A Short Horror Story In 50 Words

Reading & Writing


Many years ago I was asked to write a short horror story with a catch; it had to be no more or less than fifty words. I have no idea what the book was because I must have torn out my entry from it (clearly didn’t think much of the others) and stuck it behind some books. It’s not how I’d write it now, but here it is anyway:

Turnabout Is Fare Paid

The things in the tunnels of the London Underground sometimes appear at night. They hide beneath spiral staircases listening out for shoes on steel.

Hi-Top watched the last train pass before scrawling his band across the tiles. Drawn by the warmth of his tattooed skin, they studied each meticulous design. The hip-hop hid their scrabblings as they dragged him into inky darkness. Longlife batteries kept the music high as they stripped the hearts and daggers from him.

Next morning, commuters fainted as his skin congealed on tunnel walls. Fame for Hi-Top! Musically, he’d wanted to be all over London’s underground.

7 comments on “A Short Horror Story In 50 Words”

  1. Jo W says:

    Sorry,haven’t got time now. Maybe when I’ve got a spare hour later?

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    Now, there’s an EC if I ever read one. Imagine it illustrated: like the flayed skin tacked on the on the door of the castle in London (?), Burrr…..

  3. Dan Terrell says:

    I was going for 25, but was redundant.

  4. John says:

    Housecleaning again? Wonder why you tore it out and didn’t throw it away, but instead hid it? Hmm…

    There is another version of this style of short short in which the writer creates a story of exactly 100 words. It’s called a “drabble.” Don’t know where the term came from. I participate in an Advent Drabble contest at Christmas time every year. Some people are very good at it, others as you can expect are just dreadful.

  5. admin says:

    Oh, I’m in a book of Drabbles. I’m not sure about calling something a cross between ‘Drab’ and ‘Dribbles’.

  6. snowy says:

    For the benefit of collectors, it apears in:

    Drabble II – Double Century
    Ed. Rob Meades and David B. Wake
    Date 1990-04-10
    ISBN: 1-870824-15-6 [978-1-870824-15-6]
    Pub. Beccon Publications
    [First edition, limited to 1000 copies.]

    [Not hard to find. But a nice clean example costs more than a small pot of bee mucus!]

  7. Keith says:

    That’s quite brilliant, thanks for that. Could you illustrate it for us?

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