Quick Note: Today’s post was supposed to be about my Halloween Snack Exchange…however, it hasn’t arrived yet. If it comes in the next couple of days, I will do a bonus post on Halloween. If it doesn’t, I’ll just do an Instagram LIVE taste-testing all of my goodies. You can follow my bookclub page here.
Today I am going to be recommending five short horror stories that are less than 150 pages. I read all of these this year and loved them. Some say that horror thrives in the short story. I can definitely get on board with that statement. You don’t need a full-length novel to create an extremely spooky tale. These books prove that. Also, if you’re new to horror, it’s worth starting with a shorter story. That way you can get a taste without fully committing to a big book. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1.) The House on Abigail Lane by Kealan Patrick Burke (68 Pages)
Naturally, this book attracted me because my daughter’s name is Abigail. I have discussed this on my Instagram before but her particular name tends to pop up a lot in the horror genre. This story revolves around a haunted house set on the fictional address of Abigail Lane. Constructed in 1956, the history of the house spans sixty years of all of the comings and goings of the various people that inhabit it and experience different supernatural phenomena there. It still blows my mind that in just 68 pages, we witness sixty decades of stories. Some occupants vanish, others speak in reverse and one unfortunate person sees a ten-foot clown standing on the second floor. The house gains a cult-like following and is investigated, reported on and written about throughout the years. The ending will floor you. This is so worth checking out. It’s creepy but captivating.
2.) Cirque Berserk by Jessica Guess (111 Pages)
If you love the 80’s and slashers, this is the book for you! In the summer of 1989, a dozen people are massacred by a group of teenagers at the creepy carnival: Cirque Berserk. Thirty years later, best friends, Sam and Rochelle, are in the midst of a boring senior trip when they learn about the infamous Cirque Berserk. Seeking one last adventure, they and their friends journey to the nearby Shadows Creek to see if the urban legends are true. But waiting for them beyond the carnival gates is a night of brutality, bloodshed, and betrayal. Will they make they make it out alive, or will the carnival’s past demons extinguish their futures? I implore you to read this and continue amplifying and uplifting black horror writers.
3.) The Box by Jack Ketchum (21 Pages)
When I first picked up this story, I wondered how an author could possibly disturb me in just 21 pages. Well, Jack Ketchum succeeded! I don’t want to give too much away but I’ll provide a brief synopsis. A boy on a train sits next to a stranger holding a large box in his hands. The boy asks to see what’s inside. The man shows him (without revealing the contents to the reader) and the next day the boy refuses to eat. He continues to starve (inevitably worrying his parents) and the entire time, everybody wants to know: what did he see? Read on to find out! You may or may not get an answer.
4.) The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (63 Pages)
This short story is considered a classic, feminist horror novella. I feel like most women will be able to relate to it. Based on the author’s own experiences, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is the chilling tale of a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the ‘rest cure’ prescribed after the birth of her child. Isolated in a crumbling colonial mansion, in a room with bars on the windows, the tortuous pattern of the yellow wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind. The protagonist feels haunted by the images she sees in the wallpaper as well as questioning her husband’s intentions to keep her trapped in a room to ‘fix’ her baby blues. It is confronting, raw and disturbing.
5.) Ghost Camera by Darcy Coates (118 Pages)
I’m a massive fan of Darcy Coates since reading The Carrow Haunt for my bookclub (stay tuned for the discussion post next month!) so I decided to check out her short story: Ghost Camera. This was so scary! I recommend reading with the lights on! A small number of cameras have the ability to capture ghosts on film. This gift comes at a steep price; the ghosts are resentful and hungry, and the cameras offer them a rare chance to reach their favourite prey… humans. Jenine didn’t know any of this when she found an abandoned Polaroid camera in a lighthouse. At first she assumes the ghostly shapes in the photos are a glitch but then the spirits begin to hunt her down and she’s forced into a deadly race to free herself from the camera’s curse.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Please recommend more horror short stories below. I am always looking for new ones. Thanks for reading.
Peace & Love xoxo