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50 Two-Sentence Horror Stories, Cthulhu Mythos Edition

Short and Snacky Yog-Sothothery

By Neal LitherlandPublished about a year ago Updated 10 months ago 13 min read

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

- H.P. Lovecraft

There are great truths in this universe that man was not meant to know. There are beings who are so far beyond us that were we to glimpse the truth of them it would shatter our minds, and drive us to madness. There are secrets buried beneath the sands of time, lost under the seas, and floating in the blackness of space that put in stark perspective how little humanity truly matters, and that the greatest hope we have is that our light never grows bright enough that it would be noticed by the true powers of the cosmos.

We trudge on with our heads lowered, but in our dreams we hear the call of maddening pipes, and feel the shifting mass of truths attempting to reach for our waking minds. The Old Ones sleep, but for how much longer?

These two-sentence tales may not answer that question... but then again, they might.

For those who would like further installments of the series, make sure you check out the following links. And if you're interested in audio versions of these stories, check out The Literary Mercenary on Rumble!

- 50 Two-Sentence Horror Stories

- 50 Two Sentence Horror Stories: Warhammer 40K Edition

- 50 Two-Sentence Horror Stories, SCP Edition

Also, consider taking a look at the rest of my Vocal archive, if you're looking for strange stories, tabletop games, and assorted glimpses into horrible truths that will alter your perception of reality!

50 Two-Sentence Tales of Yog-Sothothery

1. The city was a filthy, vulgar place, filled to bursting with the ignorant, plebian, unwashed masses. The bright lights and millions of eyes made it hard for the ancient things of elder times to walk unseen, though, and for this safety did I endure my discomfort of this urban environ.

2. Do not pray in the old places of the world. There are things there who remember the ways of supplication, and the bargains they make are terrible indeed.

3. We call it New England, but it is only new to us. This land is old, and the things that walk these ancient forests have yet to take notice of something as young and insignificant as modern man.

4. Scientists walk the same road as the priests of old, their eyes blind to the warnings laid across the path by those who came before them. They believe they know better than those who came before, but like children toying with matches I fear they will light a beacon in the dark... a beacon that will draw something we long ago closed our eyes to.

5. We tend to think of death as a closed door. Doors, however, can always be opened from the other side if one knows how.

6. As a young man my father allowed me to read every book in his library, save one. The day he died I unlocked its case, opened its cover, and soon learned the reason he had forbidden my eyes from ever falling upon the pages of that blasphemous tome.

7. Poets and playwrights alike dip into a dark pool; a place where only the mad and the dreaming may swim without fear. One should take care what works they witness, lest through the page or the stage they hear the true whispers of whatever lurks in the depths of that demimonde where only artists dare to tread.

8. Blood passes down the strength of our ancestors. It also passes down their sins, and carries with it the weight of the bargains they have made.

9. Too many enlightened scholars of this day and age seek to unearth the past. One should not dig up a grave, lest they risk waking what slumbers within.

10. Always heed the warnings of the locals. No matter how ignorant, backwater, or objectionable you may find them, these people have survived in the empty places of the world that have swallowed up smarter, nobler interlopers who thought they knew better.

11. It is better to endure a hunger for knowledge you cannot have, than to suffer the horrors of something you cannot forget. I tell you this as one who knows.

12. Old families have old ways, and old rituals. It often costs nothing to keep these storied traditions, but not keeping them may incur a debt beyond what one can pay.

13. We think ourselves masters of the world. It is only through ignorance and luck, though, that we have not awakened the things that dwell under the land, or which sleep deep beneath the waves.

14. Most say that fear is born from ignorance. I would contend, however, that those who have seen what lurks in the darkness of this world possess a deeper, sharper fear than those who simply do not know.

15. The artist's work spoke to me. I wished it hadn't, and that I could escape the visions of cyclopean cityscapes and the damned, nameless things that crawled through them, but the images were burned into my brain as indelibly as my own name.

16. When I was a boy, I developed a fascination with the stars. Once I realized they were watching me as well, I could no longer bring myself to stand beneath the open sky.

17. I spent years of my career attempting to decipher the language inscribed on the sunken ruins. I finally learned that it was a warning... but a warning against what, I still do not know.

18. In the lifetime of the cosmos, humanity is little more than a recently-lit candle flickering in the blackness. We will go out one day, and when we do the universe will spin on, guided by the maddening trill of pipes, and the dreams of things far greater than we could ever dream to be.

19. There are pieces of truth spread through all the faiths of the world. I can only pray that no one ever assembles them, and learns why they were sundered in the first place.

20. I had a thirst to know. Even when I clawed my eyes out, though, I could not unsee what that thirst had driven me to uncover.

21. I walked through a world filled with the fog of exhaustion, forcing myself to remain awake by whatever means necessary. For when I slept, I dreamed, and when I dreamed I saw that ancient city lost so far beneath the waters that no light from the sun could ever reach it.

22. Books are much like people; some are friendly, some are exciting, some are droll, and some are boring. Some, though... some should be locked away in the dark, where they can do no harm.

23. One should never swallow a sailor's stories without at least a grain of salt. A seaman's warnings, though, should always be heeded.

24. Our ancestors feared eclipses, and rightly so. When the day goes dark it reveals terrible secrets, and on nights when the moon blinks there are terrors set loose to blight the world.

25. When we see something that has a human form, but lacks the human soul, it produces within us a sense of the uncanny. This warning instinct may not be as necessary as it once was, but mark me, it is the greatest gift left to us by our forebears.

26. Atop the spire of a mountain is the furthest I can be from the sea. Even here, though, there are whispers on the wind entreating me to climb down, and to come home once more.

27. Every aspect of society is made to restrain the imagination, and to smother the spark of curiosity. For it is the minds of the creative, and the questions of the curious, that many Old Ones use as doors to this world.

28. In our dreams we understand the great truths and immutable facts of the universe. The morning light steals this clarity, but those of us who refuse to let go, scrabbling at the locked doors within our own minds, will find nothing but madness should we manage to pry it open while we are here in the waking world.

29. It is easier for society to believe that those who speak of the impossible are mad, so we lock them away, silencing their words. Perhaps the worst thing of all is that this systemic cruelty keeps us safe from hearing the names of things that cannot be unheard, whispered in the padded cells of quiet rooms.

30. I have never had a great deal of interest in finding where it is our species originated. For what orphan seeking those answers has ever rejoiced upon learning the dreary, disappointing truth of where they came from?

31. The evolution of tentacles predates trees, and even dry land. This is a curious fact, but what makes it truly unsettling is that the creatures that possess these limbs are intelligent, determined, and they can live far, far longer than anything which dwells in the open air.

32. I have read of beings of such enormous power that the very existence of humanity and all its fine achievements means no more to them than the accomplishments of ants within their hill does to us. What fills my soul with dread is the idea that these creatures are merely priests to the true gods of the universe, and that they are to their gods as we are to them.

33. We dig in the dirt, and make castings in stone, in our attempts to learn the facts of our world's history. We may as well stare at shadows on the wall, and call the murky shapes we see truth, for all that our minds can make sense of what the elder races left behind for us to find.

34. The world is filled with supposed grimoires and tomes claiming to bear glimmers and glimpses of true knowledge. Most of these tomes are false, but it is better to live a life wasted in failed searching than to damn oneself with success in this hunt.

35. I've done this job with and without a badge for 20 years. Cheating spouses, runaway kids, crooked business partners, all of that I can handle... I don't do cults; that's how I lost my arm.

36. Greed will be the downfall of man, for in our ignorance we will trade the priceless for the worthless. There are things in the outer darkness who know this, and they will bargain with any who call upon them.

37. In childhood we see the terrors of the world as they truly are. It is only through years of swallowing sweet, comforting lies that our eyes grow blind to the horrors all around us.

38. Humanity once thought ourselves the center of the cosmos. Only those who have gazed long and deeply into the abyss truly understand the depth of our hubris in speaking such a belief aloud.

39. Tongues can be removed, books can be burned, and silence can be enforced. No matter what measures are taken, though, the whisperer in the dark will always find ears willing to listen to it.

40. Tread not upon the snakes of the earth. For Yig is ancient, and his vengeance enduring.

41. We dig for secrets, for gold, for gems, and for oil. If we delve too deeply we will learn too late that there are things beneath the earth that should have been left to slumber.

42. When I was young I would put messages in bottles, and send them out to sea. I do not know what it is that wrote me back with its swooping sigils that hurt my head to look at, but I'm half-convinced it's still waiting for me to send it another letter.

43. Scientists say that all the world was once covered in water. It shall be again, one day, and when that happens we will understand too late that we were never the masters of this place.

44. My uncle was a professor at Miskatonic University, until he died under mysterious circumstances. I took charge of his effects, and because of this I believe that I will be the next victim of the thing that took his life.

45. Archaeologists believe they will eventually be able to translate the languages written down by ancient man. In their arrogance they have failed to consider the possibility that it was not men who inhabited the timeless ruins they crawl over like curious, carrion beetles.

46. Beware any man you meet far from civilization. Even if he smiles and greets you warmly, count his fingers and his teeth to be certain that he is what he appears to be.

47. those who reside among the Appalachian mountains are often looked down on by lowland and city folk. Myself, I can only wonder how the clans who call that place home could live among the whispers and secrets of those hills without going mad.

48. Death is the worst thing that most of us can contemplate. Those with either imagination or scholarship, however, know there are fates that make death seem a kindness by comparison.

49. Humanity can only perceive a limited range of light, sound, and dimensions. We have taken a glass of water from the ocean, seen there are no monsters within it, and now claim with utter confidence that we are alone in the vastness of the unseen.

50. The ragged old man clasped my hand, favoring me with his broken smile, and staring eyes. "My throne awaits me in Carcossa," he whispered, "and for your generosity, you shall be repaid in kind."

Would You Like Even More Stories?

If this little sample was enough to get the blood flowing, but you'd like to see more of my fiction, consider the following offerings! Don't forget to check out the rest of my Vocal archive, and to head over to The Literary Mercenary on DailyMotion for dramatic readings and audio content as well! You can also find more stories in the Table Talk section of my blog Improved Initiative!

And if you're a fan of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and you want to add some extra flavor to your game, consider picking up a copy of 100 Shops, Stores, and Businesses to Find in Arkham!

Lastly, if you'd like to help support my future endeavors consider becoming a Patreon patron!

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- Beyond The Black: The Emperor's Hand: Gav Smythe has served with distinction for years. The ogryn hates few things more than traitors, though, and when he finds himself on the front lines of another conflict, he hears the voice of the Emperor calling on him to take up a strange, black sword and stop them before they hurt anyone else.

- Field Test: When the inquisitor came to New Canaan just days ahead of the orks, she promised a weapon that would wipe out the greenskins. While eyes turned to the sky, the true weapon she carried was closer... right under everyone's noses.

- Waking Dogs: A World Eaters Tale: Crixus has fought for thousands of years... however, the old War Hound still remembers the days of honor and glory. And that memory breaks through the walls of caked-on blood, waking him to the reality of what he and all his brothers have become.

SeriesShort StoryHorror

About the Creator

Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.



Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary

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  • Canuck Scriber L.Lachapelle Authorabout a year ago

    Horror is not my genre but this is brilliant.

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