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12+

First try at a horror story......

by CharlotteS


The door creaks open. My nostrils flare as I smell mold, death…decay. Wooden beams hang from the ceilings, crumbling with age. Except this house was only built last year. I step onto the threshold, the floor creaking as it comes in contact with my feet. A blast of cold air hits me, leaving me shivering and sweaty. I turn to leave but the door has disappeared. I have no choice but to go forward.

My ears begin to hurt as a sinister whisper flies through the house,

“You have stepped over the threshold. You have awakened the spirits. The curse is now upon you.” I reach to rub my ears, my hands come back…..covered in blood. I try to scream but a hand covers my mouth. I look down, there it sits…..attached to an arm which is attached to a body. I look up and there she stands. Matted black hair, sharp, pointed teeth; scabs and blood covering her face. Her eyes stare at me, black and deep. Suddenly they widen. Her arms look as if she has been shackled for years. Spiders crawl slowly from her hands to her shoulders and back again, whispering,

“Kill the traitor. Kill the intruder, prove yourself to the mistress.” I tear my eyes away from her face and try to move my hands…..but they are entangled in sticky webs. I look up; the girl’s eyes look human. And just like that they are black and soulless again. I begin to collapse but just as suddenly as she appeared the girl disappears. The voice whispers again,

“Return to me within a fortnight, or the same curse shall be upon the next person who touches you.” I run towards the door that has magically appeared, able to move; it was as if the webs had never been restricting my movements. I stop and look at my hands, no sign of webs, spiders or any harm at all.  As I leave I look back once more, a woman stands waving me off. She wears a medieval dress, her hair long and plaited with flowers; her feet bare and dirty. She waves a yellow handkerchief that is slowly crumbling as it flutters in the cold wind. Her eyes are like daggers, her mouth curved into a cruel smile. The girl stands beside her. I stumble into the sunshine. The house disappears. 


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Wed May 03, 2017 3:50 am
Pernicus wrote a review...



I'm sorry if this repeats the other reviews it was not my intention.
I know that the length has been brought up earlier but its still worth a comment, yes short stories are short but this is barely a story. What you did write you did a good job with for the most part though.

I have some qualms with the structure of the first line, you list things you smell like mold, death and decay. I feel a conventional list would have done here without the ellipsis which is an overused trope in such a short sentence cannot effectively build suspense. Next you use a contradiction to add to the horror, the ageing house despite it being relatively new. This is a great way to add horror subtly and make the reader ask questions, however because you structured it with a "except" it get the tone like you just improvised and made it up on the spot, you know what I mean?
My advice here would be to re-structure that sentence the other way around so:

"This house was build one year ago yet already the wooden beams hang from the ceilings, crumbling with age"

Obviously that was pretty terrible but spend some time on it and find the right phrasing. Generally you have some odd phrasing but nothing a once-over can't mend.

Now for some overall general feedback. For a first try in the genre its very competent, a lot better than my first try. You, like everyone at first, have fallen into the trap of horror which is to describe the monster/threat in vivid or gory detail. You talk about blood and describe the horrific nature of the events yet the reader never really feels the horror. Your twist is good and functional but the core concepts of horror need altering. My best advice would be that the reveal of the monster or threat is the apex of the horror, but often more terrifying than any monster is the suspicion of one. What I mean to say is that the tension a monster makes is far more gripping to read than a description of the monster killing people. Simply, suspense is more valuable than shock value.
Keep writing I look forward to seeing improvements.




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Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:38 pm
brooklyn193 wrote a review...



Bonjour CharlotteS,

Before you ask I don't speak French. I'm going to split up this review into the sections according to your paragraphs. But before I bring out all of the critique details may I just say this was a great horror story for someones first try. Much better than I would do.

The first paragraph defiantly caught my attention, in a good way. However when you mention that you smell "mold, death...decay" I didn't really like how you worded it. I would rather put "My nostrils flare as I smell wet mold, and a lingering aroma of decaying death", but that's just me. In a story when you hear the words "crumbling with age" you would think of an old darkened house in the middle of a forest. I did not enjoy how you put it was just built a year ago, it defies logic.

Why rub your ears? Is it a character flaw, as in a habit the character does when he/she are nervous or scared? (Oh yeah, by the way it doesn't tell the gender of your character.) I would enjoy pauses between the whispers. It would make the overall theme of the horror seem more tense. Sometimes in movies the whispers seem to overlap. I would enjoy that in your story. What did the hand feel like over your mouth? Examples; cold, damp, slimy, almost alive, warm, inhuman?

Why was character about to collapse and then feel the urge not to do so when the girl disappears? I would still feel shook after having a ghost threaten me. I love the detail in explaining about the eyes changing from sincere to horror.

I would not stop to see if I had spiders on my arms when in a haunted house. Just wait to I run out of the house to make sure I'm not KILLED. After saying the main character stopped for a moment I didn't envision them running towards the door again. Why medieval? Wasn't the house just built? What did the dress look like? When she waved you off was she smiling creepily or just waving? When you mentioned "Her eyes are like daggers" I believe that, that sentence is kind of cliche.

Don't take any of these critiques seriously. They're just to help you improve. Overall, your story was amazing and I hope to see another one by you in the future.

Best Regards,
Brooklyn193




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Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:18 pm
Saruka says...



Hey Charlotte!
Great writing. I was really into the story, already thinking about what might happen next. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed when I found it ending. Thoughts were running through my head like, "Who is this woman?" or "Who touches the narrator next? A lover? A family member? A total stranger?" And then it ended. I was hoping for answers. I would encourage you to make this longer, like I bet many others would.
That's it! Great job!

~
Saruka




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Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:18 pm
Saruka wrote a review...



Hey Charlotte!
Great writing. I was really into the story, already thinking about what might happen next. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed when I found it ending. Thoughts were running through my head like, "Who is this woman?" or "Who touches the narrator next? A lover? A family member? A total stranger?" And then it ended. I was hoping for answers. I would encourage you to make this longer, like I bet many others would.
That's it! Great job!

~
Saruka




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Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:09 pm
RoseTulipLily says...



So I'm inclined to agree with others who say this was a bit too short. Granted, it's a short story for a reason but still. You're good at imagery, as proven when you gave decent description of the surroundings and description of the woman. However, I think this story might be more effective as a horror story if you slow things down a bit. Take your time in describing what's happening so the reader can feel the same things the narrator is feeling and again, I know this is a short story, but I think you could try to make this into a scary book or something like that. Of course it's your choice and I'm just offering my opinion here. Keep writing. After all, practice makes perfect ;)




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Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:09 pm
RoseTulipLily wrote a review...



So I'm inclined to agree with others who say this was a bit too short. Granted, it's a short story for a reason but still. You're good at imagery, as proven when you gave decent description of the surroundings and description of the woman. However, I think this story might be more effective as a horror story if you slow things down a bit. Take your time in describing what's happening so the reader can feel the same things the narrator is feeling and again, I know this is a short story, but I think you could try to make this into a scary book or something like that. Of course it's your choice and I'm just offering my opinion here. Keep writing. After all, practice makes perfect ;)




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Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:18 pm
zaminami wrote a review...



This is a pretty good story, but I didn't get scared. I recommend looking at the 2-sentence horror stories and get some inspiration from that. It could also be a bit longer, unless it's a WIP (and in that case I don't blame you). The detail is GREAT, but it's still not scary. Although I'm probably not the best person to say this to you because I don't get scared from stories/books, haha.

--

Kara




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Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:35 pm
Que wrote a review...



Hi Charlotte!

Personally, I don't really write horror, and I appreciate that it's your first try. First off, I agree with the reviewer below me- this definitely needs more length. The ending suggests that there might be a later part, but that is all up to you. I want to talk to you a bit about adding more length to the beginnging.

You start right off with the narrator opening the door. But!! We don't know anything about him or her, or the house, or much of anything about the situation. Some of it, of course, can remain a mystery, but I feel like the reader needs to know a bit more. Why did the narrator go into the house? If it was only built the year before and no one was waiting outside for the narrator, then it doesn't make sense that it would be a dare. Maybe the narrator just wanted to borrow something, but then maybe he/she come in saying, "Hello? You left your door open... I was just wondering if I could borrow some sugar? Hello?" or something along those lines.

Also, everything in here happens so fast! One of the key parts of horror or mystery is building suspense. The narrator comes in, hears sinister voices, has his or her hands come away with blood, gets covered with webs and sees a creepy girl, then is suddenly outside? The last paragraph is pretty good, but I think you could develop the story and suspense more in the earlier ones. Also, if the (mistress's?) whispering voice ordered the death of the intruder, why wasn't the narrator killed? Maybe the mistress had a change of mind and wanted a new servant (or someone like that girl is), and if that's the case, maybe you could say that in a piece of dialogue, and the girl's cut off action or something.

Lastly, why does the house disappear at the end? I mean, if the narrator is talking about it being built a year ago, then it must actually be real and other people have seen it. If it isn't really real, then maybe you shouldn't give that detail so that it's more surreal and ungrounded, like it could've been a dream.

Good luck!

-Falco




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Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:25 pm
RossLighting wrote a review...



Hi Charlotte! Here's my review!

It was a pretty good story overall, I felt it could of been a little longer, I get that it Is a short story, but it felt too short. I liked all the imagery in the story, it really gives you something to picture in your mind, which is great for any and every story to have, it really boosts it. I liked the ending part, as it gives the question: 'Was it a dream? Hallucination?' And the sunshine part? Really nice touch! Overall, I enjoyed the story, but it was a little too short.


Keep writing!


-Ross





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