20 Super Short Horror Stories That Will Scare the Hell Out of You

You don’t need hours or hundreds of pages to convey a truly terrifying story. With just a few sentences these incredible horror tales will send chills down your spine. These are some of the best, but if you want to read even more check out Short Scary Stories on Reddit and guarantee yourself that you’ll be sleeping with the lights on for the next week.

1. Lost Phone

Last night a friend rushed me out of the house to catch the opening act at a local bar’s music night. After a few drinks I realized my phone wasn’t in my pocket. I checked the table we were sitting at, the bar, the bathrooms, and after no luck I used my friend’s phone to call mine. After two rings someone answered, gave out a low raspy giggle and hung up. They didn’t answer again. I eventually gave it up as a lost cause and headed home. I found my phone laying on my nightstand, right where I left it.

2. Missing

Little Emily vanished last year. Now they’re pouring new sidewalks in my neighborhood, and I’ve found her name in the wet cement, written in remembrance. But it was written in reverse. And from below.

3. Insanity

It has been said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I understand the sentiment behind the saying, but it’s wrong. I entered the building on a bet. I was strapped for cash and didn’t buy into the old legends of the hotel to begin with, so fifty bucks was more than enough to get me do it. It was simple. Just reach the top floor, the 45th floor, and shine my flashlight from a window. The hotel was old and broken, including the elevator, so that meant hiking up the stairs. So up the stairs I went. As I reached each platform, I noted the old brass plaques displaying the floor numbers: 15, 16, 17, 18. I felt a little tired as I crept higher, but so far, no ghosts, no cannibals, no demons. Piece of cake.

I can’t tell you how happy I was as I entered that last stretch of numbers. I joyfully counted them aloud at each platform: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 44. I stopped and looked back down the stairs. I must have miscounted, so I continued up. 44. One more flight. 44. And then down ten flights. 44. Fifteen flights. 44. And so it’s been for as long as I can remember. So really, insanity isn’t doing something repeatedly and expecting different results. It’s knowing that the results will never ever change; that each door leads to the same staircase, to the same number. It’s realizing you no longer fall asleep. It’s not knowing whether you’ve been running for days or weeks or years. It’s when the sobbing slowly turns into laughter.

4. This New Old House

We bought an old house, my boyfriend and I. He’s in charge of the “new” construction — converting the kitchen into the master bedroom for instance, while I’m on wallpaper removal duty. The previous owner papered EVERY wall and CEILING! Removing it is brutal, but oddly satisfying. The best feeling is getting a long peel, similar to your skin when you’re peeling from a sunburn. I don’t know about you, but I kind of make a game of peeling, on the hunt for the longest piece before it rips. Under a corner section of paper in every room is a person’s name and a date. Curiosity got the best of me one night when I Googled one of the names and discovered the person was actually a missing person, the missing date matching the date under the wallpaper!

The next day, I made a list of all the names and dates. Sure enough each name was for a missing person with dates to match. We notified the police who naturally sent out the crime scene team. I overhead one tech say, “Yup, it’s human.” Human? What’s human?” Ma’am, where is the material you removed from the walls already? This isn’t wallpaper you were removing.”

5. Check Under The Bed

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.”

6. Have You Ever Walked Into a Room?

Have you ever walked into a room and found a vampire? No, not the sexy kind, but a foul creature with bony limbs and ashen skin? The kind that snarls as you enter, like a beast about to pounce? The kind that roots you to the spot with its sunken, hypnotic eyes, rendering you unable to flee as you watch the hideous thing uncoil from the shadows? Has your heart started racing though your legs refuse to? Have you felt time slow as the creature crosses the room in the darkness of a blink? Have you shuddered with fear when it places one clawed hand atop your head and another under your chin so it can tilt you, exposing your neck?

Have you squirmed as its rough, dry tongue slides down your cheek, over your jaw, to your throat, in a slithering search that’s seeking your artery? Have you felt its hot breath release in a hiss against your skin when it probes your pulse — the flow that leads to your brain? Has its tongue rested there, throbbing slightly as if savoring the moment? Have you then experienced a sinking, sucking blackness as you discover that not all vampires feed on blood — some feed on memories? Well, have you? Maybe not. But let me rephrase the question: Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly forgotten why you came in?

7. Monsters

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.

8. Another Life

I’ve been having vivid dreams lately. Not the ones that felt like I’m flying or being chased by a monster or anything. It felt like I was living someone’s life. At first, it lasted only a few seconds. Then it progressed into hours, days. Soon enough it turned into years. There were times I woke up screaming, confusing people around me because I thought I was the person in the dream. Each one was different than the last — one time I’m a regular old dad with two kids, another I was a drunk living in a dump of an apartment. I talked to a therapist about it, he thought it was short-term memory loss or me reliving a past life or that kind of shit. But I know it’s not a past life, and I know the people in my dreams are real. I tried to look up the people in my dreams, tried to find out who they were. I only found obituaries.

9. Memory Loss

It all started when I began preschool. Teachers didn’t understand why I was unable to memorize the answers to problems on a paper, but I was able to memorize the names of my classmates so well. My mother took me to a doctor who suggested I should receive a brain scan. That’s where they found the problem. Two small swellings in the hippocampus and prefrontal lobe. My mother cried as the doctor explained how it couldn’t be cured. But in that moment, I forgot why we were there anyway.

I’m 23 now, I have my own place, and managed to struggle my way through college, landing a job as a therapist. This is great for me, it’s all long term, and I just have to write everything down as they say it, so I won’t have to forget. But sometimes, as I lay on my bed, the clock reading 9 p.m., I remember things. Sometimes it’s a name of a person, but I don’t remember being acquainted with them at all.

Sometimes it’s a place, usually around a motel or hotel, but I don’t remember staying there recently.

Sometimes, it’s really strange. I’ll remember something odd, like a kitchen knife, or a small bottle of rat poison. This night though, when I turned on the news, I instantly remembered why I remember all these things. Although, it doesn’t take me long to forget.

10. Charlie

I hate it when my brother Charlie has to go away. My parents constantly try to explain to me how sick he is; that I am lucky for having a brain where all the chemicals flow properly to their destinations like undammed rivers. When I complain about how bored I am without a little brother to play with, they try to make me feel bad by pointing out that his boredom likely far surpasses mine, considering he’s confined to a dark room in an institution. I always beg for them to give him one last chance. Of course, they did at first. Charlie has been back home several times, each shorter in duration than the last. Every time without fail, it all starts again. The neighborhood cats with gouged out eyes showing up in his toy chest, my dad’s razors found dropped on the baby slide in the park across the street, mom’s vitamins replaced by bits of dishwasher tablets.

My parents are hesitant now, using “last chances” sparingly. They say his disorder makes him charming, makes it easy for him to fake normalcy, and to trick the doctors who care for him into thinking he is ready for rehabilitation. That I will just have to put up with my boredom if it means staying safe from him. I hate it when Charlie has to go away. It makes me have to pretend to be good until he is back.

11. The Perfect Plan

On Monday, I came up with the perfect plan. No one even knew we were friends. On Tuesday, he stole the gun from his dad. On Wednesday, we decided to make our move during the following day’s pep rally. On Thursday, while the entire school was in the gym, we waited just outside the doors. I was to use the gun on whoever walked out first. Then he would take the gun and go into the gym blasting. I walked up to Mr. Quinn the guidance counselor and shot him in the face three times. He fell back into the gym, dead. The shots were deafening. We heard screams in the auditorium. No one could see us yet. I handed him the gun and whispered, “Your turn.” He ran into the gym and started firing. I followed a moment after. He hadn’t hit anyone yet. Kids were scrambling and hiding. It was mayhem. I ran up behind him and tackled him. We struggled. I wrenched the gun out of his hands, turned it on him, and killed him. I closed his mouth forever. On Friday, I was anointed a hero. It was indeed the perfect plan.

12. Ghosts

I don’t want to sound mean, but the dead are pretty clueless. I’ve always seen them. When I was younger everyone thought I was just talking to imaginary friends. After a couple years, when I overheard my parents talk about calling a psychologist, I realized what I was talking to. See, ghosts don’t tend to realize they’re dead, and they don’t look like in the movies, they look just like us. I’m pretty smart for a 13-year-old, so I started noticing certain patterns to tell them apart from the living. They could be a bit distant from living people, or you’d see them try to talk to people who wouldn’t even notice them. Some of them could tell I was different, that I noticed them. Like this guy I saw after school yesterday. I’m a big boy now, see, I don’t need my parents to pick me up, home is just a short walk away.

He was standing away from the other parents, didn’t talk to them, just stared at me, that’s how I knew he was one of the ghosts. I went over, told him I knew what he was and asked how I could help him. I don’t remember much after that, I think because of what happened this morning. Downstairs, my parents were crying. I tried talking to them but they ignored me. They must have died last night somehow. Sometimes the new ghosts wouldn’t talk to me. Some police officers and reporters just arrived, they won’t talk to me either, just my parents. It’s weird, I’ve never seen so many ghosts together before. Why won’t anyone talk to me?

13. The Mannequin

They delivered the mannequins in bubble wrap. From the main room I begin to hear popping.

14. Mom

You hear your mom calling you into the kitchen. As you are heading down the stairs you hear a whisper from the closet saying, “Don’t go down there honey, I heard it too.”

15. Don’t Take Brexiprozalene

I dn’t have much time, they’ll notice I’m not in my room soon and I need to make sure this message gets out. Brexiprozalene doesn’t treat deression or schizophrenia lik they say it will. It’s still in clinical trials but DON’T TAKE IT o matter how much mone they give you or hw good it sonds. It’s not good. It’s eally not good. I used to be depresed and could hear and see things that people told me wern’t there. Skitzo, they called me. Might have been my paranoia too, so I coud write it of. But the doctors wanted to treat me, make me better. Well I’m not better now, no, not at all. See, they’re working ogether. I don’t know how they cmmunicate or why they’re doing it, but the things in the corner of your eye? The ‘reflections’ that don’t seem quite right? That whistling in your ear?

It’s real. They’re real. And the drg makes it so they don’t just stay in your head anymore. I heard the doctors talking about it, so I know it’s — Shit, they’re coming. Pleae, someone help get me out of here. My name is Emily and I’m at St. Lawre

NOTE: The Missing Letters Spell: OPEN YOURSELF TO US

16. The Wooden Chair

When my sister Betsy and I were kids, our family lived for awhile in a charming old farmhouse. We loved exploring its dusty corners and climbing the apple tree in the backyard. But our favorite thing was the ghost. We called her Mother, because she seemed so kind and nurturing. Some mornings Betsy and I would wake up, and on each of our nightstands, we’d find a cup that hadn’t been there the night before. Mother had left them there, worried that we’d get thirsty during the night. She just wanted to take care of us. Among the house’s original furnishings was an antique wooden chair, which we kept against the back wall of the living room. Whenever we were preoccupied, watching TV or playing a game, Mother would inch that chair forward, across the room, toward us. Sometimes she’d manage to move it all the way to the center of the room. We always felt sad putting it back against the wall.

Mother just wanted to be near us. Years later, long after we’d moved out, I found an old newspaper article about the farmhouse’s original occupant, a widow. She’d murdered her two children by giving them each a cup of poisoned milk before bed. Then she’d hanged herself. The article included a photo of the farmhouse’s living room, with a woman’s body hanging from a beam. Beneath her, knocked over, was that old wooden chair, placed exactly in the center of the room.

17. The Happiest Day of My Life

I watched as my soon to be father-in-law held his daughter’s hand as he walked down the aisle. Tears streamed down his face as the wedding march that played in the background reminded him that, in a few minutes, he would be watching me hold his daughter’s hand and slipping on her ring. He walked up to the altar and I took hold of her hand, grinning from ear to ear. It was the happiest day of my life. My bride’s father got down on his knees and started begging. “Please, I did what you asked. Just please give my daughter back.” I glared at him. “Shut up and stop ruining the moment. If you sit back down and enjoy the ceremony, maybe I’ll tell you where I’ve hidden the rest of her body.”

18. The Hands

The doctor pulled the stethoscope ear tips out and hung the device around his neck. “Mr. Weatherby, all of your tests have come back negative and my examination shows nothing abnormal.” Adam knew what was coming next. “I’m not crazy, Doctor.” “I’m sorry, but there is no physical reason for why you occasionally lose control of your hands. A psychologist can help…” “I don’t need therapy. I need answers. They seem to have a life of their own. I can’t hold a job. I’m under investigation for assault. I almost killed my neighbor. This can’t go on. I’ll try anything at this point.” After two weeks on a new medication, Adam saw no progress and grew increasingly depressed. He was convinced that despite what the doctors said, it was not a psychological problem.

That night, a frustrated and angry Adam sat in a chair and drank bourbon. Drunk and hopeless, he stumbled to the garage and started the table saw, then slowly lowered his wrists toward the screaming blade. Detective Armstrong entered the garage where several uniformed officers stood over the blood-soaked body.” So what do we got?” he asked, taking in the blood-splattered scene. “This is a weird one, Detective.” “How so?” “Take a look at the body. He apparently chopped off his hands with the table saw and bled to death. “Armstrong knelt down. “And?” “And we can’t find his hands anywhere.”

19. 1001

“The Moores are having a baby.”

I glanced up from the table, surprised. “They got the okay?”

My husband nodded. “The paperwork came in today, so I heard.” He lowered his eyes in sorrow. “Poor Joanna.”

“She’s only 53,” I breathed.

A bead of sweat dripped down my brow, landing on the cool, concrete floor of the bunker. I tried to remind myself to be thankful for this place, this concrete tomb, but it grew more difficult each day. Perpetuum Technologies, the company that sprung up just in time for the largest nuclear war the world had ever seen, had designed the vault to sustain one thousand people for as long as it took the surface to be inhabitable again.

Exactly one thousand people.

Poor Joanna indeed.

20. He Stood Against My Window

I don’t know why I looked up, but when I did I saw him there. He stood against my window. His forehead rested against the glass, and his eyes were still and light and he smiled a lipstick-red, cartoonish grin. And he just stood there in the window. My wife was upstairs sleeping, my son was in his crib and I couldn’t move. I froze and watched him looking past me through the glass.

Oh, please no. His smile never moved but he put a hand up and slid it down the glass, watching me. With matted hair and yellow skin and face through the window. I couldn’t do anything. I just stayed there, frozen, feet still in the bushes I was pruning, looking into my home. He stood against my window.


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