15 Very Short, But Very Scary Horror Stories

My favorite writers can say the most in the fewest words. Brevity is the soul of wit. It’s a big reason I like these stories from Reddit.

That being said, one of the hardest genres to write in short form is horror. Horror is about setting a mood. Building to a moment. That’s what makes these short horror stories so good. Especially short horror stories with a twist.

If you like to REALLY get down to the brass tacks there are also two-sentence horror stories.

1. My Family

I died eight years ago.

It wasn’t particularly tragic. Or unusual. Just a car accident. I don’t blame the man who hit me. He was speeding because his wife was in labor, and there was black ice on the road. He lost control of the car and I lost my life.

It’s not his fault. I know that. I’m not cruel. I am not vengeful.

If anything, I’m the opposite.

You see, I don’t have any family left and I had lost my few friends around that time. When it was time for my funeral, the only people who came were my boss and the family who killed me. The wife held her newborn daughter close to her chest.

hated my boss, and the cemetery was awfully lonely, so I followed the family home.

Lily may as well have been my own flesh and blood. She was sweet, and bright, and oh so very small. She had trouble sleeping if someone wasn’t rocking her crib and her parents were so tired. After they put her to bed, it was easy for me to rock her crib for her. I didn’t get tired. I could help her.

As the years passed, Jack and Lori realized that they weren’t alone in the house. It didn’t take long from there to make a connection between my funeral and when I had shown up. And I’d never been malevolent, so they weren’t afraid or angry.

They started to burn candles on the anniversary of my death day. They left an empty chair for meals and holidays. I really felt like… A member of the family.

Someone is trying to force the door.

It’s Lori’s ex. He’s obsessive. He’s angry. He’s going to hurt the family. My family.

The thing about ghosts is that the more offerings you get, the stronger you become. I’d been enjoying candles, trinkets, and even the occasional food item for the past five years. I was strong from that.

The knife feels warm in my hand. A shock of heat against the ice of my skin.

Lori, Jack, and Lily are my family. I care about them. And they’re not gonna join me yet.


2. I Should Have Read The Reviews

My girlfriend moved out three weeks ago. My cat, Ruk, was really close to her and now that she’s gone, I can tell he’s a bit lonely. Especially when I’m at work. I came home a few times to my curtains ripped up, or all the toilet paper in shreds.

 The last straw was when I came home after working late to find he had clawed a hole the size of a dinner plate into the side of the sofa.

I decided I had to do something. I tried different toys, even catnip, but nothing worked. One night while browsing Amazon, I saw a pet camera. It’s a tiny camera that records your pet on a live feed so you can monitor their behavior while you’re away. It even has an audio function so you can talk to them.

Sounded silly but hey, I love my furry dude so I bought it. I got overnight shipping and installed it immediately. I decided to set it up in my bedroom, as that was where Ruk dwelled most.

My first day at work I think I checked that camera thirty times. When I spoke into the microphone, Ruk seemed to be happier, and I noticed there was no destruction around the house either.

By day four I figured I’d solved the problem with Ruk.

That leads me to right now. About thirty minutes ago I climbed in bed with Ruk, ready to close my eyes, when my phone buzzed. A notification from the pet cam. I almost ignored it, sure I’d just triggered the thing. But I opened it anyway. What I saw made my grip tighten on the phone.

Instead of a video of myself in bed I saw a man, tall, gangly, with pale skin, and large eyes. He was moving into my room with exaggerated steps, like a sneaking cartoon character.

He got right up to the lens, so close I could almost smell his rotten breath, and he smiled.

I immediately paused the video, terrified. I looked at the spot where the man should have been standing, but there was no one there.

I went onto Amazon and found the pet cam, and read the reviews, hoping for some weird glitch. It had to be a joke, right?

The first dozen reviews were pretty standard, but it was the last that caused me to bolt upright.

The customer complained that the camera was on a time delay, sometimes as much as fifteen minutes.

I went back to the video and pressed play with shaky fingers. I watched in horror as the man slithered under my bed, giving the camera a wink before disappearing in the darkness. Then I saw myself enter the room and climb in bed before the video ended.

Now I’m sitting in my bed, knowing he’s under it. I could call the police, but I doubt I’d have time….

So please, do yourselves a favor and read the reviews.


3. Confession

“You okay, buddy?”


“You sure? You’re breathing heavy.”

“I’m okay.”

“Good. Relax. It’ll go quicker that way. To start, I just need some basic information.”


“Simple things.”


“Let’s start with an easy one. What’s your name?”


“Roy what?”


“Well, Mr. Fromeir, how old are you?”


“Go to school?”


“Why not?”

“Dunno. Just don’t.”

“Live alone?”


“You live with your mother and your brother Bill, don’t you?”


“Good. Good. You’re doing fine. But now I need to ask some harder questions, okay? Can you handle that?”


“Good boy. Your brother Bill’s in some hot water, isn’t he? He’s been accused of something bad.”


“He did something bad. To that little girl. Jennie Connor.”


“To be frank, Mr. Fromier, I think you might know something about that. That’s why you’re here today. I think you have a story about Bill and that little girl.”


“Don’t be shy.”


“Relax. You aren’t in any trouble. Just answer me one question. Did you see Bill take Jennie into the woods?”

“I didn’t see them.”


“I saw Jennie. Bill was home.”

“You say you saw Jennie go into the woods but Bill was at home?”


“Mr. Fromier, I find that a wee bit hard to believe. You know, we found Bill’s jacket in those woods. We found his jacket soaked in about a pint of blood. Jennie’s blood. We found her, too. Funny enough, she was just a few yards away. We took some pictures. Want to see?”


“Of the body. Want to see?”


“No, I expect you don’t. They’re not pretty. But nevertheless, they beg the question, what was Jennie’s blood doing on Bill’s jacket? And why do a dozen witnesses claim to have seen them leave together from the football game?”


“Mr. Fromier, I know you followed them from the field. We have it on CCTV. So I ask you again. Did you see Bill take Jennie into the woods?”


“Did you?”

“I didn’t.”

“I think you’re lying.”

“Bill was home. We go together from football. Bill said take Jennie home.”

“You took Jennie?”

“It was cold. Bill said take Jennie and take my jacket. I said let’s go to the woods. Jennie said no. It made me mad. I pushed her. She hurt her head.”


“I hid her in the woods. I was scared. I didn’t want trouble. She woke up. She was mad and screaming so I hit her. I hit her so she shut up.”

“And the jacket?”


“Bill’s jacket.”

“I hid it.”


“Under my bed.”

“Christ, no, not under your bed.”


“Think! For once in your life, fucking think!”


“You hid it in the woods.”

“I hid it in the woods.”

“Yeah, don’t forget. It’s important.”


“When they ask for real, you have to remember. I’m sorry for yelling. I hate seeing you made a fool of is all.”

“I know, Bill.”


4. Birthday Girl

“Good morning, sunshine! Time to wake up!”

I open my eyes and see Nurse Judy, ready to give me my morning injection. I sit on the bed and roll up my pajama sleeve. I feel the needle under my skin and the medication flowing inside my veins.

The nurse gives me a wide smile. “Good girl! You can go to the canteen now and have breakfast with your friends.”

Friends… I don’t have friends here. My friends are almost 60 miles away from me. Enjoying life, learning new stuff, making out at parties. Certainly not spending their youth in a psychiatric ward.

My parents put me there. It was after another anxiety attack at school. I lost control and tried to do something stupid.

Now everything seems stupid to me…

I pass by Nutsy Nora’s room. Her yelling is impossible to ignore. She keeps screaming “Kelly and Jenna” over and over again, whatever these names mean. I see two doctors rushing to her room with a set of tranquilizers.

This place is full of people like her. I don’t think I belong here.

I enter the canteen and hear a loud “Surprise!”. I look around and see other patients gathered around a cake with number candles – 1 and 7 – and an inscription: “Happy birthday, Robin!”. Right, it’s my 17th birthday. Yay. I totally forgot. I force myself to smile and blow the candles.

The cake tastes like soap. Or a cough syrup.

I hide both candles in my pocket when nobody’s watching. I guess it’s the only gift I can count on today.

I stop one of the nurses on the way back to my room. I ask if my parents are going to see me. She shrugs and walks away without saying a word.


As I lay in bed, I stretch my arms and look at my hands. They look… so weird. So damn weird… Maybe it’s a side effect of one of those medications?

Nurse Judy interrupts my contemplation. She storms in with an afternoon dosage of pills.

“How are you feeling, my dear? Did you like the birthday surprise?” she asks, with that annoyingly sweet smile.

“Yeah, I forgot today’s the day.”

She takes my hand and says, “Oh, don’t worry, darling, it happens to everybody.”

As she holds my hand, I ask her why my skin looks so strange.

Nurse Judy gives me a sympathetic gaze. “I think it’s normal at your age, don’t you think so, sweetie?”

Is she trying to make a fool of me? Oh, I’ve had enough.

“But I’m only 17!” I say imploringly.

“I don’t know any other teenager with hands like these! Just look!”

I take the candles out of my pocket and almost rub them in her face.

“You see?! One and seven! Seventeen!” I bellow.

Judy gently takes the candles from my shaking hands.

“Robin, it’s not seventeen. Let me show you the right order. It’s seven and one.”

… Seventy-one.


5. The Blind Child


Sylvia pointed a trembling finger at my brother Arthur. Her milky, unseeing eyes gleamed in his direction, and his wife, Agnes, trembled with indignation from across the table. My husband’s face colored as he dropped his fork and dragged our daughter back into her bedroom, scolding her as they went.

The rest of the night was awkward, and the pep in our conversation never recovered.

Two weeks later, Agnes was stabbed to death in her office parking lot. An inebriated college student found her, almost vomited all over her, and called the cops.

My brother swore that he bore no ill will against my daughter, but I could tell that he was lying.

One day, the middle-aged woman who taught my daughter how to read her braille called me. “Ma’am, I don’t know what’s going on but your daughter’s been whispering, ‘electrocution, electrocution,’ for the past half-hour and it’s starting to distract her from her lessons. Could you please talk to her?”

I did.

Sylvia, in her nine-year-old lack of understanding, told me it was “just a cool new word” she learned at school.

The death of an electrician made headlines the following week. It was a freak accident involving tangled wires and a bucket of water.

Sylvia’s teacher’s face was blurred for privacy, but her voice was as familiar as anything to me:

“He was…my partner…my soulmate.”

While my husband was working late, I called Sylvia into the living room.

“Honey, is there anything Mommy should know?”

She hesitated.

“Honey, you know you can talk to me.”

She denied it once more, “I have no secrets from you, Mommy.”

My husband walked into the living room with his hair tousled and his eyes distant.

Instead of rushing to hug her dad, Sylvia simply turned towards him. “Fire,” she said.

My heart stopped. Everytime Sylvia said something like that, it was the person’s partner who died, and of that reason too. A fire? Was Sylvia merely making predictions, or was she putting a curse on me for snooping in on her business? Why, this devil child—

I grew paranoid, checked the appliances and electronics constantly, and cleared the house of any fire hazards. That was my life over the next few days. All the while, I kept my eyes on Sylvia. Sylvia. I had grown almost hateful towards my own daughter.

My husband came home one night, wounded and blackened with soot, while I sat in the living room and Sylvia listened to the radio beside me. “What’s the matter?” I asked.

He gulped. “One of my colleagues, her house…her house caught fire. She was trapped in, but I managed to escape.”

That turned the gears in my head. “What were you doing in her house?”

The expression on my husband’s face was a sufficient admission of guilt. I opened my mouth to speak—no, to scream—but a smaller voice from beside me looked at me and whispered:



6. I Don’t Hate My Sister

Because of all of the things I do to Renée, most people would say I hate my little sister. I’m here to set the record straight.

I didn’t let Renée’s cat out the back door because I hate her. Muffins is fine. I’ve been feeding him behind the shed.

I don’t flush Renée’s medications before she takes them because I hate her. I was pretty panicked when I thought the toilet was going to clog, though.

I didn’t erase her biology essay because I hate her. She got to see the cute librarian she’s crushing on, anyway.

I didn’t unplug her cell phone before she left the house because I hate her. I unplugged it so that mom and dad wouldn’t be able to call her.

I didn’t use the faulty outlet in the living room because I hate Renée.

I really don’t hate my sister. The fire didn’t kill Renée. Because Renée didn’t have to go back for Muffins. Renée wasn’t sleeping due to her medicine. Renée was at the library, doing her report.

I didn’t let our mom and dad die because I hate my little sister. I did it so that she wouldn’t end up buried in the garden like me.


7. AITA for buying my “tomboy” daughter a “girly” birthday gift???

I know how it sounds, please hear me out before you pass judgment.

I have one kid (10F) who I love dearly, but she’s not a very “girly” girl. She likes Legos, roughhousing, clothes from the boy’s section, stuff like that. So, I figured I’d get her something different for her birthday to steer her in the right direction. I settled on a music box, pastel pink in color with a pretty ballerina inside that twirls to the music when you wind it up. I thought she might be inspired to wear jewelry if she had somewhere to put it.

I wrapped it up in a box topped with a BIG bow – you know, the works. My daughter cried a little bit when she opened her present, which was to be expected. She was really hoping for some new games, but I knew this was the right choice for her.

She begged me to return it, complaining of – and I quote – “a horrible feeling, like my soul is being sucked out of me” every time I twisted the key to play the song, make the ballerina dance, y’know… fun girly stuff.

I ignored her dramatics and played the tune for her each night. Eventually, she came to like it enough to stop hiding it from me. She even started sleeping with it right next to her in bed, though of course, my little tomboy denied that.

I was happy, she was happy… it was all good. Until my daughter started playing the damn thing over and over again just to make a point. Of course, she acted like she was innocent, insisting it wasn’t her, that there was something “wrong” with the box!!! I know she’s doing this in hopes that I’ll exchange the box for something less girly, but I’ve told her time and time again that I do not negotiate with terrorists, so she isn’t going to get her way by acting immature.

I was set on ignoring her antics, but what’s happened since then is the final straw. She won’t stop playing the damn song. Now, I like a cute little melody as much as the next gal, but she’s had it going 24/7 since yesterday. I took the key out of the back, thinking it’d fix it, but I’m certain she rigged it because it wouldn’t stop.

Last night I woke up to the infernal song and found my daughter up way past her bedtime, dancing along to the song in the pink tutu I bought her years ago. She wouldn’t even respond to her name, no matter how much I yelled. I know she’s trying to give me what I want to the point that I realize that the “girly” daughter I want wouldn’t even be her anymore… and, truth be told, I get it now. She doesn’t feel like my daughter anymore, and I miss her.

But, as I said, I refuse to respond to this type of behavior… AITA here???


8. 24 Hours

Yesterday, Todd made it his mission to sleep with as many women as possible. He managed a whopping 37 in just 24 hours, an insurmountable amount for an average day. But this was not an average day. Who was going to say no to some sex?

He didn’t know he’d soon be a father to 6 illegitimate children, or he wouldn’t have done it.

Yesterday, Ann snapped and slit the throat of her toxic ex-husband. The neighbors walking by saw the whole thing through the window but simply looked at each other, shrugged, and kept walking. Ann continued her day as usual, leaving the still-warm body on her floor.

She didn’t know she would be arrested for murder, or she wouldn’t have done it.

Yesterday, Lacey took her husband and kids on a drive on the winding roads next to the ocean. Her hands shook as she gripped the wheel, while her kids sat oblivious in the back. She and her husband shared a meaningful look as she jerked the car to the right and into the crashing ocean waves.

She didn’t know she would be shunned while laying 6 ft. under, or she wouldn’t have done it.

Yesterday, the news was announced that an unsurvivable asteroid was headed straight to Earth.

Yesterday, the world erupted into unprecedented chaos as everyone had to decide what to do with their last 24 hours.

But today, utter and complete pandemonium occurred.

Because the asteroid missed.


9. Nobody Wants To Go Near Me Anymore

Nobody wants to go near me anymore.

People used to like me, they’d sit next to me on a park bench, they’d smile when they saw me, they were completely comfortable bringing their girlfriends and kids around me.

Not anymore. Not since that awful murder. Now they cross the street to avoid me, and if they do look at me, it’s only with a look of disgust.

I wish I could tell them all how sorry I was.

Sure, nobody blames me. It’s not my fault. They know it wasn’t my fault. But now, they can’t stand to even glance my way.

I’m so lonely. God, what I wouldn’t give to have someone sit down for lunch with me. I took little things like that for granted for so long.

I had to watch him die. They hanged him and left before he was even dead. I was the one that saw life leave his eyes, saw the pain and desperation on his face, and I couldn’t do a thing to help him. Those terrified eyes will haunt me for the rest of my life. I wanted nothing more than to reach out and save him, point the police to the murderers, and see those awful men put in jail for the rest of their lives.

But I couldn’t. I’ll never be able to. I can’t control where my branches bend, and my leaves can only rustle and whisper in the wind.


10. I Keep My Son Inside A Chest

Each morning when I wake up, I open the chest where I keep my son. I stroke his small skull and murmur ‘Good Morning’ although I know he can no longer hear me.

I hope he doesn’t think I’ve abandoned him. I hope he knows I never will.

When my son died of a fever, I refused to let him go. He was only a baby, and all that I had left. So I turned to the stories my own mother had told me, the rituals and legends I’d learned in childhood.

The rules of bringing someone back from the underworld seemed so easy. I scoffed at the stories of those who failed, sure that my willpower would be stronger than theirs. I forced my way through to the Fields of Night, and I found my son’s faint, pale soul. I guided it all the way back to his body, never looking back once.

When I saw my son open his eyes again and smile at me, I thought I had made the right choice. He laughed, he ran, he played just as he had before. I even believed I could pretend nothing had happened.

Then a few days later, I saw the rot creeping up his skin. At that moment, I realized my mistake. I hadn’t restored my son to life. I had only brought his soul back to his corpse.

I tried to comfort him as his body swelled and decayed. He wailed day and night in fear as his flesh fell from his bones. Only when his throat rotted away did he stop screaming. I attempted to return to the underworld, to return my son’s soul, but the way would not open to me again. I cheated Death, and my punishment was to keep what I stole.

When his ligaments finally broke down, I gathered his bones and placed them in the antique chest I inherited from my mother. Only the best would do for my son.

Sometimes my son’s bones lie still inside the chest for hours, even days, and I dare to hope that his soul found its way back to where it belongs. But sooner or later, his bones always begin to rattle again, and I know he’s still alive.

Once, all I wanted was to have my son here with me.

But now, I would give anything for him to die.


11. How To Scare Dad

My father is the scariest man I’ve ever known and when armed with a bottle of beer he reaches nightmare levels. Just the crackle of his belt or rise in his voice was enough to make me shake like a leaf.

One night, while I struggled to get comfortable in bed from the bruises and sounds of my mom’s crying, I hatched an ingenious idea to stop the pain and suffering: scare dad. Clearly, he just didn’t know how his actions made us feel, but if I scared him as he scared us, maybe then he would change his ways.

I tried anything I could think of to produce some fright and scare dad straight. I would hide and jump out at him, but he didn’t even flinch. I placed a toy snake in the toilet, but that only resulted in a beating for me.

Finally, I thought of destroying his alcohol. I know that people become scared when they lose something they love, so one by one I poured my dad’s bottles down the drain and eagerly awaited his reaction. I knew this would be it, this would be the thing to scare him!

That night, I remember my father discovering the empty bottles and becoming angrier than I’ve ever seen him. I remember him wrecking the house. I remember him storming into my room. I remember his hands around my neck and me seeing black.

Luckily, my planning and hard work that night paid off though! Today, my father lives in a constant state of fear. I’m always watching him, how timid and nervous he is at all times. Whenever I pay him a visit his complexion turns a pasty white, his body shivers as I used to and he breaks into a cold sweat.

I scared my father so good, you would think he saw a ghost.


12. Someone Broke Into Our Home

It was every family’s nightmare.

My wife and I had the day off work, and we had taken our son out for lunch and some family bonding time. But as we approached our home, something felt off. I had a growing sense of dread the closer we got. As our house came into view, I could see that the front door was wide open. Someone had broken into our home.

I told my family to wait outside, in case the intruder was still inside. They obliged, and I slowly and silently made my way through our house. As I stepped into the living room, I saw broken furniture, nothing in its correct place, just utter chaos. Was this person looking for something? Did they have malicious intent? Why our home? Why us?

Next, I walked to our kitchen. The fridge had been emptied. Dishes and food were thrown all over the room. What kind of person had broken into our home? A homeless person who just needed food? If so, why had they destroyed the living room?

That’s when I heard it. Footsteps in the bedroom. The intruder was still in our house. I took a brief moment to be grateful that I had asked my wife and son to wait outside. It was impossible to decipher this person’s motives so far. But I was about to come face to face with the person that forcefully entered our home. And I would demand answers.

I crept toward the bedroom slowly, slowly. I approached the door and focused on the sliver of light slipping through the crack. I could see faint shadows dancing in the light. I raised my hand, placed it against the door, and took a deep breath, readying myself for whatever may be on the other side.

I pushed the door open and stepped through the threshold with authority. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I actually rubbed my hands over them, thinking I was imagining things. There, in my son’s bed, was a young girl with curly blonde hair.

She stared at me with wide eyes. She must have been terrified. I must have been a few feet taller and at least 100 pounds heavier than her. I must have been a sight to see for that little girl. But she should have considered that before breaking into my home.

I called my wife and son to see what I found.

“Is that a human, Papa?”

“Why yes, it is, Baby Bear. That’s dinner.”


13. Rollercoaster

“Mooooom, I don’t like it. I want to get off!”

I was a bit surprised. He had always been so brave. I was way more afraid than him when we got on. I never liked to be so high up from the ground. “This will be so much fun!”, he had said when we were parking the car. I had kinda hoped he would be strong for both of us.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry but we can’t get off now, the ride has already started. But remember the small rollercoaster, in the park we went to when you were little? With the funny clown? This is just like that, only bigger. And remember how AWESOME it was?”

My son looked at me with watery eyes. Oh god. He had been so excited about this. I tried to swallow my own nervousness and keep talking to calm him down. My voice was shaking a bit, but I managed to put on a smile.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. You might feel a bit funny in your stomach. It’s because of the speed and the changes in the force that pushes you. It’s normal! Listen, do you hear? Other people are scared too.”

He looked at me with his kind, blue eyes and nodded. Just barely. I wanted to hug him, but my back was pressing to the seat so heavily I couldn’t move enough. So was his. My eyes caught a glimpse of the sun over my son’s head. The sky was so bright. I tried to ignore the metallic clanging sound and people screaming somewhere that seemed to be so far away. Oh, how I missed the ground.

Then I felt a big drop on my stomach. We were going faster and faster. My son started sobbing and I tightened my grip on his hand. I thought that he would become such a handsome man someday. He would end up having a good life, and marry a nice girl – or a guy, who knows? I didn’t care as long as he was happy. That’s all I wanted. For him to be happy and not scared.

“Hey, you know what? Close your eyes. This will be over soon. I’m here. I’m not letting go.”

Someone behind us started to scream. I felt my blood run cold. I tried to keep my focus on the one thing that mattered: my son’s hand and my calm voice that kept telling him that it was all going to be okay.

Oh, he would become such a handsome man someday. But at this moment he was just a 6-year-old boy on his first flight, going to surprise his grandparents all the way across the country.

And the last thing I saw before I closed my own eyes, was the second engine on fire.


14. 6,500 Languages

I should have wished to be rich, but felt it was too self-serving.

I should have wished for fame, but felt I’d lose privacy.

I should have wished for world peace, but felt one country’s peace could be another country’s poverty.

I curse the day I met the Wishmaster, and even more so for the “perfect” wish I thought I’d come up with.

“I would like to become a master of language.”

The Wishmaster hesitated and asked, Of every language?

I nodded. The wish was educational in nature so it couldn’t have been purely vanity pushing me to become an expert linguist. The wish could not possibly affect anyone adversely, for it truly only affected me. The sole purpose of the wish was to further communication and perhaps close the global gap just a bit by having someone act as a language liaison.

How long does it take for somebody to become a master at something?

Confused, I responded with, “I guess… I mean… 10,000 hours of deliberate, focused practice is the rumor.”

The Wishmaster went silent. Then, 10,000 hours of deliberate, focused practice, and you’d be a master at language?

“I suppose so.”

But that’s only considering one language at 10,000 hours, right?

I shrugged but agreed. I was unsure where this was headed until I noticed the wind slowing to a stop. A stillness. The ambient white noise of the city was now deafening silence and suddenly, I was whisked from being face-to-face with the Wishmaster and into my own study, armed with a pen, a pad of paper, English dictionary with the doors shuttering locked.

Again confused, I asked aloud to no one in particular, “What’s going on? Why am I in my house and why do I have a dictionary in front of me?”

A disembodied voice responded This is to give you the deliberate, focused practice you need. I figure English will be the easiest since you already speak it.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what’s going on! I wanted to be a master of every language! What does this have to do with anything?”

The voice ignored. From there, we can move language by language in alphabetical order. I hope you’re looking forward to Afrikaans after these first 10,000 hours!

And the Wishmaster has been silent ever since. I should have wished to be rich, for fame, for world peace.

Instead, I’m frozen in time, studying until the Wishmaster deems me an expert. If the metric is 10,000 hours, that’s a little over a year for each language.

This may be fine. I mean, how many world languages can there really be?


15. I Want A Divorce

“What are you talking about?”

I kept my voice steady.

“I don’t want you to come home. I’ve already put your things in boxes, they’re in the storage locker.”

“Look, Hannah, what is this? We said we would talk when I got back.”

I closed my eyes and remembered why I needed this. Finding strength in the certainty that I was doing the right thing. I gripped the phone hard.

“There’s nothing more to talk about Michael. We don’t work. We haven’t worked for a long time. I’m not ready to just move on, forgive and forget. I just can’t do it.”

“Is this about…about…”

“Don’t you fucking say her name.”

“Baby, I told you – it was a mistake! It was only a kiss, and I stopped it. It just happened – I don’t have any feelings for her. I love you.

“That’s bullshit, Michael. Nobody held a gun to your head and made you kiss her. You did it because you wanted to because you could. And it’s not just about her, it’s…we just…look, I don’t want to argue, okay? This is better. It’s better for you, it’s better for me, it’s better for Rebecca, it’s better.”

“I can’t just walk away Hannah. You, the two of you are my whole life. Everything else is just shit I have to do so at the end of the day I can come home to you…”

“I’m sorry Michael, I don’t feel that way anymore.”


“I don’t love you.”

“You don’t love me?”

The phone shook in my hands as I blinked back tears. Breathe Hannah, breathe. Keep breathing. You can do this. You’re strong.

“No. N-not anymore.”

I heard him cry over the phone. His voice was thin, whining.

“You’re lying.”

“I’ll always love you, Michael. But I don’t love you like that anymore. I can’t. There’s just…there’s just too much baggage. It’s like sitting in a car that’s going nowhere. I can’t anymore, I need to breathe again.”

An inarticulate sound came through the line, garbled. He was probably pressing the phone against his chest, trying to find the right words. So I said them for him.

“Goodbye Michael. M-my lawyer will be in touch.”

“Hannah, I -”

I hung up on him and threw the phone on the couch, sinking to the floor. I couldn’t hold the anguish in anymore. I felt like I was going to be sick.

“Well done.”

I looked at her. Her perfectly manicured nails, curled hair, sweetheart dimples, the knife she held against my baby’s throat.

“I d-did what you wanted. He’s all yours. P-please, let Rebecca go.”

“Oh sweetie,” she clucked. “We both know that he’ll never leave you. But hearing you on the phone just now, do you think anybody will be surprised when he comes home to Rebecca laying in her crib with a pillow on her face, and you face down in the bath?”

I wailed as she cooed.

“Don’t worry. Rebecca won’t feel a thing.”