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    Updated on Jul 6, 2020. Posted on Jul 4, 2020

    19 Short Stories That People Claim Are The Most Disturbing Ever Written

    Short and not-so-sweet.

    We recently asked members of our BuzzFeed Community, "What is the scariest and/or most disturbing short story you've ever read?" and they did not disappoint. Here are just a few of the short stories that are guaranteed to give you nightmares in 100 pages or less:

    CONTENT WARNINGS:

    1: Given the nature of this post, there are some disturbing descriptions and mentions of graphic imagery, so reader discretion is advised.

    2: There are SPOILERS AHEAD for several of these short stories!

    1. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

    "It's a short story about a small town where once a year a lottery comes around and you find out that its purpose is to randomly select a citizen to stone to death to appease Mother Nature. It gave me nightmares for weeks."

    objactively_

    2. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

    CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    "I have to go with a classic. It messed me up. The thought of dying alone while literally sealed into a wall is enough to send shivers down my spine."

    lostgirl1231

    3. "Harold" from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

    HarperCollins

    "It’s about two guys who have a scarecrow they modeled after a neighbor they don’t like. They constantly abuse the scarecrow, and it eventually comes to life and kills one of the men. I read this in second grade and I was absolutely terrified to go to any pumpkin patches later that year."

    purplelettuce

    4. "Skullpocket" from Wounds: Six Stories From the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud

    Gallery / Saga Press

    "It's super disturbing, but also tongue-in-cheek and profoundly depressing. Despite it having children getting eaten by monsters, I found myself feeling way more sad than scared by the end of it. The story has great world-building and really sucks you in. I love Ballingrud's stories because, no matter how many monsters are in them, the stories still feel deeply human. Anyway, it's very sad and very, very creepy."

    bekoconnell

    5. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

    Dark Horse Books

    "An evil, vampiric Snow White terrorizes her stepmother. It still gives me the shudders."

    tracycosta0

    6. The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen

    Penguin Books Ltd

    "I read this in a high school literature textbook, and it haunts me to this day. It's about a woman returning to her abandoned house in London during the bombings of World War II, only to find a threatening and mysterious note from an unknown person who she believes is still in the house. Beautiful, eerie writing and incredible twists and turns!"

    katemariewilson

    7. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

    Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

    "I read it in college, and I was disturbed beyond belief. The title of the story threw me off. The less you know going in, the better."

    kitkat613

    8. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

    Perfection Learning

    "It was so twisted and unexpected. I must have read it over 15 years ago, and I still think about it. It definitely gives you those Ramsay Bolton/Game of Thrones vibes that run a chill right down your spine."

    pascalel4e4a19486

    9. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    "It's very descriptive, to the point that it makes you as claustrophobic as the narrator. It doesn’t take much imagination for you to see that horrendous wallpaper and the room the narrator is shut in. And what a twist! As close a trip into insanity as you can get without going crazy yourself."

    stormwatcher

    10. "The Frolic" from Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti

    Carroll & Graf Pub

    "A prison psychologist recounts to his wife the day's conversation with a serial killer/presumed pedophile (no one knows what he does to his victims). He claims he wanted to get caught so that he could take a rest from his 'frolics,' and that he can leave the prison whenever he wants. Despite him being supposedly secure in the prison, the psychologist is unsettled and concerned that he will somehow do something to his daughter.

    There's a terrible sense of foreboding throughout, and the ending hits like a punch to the gut, even though you kind of see it coming. I think it's an unsettling story for anyone to read, but an especially scary one if you're a parent."

    carlyd13

    11. The Landlady by Roald Dahl

    Penguin

    "It’s about this man who stops at a little inn overnight. The inn is run by a sweet old lady, but he’s the only one there. And he sees in the record book that only two other men have stayed there in the past. He thinks he remembers one of the men from the news, but he doesn’t know where from. The landlady gives him tea and is extremely kind, but he never seems to notice how oddly she’s acting. The story ends with her saying she keeps her 'friends in the attic.' We never find out if this man is her third victim. It’s creepy because the character in the story seems to be clueless as to the danger he’s in, and the landlady is disturbingly sweet the whole time, even though we know she’s a serial killer."

    321missmaximoff

    12. "Harrison Bergeron" from Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut

    Dial Press

    "Basically everyone is forced to be equal, but to extremes (i.e., If you're deemed 'too pretty,' you have to wear a bag on your face. If you're deemed 'too strong' you have to wear weights, etc.). They made us read that shit in eighth grade and it's haunted me ever since."

    okaykaylyn

    13. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

    Ontario Review Press

    "I read it as a freshman in high school and it's stuck with me ever since. It's terrifyingly realistic."

    anothergingercat

    14. The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs

    CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    "It's the classic story about (literally) being careful what you wish for, because you might just get it."

    cici0110

    15. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

    Pyramid

    "After hearing a booktuber talk about it and its grossness, I found a pdf of it online and it took me about 15 minutes to read. It's about how an artificially intelligent computer system used for military gain becomes self-aware and wipes out the human race. This computer, however, has kept a group of humans alive for the sole purpose of torturing them out of spite and revenge.

    As the story moves on, we hear about how all the characters wish for death, since it would be better than their torture. Towards the end, the main character kills the rest of his group, but is unable to kill himself in time — meaning he is now the only subject left to be tortured by the system. I thought about it for days. Definitely not a beach read."

    sevilla01

    16. The Pear-Shaped Man by George R.R. Martin

    Pulphouse Publishing

    "This short story embodies the kind of slow-burning horror that stays with you long after you read it. It’s terrifying how the protagonist’s life is slowly infiltrated, and it makes you question your own experiences. It’s psychologically thrilling and makes you feel sick in the best way. 10/10."

    nightlock28

    17. Serial by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch

    CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    "A serial killer picks up a hitchhiker — who also just so happens to be a serial killer. As you can imagine, it gets very graphic. Corn is involved."

    laurenc42f6bf37f

    18. The Veldt by Ray Bradbury

    Perfection Learning

    "Our teacher made us read it in sixth grade and the entire class was silent. Flash forward to eighth grade; we had that same teacher, and we were reading other short stories. The teacher brought this one up, and everyone in class all collectively shuddered."

    anyarosem16

    19. And finally, "Guts" from Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

    Anchor

    "This story is, quite frankly, the best and worst thing I’ve ever read in my life. It is both remarkably disgusting and horrifyingly interesting. I come back to it time and time again, but proceed with caution."

    chelse4

    Now it's your turn! What short story terrified you the most?! Share the title, the author, and a little bit about the story itself in the comments below!

    Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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