A young girl looks in her bedroom mirror to apply her lipstick. Nothing is reflected back at her, just darkness. (Erica Murdoch, Australia)
You have exclusive use of a private jet and unlimited means. Where do you go? What if you can’t come back? (Janet Homeniuk, Canada)
You open her freezer and find the dog – its eyes open and its teeth exposed. Why has she frozen her dog? (Georgina Titheridge, Germany)
The Death Houses, where the sick and destitute of Singapore spent their last days, had been pulled down years ago. (Sophie Judge, Singapore)
His camera could steal people’s souls. On his walls, the portraits wailed and begged for freedom. (Henry Bugalho, Spain)
I try to lift my wrists, but the straps are too tight. I watch them take her away: my baby, born for their purpose. (Helena Abblett, United Kingdom)
As our eyes met for the first time I imagined how it would feel to peel away his skin with my fingers. (Jessica Abbott, United Kingdom)
You spend the night with a beautiful woman. The next morning, you awake in a graveyard beside her disfigured body. (Neil Achary, United Kingdom)
Since your sister died you’ve heard her voice in your head, then other people begin to mistake you for her. (Caroline Alldridge, United Kingdom)
He spotted the first mark on Sunday; a tiny purple bruise on his knee. By Tuesday his whole leg had turned black. (Pen Avey, United Kingdom)
You’re lying on a cold metal table in a morgue. And you’re awake. (Louise Beere, United Kingdom)
Yesterday she stopped screaming – all that was left was the silence. (Bridget Blankley, United Kingdom)
You come home to find an old-fashioned phone sitting in the middle of your table. No wires lead to it. It rings. (MW Brown, United Kingdom)
Friends take a shortcut through a dark wood each telling a scary story as, unbeknownst to them, something follows. (Marcus Caballero, United Kingdom)
The apocalypse has come and gone, and society is rebuilding. How will the main character handle civilisation? (India Channon, United Kingdom)
Stretching out, the bony hand clasped and ripped at the air, desperate to wrench them into its abyss. (Molly Cove, United Kingdom)
There’s a reason no man has journeyed out to the old Henderson estate for the last ten years. (Penguin Random House Editor)
Like clockwork, the scrabbling in the attic stopped and the screaming started. (Leigh Crowley, United Kingdom)
At first, she thought that nothing had happened at all. Then she looked down and saw the blood, and screamed. (Rhiannon D’Averc, United Kingdom)
She lives in the old asylum now, mumbling incoherently. No one had believed her story – how wrong they all were. (Louisa Dean, United Kingdom)
She woke again with that desperate feeling of panic. It had happened again: the bloody blade lay beside her. (Julia Evans, United Kingdom)
A sadistic serial murderer is on the hunt, but what happens when fate has him choose a victim who feels no pain? (Lauren Everdell, United Kingdom)
’14th Century’ read the sign by the pub. Odd. The building looked old, but definitely hadn’t been here yesterday. (Colin Fisher, United Kingdom)
The face stared out at me; wide-eyed and hollow-cheeked and instantly unforgettable. (Martin Green, United Kingdom)
The crying at night doesn’t stop. Living alone, on an abandoned rig in the North Sea, I am afraid. (Craig Handley, United Kingdom)
The lights of every house in the town were on that night, except for one… (Sharon Howard, United Kingdom)
The cat woke me so, half-asleep, I fed him. Then I remembered. Yesterday we cremated him. (Kirsty Kambites, United Kingdom)
When a mother raises her child to fend for himself, he then becomes a closeted cannibal in his teens and adulthood. (Annika Kapur, United Kingdom)
The archaeologists were amazed to find a perfectly preserved human in that ice cave – but why did it have my face? (Ryan Lloyd, United Kingdom)
An abandoned storage locker has been emanating a sickly sweet smell for weeks. What’s inside? (Johanna Mackin, United Kingdom)
Your villain has to go to therapy to discuss their issues. Write about what transpires during the session. (Ellie Rose McKee, United Kingdom)
You find yourself lost in the woods. You see arrows on the floor leading you further into the trees. (Francesca Moody, United Kingdom)
They thought the employees in costume at the theme park were only pretending – they could not have been more wrong. (Beth Morris, United Kingdom)
You awake alone and get ready for work. You go to unlock the door and notice a strange pair of shoes by the doormat. (Sarah Musgrove, United Kingdom)
Late one night you hear a knock at the door. You open it to see Death himself waiting. He offers you a bargain… (Aisling O’Kane, United Kingdom)
What if you fabricated a past only to start suffering the emotional and physical trauma associated with that life? (Marc Orr, United Kingdom)
Still life paintings at a holiday villa depict familiar scenes from your past. But you’ve never been here before. (Donnia Reafat, United Kingdom)
You never open the door when they’re knocking. Never. (Katie Robinson, United Kingdom)
Half-starved, Zoe almost didn’t notice her fries weren’t fries at all… but something far more sinister. (Jeanna Skinner, United Kingdom)
An incurable virus has been stolen from a top security research lab and been placed in a town’s drinking water. (Katrine Solvaag, United Kingdom)
She pressed her palm to the glass. Her breath caught as her reflection gripped her hand & bared its teeth in a grin. (Emma Stephens, United Kingdom)
Its evil red eyes burned into mine. I froze with cold terror as I realised the face staring back at me was my own. (David Turton, United Kingdom)
The savage way the new lodger gorged himself at our welcome dinner told me that we, like our home, were his now. (Jonathan Tustain, United Kingdom)
As we walked through the wood the trees leaned inwards, and my hands became sticky not with sap… but with blood. (Carolyn Ward, United Kingdom)
Your bare feet pounds the forest floor as you realise you are not the hunted, you are the hunter. (Joy-Amy Wigman, United Kingdom)
You find a duffel bag beside the road and stop to investigate. What’s in it? What happens next? (Debra Chandler, United States)
Imagine living in the dark deep past, when only a few million people exist on the entire planet. And monsters. (Jacqueline Hovey, United States)