BOO! The end.: The shortest stories for the scariest holiday

Whoooo …

Seriously. Whoooo …

In celebration of Halloween, we asked you, our ever-creative readers, to craft scary horror stories no more than two sentences long. And, in reading your work, we have an observation.

You guys are good. Really. A little, um, off, perhaps. But good.

We received nearly 350 disturbingly distilled stories, enough to make this an all-time slam-dunk best response ever for an R-J Living reader participation exercise. So pat yourselves on the back — use your own hand, although someone else’s would do — or just sneak in a extra Snickers this evening.

Your shuddersome short sagas were by turns funny and scary and sardonic and ironic. Many packed nicely twisty endings. Several explored the horror that can appear without warning in everyday life. In a few cases, we had no idea what was going on, but the stories gave us a chill anyway.

And all made for frighteningly fun reads.

Of course, we did find a few that were plagiarized right off of the Reddit.com website that inspired this exercise. To that, we can only say: For shame.

Now, on to the good stuff, served up by writers young and old from all over the valley. We’d also like to offer a special shout-out to the creative students at West Career and Technical Academy, Southwest Career and Technical Academy and Boulder City High School, as well as Ernie Ashby’s English/reading students at Orr Middle School, for some particularly impressive work.

And, now, Halloween has arrived. It’ll be dark before too long, and as the creepiest night of the year slithers toward us, we offer spine-tingling evidence that brevity can, indeed, be the soul of terror.

Happy Halloween (and for even more stories, visit www.ReviewJournal.com/scarystories).

I liked photographing the autumn leaves on my solitary hikes, and sometimes I would camp out overnight to take advantage of the natural lighting all day long. I stopped doing that after I woke up to find pictures of myself — asleep — on my camera.

— Katie Erickson,16, West Career and Technical Academy

God, how he loved Las Vegas women, especially the ones who played dress-up. As her fangs plunged deep into the soft part of his neck, it occurred to him that maybe she wasn’t playing after all.

— Brian Rouff, 58, Las Vegas

Finally getting home after a long night at work, undeniable exhaustion washes over me, leaving me alone in my house to catch up on rest. Opening my bedroom door, I peer in, seeing myself already asleep.

— Casey Seibert, 18, Boulder City High School

She had clearly told the neighbor boy not to walk through her garden, but he didn’t listen. She volunteered to help finding the missing boy, even though she knew exactly where he was.

— Nora Alm, 17, Boulder City High School

I had lunch with my long-lost friend this morning. A little after our reunion, I had been told she had been murdered yesterday morning.

—­­ Julissa Perez, 15, Las Vegas

When I was a child, my mother always looked under the bed to make sure nothing was there. Now that she’s dead, I have to check under the bed for her.

— Kaylee Domzalski, 18, Boulder City High School

He awoke with warmth and contentment, recalling fondly the night before, shared with a woman too beautiful for the likes of him, a woman who willingly conveyed equal parts flattery, attentiveness and yet a vague distance he mistook for coy attraction. As he noticed her absence from the room, the realization of her true intent swept over him like a pestilence, as did the realization that the “warmth” he felt was the flow of blood and onset of infection from the gaping surgical incision she had imparted to his entire left flank, hastily sewn up with a filthy shoelace to which a note was affixed that he read through clenched teeth and final, panicked gasps: “The most interesting thing about you is your kidneys.”

— Peter C. Wetherall, Las Vegas

I look up every night, before I sleep, and see darkness. Tonight, I was not so lucky.

— Brynn Aguillard, 17, West

Career and Technical Academy

A little girl was in a tunnel, and a quiet voice said, “Little girl, come get some candy …”

— Jennifer Barahona Gonzalez, sixth grade, Orr Middle School

I’m told it was a nice service — beautiful flowers, eloquent eulogy. I didn’t have the best seat, though; you can’t see much from the casket.

— Madison Sargeant, 17, Boulder City High School

While sitting in your room at midnight and with barely any light seeping through the window crack, you hear a knock at the window that echoes throughout the vast space. As you get up and extend your arm to open the curtain, a skeletal-like, gray hand emerges from the cloth and whispers in a raspy voice, “Don’t let it come in.”

— Kerent Benjumea, 14, Las Vegas

I woke up in a cold sweat, panicked, just to realize it was just a dream. When I rolled over to fall back asleep, there he was, lying on the pillow next to me.

— Madeline Montgomery, 18, Boulder City High School

As the ragged curtain creaked and pulled back like a mask dropping from a sardonic face, the transfixed audience emitted a collective, horrified gasp, wafting the theater, rafters to lobby. The Oscar Goodman lookalike contest had begun.

— Alan Marciochi, 64, Bullhead City, Ariz.

She watched and shuddered as she watched the crimson liquid drip from the freshly sharpened blade in front of her, her best friends’ bodies on the ground beside her. She never thought she was capable of this.

— Emily Cooper, 17, Boulder City High School

On a hot summer day, Carla picked up her son Phillip from the preschool, exhausted after a long day of work and went home and parked in the blistering hot garage. Carla shuffled inside and passed out on the couch, only be be woken five hours later by her screaming husband demanding to be told where Phillip is.

— Connor Nichols, 17, Boulder City High School

Growing up, she was always afraid of a man hiding beneath the cellar stairs. Her mother always told her she had nothing to worry about … too bad she never got to say “Told you so” as she ascended the steps and saw his eyes.

— Becca Peterson, 17, Boulder City High School

As I am listening to my daughter’s cute little footsteps running up and down the hall and her laughter filling the house, the doorbell rings, I wake up. The police officer begins to tell me they have finally found her, face down in the woods.

— Cori Molisee, 17, Boulder City High School

It hunts me, but because I am faster and clever, I run right when it wants me to run left, going left when it wants me to go right, always escaping, always leaving myself a way out, always a way home. Smiling, I bolt and barricade my door behind me and as I turn I see it there, waiting, and it is also smiling.

—Mike Hottman, 57, Las Vegas

“Look, honey,” I said with a grin, “I finally got around to building that patio you wanted.” Of course, I doubt she heard me under six feet of concrete.

— Medea Gospodnetich, 16, Las Vegas

Everyone assumes I’m asleep, but I’m still awake. I wish they had used the proper amount of anesthesia before exposing me to a knife.

— Paige Pellouchoud, 17, Boulder City High School

The slots were spinning, you were getting closer and closer to winning, 10 million dollars were at stake, you were wide awake! You won the money, and you were done, but then the horrifying truth was revealed, you were no longer concealed: You were under the age of 18!

— Kelvyn Meyers, 15, Las Vegas

A woman was quietly reading “The Delivery Man” in her Summerlin living room one warm and sunny October afternoon when she heard a baby crying in her bedroom. Without hesitation, she went quickly to her room to pick up the baby on her bed, and while cradling him in her arms and cooing to him softly, she remembered that she didn’t have a baby.

— Sabrina Gowette, 29, Henderson

I enjoy running in the morning. But I’m not sure Mrs. Boyle liked being caught.

— Sydney Hann, West Career and Technical Academy

I just heard the news. She’s pregnant.

— Justin Erickson, 18, Boulder City High School

Everyone always says she had such a sweet heart. Personally, I think it tastes rather bitter.

— Kristin Stanton, 14, Southwest Career and Technical Academy

You open the door to your closet to find someone that looks a lot like yourself with frightened eyes staring back at you. Pale lips whisper, “Don’t open the door, someone’s in here.”

— Cynthia Sze Nga, 14, Las Vegas

There once was a kid about 7, and he was dared to go into the room, but he heard there was a bloody body in there. So he went in, then there was another door, and he opened it and a hand pulled him in.

— Vivian Swegan, sixth grade, Orr Middle School

“Go to sleep, baby, in the morning the Lord will wake you,” she said. “But, mommy, I didn’t wake up this morning.”

— Tanja Josipovic, 16, West Career and Technical Academy

A man drove along an abandoned road in the pitch black when he suddenly hit a deer. He drove back to see if it still had a pulse, but, instead, found a cold, lifeless man lying flat on the pavement.

— Jared Smith, 16, Boulder City High School

“Happy birthday, Mama,” wept the lonely child in the morgue, wishing that her mom could hear her in the deathly silent night. For a moment, the ghost thought she heard a faint, mournful, “Come back,” but then the voice was gone, and the girl wandered on.

— Julie Schlanger, 14, West Career and Technical Academy

Living alone isn’t such a bad thing. But I begin to rethink that when she tries to talk to me at night.

— Jollene Gosselin, 18, Boulder City High School

My feet have never moved so fast. Steps one after the other lead me to the bathroom where, well … it was too late.

— Eddie Feeney, 17, Boulder City High School

“Home alone at last,” he thought to himself relievingly as he walked through the front door of his studio apartment. “Nothing but silence,” he murmured to himself just before hearing the chilling laughter of the daughter he had just left on the roadside, miles away in the clutches of the winter’s snow.

— Tyler Wolf, 17, Boulder City High School

In my dreams I see an old, creepy and scary-eyed man with a bloody knife staring at me through my window. I blink twice and realize I’m not even asleep, and I begin to scream.

— Taylor Finn, 17, Boulder City High School

The bloody tongue snaked its way down the streets of Las Vegas, wrapping the city in gore. Its journey ended at the Mob Museum where it regurgitated its prize: Jimmy Hoffa.

—Madelon Smith, 73, Henderson

My heartbeat pounded and seemed to echo throughout the whole room as the strange creature slowly prowled toward me, getting closer and closer with every step. “Are you going to kill me?” I begin whimpering out before it cuts me off and practically shouts, “My dear, you are already dead.”

—Cori Clow, 16, West Career and Technical Academy

The baby came out with its red eyes gleaming and tail wagging. The mother looked down and screamed, and the baby smiled.

—Gladys Handweker, 83, Las Vegas

The showgirl held her breath. There was no more breath.

—Pamela Hayes, 57, Las Vegas

St. Peter pointed to the two elevator shafts and declared, ‘Choose wisely!” Just then, a man appeared with cloven hooves and a sinister smile, pointing to the shaft on the left, while uttering, ‘Trust me.”

—Michael R. Frias, 66, Las Vegas

You’re in the room alone and you sneeze. Someone says, “Bless you.”

—Shayna Moore, 14, Las Vegas

She was six months pregnant. She wasn’t when she went to the doctor.

—Megan Pellouchoud, 17, Boulder City High School

The hazy casino buzzed with the excitement of people laughing and talking and of slot machines chiming with the sounds of jackpots being hit. All would’ve been normal, had the casino not been imploded 10 years earlier.

—Rachel Marshanke, 27, Las Vegas

You look at the calendar, it says it’s Monday. School is tomorrow.

—Xena Bolick, 14, Las Vegas

I readjusted my headphones as the next song on my music player began. A voice I didn’t recognize began chanting, faster and faster; I couldn’t take it anymore as I lifted the sharp point of my pencil to my eye and …

—Lindsey Tran, 16, West Career and Technical Academy

I always wake up to that sound of screaming and hands on my face. Then I come to that realization those screams are mine and those hands are not my own.

—Robert Minter, 17, Boulder City High School

We came to town to see the Rat Pack consume their audience with a vengeance. We left in no laughing mood, in tatters, literally in strips, fighting one another to keep our stringy flesh to ourselves, to reach an exit.

—Marcus Mihail, Las Vegas

Pacing and wailing hours at a time, days have passed, years have eked by, and here I am playing with mother’s hair. Daddy is in the fridge.

—Justin Rebollo, 17, Las Vegas

I was struggling to wake up, pushing aside the musty, murky cloudiness from a senseless dream, my arm dangling off the bed, as a I suddenly became aware the dog was licking my hand. I don’t own a dog.

—Roy M. York, 71, Henderson

“Ahh, help me, Daddy!’ screeched my son from across the hallway. As I ran into the room, I remembered something: My son’s been dead for two years.

—Marc Rubio, 16, West Career and Technical Academy

I literally lost my ass at the casino. Is that scary or what?

Ken Mitchell, 67, Henderson

I arrive at the mine and think to myself, “This is my favorite place in the world.” I grin as I walk through the mine, dripping with the blood of innocent children, and I can’t help but start to chuckle.

Andrew Hotchkiss, 15, West Career and Technical Academy

She hid in the basement, thundering footsteps ring out, breath caught, tears leaking, quivering violently, eyes shut tight, dead silence, eyes open, and her fears became reality. He was anxious to feel their skin touch each other, his pulse accelerating, brain pounding, ravenous hunger overtaking, uncontrollable beast born, eyes lock on the prey, stating, “Guess who is not going to be a twin anymore?”

Amy Murphy, 17, Boulder City High School

With a click the lamp turned on, illuminating his skin beautifully. I look at the lamp shade, thinking how easy it was to make … once he stopped squirming.

Bailey Owens, 17, Boulder City High School