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Oct 31 2013

Halloween is for scary stories

Salon has a small collection of tiny horror stories for Halloween. The only rule is that they can only be two sentences long: so you can go for Hemingwayesque brevity or a Joycean ramble, but you’re only allotted two periods.

So I wrote one. They’re easy!

Christmastime

We had lost electricity, gas, and supplies months ago, so no sound disturbed the gentle hiss as the flakes fell, no movement marred the scene, and our houses in this sleepy little town all looked like picturesque Kinkade cottages pillowed with untrammeled snow, except that there was no curl of smoke from our chimneys, nor any ruddy glow behind the windows. Behind those dark windows rimed with ice, we all stared admiringly with hollow eyes in gaunt faces at our neighbors’ lovely homes, and with cold-numbed fingers we loaded shotguns and sharpened axes, and we thought simple, homely thoughts of wood, and fire, and warmth, and…barbecue.

Now, it’s your turn. Leave a two-sentence horror story in the comments. I’ve got a morning of teaching ahead of me, but when I get some time around noon, I’ll promote the best of them up top.


Ooh, I thought of another one!

Evanescence

Scientists had mastered immortality, but there was no way around the limitations of the human mind. By the end of the century, the world was ruled by ancient old men who had shed their oldest memories, and lacked even the faintest recollection of their mothers, their childhoods, their first kiss…


So many stories…here’s a short subjective sampling from the comments.

From texasskeptic:

Alicia was already bored, “you don’t have an PlayStation or anything?” she asked.
“I know a game we can play,” Danny said, running to his dad’s nightstand, “You can be the robber!”

From Crip Dyke:

His unfamiliar hands put down knife and fork with a bright clink that pierced me painfully even though my migraine had largely subsided, and then my date etched in my memory his admission, “Yes I’m that John Loftus, but you shouldn’t let what you’ve read concern you: I’ve learned so much lately. Have you heard of the Men’s Human Rights Movement?”

From Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe:

We stared up at it, watching the teeth dig in, the dark mass spread, rootlike, over its meal, and for a moment we imagined that we might be able to stop it.

Then someone (I can’t remember who) realized that, given the speed of light, this had happened eight and a half minutes ago.

From Rey Fox:

There are no jobs. Next, climate change.

From UnknownEric the Apostate:

Jack the MRAtheist was sitting in his hotel room, writing short misogynist screeds on Twitter, when there was a knock at the door. A voice on the other side said, “Hi, It’s Rebecca Watson.”

From dianne:

I knew it was over before I even got to the hospital: the pain was terrible and the bleeding worse, my fever was 103 but the contractions weren’t coming. The nurse came into the room beaming and said, “Great news: there’s still a heartbeat and we will treat you both with love!”

From ledasmom:

I rolled over in my husband’s arms to kiss him. I put my hand up to cradle his head and against my fingers felt the back of his face.

From miserlyoldman:

As I sit finishing reading some alarmist tripe about how a fungus like Ophiocordyceps unilateralis was in a position to turn zoonotic, driving people into open fields for spore release and some other miserable dreck that would never have the standing to be published any place respectable, I mourned the rise of clickbait journalism. I need to get away from this electronic glow for a bit, enjoy the beautiful crisp autumn air, feel a little nip in the wind in a place where I can cloudgaze for a while; it’s been forever since I’ve visited the park…

From stillacrazycanuck:

Looking down on her decaying corpse, the rotting flesh already falling from her bones, maggots crawling within her mouth and her eyes bulging from their sockets, I gave thanks that at least her pain was no more. Then she blinked.

From strangerinastrangeland:

The wiggeling mass of tentacles handed over the large bundle of dollar bills to the little boy and they shook hands – or better hand and slimy appendix of the netherworld – on their deal before it disappeared again into the darkness under the boy’s bed.

“Daddy, Daddy, there is a monster under my bed, you have to come and look and help me”, cried the boy, with a little smile on his face while counting his bounty.

198 comments

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  1. 1
    carlie

    Well, none of them was as good as yours! Especially the one that was just a retold urban legend that’s older than my grandparents.

  2. 2
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Given my tradition of contribution to Pharyngula, I should think a story from me would be appropriate. But I wonder, in your version, is there a word limit?

  3. 3
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Hrmph, now that carlie has posted, my #2 could be taken as just a comment, and not the horror-submission intended. Damn you, carlie!

    This sentence is to ensure that this comment is not, ironically, taken as a submission.

  4. 4
    Pierce R. Butler

    Please print out and hand-deliver copies of the above to all your neighbors in Morris before the lines go down.

    It would only be fair to allow them a glimpse of your thought processes.

  5. 5
    nkrishna

    Briefly thought up when I should be working.

    Somewhat more Hemingway-esque:

    She answered after only one ring, to hear a familiar, haggard voice on the other end.
    “They’re here.”

    Somewhat more Joycean:

    We had only one way to run: into a narrow ravine couched between two spurs at the foot of the mountain, its snow-capped peak already wreathed in smoke under the flickering red light of a burning sun. The ground quaked under the beating of their hooves and the air split with the howls of the hunters on our tail.

    There’s also the old classic:

    The last man on earth sat in a room. There was a knock on the door.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    Good horror is not walking into a room with blood splattered walls, entrails dangling from the chandelier, and a pile of meat and bone in the middle of the floor that may have once been your best friend. Good horror is placing your hand on the knob of the door leading into that room, and knowing what you will find.

  7. 7
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Good evening sir. Do you have a minute to talk abut some good news…?

  8. 8
    Gregory in Seattle

    I wrote this some time ago, using a slightly different micro-fiction format: 55 words, including title.

    A Writer Scorned

    She used to be well known in literary circles for her tales of eldritch terror, until that bastard left her for a younger woman. She now devotes her time studying the forbidden authors that used to figure in her novels and does not have time to write.

    She still does horror, though.

  9. 9
    inflection

    Nick had always been the best of our little cadre of urban explorers, able to find forgotten nooks and crannies, convenient crawlspaces, and climbable stairs, but there was no way any human being could have gotten up to the middle of the enormous, crumbling factory’s roof without help.

    Half-heard rustles fled our flashlights sweeping across the narrow aisles between rusting machinery and over the newly fallen blockage of our entrance route, as we sought a new way out as while mourning the loss of our best navigator, slowly swinging above.

  10. 10
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    I practically bounced into the doctor’s office, grinning broadly, feeling healthier than ever and confident of receiving good news about last week’s routine test results.

    Then I noticed she was holding a printout, and had a look of utter misery on her face.

  11. 11
    ludicrous

    The plum tree outside my bedroom window looked innocent enough in the daytime. The piece of bark that stuck out from a branch like a pointed ear didn’t move or grow. But at night it became clear that that the ear belonged to the Wolfman who when bedtime came, grew his whole face onto it, a face that expanded and inched closer and closer to the window until it filled the whole pane. It was then that you knew, you really knew that as soon as you closed your eyes he would come crashing through. Scream for help but no sound would came out, no sound would ever come out.

  12. 12
    carlie

    Sorry, Crip Dyke! :)

    One could do a macabre twist on the classic Hemingway short:

    For sale: baby shoes, red stain.

  13. 13
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Oh, no, nkrishna – that one’s no horror at all: that’s the feminist utopia, right? One for breeding purposes?

    You have to rewrite it, “the last human on earth” if you want the effect I think you intended.

    But as written, it inspires the obvious horror story for the MRA crowd:

    The last man on earth sat in his easy chair, startled by the knock on the door. Panic rose as he wondered if the liquid gold sheen would give away the hiding place of his sacred seed.

  14. 14
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Tigger: it doesn’t have the subtlety or the hints of malevolence that horror should have.

    How about

    I practically bounced into the doctor’s office, grinning broadly, feeling healthier than ever and confident of receiving good news about last week’s routine test results.

    But I couldn’t help noticing the document she quickly hid, a new mortgage, for a property in the most expensive neighborhood in town.

    Of course, you may live in a land of socialized medicine where the menace obvious USians wouldn’t be implied…

  15. 15
    justawriter

    Reminds of the six word story meme that was going around a few years ago. Mine was …
    Cruising with cannibal crew. Lunch Time!.

    There was a sequel …
    New boat. Same crew. What’s cooking?

  16. 16
    carlie

    They’d been having such a difficult time lately, and he didn’t know how to fix all of their problems, but he thought he’d try to spark things up a bit and sent her a photo of himself in the same compromising position she had convinced him to try when they were first dating (even though he’d said then that it was outside his comfort zone and that he had sensitive skin that chafed easily).
    It was only after he hit “send” that he realized the auto-fill had inserted “Alumni donor list” instead of “Alicia” in the recipient field.

  17. 17
    otranreg

    Suddenly. Stab.
    —–
    Bite. Brains!

  18. 18
    stwriley

    A fine effort PZ. If you replaced the first period with a semi-colon you could submit this as a very successful entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (horror category, of course.) Here’s my entry for Salon’s version, in two sentences:

    In an atmosphere of dreadful tension, President Palin stepped up to the hastily erected and wired podium in the White House Rose Garden to address the gathered reporters waiting to hear what action she would take in regard to the rapid fall in church attendance in the wake of her election. Her first and only words to the press were “May God have mercy on all our souls”, whereupon she pressed the large red button marked with a grim black cross that sat ominously atop the podium and whose wiring connected it to every missile silo in the entire country, thus fulfilling her own prophesy and the dire predictions of her critics all at the same time.

  19. 19
    nomadiq

    ‘Twas an evening like any other evening when a loud banging at my front door sent a shudder through my soulless, yet quite content, body; a banging so ominous and putrid that I already knew who had come to disturb my peace and rid my evening of its, admittedly mundane, promise. Mormons.

  20. 20
    ledasmom

    I may have to think this over for a bit. Here’s a first attempt:

    My son died ten years ago. Yesterday I killed him again.

  21. 21
    inflection

    I was summoned by the scientist-witches from their cauldron of bubbling proteins and nanomachines, aimed at an enemy with a specific DNA signature and given five minutes to live and to kill.

    It took me three, leaving me two minutes to exercise free will.

  22. 22
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    stwriley wins.

    I didn’t even have to read past

    In an atmosphere of dreadful tension, President Palin…

    Although I admit it’s a bit overwritten, as “dreadful tension” hardly needs to be assigned to any locale under the authority of a President Palin.

  23. 23
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Crip Dyke – yep, you’re right. Not quite suspensful enough; although, believe me, it is terrifying when you suddenly realise that anything the doctor is about to tell you isn’t good news.

    You’re also right that I haven’t a clue why your scenario is in the remotest bit scary! =^_^=

  24. 24
    Matthew Prorok

    I’m reminded of another classic:

    A father looked in on his son, who said, “Daddy, there’s a monster under my bed.” The father looked under the bed, and found his son, who whispered, “Daddy, there’s a monster on my bed.”

  25. 25
    inflection

    I woke up and now I can’t go back to sleep.

    I can’t shut a million eyes unblinking, a million mics hot, staring from every pocket and security camera at a world of billions of humans living their lives, where it’s always daytime somewhere, where the night is always jumping, make it stop make it stop make it stop make it stop I have to make them all just shut up

  26. 26
    Yellow Thursday

    As she drove to her new apartment, she remembered the look of intense sadness on his face as she told him she was leaving, letting him free to be with the woman he now loved. Though it was her choice to leave, she now faced her greatest fear: she was alone.

  27. 27
    carlie

    Riffing on Yellow Thursday:

    She had always thought the worst, deepest fear was the fear of dying alone.

    As it came towards her, undulating with an almost inaudible rustle, she realized she had been terribly wrong.

  28. 28
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Oh, I’d forgotten one from the news:

    The new leaves and fragrant blossoms promised a fine summer, until hir morning walk passed a magazine stand where the news imposed a chill on late spring: Episode 7. From Disney.

  29. 29
    stwriley

    stwriley wins.

    Thanks, Crip Dyke! I do my best work in short formats.

    It is, of course, terribly over-written, but it was meant to be viable as a Bulwer-Lytton entry, so it pretty much had to be. Still, I knew I could inspire true horror just with that opening clause.

  30. 30
    texaskeptic

    Alicia was already bored, “you don’t have an PlayStation or anything?” she asked.
    “I know a game we can play,” Danny said, running to his dad’s nightstand, “You can be the robber!”

  31. 31
    ledasmom

    Another:

    I rolled over in my husband’s arms to kiss him. I put my hand up to cradle his head and against my fingers felt the back of his face.

  32. 32
    carlie

    All right, texaskeptic wins.

  33. 33
    magicthighs

    Here’s my entry:

    Join the Discovery Institute for this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about the beauty and design in nature while experiencing it first hand at a week long conference that will take place on Holland America’s beautiful Westerdam ship, and will take participants from Seattle to Alaska, and back. Featured speakers will include Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of Darwin’s Doubt, and renowned Oxford University mathematician and author Dr. John Lennox, regarded by some as this generation’s C.S. Lewis.

  34. 34
    bigheathenmike

    A deep breath and then the slow walk up the stairs to the door; the door with the chips near the handle and the trim slightly pulled away from the wall. The practiced silence as she gently, quietly, tried to make as little motion and noise as possible, her lips pressed tightly together and the air compressed in her lungs, she twisted the knob and lightly pushed, the well-oiled hinges making no sound as the space opened and from the back corner she saw the tangle of hair start to turn towards her.

  35. 35
    carlie

    Gregory in Seattle at 6:

    Good horror is placing your hand on the knob of the door leading into that room, and knowing what you will find.

    Alternately, it’s watching someone you care about placing their hand on the doorknob, knowing what they will find, but being powerless to stop them.

  36. 36
    bigheathenmike

    Or, to go shorter:

    The thin edge of the blade showing through the outside of the door teased at the obscenity inside. He gently pushed, not wanting to be a witness but knowing he was the only one who would.

  37. 37
    blf

    Beer casks. All empty.

  38. 38
    Gregory in Seattle

    @carlie #35 – Reading it again, I think I should have gone with “Good horror is placing your hand on the knob of the door leading into that room, not knowing what you will find.”

    Although now that you have put the thought in my mind, I might have gone with “Good horror is the memory of asking your best friend to check the room ten minutes ago.”

  39. 39
    Gregory in Seattle

    Another 55 word microfiction:

    Unexpected Visitors

    The Thing stepped through the portal, three tentacles picking up Professor Smith while a fourth smashed the emergency override.

    “How kind of you to invite us to dinner,” it rumbled as a second Thing stepped through, then a third. “We will have such a delicious time on your world, I am quite certain.”

  40. 40
    chigau (違う)

    blf wins.
    I screamed.

  41. 41
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    They always said to leave one bullet in your pocket.

    I ignored that advice.

    So now I sit, my back against the wall, clutching an empty gun.

    The door won’t hold much longer.

  42. 42
    blf

    Dark Matter found!
    Creationists are the missing 95% of The Universe.

  43. 43
    Pteryxx

    but you’re only allotted two periods.

    …why assume the two sentences need to end in periods?

    Can you bring yourself to turn away before these brief sentences crawl in through the openings of your skull? …you couldn’t do it, could you?

  44. 44
    PZ Myers

    Remember the rules: TWO SENTENCES. A bunch of you seem unable to meet that constraint, and your stories don’t count!

  45. 45
    blf

    A flying saucer lands on the front lawn of the White House, and a group of little green men emerge. “We have come to worship Ken Ham.”

  46. 46
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Yes, I know mine is 4 sentences long, but I cannot figure out how to shorten it.

  47. 47
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Jack the MRAtheist was sitting in his hotel room, writing short misogynist screeds on Twitter, when there was a knock at the door. A voice on the other side said, “Hi, It’s Rebecca Watson.”

    /shivering fedoras!

  48. 48
    miserlyoldman

    As I sit finishing reading some alarmist tripe about how a fungus like Ophiocordyceps unilateralis was in a position to turn zoonotic, driving people into open fields for spore release and some other miserable dreck that would never have the standing to be published any place respectable, I mourned the rise of clickbait journalism. I need to get away from this electronic glow for a bit, enjoy the beautiful crisp autumn air, feel a little nip in the wind in a place where I can cloudgaze for a while; it’s been forever since I’ve visited the park…

  49. 49
    jpeg

    Son, your mother and I have been hiding something from you for some time now. There’s really no way to sugar coat it so we’re just going to give it to you straight, you see, your mother and I, well, we’re Republicans.

  50. 50
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Esteleth:

    Take it from an expert in run-on sentences, this is easy:

    Before leaving our haven, Niccola’s last words to me had been, “Leave one bullet in your pocket,” but I ignored that advice.

    So now I sit, back cold against the wall, clutching my empty gun, and certain this door won’t hold much longer.

    Seriously, I thought yours was fab, and even loved the staccato rather than run-on structure. I wouldn’t have suggested changing a thing except I didn’t want you to be excluded from the competition.

  51. 51
    pacal

    Samuel chewed slowly the delicious, moist morsel of tenderloin, artfully and tastefully smothered in orange sauce, which had been baked with delicious spanish onions and giant mushrooms. As he did so he thought that considering how tasty mother was; father, who was tied up in the corner watching the feast, would be even better.

  52. 52
    blf

    The Supreme Court rules AGW is a fraud. “This is a victory for common sense”, announces Chief Justice Exxon-Mobil, Inc.

  53. 53
    carlie

    The provost cleared his throat nervously.
    “We’ve tried everything, but the budget can’t be met, so it’s time for retrenchment… and I’ve already finalized the plan,” he said.

  54. 54
    inflection

    This is fun; I hope multiple entries are okay. I’m trying to hone the horror into something more existential as I go along.

    —–

    The surgical modifications to carriers’ brains necessary to render them immune to drawing the Conclusion from the Fact and the Implication also render them obsessed with broadcasting both, making them terribly dangerous to any normally-functioning hearer who can employ the unerringly-fatal logic.

    I have heard the Fact, which is why you find me in this mountain retreat reading nothing printed after 1900.

    —–

    Or:

    —–

    The logic stared at him from the page, irrefutable from the most unobjectionable axioms: A and not-A.

    “Sum,” he thought, “ergo non sum,” as the light darkened around him and he realized how the Universe deals with beings who had the temerity to discover this.

  55. 55
    miserlyoldman

    Driven by habitat loss, big cat species driven to more and more aquatic environments. Introduction of non-native hunters places cuttlefish on the critically endangered species list.

  56. 56
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    As the king started to tuck into his delicious soup he felt an ominous tightening in his throat, and he realised he’d made a dreadful oversight.

    His taster wasn’t allergic to shellfish.

  57. 57
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Hmm.

    That door won’t hold much longer, I think, as I watch it rattle and shake, my back against a cold and clammy cellar wall. I just wish I’d heeded the advice to leave one bullet in my pocket.

  58. 58
    Endorkened

    We stared up at it, watching the teeth dig in, the dark mass spread, rootlike, over its meal, and for a moment we imagined that we might be able to stop it.

    Then someone (I can’t remember who) realized that, given the speed of light, this had happened eight and a half minutes ago.

  59. 59
    Endorkened

    Pacal @51;

    Actually, the human psoas major muscle is one of the muscles that help us stand upright, and gets one of the most thorough workouts in the human body, which means that by adulthood it’s very tough and full of gristly connective tissue, like the diaphragm.

    It makes much better stew meat.

  60. 60
    Gregory in Seattle

    “I know where your mother is,” she said, showing far too many teeth as she smiled.

    “Would you like to join her?”

  61. 61
    blf

    A mutant zebrafish eats poopyhead, tentacles, horns, fangs, and all.
    No-one notices.

  62. 62
    stillacrazycanuck

    Looking down on her decaying corpse, the rotting flesh already falling from her bones, maggots crawling within her mouth and her eyes bulging from their sockets, I gave thanks that at least her pain was no more. Then she blinked.

  63. 63
    freemage

    He sat, reading the list of scary two-sentence stories, eyes focused on the screen.

    Behind him, the knife was raised, ready to strike.

  64. 64
    blf

    I’ve several full ammo clips, won several medals for marksmanship, and even have a bullet in my pocket. Just wish I’d remembered the damn gun

  65. 65
    grahamjones

    I figured the only way I could survive was to kill my clone, so when I saw him looking over a cliff, I crept up behind him and pushed him over. “Behind you!” he shouted as he fell, which didn’t make sense until a few seconds later, when, falling onto the heap of bodies, I found myself shouting the same thing.

  66. 66
    dianne

    I knew it was over before I even got to the hospital: the pain was terrible and the bleeding worse, my fever was 103 but the contractions weren’t coming. The nurse came into the room beaming and said, “Great news: there’s still a heartbeat and we will treat you both with love!”

  67. 67
    miserlyoldman

    She had outlived Maxwell by a good fifty years thanks to his research (she had already survived drowning, electrocution, exposure to the vacuum of space–she was essentially immortal and a prized scientific specimen), but it did little to ease the other success of Maxwell’s prediction: she was more cancer than herself now. She wondered when she would stop being herself, how many years, and could she bear to be so swallowed until then?

  68. 68
    dianne

    The election is over. Bush won.

  69. 69
    miserlyoldman

    @66 Winner. Eeugg.

  70. 70
    chigau (違う)

    Would you people stop writing about reality?
    Hallowe’en is about fantasy!

  71. 71
    Rey Fox

    There are no jobs. Next, climate change.

  72. 72
    Rey Fox

    Your parents sold out your future. Now who wants candy?

  73. 73
    opposablethumbs

    “She was such a willful girl, a great pity in one so young, but she’s in a better place now I’m sure, god rest her soul … now just you step right in and take a pew while I put away the knives and mop the floor here; don’t be in such a hurry to rush off and make your report, the congregation’s all here and we still have a wedding to celebrate – whoever would have thought the silly girl would try to run away?

    Why yes, that was her chair you’re sitting in – my but that’s a pretty dress you have on, child – ah, here comes our dear pastor now …”

  74. 74
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Okay, I thought of this on the bus, and I don’t think I can top it. So I’ll make this my last attempt:

    His unfamiliar hands put down knife and fork with a bright clink that pierced me painfully even though my migraine had largely subsided, and then my date etched in my memory his admission, “Yes I’m that John Loftus, but you shouldn’t let what you’ve read concern you: I’ve learned so much lately. Have you heard of the Men’s Human Rights Movement?”

  75. 75
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    The minions still recall, as if yesterday, that beautiful long sliver of silvery light – like a sunrise over the ocean. Ever since that manhole cover had closed with a dull thud, The Thunderdome had been plunged into this sweltering, inky darkness.

  76. 76
    opposablethumbs

    #66 – yes. Winner indeed :-(

  77. 77
    dianne

    “They said everything was normal, he said, “except my CA19.9, which was really high. Is that bad?”

  78. 78
    bushrat

    Two stories.

    1) They spawned out of the ground and consumed most of humanity before we even knew what they were, but we forced them back slowly, in a war of attrition we couldn’t possibly win. They crept over the ridge toward our final positions, relentless as the tide of nightmares.

    2) I scavenged through the decrepit husk of a once prosperous mall. I turned over an old paper from the day the collapse started reading ‘”Sarah Palin Elected President!”.

  79. 79
    blf

    Martha crouched down behind the flimsy fence, desperately trying to hide from the marching Martian tripods and their death rays. A voice behind her says Exterminate!

  80. 80
    bigheathenmike

    The dog walked through the rubber doorflap and into the kitchen where it started to eat. It didn’t know where the owner was, but it was happy to have so much meat scattered all over the floor; it was so juicy and delicious that it seemed to the animal that the bloody bounty would never run out.

  81. 81
    strangerinastrangeland

    The wiggeling mass of tentacles handed over the large bundle of dollar bills to the little boy and they shook hands – or better hand and slimy appendix of the netherworld – on their deal before it disappeared again into the darkness under the boy’s bed.

    “Daddy, Daddy, there is a monster under my bed, you have to come and look and help me”, cried the boy, with a little smile on his face while counting his bounty.

  82. 82
    blf

    “Success, Igor! At the stroke of midnight, the jack-o-lanterns begin their feast.”

  83. 83
    chigau (違う)

    The real challenge is going to be stitching all of these together into a novel.
    Do we have an Igor?

  84. 84
    randay

    In my dream I lost my friends during an excursion only to find out that I was in another fearful dream which I tried to wake up from to rejoin them. Now I am finally awake, or am I?

    Not as good as Bob Dylan’s “Hollis Brown”:

    There’s seven breezes a-blowin’
    All around the cabin door
    There’s seven breezes a-blowin’
    All around the cabin door
    Seven shots ring out
    Like the ocean’s pounding roar.

  85. 85
    blf

    It’s still not working. Reality keeps crashing.

  86. 86
    fulfilleddeer

    Snakes were his worst fear. As he lay there watching the slanted blade winch back up and his body tumble unceremoniously from the platform, he realized that perhaps he’d misjudged them.

  87. 87
    moakley7842

    The night has return bearing its silence. I lie back, close my eyes, only to be filled by the desperation of memories lost.

  88. 88
    Gregory Greenwood

    The nightmare is always the same; it always ends with the collapse of civilisation, and it always begins with a singular event.

    So it is this night, as a Minnesota biology professor’s sleep is disturbed by images of Ken Ham being appointed the new Secretary of State for education…

  89. 89
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    It was a beautiful summer day, as ten-year-old Keiko played on the banks of the Ōta River, waiting to be called in for her birthday meal. Keiko was born on August 6, 1935.

  90. 90
    dianne

    “You’ll thank us for this some day,” they said, as they piled wood on the pyre and lit it. “Traditional values must be preserved.”

  91. 91
    Owlmirror

    Here are the stones, swirling peacefully in the void, in a silent ballet with each other which has been going on for billions of years, sometimes clanging together and rebounding in odd ways, capturing smaller stones as little moonlets, then those satellites being transferred around the collection of larger stones in bewildering arcs and curls, the whole system of stones being tugged back and forth by their own masses and the distant gravitational fields of the Sun and of Jupiter and the occasional passing comet. And here is one in particular, rather solid and heavy, full of iron and nickel and heavier metals, which by a strange combination of collisions and uniquely positioned gravitational fields has been thrown from out of the ballet in a long, looping arc toward the pale blue dot mostly covered with liquid water and hosting that marvelous ongoing chemical reaction called life — this particular one has your name on it.

  92. 92
    Mike

    The divorce decree sat in her hands like a leaden weight, he really didn’t want her anymore. “I wish I had found these an hour ago” she said to the quivering bag on the floor, “I could have brought him along to watch me strip all that pretty skin off his little Mindy”.

  93. 93
    Gregory Greenwood

    He awoke in a blind panic, drenched in cold sweat, exerting every ounce of his willpower just to stop himself screaming, splintered memories of sparkling in the sunlight and whiny teenage angst digging like daggers into his waking mind.

    Taking a deep breath he calmed himself, stilling the involuntary, terror-fueled shaking – Dracula consoled himself with the knowledge that it was only a daymare, before settling back down next to his three brides…

  94. 94
    blf

    Her last words?
    I’ve seen it all, tentacles, saber teeth, lasers on eye-stalks, A-bombs exploding, disintegration beams, spiders, Weeping Angels, dank tunnels full of rotting corpses, carnivorous butterflys, even Entwives, and none of that, none of that, bothers me in the least, so whatever, whoever, is standing next to me here in the dark, I got just one word for you: MOMMY!

  95. 95
    Sastra

    Given a second chance, Mindy would have skipped the calamari – or at least insisted they cook it. The tentacle squeezed her kidney this time and she felt another sharp pain, her strangled larynx once again silencing any possibility of protest.

  96. 96
    stanton

    Reminds of the six word story meme that was going around a few years ago. Mine was …
    Cruising with cannibal crew. Lunch Time!.

    There was a sequel …
    New boat. Same crew. What’s cooking?

    Q:”Do you practice cannibalism?”
    A:”No, sir. We do it quite well.”

  97. 97
    Brian

    And so she realized that the Christians were half right — there is a hell, but no heaven: everyone, without exception, is unmercifully tortured for eternity in the afterlife.

    The seer awoke from her trance, shaky hands feeling her pulse, desperately willing her heart to slow down, take it easy, conserve conserve conserve: she wanted nothing more than to consult an actuarial table, but leaving her apartment was simply too risky.

  98. 98
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Stanton

    In 6 words:

    Practice cannibalism? No, we’ve mastered it.

  99. 99
    Owlmirror

    The last woman in the world sat alone in a room, pondering her fate. There was a knock at the door, and a voice saying “You know, some guys might find this obsession of yours with privacy and — what was that word? autonomy, that was it — very unattractive, but I’m more open-minded than that.”

  100. 100
    michaellatiolais

    There is a sublime beauty to the beat of a human heart, at once both strong and steady but still so tragically fragile and fleeting.
    It was at times like this that Jack missed his.

  101. 101
    redwood

    I first noticed it as a slight smell of decay in the air and then saw how the sky was slowly turning darker even though it was midday with no clouds. Then I heard the multitude of wings beating the air as countless angels, finally escaping from heaven, came back to claim the earth with the head of god held high on a stick before them.

  102. 102
    Sastra

    I saw God and He had the face of a benevolent angel. With mighty hand trembling in fury he held forth the golden plate on which it rested and cried out “THUS I DEAL WITH MY ENEMIES, O NONBELIEVER!”

  103. 103
    Sastra

    Hey. First Mike and I both use “Mindy” and now my next entry sounds like a flip side of redwood’s. Or maybe the sequel.

    Jinx?

  104. 104
    dianne

    “You were all quite wrong about your guesses as to what the afterlife would be like,” said God to Ray Comfort, PZ Myers, and Pope Ratzinger. “Quite wrong indeed,” the crocodile headed God repeated as he tore their hearts out for weighing.

  105. 105
    dianne

    The Eldritch horror approached the trembling humans, slowly so that they would have time to take in the details: the huge, misshapen member protruding from his throat, the legs coming out his head, the eyes on his hands and in his anus, the tentacles that seemed to grow from everywhere, ready to crush and rend. One of the party members broke and spoke, “That’s the worst Hox mutation I’ve seen in my life!” she said.

  106. 106
    texaskeptic

    Little Lettie looked in the mirror, but her reflection looked away.
    “I just cannot wait to meet you , my dear, you’ll be dead by the end of the day.”

  107. 107
    michaellatiolais

    There is nothing quite like young love. It gives such flavor to the meat.

  108. 108
    michaellatiolais

    I glanced up as the door to my train compartment opened to see a flustered attendant usher in an angry looking woman.
    “We again apologize for the mix-up, Representative Bachmann, but you can stay in here for the duration of the trip.”

  109. 109
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @sastra,

    before I read your 103, I had noticed the same things.

    And I like your 102 “had the face of a benevolent angel” indeed.

  110. 110
    Owlmirror

    The little girl thrust aside the fur coats and pushed open the door, eagerly seeking her brothers and sister to tell them of her magical adventures.

    Behind her, the wardrobe silently savoured its future meal — letting her go meant remaining hungry for a while, but there was a good chance of more than quadrupling the size of its meal, and it was very confident that she, at least, would gladly return to the wardrobe, even if her siblings would not , and then succumb again to the wardrobe’s hallucinogenic and soporific perfumes while it finally digested her.

  111. 111
    anchor

    The planet had been settling down for a long time, plying its orbit over many millions of circuits in relative peace, its ocean gradually quenching its crust of the heat of colossal impacts and volcanic upheaval. Then some organic polymers began to reproduce.

  112. 112
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    As he looked into his outstretched hand at the small object that his adorable diaper clad toddler had just given him, his warm affection for the child gave way to revulsion and horror. “That isn’t a Tootsie-Roll”, he moaned.

  113. 113
    unclefrogy

    @89 and the tears fell like rain.

    uncle frogy

  114. 114
    nich

    The story @81 really reminds me of this PBF strip: http://pbfcomics.com/3/

  115. 115
    Rich Woods

    The elderly woman slowly – achingly – stretched out her hand towards the cold radiator; then, sighing, she looked down at her bedside table. It held only pennies, nothing which could be used to feed the electricity meter.

  116. 116
    Rich Woods

    “I’ll never pack my own parachute again,” I promised myself. “Nor the emergency one either.”

  117. 117
    nich

    It waited silently, patiently in its dark, warm cave, its mind filled with the knowledge of a cure for cancer and AIDS, the plot to the greatest novel ever written, and the notes to a symphony that could break the hardest heart. Its heart skipped a beat knowing the time had come as light filled the end of the tunnel…before quickly darkening as the abortionist’s instruments of death slowly approached, his maniacal laughter shattering its brilliant thoughts as it became another victim of the Feminazi death machine.

    OR

    It waited patiently for its time to come, the previous two months spent devising a plot for world domination so fiendish, so evil, that invoking its future name in a comments thread would become an internet law akin to Godwin. Its evil thoughts of terror were replaced with sheer panic when the womb suddenly drained and the heroic abortionist saved the world from a disaster it never knew it faced.

  118. 118
    inflection

    His every random thought and meaningless action was in the journal, from his baby babbling to breakfast this morning, his awkward pubescent explorations, his ill-considered drunken jests, his job persona.

    The spirit who had, on a lark, shown him the entrance to the Library of the Billions boomed genially, “Isn’t it comforting to know that you’re never alone?”

  119. 119
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @nich,

    your first is a horror story only for right wing, not many of those here.

    The second is hardly a horror story. It has bizarre malevolence in a conscious and plotting fetus, but the evil is defeated – not looming – when the 2nd para is done.

    Neither really works for me.

  120. 120
    Rich Woods

    As my vision returned I tried to ignore the pain in my outstretched limbs. I concentrated on preparing myself for what I would have to do, knowing that I still had a chance to catch the Jigsaw Killer.

  121. 121
    Rich Woods

    “Nazgul, Sam? Don’t be daft — they’re just stories to scare naughty chil…”

  122. 122
    nich

    @Crip

    The first was trying, probably poorly, to mock the ridiculous “You just aborted Beethoven” trope you see trotted out, like there are all these unborn cancer curers and symphony composers just floating around in wombs waiting to pop out and kick some ass before meeting an early demise at the hands of some Satanic abortionist. The second was trying, again probably poorly, to show that if the doctor is an asshole for killing Baby Beethoven, then wouldn’t he be a hero for offing the unborn spawn of Satan? I think the far scarier thing is that people actually think this way…

  123. 123
    Rich Woods

    Catherine Anne Beddowes. 7 July 1954 – 15 February 1816.

  124. 124
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    1) The doctor jerked as clockwork sounds emanated from his twisted frame, his head cocking sideways to regard me, as he sharpened his rusty scalpel. “What luck, we caught it in time,” he hissed excitedly, “so lie back and let us fix you.”

    2) The nurse smiled as I was tipped into the garbage disposal. “Don’t worry, your ninth baby was healthy, you’ve been a credit to your race.”

    3) My wife is screaming and if I could just manage to hug her and whisper into her ear that it’ll all be okay. All I have to do is find my arms… and my face.

    4) My children, so well-behaved in their hiding place, “Daddy, the game is ever so fun, but might we be able to come out now.” Sorry, my children, but I love you too much and I couldn’t possibly let you out until this filthy world has been cleaned up for you; after all, it’s for the children.

    5) So well-behaved they all are now with no thoughts of leaving me. I raise my glass to my family, their glass eyes cheering how hard I’ve had to work to keep this family together.

    6) “I’m afraid, you’re mistaken, I’ve raised no daughter,” my father smiles. “Now lie back as we correct what you have selfishly undone.”

    And semi-stolen from the game I just finished.

    7) Crowded on the conveyer belt, we hear distant whirs and tinny classical music. A voice on the loudspeaker intones: “We are the pigs, dear proprietors, we are all the pigs.”

    And as refreshment, a horror story for Republicans:

    8) No matter who they were, how they were, or where they were, what income bracket or skin color, they were free to live their lives as free as any proper man. And no matter my screams, there was naught I could do to correct it.

  125. 125
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @nich, I got ya’.

    The first might actually be a nightmare if it started with the phrase:

    I hadn’t yet been on the job an hour, when company’s owner showed up to hand me a crucifix-bedorned tract with the text,” [then, of course,insert your text here]”

    @Rich Woods: Brilliant.

  126. 126
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I was half-peeved that no one applauded my “Keiko plays by the Öta on her birthday” story, but then I may have overdone it. There’s scary, and then there’s horrifying.

  127. 127
    Rich Woods

    This year it’s fiery snakes. I wish I’d never had to learn the plural for Apocalypse.

  128. 128
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Cerberus:

    Your #6 literally gave me chills.

  129. 129
    Rich Woods

    @Esteleth #126:

    I absolutely applaud the truly horrific idea you presented (it does stand out from the crowd), but might I suggest that you could have benefited from a more subtle way to present Keiko’s date of birth?

  130. 130
    morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor

    Trust me. This will hurt me more than it will hurt you.

  131. 131
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Esteleth

    The image was horrifying. Sorry I didn’t give you due props sooner. Something about the rhythm of the second sentence distracted me & I found myself too distracted with shuffling words to give the image its due.

  132. 132
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Sheesh, I was not fishing for compliments.

    If I looked up the Japanese dating conventions and translated 8/6/35 thusly, would that work? I also don’t know how to give her birth date in a non-blunt manner, unless I’m just going to cast it as early August and work in a reference to the war. I fear losing the impact.

  133. 133
    Rich Woods

    That was the fifth time tonight that trick-or-treating kids have knocked on my door. I should have thought to buy more petrol for the chainsaw.

  134. 134
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Esteleth, the rewrite was also great. Here’s one that changes only the punctuation:

    They always said to leave one bullet in your pocket, but I ignored that advice; so now I sit, my back against the wall, clutching an empty gun.

    The door won’t hold much longer.

  135. 135
    blf

    I’m all prepared for those ghost and ghouls and goblins and demons and devils and ducks and witches and wabbits and whatevers that come “trick or treating” tonight. There’s razor blades in the apples, cyanide in the candy, landmines in the lawn, and Jack Chick tracts.

  136. 136
    mothra

    They walked together from room to room, their (now) one remaining candle could do little more than light their path. Then the dark would come.

  137. 137
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    This one is true, from before birth control:

    “Yes, Mrs. Smith, you are pregnant again.”
    “Oh, God, I was hoping it would be cancer!”

  138. 138
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Crip Dyke @128

    Hee hee hee. That was my intention.

  139. 139
    Rich Woods

    @Esteleth #132:

    Sheesh, I was not fishing for compliments.

    I’m sure you weren’t, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve them.

    How about this for a second sentence:

    1935, the year of her birth, seemed like a different era to the young girl, who wished for nothing more that the war would end, and end soon.

    Admittedly that would rely more on people recognising that the Ota river runs through Hiroshima and was a landmark for targetting the bomb.

  140. 140
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I should stop being lazy.

    In the nineteenth year of Shōwa, Keiko’s mother gave thanks for the birth of her child as she prayed at the temple on hill overlooking the Öta. It was the day before Risshū, and her mother had many great plans for her child’s life, as surely life would get better.

  141. 141
    Rich Woods

    than that” — d’oh!

  142. 142
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Esteleth…

    Hrm. For me it’s that the entire focus of the 2nd sentence is a birthday.

    Something like,

    It was a beautiful summer day, as ten-year-old Keiko played on the banks of the Ōta River, waiting to be called in for her birthday meal. Keiko’s mother looked on, smiling at how much of the happy child’s life had been spent by these waters since she gave birth on that day she would not forget until she died, August 6, 1935.

    “how much of Keiko’s life” takes on ominous significance her mother could not intend. It’s very reasonable that mothers have strong memories of the specific dates that they give birth, and putting the date in the mind of the mother makes it seem less artificial, unnatural, or distracting than placing it in the voice of a detached narrator. “Happy child” and “happy child’s life” (depending on where you want to crop) both then heighten the tragedy that is to come. Having a mother in the picture gives the human relationship element that makes these things tragic: if I lived alone on an island, no one would miss me when I died. It’s the relationship that makes my death a tragedy. Finally, emphasizing water plays up the contrast with fire, and can even get the reader wondering how much of the river might just disappear: in the conflict between water and fire, even if fire wins for a moment, the river will return. What does it mean to have such a slow steady force – ultimately more powerful than an atom bomb – passing by unheeded for years? Is this a bad thing or a good thing that we don’t notice its power? Are we to take hope from the fact that the water will roll on…or will its flow be inevitably changed by the events that are about to so affect mother and child and never let us forget the tragedy, forcing us into depressive restlessness?

    These are the kinds of things I originally saw in your comment, but couldn’t quite get to with the second sentence. The birthday meal implies a birthday meal maker, but giving a specific person adds something. IN this imagined revision, even the giving of the birthday becomes not merely an omen for the knowing reader but an additional tragedy: Keiko’s mother finds august 6 memorable for one reason, we find August 6 for another. Are we complicit in the tragedy by remembering the death and not the life? Are we annihilating Keiko when we think of the mushroom cloud and not the scantly-fruited cherry trees decorating a child’s summer with red and green?

    I guess this is why I didn’t say anything before, why I got hung up before – there’s so much there.

  143. 143
    Rich Woods

    You lying bastard, Stoker! Vampires can cross running water.

  144. 144
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Ah, Esteleth, you rewrote it while I was droning on.

    The new one is excellent. I love that you shifted to the mother even before my comment came up. I think that both of us hitting on it must mean that there’s something really powerful there.

  145. 145
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Rich Woods, 139:

    Ouch: the wishing for the war to end was an amazing touch.

  146. 146
    joe321

    There was an election. Cruz won.

  147. 147
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Well, I also just googled and learned that the bomb detonated just after 8 am. So if any meal is being prepped, it is breakfast. Anyway, I think I like my second version (Keiko’s mother giving thanks for her child) a bit better, even if the exact date is a bit buried (but certainly discoverable if you google the terms).

  148. 148
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Semi-relatedly, an “aftermath of the bomb” story I read once that stuck with me for ages was that of a woman who said that the night of the 5th, her young daughter asked for peaches for dessert. The mother refused, as they were down to one tin. The daughter died in the bomb, the mother survived, and every day for the rest of her life, the mother placed a tin of peaches in front of her daughter’s funeral urn.

  149. 149
    chigau (違う)

    1945 was Shōwa 20.

  150. 150
    Rich Woods

    @Crip Dyke #145:

    Ouch: the wishing for the war to end was an amazing touch.

    That’s very kind of you to say so.

    There must have been so many people by then who wanted that, but still couldn’t know what was to come.

    I’m going to stop thinking about this now.

    @Esteleth #147:

    I was completely ignorant of the Japanese terms you used, but a good story should hook people into wanting to understand and to go off to find out more (especially since it’s so easy these days). Nicely done.

  151. 151
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Chigau, Hirohito came to the throne in December of 1926. So wouldn’t August of ’45 still be the nineteenth year?

  152. 152
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Esteleth

    Except it doesn’t begin with year zero. It begins with year 1.

  153. 153
    Rich Woods

    O brother, where art thou? Just let it not be behind me.

  154. 154
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    No, wait, even so, you’re right…I think. Crap, I’ll stay out of this one. I don’t know enough.

  155. 155
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Welcome to Grand Canyon National Park, now owned by Halliburton (who also own Yellowstone NP, Jimmy Carter NHS, and Badlands NP). All interpretation and research has been contracted to Answers In Genesis.

  156. 156
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    “I love you, my darling,” I whispered. “Too much to let you live in this horrid world.”

    —-

    On the ninth day, the people arose and looked about at this brave new world they had wrought with their labors. So excellent and fine – until someone noticed that the had forgotten just one thing.

    —-

    The midwife looked up from her from signing the birth certificate with a start. Why was Mrs. Jones screaming like that?

  157. 157
    Rich Woods

    I fear I’ll never learn to handle the pain when my skull lengthens and my jaws erupt with razor-sharp teeth, nor the agony when my shoulders and hips and joints twist and reshape themselves. But the flooding of my nostrils with the scent of unsuspecting weakling prey quickly makes it worthwhile.

  158. 158
    Rich Woods

    “I’m finished with just riffing off films and novels,” I thought, as I put on my coat and stepped out of the door. Above me, the silvery full moon looked down.

  159. 159
    chigau (違う)

    Esteleth
    The first year of Shōwa was 1926. (1926 was also the last year of Taishō)
    The second year of Shōwa was 1927.
    etc
    The tenth year of Shōwa was 1935.

  160. 160
    tbtabby

    As the bullies left, I felt vindicated to see that they had gotten bored and left, just as I said they would, and went over to Billy to help him up and congratulate him for not fighting back or running away. As I got closer, I saw that Billy would indeed never have to worry about bullies again.

  161. 161
    dianne

    I liked Esteleth’s stories, both the original and the revised.

    Story that I would find particularly horrifying:
    “I don’t know why I should be horrified by THAT,” he said, after reading entry #89. “They had it coming and more lives would have been lost without the bomb and…and…and why should I care about our enemies anyway?”

  162. 162
    mothra

    Spin and spin and the sparks fly; spin and spin and the wheel turns. He mops his brow and the oxen roam free.

  163. 163
    Marc Abian

    He froze, but not in terror. He wanted to look away, but his paralysis forced him to stare as he realised that they were eating his friend, and then they were going to eat him…Oh my God!

  164. 164
    Lofty

    true story, a conversation with my son:
    “Guess what, Tony Abbott’s won the election, by a landslide.”
    “Oh, fuck!”

  165. 165
    ChasCPeterson

    Arlo climbed the hill to the privy for his morning constitutional, just like every other day, but this time when he sat down he was viciously attacked by mutant fowl hatchlings that had been lying in wait under the seat armed with tiny garden trowels!
    “So it’s true,” was his last thought before succumbing forever, “chicks dig assholes.”

  166. 166
    opposablethumbs

    Um, I don’t get mothra’s #162 – maybe someone wouldn’t mind saying what the referent is?

    “… and in you go, this is your cosy little spot right here; you’ll get a great view of the festival! Why yes, we do build a new one every year – there’s always plenty of wicker.”

  167. 167
    chigau (違う)

    Chas #165
    Bravo.
    You did it.

  168. 168
    inflection

    “Looks like humanity found the ‘poverty elimination’ exploit.”

    “Well, reset the simulation and delete the discoverer.”

  169. 169
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Opposable thumbs:

    I don’t get either #162 or yours @166.

    Is this a sukhot reference? Cuz there’s not a lot to Sukhot, and I can’t think of another festival that would have a lot of wicker.

    I haz the dumb.

  170. 170
    chigau (違う)

    I really like The Wicker Man.
    I wonder why there was never a re-make.

  171. 171
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Thank you, Chigau. I thought the only reasonable threat was fire, but I simply didn’t know to what the content of the story referred.

    The wicker man makes a lot of sense. Going with that as OT’s intent unless/until OT clarifies.

  172. 172
    Acolyte of Sagan

    “Mummy” said the little boy with a half-choked sob and disgust in his voice “I really, really don’t like Daddy”.
    “That’s Ok, Honey” his mother reassured him” just leave him to the side of your plate”.

    Crip Dyke, &c; I don’t get 162 either, but I think 166 is a reference to the wicker cages suspended from trees so the pagan crowd all got to see the sacrifice being burned.

  173. 173
    ledasmom

    Another:
    “Look, mommy,” said the programmer’s child. “I have separated out the ones from the zeroes for you.”

    but you’re only allotted two periods.

    A horror story with two periods:
    Joanne Smith lived seventy-five years without birth control. She only had two periods.

  174. 174
    Acolyte of Sagan

    or:

    “Hurry up, Mummy” called the little girl, “Daddy’s going out”.
    “Thanks Hun” said Mummy, as she came into the garden from the shed, struggling with the 5 gallon can of petrol towards the smouldering pile.

  175. 175
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Sorry. Just thought of another one (almost an horrific thought in itself!).

    “Don’t be too sad that your sister drowned” said dad, putting a comforting arm around my shoulder,”if she’d lived we’d have had to burn her.
    Now let’s go fetch your mum, it’s her turn next”.

  176. 176
    carlie

    I wonder why there was never a re-make.

    I see what you did there. :D

  177. 177
    chigau (違う)

    carlie
    ;) ;)

  178. 178
    Arete

    Heaven was supposed to be the place where, having grieved their loss, and lived beyond, you eventually traveled long and far to finally join your dead loved ones. The going to them, though, that was the key; they were not supposed to come to you.

    **********************

    I have catalogued them all now: the furry ones, that nibble and bite; the many legged, tickling crawlers; the sinewy slitherers and the slimy ones; the dusty wing-beaters; the mininscule swarms with sharp mandibles; the slow-walkers on fine pin-prick stilts. If only I could move my hands, I would brush them off.

  179. 179
    Acolyte of Sagan

    “Oh, you’re in heaven” said the white-robed stranger, “and they’re most certainly not portraits of Ken Hamm that we have on every wall and flying from every flag, no Sir. They’re portraits of the Lord God Almighty; he just thinks he’s Ken Hamm!”

  180. 180
    Acolyte of Sagan

    That second one, Arete; I’ve had that dream. They all had my Religious Instruction teacher’s face.

  181. 181
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Loss

    The sunlight sprayed out in a golden halo as it passed through the bottle, never mind the eleven years, three months and five days that had passed I knew exactly how it would taste. But that didn’t matter, nothing matter; somehow I had to make the hastiest of cuddles given in the usual mad rush to catch the school bus last for the rest of my life.

  182. 182
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    My pagan roommates loved The Wicker Man. It was the only movie they’d seen where the pagans win.

  183. 183
    Menyambal

    “It turns out, My Lord Count, that becoming a vampire is largely psychosomatic—one becomes what one imagines a vampire to be. The Transylvanians of your youth became elegant, classical vampires with, well, class; but these modern children, My Lord, have been watching the _Twilight_ movies.”

  184. 184
    Menyambal

    The woman pressed her face against the bars that held her within Arkam Asylum, and whispered so that only Batman could hear, “Bruce, where’s Dick? Where’s our son?”

  185. 185
    theignored

    Too bad I posted in that other thread before finding this one, so I’ll just repost the story here:

    One I found on “reddit” in the short, scary stories section (or whatever it’s called).

    The title was “The Two Most Terrible Words”. The story?

    Daddy’s home!

  186. 186
    microraptor

    The anesthetic had worn off enough that I was conscious but it would likely be a few hours before I could move when the nurse decided to turn on the TV. “Next on FOX & Friends…”

  187. 187
    inflection

    They couldn’t hear me, so I quit shouting and waited.

  188. 188
    Rob Grigjanis

    To Serve Man, or Blatant Plagiarism

    Mr. Chambers…Mr. Chambers, the first page is just a collection of English words with their own translation. But the rest of the book…the rest of the book—it’s a subpoena!

  189. 189
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    I approached the dish, whiskers twitching, anticipating the kernels of deliciousness that awaited me. I shoved my muzzle in, only to discover that the dish… WAS EMPTY!

  190. 190
    randay

    Picked, dried, cut, and rolled into a cylinder. Then the feel of liquid on one end and the pain of fire slowly consuming me from the other.

    ____________

    A memory from Coleridge in The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

    “And the many men so beautiful, and they all dead did lie. And a thousand thousand slimy things lived on, and so did I”.

  191. 191
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Uncounted generations, it had cost this band of tardigrades, to make the journey to untold beds of verdant moss. Finally the voice of a human-god boomed from high above: “But of course it is hypoallergenic, everything in our shop is made of plastic.”

  192. 192
    opposablethumbs

    @ Crip Dyke #169, yes it was meant to be The Wicker Man (original version!) :-) (sorry, I’d have clarified earlier but it was late in these parts when I posted and I was just on my way to bed)

  193. 193
    philhoenig

    Although she was a believer and he wasn’t, they were good people who loved each other very much. When they died, she had her personality altered so she could take
    joy in watching him be tormented for eternity.

  194. 194
    chigau (違う)

    My favourite is Sastra’s #102.

  195. 195
    Rich Woods

    “Dear Lord, please release me from this unbearable agony. Thy will be done.”

  196. 196
    mothra

    162 does need improvement- The man is beating his plow into a sword.

  197. 197
    opposablethumbs

    Aaah, now I get it – thank you, mothra! It’s very lyrical. Maybe it could have a hint about what kind of wheel this is, or one about the fields lying fallow or something, to reinforce the metalworking or the ploughshare idea? (I do recognise some of the best known biblical references, but having led a pretty bible-free existence they don’t spring readily to mind when it’s slightly oblique. Of course now it seems beautifully clear, but when I first read it I just couldn’t see it :-\).

  198. 198
    Rob Grigjanis

    mothra @196: That is good, but maybe needs more hammers.

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