The following short stories are classic horror and gothic tales, which have stood the test of time and been terrifying readers for decades. These freaky tales are fast-paced and suspenseful, meaning they’re great options to read aloud with fellow literature lovers (preferably by candlelight) on Halloween or the nights leading up to it. 


But if you’re home alone, reading the Fictionate.Me blog on a stormy night, or happen to live in a drafty abandoned castle—we’d advise you to stop reading right about now...


Murderers in The Rue Morgue (Edgar Allen Poe)


It’s the summer of 1840 and a gruesome murder has taken place in Paris. The first things to note are that a woman has been decapitated in her own home and the killer has gotten away. But before we’re given these details, we’ve already been introduced to August Dupin, a man who possesses an ‘unusual reasoning power.’ Upon reading the curious and disturbing case in the paper, Dupin claims the mystery can, and must, be solved. 



Rappaccini’s Daughter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)


Giovanni, a young man from Naples, moves into a new apartment and becomes intrigued by the exotic flowers and plants in the garden below. The housemaid explains that these plants are used for medicinal purposes by the doctor who lives next door—and trespassing into the garden is forbidden. But, through his window, Giovanni sees the doctor’s beautiful daughter in the garden, and becomes eager to meet her and learn more about this intriguing two-person family and the medicines they’re growing. 



A Rose for Emily (William Faulkner) 


Emily Grierson lost her father and had been abandoned by her suitor before she turned thirty. After these events, the town sees less and less of her. Tucked away in a large, expensive relic of a home, the townspeople grow increasingly curious about the secluded woman. Three occurrences create further gossip: A strange odor coming from the home, Emily’s purchase of poison, and her weekly carriage rides with a man who’s new in town. 



The Most Dangerous Game (Richard Connell)


Two hunters cruise towards the Amazon for an epic hunting expedition, and on their way they pass a dark and foreboding island. The sailors and crew are clearly scared of the island, but when one of the hunters falls overboard, he has no choice but to swim towards it. Once washed ashore, he finds an elaborate fortress, run by an intriguing and intense gentleman. Like our protagonist, this man is a hunter, yet he has a deep perversion of what can be considered prey. 


*New movie coming out is a loose adaptation of this short story! 



The Pit and the Pendulum (Edgar Allen Poe)


The unnamed narrator has received his death sentence, and with that, he faints. He awakens in complete darkness and determines he’s in some sort of cell with rounded walls. After feeling his way around it, he discovers a deep pit at its center, and again loses consciousness. The next time he wakes he realizes he’s been strapped down, and directly above his chest swings a large bladed pendulum. Suspense builds as the scythe slowly oscillates towards him and he’s struck with a brilliant idea. 



The Furnished Room (O. Henry) 


A man, in search of his long lost lover, rents a room in New York City’s lower West Side. He describes his backroom like this: The tiny fingerprints on the wall spoke of little prisoners trying to feel their way to sun and air...The furniture was chipped and bruised; the couch, distorted by bursting springs, seemed a horrible monster that had been slain during the stress of some grotesque convulsion...Each plank in the floor owned its particular cant and shriek as from a separate and individual agony.” Yet, beyond its general filth, there’s something about this room that’s particularly eerie and repugnant...yet familiar.  



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Curious about vampires? What about zombies? Oh yes, we make sure to write about the important things. 


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