I was taking a… constitutional… at work the other day, and I was reminded of something I heard several years ago. The “World’s Shortest Horror Story”. It was a competition to see who could come up with the scariest story in 5 words or less. The winner was
Home alone, toilet seat’s warm.
Which gets creepier and creepier the more you think about it. That also led me to think that, depending on your imagination, there are shorter stories that can be a lot scarier. Maybe even a one word story?
That’s pretty frightening depending on the thoughts that are swimming around in your head at the time. What did you ask for? Why was it rejected? What are the ramifications?
But what could be even more frightening?
This plays into the “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it” narrative. What did you ask for? Did you really mean it? Did you think of all the things that could go wrong?
But… Could there be an even shorter short story? How about:
As in “Dude!” or “Woah!” or just the look on your face when making those exclamations. Did the aliens just arrive? Did your dog just chase an unseen someone off your yard?
But the scariest, shortest story I can think of is:
Mouth agape, struggling to comprehend what’s in front of you. “Why are you here?” or “How did you know?” Those are the scariest stories I can think of. But that’s probably because I’ve seen too many movies.