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Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Halloween Treat! Four Free Snack-Sized Horror Stories!

At least once every Halloween season I think about how fun it would be to hand out tiny short stories to kids, instead of the normal candy...

But I quickly push that idea aside, realizing that while it may be fun for me, I'd also be likely to end up with a home decorated in tp.

You, on the other hand, are actually looking for something to read, so snack-sized horror stories... here we come!

In the trick-or-treat spirit, they're all free. It'd be crazy to make you pay for a Halloween treat, after all, right?

It began with twelve pages of ebooks.

I reduced that to nine.

I then chose the best four.

I went to Smashwords and did a search for Horror under 20,000 words (free). Wanting short-shorts, I ignored anything over 5,000 words (some looked really good), then went straight to reading the blurbs. The blurbs that I found most fascinating were the ones I selected to read, with the intent of choosing only four.

Why four? 

No reason. I just wanted to set a limit for myself. Because so much of my choice hinged on a well-written blurb, I'm including what that exact blurb, rather than giving my own. I'll also include word count, which ranges from a little over 1500 to a bit above 4000.


"Alright, already, Rebecca! Enough with the explanations. Just get on with it!"

First up, we have...

image via http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KKgQhMgsL._AA160_.jpg

Release is a 2,420 word short-short written by Chuck Grossart.
A man perusing the wares in a vintage book store lifts a tattered volume from its shelf and begins to read. The book quickly becomes his most prized possession...and he, a willing accomplice to a darkness thirsting for release.
What reader doesn't enjoy a horror story that revolves around a book? This one appealed to the part of me that screams, "It could happen to me!" I imagine it'll be the same for you, as well.

Next, we have...

image via http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Xi23ZhdyL.jpg

Tower of Grief is a 3,480 word short written by K. Massari.
An abandoned McMansion and its eerie medieval tower were built on a gravesite by unscrupulous contractors. A former owner knows its darkest secrets, and uses them to her advantage.
 This one bends your mind a bit, which only adds to the horror. While it revolves around one former homeowner, we see into the lives of others, as well. This one is not for the faint of heart.

Number three on the list...

image via http://img1.imagesbn.com/p/2940045994606_p0_v1_s260x420.JPG
Mirror Mirror, at 1,610 words, is the shortest story I have for you today, and is written by Jennifer Waller.
Evelyn followed a rumor into the recesses of an unnamed catacomb in search of an ancient evil. However, once she finds it she quickly learns that escape is impossible.
We all know the dangers of heading out to cursed archeological digs. Unfortunately, someone forgot to remind the protagonist of that fact.

The mirror in the title, as well as the cover, was what drew me to this one. I used to be very uncomfortable around large mirrors, having an over-active imagination, so I'm naturally drawn to stories in which they play a key role.

And finally, we're on to the last - and my favorite of the four:

image via http://cache.smashwire.com/bookCovers/6c266e7d5e8b5f2a0dc1fcfb3d3f52b302422b5b-thumb

The Mirror Man is a 4,030 word short written by M.S. Dobing.
Steven Cree wakes up at the same time, every night. With every passing day, injuries appear on his body, cracks appear on his walls, and the trees that surround his estate seem to encroach upon his home.

But worst of all, it's the man in the mirror. The face that was himself, but is slowly changing into that of a stranger.
I know, I know... another one with the word 'mirror' in the title. It's a good one, though, so bear with me.

Everything within this story needed to be there: Every thought, every action, every word. The writing was exceptional. There was no flowery language, no extra narration. The writing was strong.

Even the dedication at the end fit well. It hit me like a truck, which could only happen with a powerful story.

If you read none of the others on this list, read this one.

But read them all.

Because they're all wonderful pieces of work. And they're free!

And snack-sized!!!

**As I only searched via Smashwords, these ebooks may also be available at the Kindle and Nook stores. My focus today was Smashwords titles, only.

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