4 Terrifying Modern Day Horror Stories

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Halloween is the best time to cuddle by a fire, on the floor or couch (whatever you desire), sip on a very warm cup of cocoa and read some short stories by Edgar Allan Poe-Poe. (Sorry, I just really wanted that sentence to rhyme.) Unfortunately, Poe’s work can sometimes seem outdated. You know, like a talking raven? What’s with that? Talking birds must have been a common occurrence in the olden days.

Because of this, I felt the need to take it upon myself and write some short and scary Edgar Allan Poe stories, but with updated modern themes.

Guactober 31st

I’ve been standing here for minutes, but it feels like hours.
Tick tock, tick tock.
My heart is racing, faster and faster with every passing second.
Tick tock, tick tock.
I hear a growl. Is that…? Is that a ghost? What? Oh, no. It’s not. Just my stomach. I’m starving, but I continue to wait.
Tick tock, tick tock.
I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck begin to rise. Beads of sweat collect on my forehead. A cold shiver runs up my spine. My mind races and fear builds.
Tick tock, tick tock.
I take a step. A warm heat hits my face. I hear a sizzle, like fresh steak on a grill. The smells grow stronger. Freshly cut veggies and rice that is sometimes uncomfortably crunchy. I take another step.
Tick tock, tick tock.
“Hello, and welcome to Chipotle!” I hear a voice say. “What’ll ya have?” the voice continues. My heart races faster and faster. I begin breathing heavy, like a fat guy after climbing a few stairs. The fear in my mind begins to consume me.
Tick tock, tick tock.
“Steak burrito, please,” I whisper as my body begins to tremble. “White or brown rice?” the voice asks. “It doesn’t matter,” I say, because I’m not racist against rice. “Black or pinto beans?” the voice asks. “Black,” I say, because I am racist when it comes to my bean preference.
Tick tock, tick tock.
“What kind of salsa?” a new voice asks. “Medium, with corn, and add guac, please,” I respond. “Oh, I’m sorry, but we’re out of guacamole today.” My heart stops. I hear a blood-curling scream from the back of the room. “What?!” I ask in utter shock.
Tick tock, tick tock.
“Yeah, I’m really sorry. Would you like sour cream or cheese?” the voice asks. I take a step back. The terror is real. My back pressed up against the zig-zagged, metal-covered half-wall. I look up to the heavens and yell, “NOOOOOOOO!”
Tick tock, tick tock.
A manager comes out. “I’m sorry sir,” the manager says. “But the guacamole is in stock nevermore.”

Tick tock, tick tock, no guac.

Invalid Password

‘Twas a very long day at my work.
Boss acted like a douche and a jerk.
I came home just to rest and relax.
Get in some sweatpants, and out of my khaks.

I settle on my cozy sofa all alone.
Ready to binge-watch “Game of Thrones.”
I open my laptop and type HBO dot com.
I don’t have an HBO GO password, so I use my mom’s.

Enter her email and her password, too.
That’s when the terror sets in, when I know not what to do.
“Invalid Password” appears on my screen.
Did she change it? That’s just mean.

The room grows cold, and I begin to shake.
Why would she change it? Ugh, Mom, you’re such a flake.
I try everything I can think of, including her full maiden name.
I swear, if it’s not Annabel Lee, I will go insane.

“Invalid Password,” my friggin’ computer begins to tease.
There’s a tapping on my window; I hope it’s just wind and trees.
I begin to believe I’m no longer alone.
There’s someone in my house, I can feel it in my bones.

I think I just peed myself–yup, that’s definitely whiz.
But maybe this stranger in my house knows what my mom’s new password is.
If he or she doesn’t, then I hope this stranger will kill me.
Because it’s better to be dead than to live without King Joffrey.

I know something happens to him, but please don’t tell me.
I’m not caught up yet; I’m only on season three.
From the next room, I hear heavy breathing.
That’s it, I’m now thinking about leaving.

Not because there’s an intruder in my home, ready to put me in a coffin,
but because my mom probably changed her password so I’d call home more often.
I’m not falling for that trap. I’d be on the phone for hours.
Nothing could get me to do so, not even crazy supernatural exorcism powers.

I think of whose password I could use.
Whose would be best? Whose should I choose?
But then I realize something that sends a chill up my spine:
All my closest friends are already using mine.

The stranger lurks from out of the shadows and into my room,
I know my life is coming to an end pretty soon.
I reach for the phone to make a call to save my life.
“Hello, Mom? I need your HBO GO password before someone kills me with a knife.”

“Oh, hi, stranger, and I’m not talking about the guy who’s trying to kill you.”
I knew she would send me on a guilt trip for not calling in a month or two.
I knew she’d want to talk first, just to keep me waiting.
“I met a girl last weekend who you really should be dating.”

I let out a moan and turn to the intruder instead of leavin’.
“Please just kill me, because right now, I can’t even.”

The Letter

Mail has arrived.
Fear sets in.
Junk, bills, and one self-addressed envelope.
Fear sets in.
I open the envelope to see an RSVP for my upcoming wedding.
Fear sets in.
Stan from work checked the “Graciously Accepts” box.
Fear sets in.
Stan wrote the number two in the “Number Attending” box.
Fear sets in.
We didn’t give him a plus one.

The Stranger

It was late into my lunch break. I only had a little bit of time to finish my meal before heading back into my life-sucking job. I felt my body ache. I worked out last week for the first time since the Bush administration, and I was still sore, so I decided to reward myself with some Taco Bell…for the fifth straight day. I crumbled up my trash into one large ball, stood up, and carried my tray to the trash. It was then when the room grew cold. Although my back was turned, I could hear the door to the Taco Bell dining room open.

I froze.

Seconds later, I heard a voice call out my name. I turned my head slowly. My heart was pumping harder than a white guy in 1992 who was about to attempt to dunk in his new Reeboks. “Is that you?” the voice asked. “Oh man, how are you? It’s been a long time!” I took a breath and slowly turned around. “Hey, man!” I replied.

I recognized the person standing there; however, I could not bring my mind to recollect the name of said person. It’s the biggest fear I’ve ever known. Seriously, here are my top five:

5. Ghosts.
4. Katherine Heigl movies.
3. Clowns.
2. Getting murdered and/or the dentist.
1. Seeing someone whose name I can’t remember.

The person began asking me about my job and my girlfriend, and then my parents. My body went numb. Clearly, I should know who this person is. Fear consumed me. The only thing I could hear was the sound of this person talking, wind blowing, very faint music from a jack in the box, children giggling, and basically every other cliché scary noise. My lip began to quiver. My life began flashing before my eyes. Unfortunately, it failed to include the part where I originally met this person.

It was fight or flight.

To be honest, I would’ve preferred flight, but this person was blocking my route to the door. So I decided to fight…by default. In this situation, “fight” meant faking a conversation. Ghosts of faked conversations from the past began to haunt my mind.

Me: “How’s your girlfriend?”
Him: “I don’t have a girlfriend.”
Me: “Yeah, but didn’t you used to?”
Him: (lowers head) “No…”

Me: “How’s your job going?”
Him: “I was fired last week.”

Me: “How’s your grandma?”
Him: “She died.”
Me: “Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. When?”
Him: “Before I was born.”

My throat went dry. I could barely breathe. Thump-thump, thump-thump. My heart was nearly beating out of my chest, and not in that cartoon “I’m in love” kind of way, but more in “a serial killer is chasing me through the woods,” or “I just ran into my ex-girlfriend at Target” kind of way.

“Oh yeah, I remember that,” I lied, keeping this fake conversation going. One of many lies I told. “Oh, that’s so funny,” I lied about something that wasn’t funny. “That’s so you,” I lied not even knowing who “you” is.

Not only did I not know this person’s name, but I couldn’t remember, for the life of me, how I knew this person. Elementary school? No. Someone’s wedding party? No. My bar mitzvah? No, I’m not Jewish.

I felt a rumble in my stomach. Probably a nervous tightness from the tension that filled this room. The feeling grew stronger. The person asked me a question and was clearly waiting for my answer. I couldn’t think.

“Hello?” the person asked, growing impatient by the second. The rumble in my stomach grew louder, like the noise of a motorcycle gang revving their engines simultaneously. Wait, that rumble wasn’t a nervous tightness. It was a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito wreaking havoc. I suddenly turned from the fear of being in a conversation with a human who my mind didn’t find necessary to remember, to the fear of sharting my pants–especially without enough time left in my lunch break to run home and change.

Thump-thump, thump-thump. Okay, I’ll be honest. This time, I wasn’t sure if that was my heartbeat or if it was my colon, politely knocking before busting down the door.

“Excuse me, Jim, but I have to go,” I stated before pushing the person out of my way and beelining to the bathroom. I had done it. I had broken away from a conversation with a person who I did not recognize. Success.

“It’s John,” he said, as I ran away not caring, grinning excessively, and clinching my buttocks tighter than the grip of Thor.

I sat on that toilet patiently. I wanted him gone before I came back out so I could avoid another conversation. I sat on that toilet for three hours, just to make sure that–crap, what was his name, again? He literally just said it.

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Austin Huff

Austin wears pants every day. He is also the founder of

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