Library Literary Contests

2-Sentence Horror Story Contest

It was a dark and stormy night... when the University of North Florida's Thomas G. Carpenter Library decided to host a 2-Sentence Horror Story Contest for all UNF students, faculty, and staff. Horror story submissions may be about any terrifying topic or gruesome subject, but must be original and two sentences (400 characters or less) in length.

Looking for some bone-chilling inspiration? Check out these 20 terrifying two-sentence short horror stories that will make you hold your breath.


Contest Rules: 

  1. Participants must be a UNF affiliate (UNF email/N# required on survey)

  2. Entries must be submitted by the deadline

  3. Submissions will be judged by a blind review panel composed of UNF Library faculty and staff 

  4. Participants may submit multiple entries, but can only win one prize

  5. Stories that do not follow the 2-sentence rule will be disqualified

  6. Submissions that violate privacy, promote illegal activity, or incite violence will be disqualified

2020 Contest

FlyerThe library's inaugural 2-Sentence Horror Story Contest took place in October 2020. We received 159 entries from students, faculty and staff, of which all were judged by a panel of library staff and guests. Our chosen winners were as follows:

First place:

“I don’t think I could live a day in your life,” my neighbor said to me one morning. Upon asking him why, he replied with: “I just wouldn’t like having someone watch me while I sleep,” and walked away.

Jacary Lundy – Undergraduate Student, Physics

Second place:

I wake up and everything feels wrong; I feel it in my gut. My colon was replaced by a semi-colon.

Carter Montgomery – Graduate Student, Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

Third place:

He crawled under the covers next to his wife, running his fingers through her hair and gently whispering, “Nothing can keep us apart.” The tangled strands caught under his ragged nails, easily pulling out of the decaying flesh surrounding her disembodied head.

Margaret Darmanjian – Undergraduate Student, Chemistry

2021 Contest

Flyer for 2-Sentence Horror Story ContestOur 2nd annual 2-Sentence Horror Story Contest was our most popular library literary contest to date with over 200 submissions from students, faculty, and staff! Here are the three lucky winners whose spine-tingling tales impressed our judges:

First place:

A stranger walked up behind me, smelled my hair, and whispered in my ear, "You smell different when you're awake." Then he walked away.

Alexis Skidmore – Undergraduate Student, Spanish

Second place:

It was a dark and stormy night when the undead arose from the St. Johns River. They had been waiting patiently in the forms of rocks and stones.

Kerry Eldred – Staff Member, PACT Study/Psychology

Third place:

A Summer mountain cabin, rolling hills, birds, and a bubbling creek. Swinging on the porch a cool summer breeze creates the perfect scene then I hear the slow heartbeat and smell the cigar smoke behind me.

Hannah Holley – Undergraduate Student, Health Science

2022 Contest

Horror Story Contest graphicOur 3rd annual 2-Sentence Horror Story Contest received 112 submissions from students, faculty, and staff! Here are the three lucky winners whose spine-tingling tales impressed our judges:

First place:

Being buried alive was my worst fear. but now i fear whatever is touching me under here

Jeannie Ly – Undergraduate Student, English

Second place:

I told her my joke and her jaw dropped. I knelt down, picked it up and taped it back on her face, silly girl.

Skylar Smiley – Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Third place:

"Say cheese", my husband said, a mischievous grin on his lips as his finger hovered over the shutter button. I wondered, as his grip tightened around my neck three nights later, if he had already decided then that this would be my obituary picture.

Dan'n Tima – Undergraduate Student, Psychology

Runner-Up Stories

I find myself lurking near the door I am forbidden to open. The temptation and nagging deep within me forces the tips of my fingers to graze the handle until curiosity consumes me along with the figure waiting in the shadows. – Gracyn Cromer, Undergraduate Student, Education and Human Services/ ASL Interpretation

I asked my smartphone’s virtual assistant how long I could live if I quit smoking today.  It responded with the flight number of the airplane I am on, which is pulling away from the gate for departure right now. – Amanda Moore, Staff Member, Florida Institute of Education

My mother was always highly critical of me as I grew up and as a result we don’t speak anymore. The last time I heard from her, she was telling me to sit up straight while I tossed my handful of dirt onto her casket. – Anna Leist, Undergraduate Student, English

I receive a letter from my boyfriend each month as he misses me while he’s away. His mother just informed me he’s  been dead for weeks and that’s  not his handwriting. – Ida Alvarado, Undergraduate Student, Special Education

You open your untimed final on Canvas, but decide to take a nap. You wake up to the ping of an email alerting you that your final has been graded. – Alexanderia Crotts, Undergraduate Student, Transportation and Logistics

Being an RA, I had adjusted to the knocking and sounds. The eyes under the door and in the windows took more time to adjust. – Sean Kelly, Undergraduate Student, Computer Science

"Why can't you be more quiet like your brother?"  I didn't have the heart to tell my, now visually impaired, mother how my brother sat dead in the corner of the room nor how he was beginning to twitch. – Sean Kelly, Undergraduate Student, Computer Science

Strangulation by a purple rope—quite a twisted murder.  The fact that my daughter's jump rope coincidentally went missing a couple of days ago matched my warped sense of humor.  – Ishita Sharma, Undergraduate Student, Communication

The midnight shift guarding a musky, old mausoleum seemed a nice retirement job. Of course, until I heard the screams emanating from inside. – Connor Geller, Undergraduate Student, Information Technology