on her bed wearing vintage Ugg boots and says, "I was born in the wrong generation." She sighs as she listens to Taylor Swift and cries over a One Direction poster. ----- Some kids are gonna be like this and it terrifies me.

Steve West | March 26, 2022
The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest. I sat upright, relieved it was only a dream but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, I heard my closet door creak open.

Steve West | March 26, 2022
I think I may be the most successful serial killer in history. The best part is telling their loved ones, "We did the best we could."

Steve West | September 22, 2022
I look at my father's head on the wall, knowing that he'd be proud of me, today. Then I look back at the hunter and sink my antlers into his chest.

Scott Hardie | September 22, 2022
A man sat alone in his apartment in a city of millions of people. No one ever knocked on the door.

Scott Hardie | November 10, 2022
My favorite entries in a 15-second horror film competition: Emma, Good Night!, and Paradox.

Steve West | April 16, 2023
Welcoming my group into his refuge, the man said, "Now be careful, that line of rock salt is the only thing keeping them out!" "Sea salt," I clarified, "sea salt keeps us out."

Steve West | July 24, 2023
After I lost my eyesight, my family took care of me for years. But when my eyesight returned, I pretended to still be blind so I could figure out what these people did to my family.

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