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Scariest short story in the world?!


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Initial post: Oct 22, 2010 2:14:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 22, 2010 4:48:17 PM PDT
Thirteen (Volume 1)

I've been reading this collection of stories - my brother loaned it to me. I'm about twenty stories in (there's 113 in total) and although one or two were a bit hit and miss, some of them are TERRIFYING!!!

The first one is called 'The Magic' and is easily the scariest short story I have ever read and it was only two pages long! I am hooked!

Anyone else recommend some short stories? Really scary ones, I mean (I've read all the Stephen King ones).

Posted on Oct 22, 2010 6:15:10 PM PDT
Nick Jones says:
Define "really scary".

Have you ever read 'Orange is for Anguish, Blue Insanity' by David Morrell? It's in his collection, Black Evening: Tales of Dark Suspense. Frightening and disturbing.
'The Highway', by Edo van Belkom in Jeff Gelb's Fear Itself. Lots of scary stories.
'Lapses', by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, in Dennis Etchison's Cutting Edge. Terrific story, and I'm saying that as someone who doesn't much like her writing.

Posted on Oct 23, 2010 2:15:49 AM PDT
I think any definitions of 'really scary' are going to be so subjective. But for me the story I read ('Th Magic') kind of asks you to take part in it and carry out some actions (nothing illegal!) - I don't want to give too much away in case I spoil it, but it was only two pages long and it freaked me out!

Thanks for the suggestions you made - much appreciated! I have read some David Morrell but the other ones are new to me, so will check them out!

Posted on Oct 23, 2010 3:02:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2010 3:05:14 AM PDT
I thought the short stories in 20th Century Ghosts were very frightening. This is a collection of books written by Stephen King's son, Joe Hill. Like his dad, Joe writes very well. His fiction is actually a little more demented than Papa King's in a Twilight Zone, this is making me uncomfortable kind of way.

20th Century Ghosts

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2010 9:26:20 PM PDT
Nick Jones says:
I have decades of stuff that I've read, all I have to do is track down what story is in which book. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2010 6:41:26 AM PDT
Lisa Smith says:
The story in 20th Century Ghosts called Button Boy (or something to that effect) was one that I keep thinking about, long after I read it.

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 7:15:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2010 7:23:10 PM PDT
Jeff Sekerak says:
'Transfer' (Barry Malzberg). Among the best, and certainly scariest, transformation/werewolf stories ever written. Available in: 100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories (100 Stories). The 'scary' element of the story is the narrator's (it's told from first person viewpoint) gradual realization of his increasingly rare ability to control the when/where of his transformations. There is also a very disturbing aspect related to his choice of victims, and to some of their reactions upon their point of victimization by narrator. For example, some display resignation, and even willingness, to accept their gruesome deaths at the narrator's...spikes and claws. If you take the time to track this one down, I think you'll agree, it requires multiple readings to truly appreciate how horrifying it is; on several levels. It's also available in this anthology: Great Tales of Horror and the Supernatural.

I've also always been disturbed by 'The Man Who Loved Flowers.' I'm sure most of you have read this one. In: Night Shift. It really is a terrifying view into a specific young serial killer's mind---and the mechanism or trigger that causes his...attacks. Very, very beautifully done, horrific story. Read it again.

And of course, 'Daughter of the Golden West,' on the inherited taste for flesh on the part of a young woman. For my vote, one of the greatest short stories ever written. Certainly the most brutal, horrific ending of any short story I've come across. In: The Dark Country. By a man known largely for 'quiet' horror stories.

Also, 'Rawhead Rex.' See: Clive Barker's Books of Blood 1-3.

Jeff Sekerak
http://www.superiorbodyhealth.com

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 8:11:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2010 8:15:45 PM PDT
Jeff Sekerak says:
If you have not read the K. McCauley edited collection called DARK FORCES, it is worth your time. Link: Dark Forces.

It contains one of the most disturbing horror stories I've ever read. That is native Texas author Lisa Tuttle's 'Where The Stones Grow.' Telling the story of a young man who, while visiting Europe early in his life, comes across three statuesque, human-sized stones on the seashore of a small beach community.

When he inquires about the stones, he is told by locals that they contain, if I correctly recall, the spirits of three witches cast out by an earlier generation of the local...town folk. However, he is told, one cannot look at them at a certain time of day or 'they'll kill anyone who sees them.'

Our narrator sees the stones at an unfortunate time (for him). I believe it is when they choose to bathe in the sea, that they must not be looked upon by the public at large. I do not recall the exact details, because I read the tale many years ago. Which speaks to the true horror it invokes. IT'S CREATION OF DREAD HAS REMAINED IN MY NERVOUS SYSTEM ALL THIS TIME.

He returns to America and is subsequently stalked, by the 'stone witches.' His end is not a pleasant one.

This story is reminiscent of S. King's 'The Boogeyman,' in that, we are given an otherworldly creature, or in Tuttle's case, creatures, who stalk a narrator throughout life. And try as he might, in both cases, his fate seems decided by forces beyond his control (due to an earlier miscalculation on his part).

There is clearly something fatal and terrifying about that lack of control. Especially when that theme is in the hands of a skillful writer like Tuttle.

Dark Forces has more good stuff in it, including stories by Karl E. Wagner and J. C. Oates. But believe me, it's worth it for the Tuttle tale alone.

Jeff Sekerak

Posted on Oct 29, 2010 3:58:16 AM PDT
JayMac says:
I just read the first one in Thirteen Volume One. WOAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is crazy scary!!!!!!!!!

Posted on Oct 29, 2010 5:31:54 AM PDT
Gary Hooper says:
I agree with JayMac. Just read the one in Thirteen too. Too scary!!!! It should seriously come with a health warning! Adrenaline is still pumping!

Posted on Oct 29, 2010 7:32:08 AM PDT
For me the scariest ones are the old ghost stories by the likes of M R James, Algernon Blackwood, Robert Chambers and E F Benson.

But my all time favorite is THE RATS IN THE WALLS by H P LOVECRAFT.

Scared me for the 1st time when I was 11, and continues to do so every time I read it, even 40 years later.

William Meikle
Author of Abominable

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2010 1:11:39 PM PDT
Nick Jones says:
I second The Rats in the Walls. Other Lovecraft stories that still scare me are The Statement of Randolph Carter, and Pickman's Model. And Cool Air.

For old school, Victorian horror, the ghost story The House and The Brain, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, still packs a punch.

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 1:38:15 PM PDT
Ray Wilson says:
I don't know about scariest...but some I really like are "Conversion" by Ramsey Campbell, "Strawberry Spring" by Stephen King, and "Dread" by Clive Barker. "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison is good for some serious chills. Can't remember if that's typically classed as a short story or novelette.

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 1:42:02 PM PDT
I have always loved "The Room in the Tower" by E. F. Benson. It combines recurring nightmares with some of the basic elements of vampire lore, and it's written in such a way that it feels sort of like a nightmare itself. It was written in 1912 and you can find it online pretty easily.

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 2:06:07 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 1, 2010 3:27:40 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2010 2:13:17 PM PDT
Nick Jones says:
None of those are short stories, Heather.

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 2:48:49 PM PDT
L. Tolbert says:
I have read a few of those Classic ones that are mentioned but Stephen King always manages to get to me in the short form. My favorite book of his is Everything's Eventual. My fave stories from there are 1408 and the one with the psychotic waiter whose title totally escapes me right now. Most of the stories from that one are pretty scary too me tho' I think 1408 was one of the scariest ones he's ever written.

Joe Hill ain't bad either. I was very impressed with his work.

Posted on Oct 30, 2010 11:03:05 PM PDT
Nick Jones says:
That King story has 'Gotham Cafe' in the title or something similar.

Posted on Nov 2, 2010 9:40:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2010 9:45:57 PM PDT
Jeff P. says:
I am freaked out by Bentley Littles "The Woods be Dark"..Actually the weirdness of his tales i suppose is what is so unsettling about them..Very humorous and more than a little bizarre at times,but in this one..for me anyway,the backwoods setting in the story makes it even worse..Like a haunted/possessed woods tale or something.And for any of us who've spent plenty of times in the woods..at night..that setting can provide great ..and scary atmosphere...well..it does for me at least!

Posted on Nov 2, 2010 9:43:54 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 2, 2010 9:44:25 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 4, 2010 6:42:23 PM PDT
whatever says:
The human race

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2010 5:58:06 AM PDT
MattT says:
I second that William. Rats In The Walls remains one of the scariest short stories I've read.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2010 6:37:15 AM PDT
Nick Jones says:
@William Meikle
Have you ever seen the comic adaptation of "Rats" drawn by Richard Corben? Pretty terrifying in its own right. He also did a very creepy "Pickman's Model".

Posted on Nov 16, 2010 7:44:06 PM PST
Nick Jones says:
I was reminded today of Harlan Ellison's "Flop Sweat", about a DJ doing a talk show while the world outside, literally, goes to Hell. Worth reading.

Posted on Nov 17, 2010 11:25:23 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 29, 2011 10:12:39 AM PDT]
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