One of my favorite books of all time is The Stand. It’s a huge long novel that is even longer than you think because I have the complete and uncut edition. It’s a great story that has some honestly creepy elements. (Especially right now.)
That being said, it doesn’t scare me. No, not even in the middle of Covid-19 panic.
Do you know what really freaked me out? This little short film Skittles put out a few years ago for Halloween. It’s about a girl who gets off an elevator on the wrong floor. Here’s a link if you haven’t seen it.
You know what else really comes back to me in the night when I can’t sleep and the wind is rattling my windows just so? This creepypasta story called Rap Rat. It’s unsettling. Especially if you, like me, tend to wake up around three in the morning.
Why is that? Why does a story written by someone on the internet crawl under our skin and whisper to us in the dark? Why isn’t it the magnum opus of the king of horror that stuck with us?
I think it’s because The Stand and other great long works of horror are grand. They are expansive. They show the whole situation, from the heroes surviving to the cat being eaten by rats in the trash can.
But when you have that giant canvas of a story, it’s easy to miss the details.
In a short piece of fiction, all you have is a handful of details. And those details can be as dark as the creator wants them to be.
The masters of such short horror are on display in old copies of Weird Tales,which started in May of 1923. But our taste for the bite-sized macabre has never stopped. Creepshow, Tales From the Crypt, Outer Limits. The aforementioned social media horror accounts. We have never stopped craving tiny horrors. And they have never let go of us.
If you’re interested in reading some bite-sized horror while you’re stuck inside, there’s plenty of options. Here are some links to keep you distracted.
Stay in, stay safe, and scare the hell out of yourself. I mean, what’s a better time to read scary stories than when you’re alone.