One of my very favorite Halloween activities is reading scary stories. Here are some favorites of mine. Several of these are classics, several others are by extremely talented friends.
First, two stories by my awesome friends:
And They Did Live by Watchfires – Evan Dicken
This is one of Evan’s earlier stories, and one that I find to be an incredibly haunting and beautiful love story, plus cosmic horror. I loved the way Evan was able to fold elements of Lovecraftian horror into a story about a couple’s very personal tragedy.
Centipede Heartbeat – Caspian Gray
In Centipede Heartbeat, we learn what things creep and crawl beneath the unturned stones of a relationship. Like Evan’s story, this one is also about a couple’s relationship, but the horror in this story is less cosmic and more earthy. Caspian’s ability to develop rich, nuanced characters always surprises me and makes me awed.
Next, some horror classics:
Axolotl – Julio Cortazar
Axolotl is one of my favorite Cortazar stories. What happens when one man becomes obsessed with the axolotls in the tank at his local aquarium, those little creatures with their human-looking eyes?
The Lottery – Shirley Jackson
Definitely one of the greatest horror stories of the 20th century. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and read it. If you have read it, do yourself a favor and read it again. It’s that good!
Nyarlathotep – H.P. Lovecraft
Everyone has their own favorite Lovecraft tale. Mine happens to be Nyarlathotep, that tale of a whole world’s descent into madness and decay.
The Monkey’s Paw – W.W. Jacobs
A childhood favorite of mine. My very favorite interpretation was an early “Treehouse of Horror” episode of the Simpsons which included a retelling of this supernatural tale of woe.
As for novels, two titles rank up there with really frightening, the stories that made me afraid to look in the closet or to be alone in a strange house: The Shining, by Stephen King, and House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski.
What are some of your favorites? Drop them in the comments below.