10 Horror Short Stories You Most Likely Wouldn’t Have Read (But Should!)

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I like to think I am slowly becoming a writer. A real writer. As well as columns wherever the people running the website will have me, I have had short stories, poems, essays and even books published (and, no, I don’t do self-publishing). However, at the moment, short stories have been my fictional bread and butter. The Horror Tree here have even decided to publish a couple of my works (drabbles and short stories). What this means is that I have appeared in a vast number of anthologies. And that means I have read a lot of horror shorts. Unfortunately, some of these books might be out of print. Still, search for the authors, find second hand copies, have a look around. They are absolutely worth your time!

 

So, what I have decided to do is look through some of the anthologies I appeared in in the early 2010s and give you some of the very best of the short stories in these books. Why those anthologies? Well, because I recently re-read them all. That’s all. There are reasons for that that I won’t bore you with, but I did read a great number of short stories in a short period of time. And instead of letting all of that reading go to the wasteland that is university study, I decided to use it to give enjoyment to others.

 

And with that in mind, here are ten horror short stories that are truly magnificent and that you should seek out.

 

’53 Minutes’ by Kevin G. Bufton (from Under The Knife, Cruentus Libri Press, 2013)
This reads like one of those urgent hospital dramas, where there is 53 minutes to get something done after a woman dies on the table. What is it? A need for her organs? To save her? What? Well, the truth is quite eerie and comes out of nowhere. The way it jars from drama to horror seamlessly is very well done, and a skill I am still struggling to come to terms with.

This title is out of print but can occasionally be found on Amazon.

 

‘Blood On The Rose’ by Dorothy Davies (from Beyond The Grave, Static Movement, 2011)
This is short and is a first person narrative told from an interesting point of view. In fact, it’s just a ghost story. But what gets me about this story is just how well written it is. The use of language is sublime. It was always an issue appearing in a book with one of Davies’ stories because you would be judged against her work and be found lacking. Yes, I am a fan, and I just enjoy this tale so much.

This title is out of print but can occasionally be found on Amazon.

 
 


‘Bad Parents’ by Gretchen Elhassani (from The Undead That Saved Christmas: Vol 3 Monster Bash!, Rainstorm Press, 2012)
The story is given away in the opening section, but that does not take away from the horror and dread of this tale. It is close to spatter-gore horror (close, but…) and has a deep, underlying message – where do naughty kids really come from? I just like this for what it is: A story about Christmas the way probably every child wishes it was. Probably…

This title is currently available on Amazon.

 

‘Gig Marks’ by Ed Ferrera (from Lucha Gore, Cruentus Libri Press, 2012)
This is one of my very favourite short stories ever. (My ultimate favourite is ‘Streets Of Ashkelon’ by Harry Harrison, for those playing at home.) Okay, yes, I admit, a part of it is my love for professional wrestling (and I have even been known to be beaten up in a ring for fun). This is a tale of a ring death that simply does not go away. While it is a standard horror trope, the way it is written – and Ferrera was a renowned writer for WWE and WCW – is so picture perfect. The descriptions of the life of an independent wrestler might only ring for some-one like me, but I don’t care – this is awesome.

This title is out of print but can occasionally be found on Amazon.

 

‘The Model’ by S.Gepp (from I’ll Never Go Away, Rainstorm Press, 2012)
Okay, I put my hand up – self-promotion is the thing writers live for. But this is one of the favourites of the short stories I have had published. And some reviews of this book at the time agreed with me. A tale of an artist whose model never leaves him alone. There are deities involved and a lot of psychology, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. I think it’s quite creepy and the ending does not overstay its welcome.

Available on Amazon.

 

‘The Monster In The Fog’ by Ash Hartwell (from Under The Stairs, Wicked East Press, 2011)
This is just… well, dark is the only word I can think of. The tale of a mother who reaches the end of her tether and then takes a step over the line is the sort of story that stays with you for an uncomfortably long time. I don’t want to let too much out of the bag, but this is so well-written and it builds and builds until the end seems inevitable, but is no less shocking for that. That is some fine writing.

This title is out of print but can occasionally be found on Amazon.

 

‘Delano’ by Jon Michael Kelley (from Tales Of Terror And Mayhem From Deep Within The Box, Evil Jester Press, 2012)
This story starts of being something that seems to be clichéd – it’s about a puppet-maker and a kid hoping to get his puppet repaired. Haunted puppets? Living puppets? Well… no. This avoids the stereotypes and does it so well. You do not see the ending coming, and the sort of cheeriness of the ending is actually really horrifying. It opens the anthology and really sets the tone for what is a creepy collection.

Available on Amazon.

 

‘The Woods Today’ by Lisamarie Lamb (from Satan’s Toybox: Terrifying Teddies, Angelic Knight Press, 2012)
This is a story that does a great job of building up the suspense and sense of horror slowly. I love stories that do that, and Lamb does it so well. The theme of the book and the song this line comes from does sort of give away what is going to happen, but that does not really matter when a story is written like this. The character of Lewis has all our sympathy and then… yeah. Just a creepy story.

This title is out of print.

 

‘The Vampire’s Gift’ by Amanda Roberts (from Legends Of The Monster Hunter IV: Monster Hunter, Blood Trails, Emby Press, 2014)
This is a depressing story, it really is, but that is only made worse by the setting – in a labyrinthine crypt – and the writing. This story of hunting a vampire (vampires, really) is written in such a way that you get that feeling of claustrophobia the setting indicates. And I could picture it so clearly. Best story in a really strong anthology. And the ending isn’t really an ending, just a letter of love that can never be again. A family torn apart, the knowledge this is not over… wow.

This title can still be found digitally on Amazon.

 

‘Mother’s Love’ by Tara Sayers (from Once Bitten – Never Die, Wicked East Press, 2011)
This book’s theme is about things that bite. It is one of the better anthologies I’ve been in. And this story stands out as something amazing. It is a first person POV tale about being bitten and the aftermath. So far, so standard. But then the first attack… and the final denouement is just out of nowhere and makes the whole story suddenly feel that much worse. It is the last story in the book, and it leaves the reader with a feeling of dread that lingers. Nice story placement, Jessica A. Weiss (the editor)!

This title is out of print but can occasionally still be found on Amazon.

 

So, 10 short stories you should go and try to find. 2011-2014: a good time for my publishing career, and a great time for short stories in the horror genre. Hope you can find and enjoy these!

 

Oh, and have you bought my book Sins Of the Fathers yet? Please? You can pick it up on Amazon and >Book Depository!

 

Good reading!

S. Gepp

S.Gepp is an Australian who has been writing for a number of years primarily in the horror, fantasy, sci-fi and humour genres. Tertiary educated, former acrobat and professional wrestler, a father of two and well past 40 years old, he hopes to be a real writer when he grows up. His latest book is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Sins-Fathers-S-Gepp-ebook/dp/B07XBDP2RF/.

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