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Tiny Terrors: Fifty Word Increments of Horror

Sarina Dorie has sold over 100 short stories to markets like Daily Science Fiction, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card's IGMS, Cosmos, and Sword and Laser. Her steampunk romance series, The Memory Thief and her collections, Fairies, Robots and Unicorns--Oh My! and Ghosts, Werewolves and Zombies--Oh My! are available on Amazon.

A few of her favorite things include: gluten-free brownies (not necessarily glutton-free), Star Trek, steampunk aesthetics, fairies, Severus Snape, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Mr. Darcy.

You can find info about her short stories and novels on her website: sarinadorie.com.
No One Puts Baby in the Corner
"I don't want a time out!" Josie screeched.
Her mother walked away.
Josie sent anger out in waves. Her mother tripped and fell. The carpet rippled like sand and her mother sank, desperately trying to claw her way out.
Josie left the corner and snatched up a cookie. She smiled.
The Night the Shadows Came to Life
Jim locked himself inside his apartment, wheezing from running. He turned on all the lights to dispel the darkness. He didn't want to die like the others he'd seen tonight.
Still, his shadow came for him. It slid under the door and reached toward him, long fingers stretching like blades.
What Doesn't Kill You, Will Make You--Who Are You Kidding?--It Will Kill You
The men from the cartel buried me in a shallow grave, leaving me for dead. I clawed my way out, each movement making the bullet wounds bleed anew.
A shadow blocked out the sun. I looked up just in time to spot the crow swooping down to peck out my eye.
It's Just Pumpkin Guts, She Told Herself
Shannon dug her fingers into the warm, wet viscera inside the hollow cavity and yanked out a handful of slippery pulp. She turned her face away, avoiding the coppery smell.
Something large slipped through her fingers. She shouldn't have peeked. Crimson stained her hands. A bloody eyeball stared at her.
They Aren't Required to Use Anesthesia on Patients Classified as Brain-Dead
The steel table was cold under my bare body. Unable to move, I listened to the doctors lay out the tools.
"Thankfully, she was an organ donor," one of them said.
"I'm still alive!" I tried to scream, but my lips were sealed together.
The scalpel lanced through my flesh.
They Always Return to the Scene of the Crime
Jaylee left the forest trail to investigate the glint of metal. The medallion was covered in dead leaves and twigs. No, not twigs. Bone. The edges had been hacked.
Twigs snapped behind Jaylee. She whirled. A man stood there, axe in hand. A chill settled in her gut. He smiled.
The Effects of Crystal Meth on Masochistic Vultures
The vultures pecked at my fingers and toes for the sport of it. I wasn't even dead. I tried to kick them away, but the ropes kept me still.
They perched on a cactus, watching. One bird said to another, "Do you happen to have any Grey Poupon?"
They cackled.
This is What Happens When You Use a Ouija Board App
Sydney turned off her iPad and unplugged the television. The raspy voice continued to speak in tongues through her electronics.
The lights in her room flickered and went dark. An icy wind brushed across the bare flesh of her arm.
Her phone vibrated.
Turn around, the text message said.
The Writer's Worst Nightmare
"Chop. Chop. Chop," said the editor, a malicious gleam in his eye.
He plunged his cleaver into the pages of the novel. Blood spurted from the binding. The words on the pages screamed and writhed.
The writer stared in horror.
"Now it's ready to be published," the editor said.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, October 16th, 2017


I wrote these fifty-word stories after an editor invited me to write one for a horror contest. Although, I write horror, most of the time it is humorous, so that was my first challenge. Additionally, it is difficult to write a story with character, setting, and conflict in fifty words and make it feel like a complete story. After the contest was over, I couldn't stop thinking about micro fiction. I considered Earnest Hemingway's six-word story: "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn," and Margaret Atwood's six-word story: "Longed for him. Got him. S-t," and how these authors were able to say so much in so few words. I started crafting my own micro fiction as an exercise. As far as humorous horror goes, The Writer's Worst Nightmare is my favorite. I'm sure other writers can relate. [Jonathan's Note: Editors can, too.]

- Sarina Dorie

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