When you’re trying to scare people, less is more. Sure, Michael Myers is terrifying (and we’re referring to both the Halloween antagonist and the comedian), but it’s the moments before the carnage starts that really makes him frightening. When you see the guy looming next to a clothesline (again, either guy), it’s hard not to get a serious case of the willies.

In that spirit—pun intended—Reddit users set out to create the scariest stories possible. The catch: The stories could only be two sentences long. No more, no less.

We collected a few of the best stories, then edited them slightly for grammar. If you’re looking for a quick horror fix, these should do nicely.

The best two-sentence stories use surprise to their advantage.

“My grandmother told me that it was a gift to see the angel of death in front of people’s houses, to know that he’d be collecting someone there soon,” wrote Resurrection_man. “I thought it was a gift, too—up until the day I began to see it in front of every house.”

“Don’t be scared of the monsters, just look for them,” wrote AnarchistWaffles. “Look to your left, to your right, under your bed, behind your dresser, and in your closet, but never look up; she hates being seen.”

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Maru Lombardo/Unsplash

“I couldn’t tell if the noise was a cry of sorrow or cackle of laughter,” wrote TudsSterkel. “Then I realized: I was the one making the noise.”

“I am constantly on alert against the demons who possess bodies at night, pretending to go on with their victims’ lives as if nothing had happened,” wrote Houshalter. “I stole this body first.”

“It saw me watching from my window that night when it visited the neighbors across the way,” wrote UnderTheRedGiant. “Now, it visits me.”

The briefer, the better.

“You hear your mom calling you into the kitchen,” wrote Comparativelysane. “As you are heading down the stairs you hear a whisper from the closet saying, ‘Don’t go down there, honey—I heard it too.’”

“The doll I inherited still sits on top of the cupboard across from my bed,” wrote Mmikio. “Sometimes, I find her friends have come to visit.”

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“‘Goodnight, dear,’ he whispers, folding his hand over his wife’s as he lays in bed,” wrote -Melody-Pond-. ‘What did you say?’ she asks, coming out of the bathroom.”

“Carol never wore her safety goggles,” wrote KryptonianCodeMonkey. “Now she doesn’t need to.”

“The trains were delayed today,” wrote Curioandcollector. “There’s something in the tunnels.”

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Martin Brechtl/Unsplash

“Here’s the secret to my beautiful, glowing skin,” wrote ZKMsphere. “It isn’t mine.”

“Losing my teeth was bad enough,” wrote Raosion. “When they tried to crawl back in, it was worse.”

“I always liked this picture of my great-grandmother,” wrote Dkahn04. “Why does she seem closer to the camera than before?”

Then again, some of the “longer” stories work well, too.

Granted, some of these use run-ons to skirt the “two-sentence” rule, but we’ll give them a pass.

“For years, we heard the little voices and footsteps of the ghost children in our old farmhouse, and we got used to them,” wrote Gorillasaurusrexx. “Then, one day, they went quiet, which should have been our cue to leave.”

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Daniel Gregoire/Unsplash

“The doctors told the amputee he might experience a phantom limb [sensation] from time to time,” wrote one Reddit user, whose account has since been deleted. “Nobody prepared him for the moments, though, when he felt cold fingers brush across his phantom hand.”

“The operation wasn’t successful in the traditional sense, since my sight didn’t return, but it left me with the ability to distinguish heat signatures, at least,” wrote pentakill-lux. “Three weeks have passed, and I’m still not sure how to politely ask my best friend why he’s room temperature.”

The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest, her other hand muffling my screams,” wrote Jmperson. “I sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, I heard my closet door creak open.”

“Years ago, a lone chair appeared in the center of the basement, and no matter how many times I put it back in the corner, it always found a way back to the center,” wrote Thatreevesgirl. “It took a long time to realize it was positioned underneath the kitchen, almost like someone had taken a seat at the dinner table with the rest of us.”

“I came home after work, ate dinner with my lovely wife and enjoyed some nice private time with her,” wrote a Reddit User whose account has since been deleted. “As we were snuggling into bed, my arms wrapped around her, I got a very panicked text about escaping and needing help…from my wife.”

When in doubt, have your character wake up from a deep sleep.

“I woke up to hear knocking on glass,” wrote Therealhatman. “At first, I thought it was the window—until I heard it come from the mirror again.”

“You awaken, tied hand and foot, at the bottom of a well,” wrote BlueCollarCriminal26. “The sky above you is a tiny pinprick, and as you begin to raise your voice to call for help, that small bit of light goes black.”

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“There was a picture in my phone of me sleeping,” wrote quztaluz. “I live alone.”

“I awoke because my brother’s breathing, a constant sound echoing in my ear from the day of our birth, had stopped,” wrote Sexycornwitch. “In the silent dark, I could feel his body cooling, unable to run for help, because he had controlled the right leg.”

Creepy kids are a classic horror staple.

“I get home, and the TV is on one of those stupid found footage shows with a creepy little girl swaying back and forth in the dark, so I hit the power,” wrote Fobwashed. “The TV turns on.”

“‘You were my mommy before the last time we died, too,’ your daughter tells you in a sing-song voice as she adjusts another puzzle piece,” wrote Smurfetteshat. “The light in her eyes seems to go out a moment later as she whispers to you, ‘It’s going to be much more painful this time.’”

“Yesterday, my parents told me I was too old for an imaginary friend, and that I had to let her go,” wrote the aptly named BitterSimplicity. “They found her body this morning.”

“What the little girl doesn’t know is that I buried him under the same oak I built her treehouse in,” wrote Papabambam. “What she does seem to suddenly know are things I’ve only ever told him.”

Parents can be pretty creepy, too.

“Mum always had a strange habit of stroking my hair when I sleeping, and I never really minded it; it actually started to become reassuring,” wrote Mmikio. “That changed when she died, but the stroking didn’t stop.”

“My sister says that mommy killed her,” I-am-the-assbutt (yes, their username sort of detracts from the horror). “Mommy says that I don’t have a sister.”

“One day, I was out hillwalking with my grandfather; we met an old woman who smiled at us as we went past,” wrote DeathHamster1. “Granddad suddenly quickened his pace and got away from her as quickly as he could—‘The first time I saw her was when I was your age, he explained, ‘and she hasn’t aged a day.’”

“I’m watching my daughter through the window,” wrote Grafton24. “I wonder how much longer I need to keep the oven on.”

“I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, ‘Daddy, check for monsters under my bed,’” wrote Juan J. Ruiz (Reddit name justAnotherMuffledVo). “I look underneath for his amusement and see him—another him—under the bed, staring back at me; he quivers and whispers, ‘Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.’”

By the way, this story was used as the basis of a short film from director Ignacio Rodo. You can check it out below.

If you’re afraid of going to the doctor, you may want to skip this next section.

“The doctors told me I would slowly start to lose my hearing from the irreparable damage after the accident that killed my wife; the voices of people around me would grow fainter and fainter,” wrote KeysandParrots. “They didn’t tell me my wife’s voice would grow louder and louder, screaming, ‘Run! They’re coming back for you!’ over and over again.”

“After struggling desperately to move any part of his paralytic body just to alert the doctors that he was conscious before they made the first incision, he was relieved to see that one of the nurses had noticed his pupils dilating from the bright light,” wrote Clayboy731. “She leaned in close and, in a whisper that tickled his ear, said: ‘You think we don’t know you’re awake?’”

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“His reputation as the best surgeon in the world is well-deserved,” wrote OddSteven. “In a lesser talent’s hands, I would have died weeks ago and escaped his revenge.”

“He did it with careful, methodical, almost loving precision, ensuring that the thread sewing my upper and lower eyelids together was almost invisible,” wrote Deejington. “I burst from sleep, sucking in a rattling breath, feeling the chill of cold night sweats and tried to open my eyes.”

Remember: You’re never really alone.

“The funeral attendees never came out of the catacombs,” wrote TLFMOD. “Something locked the crypt door from the inside.”

“You walk through your home and find a door you’ve never seen before,” wrote JackK3tch. “The knob twists.”

“I was alone in my house when I was awoken by a noise and reached for my flashlight,” wrote AllTheoryNoPractice. “It was handed to me.”

“‘When I get home, I’ll be safe from it,’ she thought, as she tried to shake the feeling that there was something following her down her empty street,” wrote Smurfetteshat. “She felt overwhelming relief as she slammed the door to her studio behind her, which she enjoyed for the split second before his cough disrupted the silence.”

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Ioana Cristiana/Unsplash

“They delivered the mannequins in bubble wrap,” wrote Mikeyseventyfive. “From the main room, I begin to hear popping.”

“They always say to follow your dreams,” wrote Argents. “They never tell you what to do when the dreams start following you.”

Be afraid of dark corners.

“In my apartment, from my couch, I can see the hallway outside from the gap under my front door,” wrote a Reddit user whose account has since been deleted. “Every night, the same two feet are standing there, unmoving.”

“I pulled my hood over my face to hide from all the strangers surrounding me in the cramped, rattling subway car,” wrote Dukerot. “Just then, the lights flickered and went out, leaving cold silence, and I could faintly see from the corner of my eye that they were all staring directly at me, growling in unison.”

“As a kid, I was told there’s nothing in my closet to be frightened of,” wrote TheAndrewTaco. “The thing in my closet told me otherwise.”

“Alone in the house, you hear a noise downstairs and yell, ‘Who’s there?’” wrote Thatawfulbastard. “After a long silence, you hear a raspy voice reply, ‘Nobody…’”

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“I lied when I told them I had gone fully blind,” wrote Vital_dual. “It was easier than burdening them with the things I could still see.”

“When next you are completely alone, imagine you are listening to a sound of some kind,” wrote RamsesThePigeon. “When that sounds seems to stop, you’ll know that you’ve been noticed.”

Pay close attention to your pets.

“I only got two shots left, and I know just what I’m gonna do with them,” wrote DigitalGrampa. “One for that mutt of mine to stop the g*******d barking; and one for whatever it is he got cornered in that closet.”

“Ever since we have moved into our new place, our dog stands by the door that we just can’t pry open,” wrote Natattackk11. “Now it’s 2:37 in the morning, our dog is missing, and the door is wide open.”

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“I always thought my cat had a staring problem; she always seemed fixated on my face,” wrote a Reddit User whose account has since been deleted. “Then, one day, I realized that she was always looking just behind me.”

“He was huddled in a cave in the middle of the night when a pack of wolves gathered at the entrance,” wrote Drunken Peon. “They started howling and snarling—but not at him.”

“Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept,” Miami_Metro wrote. “Now that I live alone, it is much more unsettling.”

And mirrors—be afraid of mirrors.

“I’m staring in the mirror when my reflection suddenly smiles, turns, and walks out of the reflected door of my bedroom,” wrote Jillibeans34. “I turn and am confronted by endless darkness.”

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“They say practicing smiling in front of a mirror makes you feel happier,” wrote Lordatomosk. “I wish my reflection would join along.”

“I reach my hand out to the mirror in front of me to offer some stability, but instead of cold glass against my hand, I feel the warm flesh of a palm, and looking up, I see my reflection,” wrote Xresident. “Funny; it doesn’t feel like I’m smiling, but I must be.”

“I’m terrified of my own shadow,” wrote HeronSun. “He thinks it’s funny.”

Technology doesn’t always make the world better.

“It has been three days since I lost my grasp on the space station,” wrote Fr31l0ck. “And I’ve come to the realization that a rebreather that lasts 40 days isn’t as reassuring as one might think.”

“They celebrated the first successful cryogenic freezing,” wrote KnowsGooderThanYou. “He had no way of letting them know he was still conscious.”

“We stood on the observation platform of the Eiffel Tower, looking out over the city lights, when it suddenly went completely dark for as far as anyone could see,” wrote Brentgarland. “Far below us, the sounds of millions screaming began.”

“Dan’s time machine was complete, but there was a slight glitch,” wrote Spongemonster. “Dan’s time machine was complete, but there was a slight glitch.”

Oh, and whatever you do, try not to, er, move on.

“The phone has rang for the third time, now, and still no one has checked on me,” wrote MoopyLoops. “My body still refuses to move, and the sensation of movement over my feet has changed to a nibbling of my toes…I think the rats are upon me.”

“‘You stupid bastard!’ I cried as he tied me to the rails, ‘don’t you know this line has been abandoned for years!’ wrote DeathHamster1. “‘Of course I know,’ he said, walking away, ‘no one comes here at all.’

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“The heart attack came and went, knocking Mike into unconsciousness, and as he awoke he could hear the graveside service around him,” wrote Rolypolyman. “Somehow, the casket was translucent to him, and he recognized some of his friends, but his body would not move; he realized with terror what death really was.”

“When I finally grabbed her in the darkness, I swam back to the surface,” wrote ADGE_S. “It never occurred to me how fast the ice could freeze over.”

“I can’t move, breathe, speak, or hear, and it’s so dark all the time,” wrote Graboid27. “If I knew it would be this lonely, I would have been cremated instead.”

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