Sunday, 24 January 2016

100 Word Chillers: Monkey

I am starting a series of '100 word chillers' - stories that explore something frightening in only 100 words. There will be one a week. You have been warned!

How do you set up and tell a story with a satisfying conclusion in so few words? 

It has been a fascinating exercise. It makes you focus on how much each word matters. If it isn't essential, it's gone!

What chills us?

I've thought a lot about what I find chilling. It's certainly not just haunted houses. This first story, Monkey, harks right back to one of my oldest fears, and as I wrote the story, I found that it still frightens me now.

I also thought hard about what stories to include. The idea is to thrill and entertain. There is enough in this world that is distressing, and some things that chill us seem too close to the bone. I had to come at the fear factor from a different angle, raising some interesting questions.

Here's the first story. I would love to  read your own 100 word stories.

Courtesy of


‘Hush, go to sleep, baby. Here’s cuddly monkey.’

When she went out, the room went dark and hard. Soon it was cold as death. And monkey was not cuddly like in the day. He squatted in the corner of the cot with his black lips grinning. I could see his teeth.

I cried.

Footsteps. The door clicked and a golden light came in. I smelled her milky warmth.

‘Shhh, baby, go to sleep’. The door closed.

Monkey chattered and shrieked. He ran up and down the cot, his claws scrabbling over my arms and face.

I screamed, but nobody came.

Where the story came from

When I was a baby, there was a cute little rabbit painted on the headboard of my cot. I was a child who hated to be left alone in the dark. In my memory, once night fell, the rabbit came to life. It grew great long scary legs and it walked all over me. Apparently, I screamed every night until I was taken out of that cot and put to sleep in a bed. Thinking about this while searching for 100 word chillers, I thought about a baby's vulnerability. It doesn't even have the physical control to avoid what frightens it, and it can't tell anyone what is wrong. All it can do is cry - and babies all cry, don't they?


  1. Ok Sophie I like a challenge! Here's one from my childhood for you.

    A smaller one is chased. Both are screaming. One scream feels like rage. The other like fear.

    I see the smaller one trip. She is caught and pinned on the stairs. Angry fists are pummelling. The silence in my ears is louder now. I can feel the screaming but I can’t hear it. Unable to move or hear, the action is framed. I focus on the white painted doorframe.

    I think loudly in my head that I want to not see. But I’m unable to cover my eyes because the silence is so loud, so deafening it hurts my ears.

  2. Brilliant, Rachel! And disturbing, in a fascinating way. You have captured the vulnerability of childhood.

    1. Thankyou Sophie. Kind of you to say so. Writing is good therapy! x

  3. Brilliant, Rachel! And disturbing, in a fascinating way. You have captured the vulnerability of childhood.

  4. I have always been scared of birds flying near me. That us because as a toddler a sparrow flew into our house and pecked up some crumbs from the floor. I was terrified. Still remember it vividly 50 years later!

  5. Hi Sophie, I love the idea of going back to something that scared you so very early on. Chilling indeed!

    I wasn't a baby, but still very young when I was absolutely convinced that driving over level crossings would mean we'd be hit by a train any second and I'm still a bit apprehensive about crossing train tracks.

    I'm looking forward to reading your 100-word chillers (great name, btw) :)

  6. Oh man this is awesome! And I love the idea. Maybe I should put more creative work up on my blog...