Best Long Scary Stories +18 – Top 3 Horror Tales 2018
Best Long Scary Stories +18 – Top 3 Horror Tales 2018 titled article is about long weird stories that you should read before you go to bed tonight.
Strange Demonic Spirits
By the time I reached the Anatomy Library, all the bones had been checked out. Students bent over the wooden boxes everywhere, in hallways and snack bar, assembling feet and arms, scribbling diagrams in notebooks. Half the chairs were occupied by slouching skeletons, and reclining skeletons littered the tables like driftwood. Since I also would be examined on the subject the next day, I asked the librarian to search one last time for bone boxes in the storeroom.
“But I tell you, they’ve all been given out,” she said, glaring at me from beneath an enormous snarl of dark hair, like a fierce animal caught in a bush. How many students had already pestered her for bones this evening?
I persisted. “Medical school rides on this grade. Haven’t you got any damaged skeletons? Irregulars?”
Ignoring my smile, she measured me with her fierce stare, as if estimating the size of box my bones would fill after she had made supper of me. A shadow drooped beneath each of her eyes, permanent sorrow, like the tearmark of a clown. “Irregulars,” she repeated, turning away from the counter.
I blinked with relief at her departing back. Only as she 8 slipped noiselessly into the storeroom did I notice her gloved hands. Fastidious, I thought. Doesn’t want to soil herself with bone dust and mildew.
Skeletons In School
While awaiting my specimens, I studied the vertebrae which knobbed through the bent necks of students all around me, each one laboring over fragments of skeletons. Five lumbar vertebrae, seven cervical, a round dozen thoracic: I rehearsed the names, my confidence building.
Presently the librarian returned with a box. It’was the size of an orange crate, wooden, dingy from age or dry rot. The metal clasps that held it shut were tarnished a sickly green. No wonder she wore the gloves.
“This one’s for restricted use,’’ she announced, shoving it over the counter.
I hesitated, my hands poised above the crate as if I were testing it for heat.
“Well, do you want it, or don’t you?” she said.
Afraid she would return it to the archives, I pounced on it with one hand and with the other signed a borrower’s card. “Old model?” I inquired pleasantly. She did not smile.
I turned away with the box in my arms. The burden seemed lighter than its bulk would have promised, as if the wood had dried with age. Perhaps instead of bones inside there would be pyramids of dust. The metal clasps felt cold against my fingers.
After some searching I found a clear space on the floor beside a scrawny man whose elbows and knees protruded through rents in his clothing like so many lumps of a sea serpent above the waters. When I tugged at the clasps they yielded reluctantly. The hinges opened with a gritty shriek, raising for a moment all round me a dozen glazed eyes, which soon returned to their studies.
Inside I found the usual wooden trays for bones, light as bird wings, but instead of the customary lining of vinyl they were covered with a metal the color of copper and the puttyish consistency of lead. Each bone fitted into its pocket of metal. Without consulting notes, I started confidently on the foot, joining tarsal to metatarsal. But it was soon evident that there were too many bones. Each one seemed a bit odd in shape, with an extra flange where none should be, or a socket at right angles to the orthodox position. The only way of accommodating all the bones was to assemble them into a seven-toed monstrosity, slightly larger than the foot of an adult male, phalanges all of the same length, with ankle-bones bearing the unmistakable nodes for—what? Wings? Flippers?
This drove me back to my anatomy text. But no consulting of diagrams would make sense of this foot. A practiced scrape of my knife blade assured me these were real bones. But from what freakish creature? Feeling vaguely guilty, as if in my ignorance I had given birth to this monstrosity, I looked around the library to see if anyone had noticed. Everywhere living skulls bent studiously over dead ones, ignoring me. Only the librarian seemed to be watching me sidelong, through her tangled hair. I hastily scattered the foot bones to their various compartments.
Next I worked at the hand, which boasted six rather than seven digits; Two of them were clearly thumbs, opposite in their orientation, and each of the remaining fingers was double-jointed, so that both sides of these vanished hands would have served as palms. At the wrist a socket opened in one direction, a ball joint protruded in the other, as if the hand were meant to snap onto an adjoining one. I now bent secretively over my outrageous skeleton, unwilling to meet stares from other students.
After tinkering with fibula and clavicle, each bone recognizable but slightly awry from the human, I gingerly unpacked the plates of the skull. I had been fearing these bones most of all. Their scattered state was unsettling enough to begin with, since in ordinary skeletal kits they would have been assembled into a braincase. Their gathered state was even more unsettling.
They would only go together in one arrangement, yet it appeared so outrageous to me that I forced myself to reassemble the skull three times. There was only one jaw, to be sure, though an exceedingly broad one, and only two holes for ears. But the skull itself was clearly double, as if two heads had been squeezed together, like cherries grown double on one stem. Each hemisphere of the brain enjoyed its own cranium. The opening for the nose was in its accustomed place, as were two of the eyes. But in the center of the vast forehead, like the drain in an empty expanse of bathtub, was the socket for a third eye.
I closed the anatomy text, helpless before this freak. Hunched over to shield it from the gaze of other students, I stared long at that triangle of eyes, and at the twinned craniums that splayed out behind like a fusion of moons. No, I decided, such a creature was not possible. It was a hoax, a malicious joke designed to shatter my understanding of anatomy. But I would not fall for the trick. Angrily I disassembled this counterfeit skull, stuffed the bones back into their metal pockets, clasped the box shut and returned it to the counter.
“This may seem funny to you,” I said, “but I have an examination to pass.”
“Funny?” the librarian replied.
“This hoax.” I slapped the box, raising a puff of dust. When she only lifted an eyebrow mockingly, I insisted: “It’s a fabrication, an impossibility.”
“Is it?” she taunted, laying her gloved hands atop the crate.
Furious, I said, “It’s not even a very good hoax. No one who knows the smallest scrap of anatomy would fall for it.”
“Really?” she said, peeling the glove away from one wrist. I wanted to shout at her and then hurry away, before she could uncover that hand. Yet I was mesmerized by the slide of cloth, the pinkish skin emerging. “I found it hard to believe myself, at first,” she said, spreading the naked hand before me, palm up. I was relieved to count only five digits. But the fleshy heel was inflamed and swollen, as if the bud of a new thumb were sprouting there.
A scar, I thought feverishly. Nothing awful.
Then she turned the hand over and displayed for me another palm. The fingers curled upward, then curled in the reverse direction, forming a cage of fingers on the counter.
I flinched away. Skeletons were shattering in my mind, names of bones were fluttering away like blown leaves. All my carefully gathered knowledge was scattering. Unable to look at her, unwilling to glimpse the socket of flesh that might be opening on her forehead beneath the dangling hair, I kept my gaze turned aside.
“How many of you are there?” I hissed.
“I’m the first, so far as I know. Unless you count our friend here,” she added, rapping her knuckles against the bone box.
I guessed the distances to inhabited planets, conjured up the silhouettes of space craft. “But where do you come from?”
“Well, actually, I grew up on a beet, farm just outside Boise.”
“You mean you’re—” I pointed one index finger at her, and shoved the other against my chest.
“Human? Of course!” She laughed, a quick sound like the release of bubbles under water. Students at nearby tables gazed up momentarily from their skeletons with bleary eyes. The librarian lowered her voice, until it burbled like whale song. ‘ ‘I’m as human as you are,” she murmured.
“But your hands? Your face?”
“Until a few months ago they were just run-of-the- mill human hands.” She drew the glove quickly on and touched her swollen cheeks. “My face was skinny. My shoes used to fit.”
“Then what happened?”
“I assembled these bones.” Again she rapped on the crate. From inside came a hollow clattering, like the sound of gravel sliding.
“You’re—becoming—one of them?”
“So it appears.”
Her upturned lips and downtumed eyes gave me contradictory messages. The clown-sad eyes seemed too far apart. Even buried under its shrubbery of dark hair, her forehead seemed impossibly broad.
“Aren’t you frightened?” I said.
“Not any more,” she answered. “Not since my head began to open.”
I winced, recalling the vast skull, pale as porcelain, and the triangle of eyes. I touched the bone box gingerly. “What is it?”
“I don’t know yet. But I begin to get glimmerings, begin to see it, alive and flying.”
“Swimming, maybe. My vision’s still too blurry. For now, I just think of it as a skeleton of the possible, a fossil of the future.”
I tried to imagine her ankles affixed with wings, her head swollen like a double moon, her third eye glaring. “And what sort of creature will you be when you’re— changed?”
“We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
“We?” Iechoed, backing carefully over the linoleum.
“You’ve put the bones together, haven’t you?”
I stared at my palms, then turned my hands over to examine the twitching skin where the knuckles should be.
Gertrude’s Weird Story
So finally he comes, the young fool, and I lean from the parapet and tell him everything. The poison in the ears. The treachery. The lies. The huddling in incestuous bed with Gertrude and the degree of corruption. The young fool is shocked as well he should be and cries that revenge will be terrible and swift. He departs with promises but I have no hope. His record has always been high in potential, low in performance. Sometimes I wondered if he could be my issue and considering the evidence of later events perhaps he was not. Gertrude was never to be trusted.
Nonetheless, I am granted no other alternative so I wait. I wait and I wait as he waffles around, prays, flagellates himself, mumbles about the possibility of sin, flirts with that teasing, worthless bitch, Ophelia, who has no more sensibility than a swan. Claudius continues to prosper. He wallows in his office. He takes swift measure of Gertrude in incestuous bed and preaches saintly office outside. It is all too much to bear and when Hamlet desists from slaying him in the corridor at prayer I feel my patience snap.
It is not easy existing in this difficult condition and there will be no peace, absolutely no peace at all as long as these affairs continue. Grumbling, furious, I drag myself to Gertrude’s chambers while he is berating her and brace him. His eyes become round, shiny with disbelief but resolve fills his bearing. Responding to rustling behind the arras he draws his sword and runs it through the curtain, disposing of that prating, eavesdropping old fool, Polonius, father of the frivolous bitch. His consternation is enormous but as nothing to mine.
It is at that precise moment—and not earlier, I want to make it quite clear, not an instant earlier—that I finally lose all fatherly patience and resolve to take matters to a conclusion.
Claudius and I never got along. It was not only the matter of the succession, it was the corruption within him which I perceived from the first, the small cruelties, the weak, descending humiliation of a man who knew all his life that his older brother was the king not only in fact but spirit. He would spy on servants in the castle, set them at one another through small thefts, crush frogs in the moat, steal the jester’s cap and bells; past all of these indignities, armored by my certainty and contempt I swept.
Gertrude fell in love with me at once; she never paid any attention to Claudius whatsoever until, for reasons of state, I was distracted from our alliance and gave Claudius the opportunity to insinuate himself. I am sure of this. Still, with all of his vices and the deadly indications of his character I never realized until the moment that the warm fluid dripped deep into my ear, sickening me and causing me to shriek with pain so quickly terminated, I never realized until that moment how he hated me; I thought that the cruelties came from envy, the envy from admiration.
But when he poisoned me, sending me into this gray, chained Denmark of souls tormented and unavenged, I became quite angry and resolved to set the situation to right; the time was out of joint, as I reminded that snivelling Prince, and the obligation to correct it fell upon him.
Of course I should have looked more closely at Gertrude. If there is one quality which the unavenged netherworld grants it is ample time for recrimination and I should have known that the woman could never be trusted. Silly, frivolous bitches like Ophelia wear their hearts on their sleeves but Gertrude has not achieved her station without the exercise of cunning; it is possible that her relationship with Claudius preceded my murder. In fact it is possible that she put him up to it, that she gave him motive. “Just a little poison and I can be completely yours; you can be my little bloat king,” she might have murmured to him. This state of passage brings the most terrible thoughts and suggestions; never have I hated these people as I hate them now.
Murder unavenged leaves one in these endless corridors, stalking, stalking, one does not really know where to turn, to whom to appeal, what to do to get out of this terrible state; I would never have turned to that hopeless con undrum I called my son if it had not been out of despair; if I had had the means I would have run Claudius through myself; why would I pace the battlements shouting in the wind for assistance if I were capable of anything on my own other than pleadings and prayer?
I was a just, a wise, a compassionate king; my wife was a slut, my son a disaster, my brother a traitor, nonetheless I brought to this domain a mild and sacrosanct order; it was only in this latter stage that I was driven to such extreme and destructive perceptions; to die and not be dead is—how can I put this?—extremely embittering. Without the Prince’s task for evasion, flights of rhetoric, cheap, distracting and easily deterred lust I am left to confront, ah, endlessly, that doomed and chained specter: myself.
So I present myself to Rosencrantz and Guildenstem, indistinguishable, jolly mercenaries with faces like smooth partitions to shield them from all reason. “I know who you are!” one of them says—I cannot tell them apart—and clutches the other. “We have heard all the reports.”
“Enough of that,” I say. “Throw him overboard. Then hasten back to Denmark and say that he was murdered by Polonius’s legions. This will most distress Claudius and he will have no suspicions when you ask for a private conference to grant further important information. Get him alone in quarters and / will run him through.” Strictly speaking this is a lie of course. I am blocked from direct action by the conditions of the curse. Nonetheless it will at least mark a beginning, some action at last, and it will keep me busy.
The paralysis of the Prince has leached into me. “I will pay you well for your services,” I say. “After all I am still a king. I still have the court.” They stare at me with their impermeable faces. “You are a ghost,” one of them says. “How can you pay us?” “I have grand mystical powers. Trust me.”
“He is our schoolfellow,” one points out thoughtfully. “We owe him bonds of loyalty.”
“He intends to kill you,” I point out. “The orders are already planted in your luggage.”
“What an extremely treacherous court this must be.” “Oh, I can accede to that,” I agree. “I can certainly agree to that.”
Their cooperation is gained—they are a submissive pair, eager to please, with a deep faith in ghosts—but it does not work out nonetheless; the Prince gets wind of some treachery and speeds off the boat. Meanwhile the bumblers cannot locate the damning orders in their own luggage. The situation is hopelessly scrambled and upon our separate return to the court I find out that Ophelia has further complicated matters by drowning herself. Everyone seems to be done away with in this tragic legend except the real culprit.
At chambers I confront the Prince who is drawing on his gloves, adjusting his sword, mumbling about business which must be swiftly attended to. “Oh,” he says, looking at me with dim and distracted countenance, “it’s you again. That was a really splendid production. You couldn’t have possibly done it better; I only wish that it had had better outcome. Have you come for your purse? I’m sure that was settled. ”
I realize that in the dim light and because of his preoccupation he takes me for the Player King. My chains are not highly visible. “Yes, we have been paid,” I say. “And the king has confessed all in your absence. He pleads for release.”
“Then he shall have it.” Hamlet looks at me shrewdly. “Your accent is different,” he says. “Are you possibly an imposter?”
“Nothing is different,” I say, “and everything is different. But only you can bring this to an end.”
“I will not be intimidated,” Hamlet says. His expression becomes sullen. “Get out of here before I run you through.”
“You won’t run anyone through. Nothing ever happens in your world until someone throws herself into a pond.”
“Blackguard,” he says. He draws his sword. “I will not accept that.”
I laugh in his face and desert, leaving him there mumbling. The better part of apparition is disassembly through desire, although there is, of course, always the pain.
I withdraw, sulkily, to observe subsequent events. I know that nothing can happen and yet I cannot abandon the prospect of hope. Anything is preferable to stumbling and clanking on the parapet. Amazingly many events do occur. Gertrude is poisoned. Claudius is run through. Hamlet himself, in consternation at his burst of activity, opens himself to a palpable hit. At the end, most astonishingly, Fortinbras blesses tham all. I know better but offer no comment. Sometimes it is better to cultivate a posture of diffidence. Besides, I know now that it is only a brief matter of time until I am released from my chains.
Claudius joins me on the towers, puts an arm around me confidentially. “Not so soon, you fool,” he says. “It isn’t over yet.” Gertrude, around a comer, winks. “Remember the three witches?” he says. “Remember Banquo’s ghost? Now we’ll have some real fun.”
“Fun?” I say. “Real fun?”
Gertrude sweeps against me regally, her own chains clanking. “Absolutely,” she says. “Just as soon as Lear gets on the heath, we can kick the hell out of him.”
“We can make Caliban squirm a little too,” Claudius says lovingly.
I feel the cool winds of the nether region tear through me like giggling knives.
Something sure as hell is rotten in the state of Denmark.
The Curse of Horror Bar
Hooligan,” I said to the bartender, “you make the best martinis in the whole wide, ever-loving world.”
Mike Hooligan grunted. I guess he thought I was snowing him. The truth was, it took at least three of his martinis to make them really palatable. I suppose it had something to do with deadening the tastebuds on my tongue.
Anyway, the world might have been wide but it sure wasn’t ever-loving—to me at least. I was down on my luck for sure and surprised and pleased when my compliment triggered a rare holiday spirit in my fellow man.
Hooligan gave me a big Irish grin and said, “How about another one—on the house.”
It was, as the poets say, a rhetorical question. Since you can’t beat a price like that, and since I could use all the help I could get to drown—or at least, pickle—my sorrows, and since an event like a free drink might never come again, I said, “Sure!”—an answer which surprised neither Hooligan nor myself.
I seemed to be the only customer in the saloon not drinking beer. It’s not that I have anything against the foamy, you understand. I just don’t go for the stuff. I prefer the more refined beverages.
But I do dig Hooligan’s Bar. It may not be classy like some of the places uptown, but it’s got a lot of character. I always had this creepy feeling that one night something really BIG was going to happen there—like maybe a bugeyed Martian would land on the roof and come down into the bar to use the john. In fact, I carried a little camera in my pocket, ready to record the event and make myself a mint from the newspapers.
It was a crazy notion, maybe, but I had it. Now that it was New Year’s Eve, the intuition was stronger than ever, so I decided to stick around. Besides, I was down to my last wrinkled dollar bill, and I didn’t want to spend the evening in my lonely hotel room.
“Hooligan,” I said, “do you believe in Martians?”
He shook his head. “Not a chance. But ghosts and witches, that’s another thing.” He leaned across the bar toward me and whispered, “Have you heard about the curse of Hooligan’s bar?”
I leaned forward. “No, tell me.”
He shuddered. “I better not. Not on New Year’s Eve. It’s too horrible.”
He brought me my free drink. It didn’t have an olive, but over a technicality I wasn’t about to look a gift martini in the vermouth. I sipped and thought about what he’d said. He was putting me on, having his little joke.
Then wham! ‘right at the stroke of midnight, it happened.
The cuckoo clock above the bar opened its wooden portals on schedule, and out popped the bird. I half expected it to say, “Happy New Year!” or “Drink up, boys!” but of course it only said, “Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!” as always. Maybe I counted wrong, but I could swear it said it thirteen times.
Now here’s the strange thing. The bird wasn’t alone. With him came this character an inch tall, with a paste- white face, slicked-down red hair, and a green cloak.
As he clung to the cuckoo’s neck, the little stranger opened his mouth and announced to the world, “lam Count O’Brien, the Irish vampire.’’
The world wasn’t listening. With all the singing and laughing and the clink of glasses, nobody else heard him. Then the cuckoo, finished with its own business, flipped back into the clock, leaving Count O’Brien hanging in mid-air. This didn’t faze him. He merely changed into a tiny green bat and flew down to land on the bar in front of me.
I reached into my coat for the camera.
Hooligan, who had never been known for neatness, apparently decided to turn over a new leaf for the new year. A damp bar rag came whooshing down the mahogany, propelled by the Irishman’s beefy hand, and the green bat took off like a—well, like a bat—licking its chops and twisting its head back and forth as though searching for some victim to pounre on.
He found one, represented by the back of a red, puffy neck billowing between hairline and collar. As I watched, the bat dived onto the collar, changed back into a one-inch vampire and sank his teeth into the flesh.
“Yeeeow!” the man commented, and slapped his neck.
Count O’Brien leaped out of the path of the hand in the nick of time but slipped and toppled into a glass of foamy brown liquid.
Immediately, he began to tread beer.
The owner of the glass lifted it, peered inside and yelped, “Hey, there’s a fly in my beer.”
Count O’Brien crawled out onto the rim of the glass, rose to his full height of one inch and declared indignantly, “lam not now, nor have I ever been, a fly.”
“Begorrah!” the man exclaimed, eyes bugging. “It’s one of the little people.”
Blinking his eyes, the man turned to alert his companion to the miracle.
I moved faster then than I’ve moved for many a year. I swept in behind the man, surreptitiously scooped the tiny vampire into the palm of my hand and retreated to the deserted far end of the bar.
“That’s funny,” the man’s voice sounded behind me, “he was here a minute ago.”
“Sure he was,” his companion said, chuckling.
“Are you calling me a liar?”
Wham! Bam! Fists flew, bodies fell. Hooligan bonked both men on the head with a sock filled with quarters and dragged them into the back room to sleep it off.
Certain that no one was watching, I opened my fist and let the red-haired creature step out onto the bar. He slicked back his wet hair and wrung beer from his green cloak.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, gnashing his teeth fiercely, “I am Count O’Brien, the Irish vampire.”
“You already said that,” I informed him. “Are you really one of the little people?”
“Well, I’m not the jolly green giant,” he said.
“A vampire leprechaun?” I said wonderingly.
“Why not? Back in the old country I used to file my teeth on the Blarney Stone.”
Why not, indeed? my nimble mind agreed, alerting me to the possibilities. Remember that premonition? I could hear opportunity knocking loud and clear.
“Once every hundred years,” Count O’Brien explained, “I am allowed into the world of humans. Boy oh boy, am I thirsty.”
That settled it. I couldn’t wait a century. Whatever I had to do, I had to do it now. I took out my old pocket watch and pretended to be checking the time, while I really held its shiny black surface close to the Count. There was no reflection.
Then I whipped out my camera and took several snaps. Count O’Brien didn’t mind. In fact, he struck several majestic and terrifying poses.
“By the way,” he said, when I’d finished, “vampires can’t have their pictures taken either.” He looked at me thoughtfully. “You wouldn’t have any spare blood in you, would you?”
I presented him with a reassuring smile. “You can put the bite on me anytime you want. But first, I’ve got a little proposition for you.”
He listened while I spent the next five minutes filling the silence with golden words from my silver tongue—in a low voice, of course, so Hooligan and his customers wouldn’t notice. I painted a picture of fame and fortune unlike anything he’d ever dreamed of. His eyes glittered at the notion of getting all the grade-A blood he could drink without running the risk of drowning in a glass of beer.
He’d be the eighth wonder of the world, I told him, and I’d be his personal manager—for the usual fifty per cent commission.
To tell the truth—and I might as well—I wasn’t really thinking of the entertainment value Count O’Brien would provide for the culturally undernourished peoples of the world. I was thinking of the shiny new car I’d be parking in front of my big house in the country, of the servants I’d have, and the fabulous meals I’d be eating, of the frequent trips to Europe and the Orient, and of all the beautiful movie starlets eager to date me when I was filthy rich and able to afford them.
I’d been poor long enough. I’d hit bottom, and it was time to go in the other direction. Wealth and fame were within my grasp, and all I needed was for the tiny vampire to say yes.
“Say yes,” I urged him.
“Yes,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to get into show business, but are you sure people will pay money to see me?”
I laughed with a kind of hysterical relief. “You saw that one fellow’s reaction. I’ll show you another.” I called, “Hey, Hooligan!”
The bartender came over. “Another martini?”
“Sure. But first, I want you to look at something.”
I shooed Count O’Brien with my hand. He stepped forward, tripped over his cape, and rolled along the bar.
“Aha!” Hooligan said with a grin. “I’ve been looking for one of those.”
Too late, I saw the wooden toothpick in his fingers. He brought it down and neatly stabbed Count O’Brien right through the heart. I knew then that the curse of Hooligan’s Bar was Hooligan himself.
“Murderer!” I wailed. “You’ve killed the only Irish vampire in existence! ’ ’
“Gee, I’m sorry,” Hooligan apologized, “but with the red hair and dressed in green—I thought he was an olive
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