A thread at Reddit invites users to contribute “the best horror story you can come up with in two sentences”.
Some of the most spine-tingling …
Out in the garden, the girl in the blue dress with butterflies on it stood on her tippy-toes, trying to reach one of the pretty things in the tree’s branches. When the corpse began to swing at her touch, she laughed merrily.
I can’t move, breathe, speak or hear and it’s so dark all the time. If I knew it would be this lonely, I would have been cremated instead.
The doctors told the amputee he might experience a phantom limb from time to time. Nobody prepared him for the moments though, when he felt cold fingers brush across his phantom hand.
Don’t be scared of the monsters, just look for them. Look to your left, to your right, under your bed, behind your dresser, in your closet but never look up, she hates being seen.
I woke up to hear knocking on glass. At first, I though it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again.
I thought my “No Soliciting” sign on the door would take care of the problem. How was I to know Death is illiterate?
7. The contributor fesses up that this comes from The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror:
In the backyard, after the family moved away: blue chipped food bowl, worn-out dog collar, torn little boy shorts, rope; in the corner the faint outline of a grave, dog leash lying like half a set of parentheses. Then you remember: the family had no pets.
The worst thing wasn’t that he couldn’t stop being eaten alive. The worst thing was that he was the one doing the eating.
Being buried alive was bad enough. Realizing I wasn’t alone in my own grave was worse.
10. This is the highest rated on the site, not surprisingly …
I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.”
Finally, one famous alternative that doesn’t get a mention, as far as I’ve seen, is this, from Thrilling Wonder Stories, 1948:
The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.