10 Greatest Spooky Short Stories for the Lover of Horror

“If you still think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body.”

The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe

If you’re digging for the best horror stories to indulge in, you’ve reached the right place. Whether you’re a newbie at horror or a proven fanatic, here’s a carefully curated list of some of the best short horror stories that will give you the adrenaline rush you’re seeking. Or let’s just say, enough thrill to keep you awake through nights, without giving you nightmares. These range between 10-100 pages and most of them are done before you know. That said, they pack enough punch to keep you glued to the edge of your seat, and at the same time have you itching to pick the next one up.

Let’s take a look.

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The idea for this famous story came to du Maurier one day when she was walking across to Menabilly Barton farm from the house. She saw a farmer busily ploughing a field whilst above him the seagulls were diving and wheeling. She developed an idea about the birds becoming hostile and attacking him. In her story, the birds become hostile after a harsh winter with little food—first the seagulls, then birds of prey, and finally even small birds—all turn against mankind. The nightmarish vision appealed to Hitchcock who turned it into the celebrated film.

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In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

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Since his childhood, Arun has secretly been in love with Susanna, his dangerously alluring neighbor, who becomes his friend despite the wide difference in their ages. But Susanna has a weakness for falling in love with the wrong men. Over the years, Arun watches as Susanna becomes notorious as the merry widow who flits from one marriage to another, leaving behind a trail of dead husbands. It is only a matter of time before he too begins to wonder if there is any truth to the slanderous gossip surrounding the woman he is in love with.

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A rich, successful Moscow professor befriends a stray dog and attempts a scientific first by transplanting into it the testicles and pituitary gland of a recently deceased man. A distinctly worryingly human animal is now on the loose, and the professor’s hitherto respectable life becomes a nightmare beyond endurance. 

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Th October Country is Ray Bradbury’s own netherworld of the soul, inhabited by the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us. This classic collection of short stories includes:
The Emissary, The Small Assassin, The Scythe, plus nineteen more terrifying tales!

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Miss Emily Grierson is a newly departed spinster who led a mysterious life in relative isolation. Although regarded as a touch eccentric, it is only after her death, when a decidedly shocking discovery is found in her house, that the people of Jefferson, Yoknapatawapha County realize just how strange Emily’s truly life was.

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Overtaken by insomnia, a gentleman wanders through a damp winter countryside – until he discovers the black mouth of a railway tunnel. To his amazement, deep in the gorge before the tunnel, he sees an ancient signal-man. Although at first unresponsive to his calls, the signal-man eventually invites him down to a lonely shack. It’s there, over the course of two sleepless nights, that we learn the signal-man’s horrifying secret: a shrouded figure haunts him, foretelling a catastrophe soon to befall that very stretch of the tracks. Has the signal-man lost his mind in the solitary dark of his profession? Or does he see the phantom of his own grizzly fate? 

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While travelling into the forest on an errand, Young Goodman Brown and his wife happen upon a Sabbath for witches where they are offered as new converts, prompting Brown to question his faith and trust in his spouse. Set in Puritan Salem, Massachusetts, “Young Goodman Brown” reflects author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s perspective on this dark period of American history.

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In the degenerate, unliked backwater of Dunwich, Wilbur Whately, a most unusual child, is born. Of unnatural parentage, he grows at an uncanny pace to an unsettling height, but the boy’s arrival simply precedes that of a true horror: one of the Old Ones, that forces the people of the town to hole up by night.

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The story is presented as a first-person narrative using an unreliable narrator. He is a condemned man at the outset of the story. The narrator tells us that from an early age he has loved animals. He and his wife have many pets, including a large black cat named Pluto. This cat is especially fond of the narrator and vice versa. Their mutual friendship lasts for several years, until the narrator becomes an alcoholic. One night, after coming home intoxicated, he believes the cat is avoiding him. When he tries to seize it, the panicked cat bites the narrator, and in a fit of rage, he seizes the animal, pulls a pen-knife from his pocket, and deliberately gouges out the cat’s eye.

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Hoping you enjoy my recommendations and become a horror fanatic, just like me.

What are some of your favorite horror stories?
Do share them in comments.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem!