I think it was Gabino Iglesias who came up with this one (please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong there). The idea was to fill Twitter with little bite-sized horror yarns, disturbing tales that fit in a single tweet. Everyone posted them under the #TrickOrTweet2021 hastag. I had fun with it all month, and as I ended up accumulating quite a few I decided to collect them together here. Twitter can be ephemeral, after all. Another reason I liked this was because it really highlights something I try to get across when I teach workshops. People are always asking where ideas come from and I point out that ideas are not the problem. Ideas are everywhere. Turning an idea or a few ideas into a good story is the real trick. So an exercise like this really shows how ideas are easy to come by. Every one of these is an idea. Hopefully most of them are good ideas! They’re little snapshots and could potentially be expanded into interesting stories. But as they stand, they’re simply ideas in tiny narrative form.

I’ve embedded each tweet in this post, with the tweet transcribed beneath it. If you enjoy mine, be sure to click through on the hashtag and read all the other great stuff people have been posting.

It’s so dark. Did I fall asleep? I can’t move much. Feels like silk. There are hard walls all around me, a ceiling right above my face. Hard to breathe, but I smell lavender. Grandma loved lavender. We put some in her coffin right before the funeral. Oh no.
#trickortweet2021

That thing about your nails still growing after you die? Yeah, that’s a total myth. I’ve been dead for months and my nails haven’t grown at all. Doesn’t matter though, I can still hold a knife perfectly well.
#TrickOrTweet2021

I donated a kidney anonymously last year. Then a lung, and a heart. I’ve lined up another anonymous kidney donation next week. It’s getting harder to source the organs, but as long as I keep moving, they won’t find me. I’ll head over to Kidney 2’s house tonight.
#trickortweet2021

“Daddy,” she said. “Will you hold me?”
I said nothing as she slipped under the covers and snuggled in. She smelled of strawberry shampoo and something else. Something earthy.
“I’m so cold, Daddy!”
And she was. Tomb cold.
I said nothing.
I don’t have a daughter.
#trickortweet2021

Nowhere left to go. They hunted me out of the woods, so I hid in the house. They attacked me in the house, so I retreated to this basement. Now they’re coming for me again. I have no choice. They’ll feel my teeth and claws. And still they’ll call ME the monster.
#trickortweet2021

She cries all night, every night. Inconsolable. Her sobs echo through the house. I hear her whatever room I’m in. The third house now, but still she cries all night long. I’m so very tired. I guess she’ll follow me everywhere. I really shouldn’t have killed her.
#TrickOrTweet2021

“Don’t do this!” he cried.
Tentacles writhed from her body, took him in a slick cold embrace, began to crush, his bones popped, cracked.
“You should’ve dressed less provocatively,” she said, quoting him. “Shouldn’t be out alone. Don’t you know it’s dangerous?”
#TrickOrTweet2021

I thought I might need the dentist but it wasn’t so much a toothache as a tooth vibration. Then the next tooth and the next. They began to shift, pulse, become flexible like white rubber. Then their voices, tiny but insistent. And the things they tell me to do!
#TrickOrTweet2021

Hey, nice house. You live here all alone? Thanks for inviting me back, not many women would take a guy home right after they met. Err… are you okay? What’s happening to your face? Are your eyes bleeding!? Oh gods, your teeth! Let me go! Stop! LET ME GO! LET-
#TrickOrTweet2021

This town has been drowned since they dammed the valley over 60 years ago. SCUBA diving here is incredible, exploring abandoned buildings and streets, frozen in time, submerged under more than 50 feet of water. But why can I hear children’s laughter?
#TrickOrTweet2021

The pains started in my knees. Then elbows, shoulders, chest, back. Debilitating agony doctors couldn’t explain. Psychological, they said, but it wasn’t. Then mother died and I found this doll that looks just like me, with pins in all the places I feel pain.
#TrickOrTweet2021

He was always scared of monsters under the bed. Ironic, really. I told him the only monsters were the ones we let grow inside us. I’m glad he took the lesson to heart. Tonight we hunt together for the first time. I’m so proud. They grow up so fast.
#TrickOrTweet2021

Every once in a while my dog tucks his tail and shivers and growls at this one particular spot in the corner of the room. He’s been doing it for months. Tonight, the wall growled back…
#TrickOrTweet2021

The footsteps behind me stop every time I do. Whenever I look back, only darkness. As I walk again, so do they. The steps sound wet, and with them now a damp and rasping breath. Cold air on my neck, a whispering voice I can’t understand. I daren’t stop again…
#TrickOrTweet2021

“I don’t feel well,” he said, eyes wet.
“What’s wrong, kiddo?”
“My tummy’s all squirly.”
“You need to vomit? Want some water?”
“I’m SO hungry, Daddy.”
His mouth opens, wide. Then wider, stretching further than any mouth should. A maw, emitting a howling wind.
#TrickOrTweet2021

I couldn’t sleep as the shed door banged in the wind. Finally I got up, crossed the dark garden. Something too tall, too thin, long fingers ending in curved claws smiled with too many teeth. It banged the door again. “I thought you’d never come,” it whispered.
#TrickOrTweet2021

“That a new book?” she asked.
“Neat, huh?” I said. “Found it in the attic. It’s in a weird language. Sounds kinda cool.”
I read a section aloud. The room got suddenly cold and shadows swelled from the corners.
“I don’t think you should have done that,” she said.
#TrickOrTweet2021

I got this guitar for $20. Great price for such a sweet instrument. It sounds amazing. I can pull off all the riffs and solos I never could before. I’ll never give this up.
A man in black with short horns steps in front of me. “I was hoping you’d feel that way.”
#TrickOrTweet2021

She said it was over. I thought that meant she was leaving me. I wondered why she made such a nice dinner before that awful news. But now I can’t feel my feet or hands, my tongue is swollen. It’s getting harder to breathe. She’s across the table, smiling at me.
#TrickOrTweet2021

My little angel died too young. The abject cruelty of childhood cancer. We planted a cherry tree on her grave. Cherries were always her favourite. But I never eat the fruit from it any more. I can’t bear the screams as each cherry is picked.
#TrickOrTweet2021

A pact with the devil? Sure, why not. A little blood sacrifice, a little heinous torment, and a soul to buy his favour. No one said it has to be MY soul, after all. Now keep on screaming if you like, there’s no one to hear you. Not for miles and miles.
#TrickOrTweet2021

I didn’t want to die. I thought life was pretty good, you know? I had family I cared about. I enjoyed sunny walks in the forest, days at the beach, all that. And everyone has to die sometime. Besides, it’s worth it. Human blood just tastes soooo damn good.
#TrickOrTweet2021

Every night I call, “Hey, Kitty!” She slinks a little nearer each time. So cautious. I offer milk, ham. “Here, Kitty!” It takes a few weeks but she’s finally close enough to pat. My hand goes right through. I don’t know when she died. Tomorrow we start again.
#TrickOrTweet2021

White noise howls in my ears, I can’t see properly. I feel dizzy. Nauseated. The noise resolves into a scream and I realise it’s my wife. On her knees, crying hard, leaning over something. My god, it’s a body. I can’t get to her. She moves. Oh. It’s me.
#TrickOrTweet2021

Pins in the knees first. Nothing. Tried again the next night at the shoulders, hips. Nada. So I drove the pin right through the heart. Then heard my mother, who I hadn’t seen for a while, had a heart attack. Not that thieving bastard. I collected the wrong hair.
#TrickOrTweet2021

The first time I heard it, that incessant scratching, I thought it was outside. After a few nights I realised it was in the walls. It kept getting louder. Tonight, one thick, segmented black leg emerged through the plaster. I hear more, scratching, scratching…
#TrickOrTweet2021

They said she was a witch. I didn’t believe them, but couldn’t stop them. They chained her up in the forest, stretched like an X between two tall trees, and left her there. I can still hear her screaming. It’s been three years now. I guess she is a witch.
#TrickOrTweet2021

“If you die in the game, you die in real life,” he said, handing me the USB.
I laughed. “Sure, okay!”
I loaded it up, clicked start, then got suddenly dizzy.
Now I’ve woken up and everything’s blurry. Well, it’s blocky-looking. Oh. Shit. Everything is pixels.
#TrickOrTweet2021

So there you have it. I was hoping to get 31 tweets in through the month, one for each day of October. I ended up missing several days, but doing more than one on several other days. I ended up with 28. Not bad! I hope you enjoyed them.