Flavorwire has a great list of their 50 scariest short stories, many of which are available to read online. The list includes a lot of obvious, undeniable classics by authors like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and M.R. James, as well as some contemporary favorites, like Joyce Carol Oates, Kelly Link, and Mary Gaitskill.
I strongly endorse all the ones I’ve read from this list and I’m excited to check out those I haven’t read. Yay spooky stories!
Listen on 8tracks
“They Are the Night Zombies!!” — Sufjan Stevens
“The Ghost Who Walks” — Karen Elson
“Help I’m Alive” — Metric
“Walking With A Ghost” — Tegan and Sara
“Six and Three Quarters” — Ipso Facto
“Superstition” — The Kills
“For Real” — Okkervile River
“Dead and Lovely” — Tom Waits
“I Ain’t Superstitious” — Howlin’ Wolf
“I Put A Spell On You” — Roxy Music
“Spooky” — Dust Springfield
“Ashes” — Dark Dark Dark
“Ghost Town” — The Specials
“Psycho Killer” — Talking Heads
“Ghosts Under Rocks” — Ra Ra Riot
“Thriller” — Michael Jackson
Six sentences for Sunday, September 21:
I let her give me her news—another stroke, still small but more severe than the last one. She says hemiparesis, and apraxia, and visual field loss. She says this is very serious, that we should prepare ourselves for the likelihood that he will have another stroke, and even another, though she doesn’t say who “we” is. While she’s telling me all this, I imagine her in one of those starched-stiff nurse’s caps, white with a red cross on it, like a Halloween costume. Her nurse’s station is scattered with obscure instruments—huge hypodermic needles, surgical pliers, lengths of black rubber tubing the use of which I can’t even invent. And nearby, a cart full of vials of snake oil and pill bottles of amber and green glass, which she dispenses to patients using a giant silver spoon.
I have a little story in the wonderful Underwater New York today.
Here’s a little excerpt to tempt you:
Drown the bird for luck, she tells me. It will keep him alive.
All right, I say.
The bird is small and yellow and white and grey, a songbird. When she puts it in my hands, I can feel its pulse shuddering against my palm. Tiny thing, I could crush it just as easily.
Six sentences for Sunday, September 14:
Never have clouds moved so slowly. I try to count the number of breaths it takes one of them to cross the lawn, but I lose count. In the whole time I’ve been watching, it’s moved only a quarter of an inch, as if it’s caught in some invisible net.
“That’s our cloud,” Albie says, pointing to the one I’ve been following. “We’ll keep it. I’ll carve our names in it, Albie and Evelyn forever.”
Six sentences for Sunday, September 7:
Soon I will have outgrown the swing. Already its wood is growing porous and soft, the varnish all peeled off. One day I will jump off it and never come back.
I’m thinking of the abandoned swing rotting away on its ropes when Albie rushes up behind me and shoves me hard. My legs lift as the swing rises, and rises, and rises. Air rushes past my ears in a two-step rhythm, one deep gasp as I go up and a sharp exhale as I lurch back. Albie’s palms press against my shoulder blades, forcing me higher and higher.
Six sentences for Sunday, August 24:
Well, here we are, she tells him.
The boy tips his head back to look up at the house, to take the whole thing in at once: the weeds growing in amongst the loose bricks of the front steps, the thorny unbloomed arbor, the windows dark amidst faded clapboard siding, once blue, now grey.
He can be happy anywhere, she reminds herself. Children are adaptable. He won’t even notice.
In the tall pine tree, or somewhere nearby, a cardinal asks, then answers its own question: Bir-dy bir-dy bir-dy? Birdy birdy birdy bird!