10 Mystery & Horror Prompts To Inspire Your Next Novel

Image by FotoXCapture from Pixabay
  1. The remains of a skeleton are found near a forest. The first examination shows signs of brute force imposed on the skull, leading the forensic team at the crime scene to suspect foul play. You see the news on your way to a family gathering in your hometown and begin to sweat. What do you know about this incident?
  2. A series of murders has shaken your peaceful town where people are used to keeping their doors unlocked. These murders, however, cause your small community to begin suspecting one another. When a young girl goes missing, you know that you don’t have much time left to save the girl. The only clue you know is that the murderer doesn’t kill right away… and has a fetish for toenails.
  3. Three of your friends go missing after hiking. The authorities tell you that they must have run away (as teenagers do), but you know better than that. You take with you another friend who was supposed to be on the same hike but returned home earlier than the rest, and the two of you will explore what really happened to your friends.
  4. You get a phone call in the middle of the night and it wakes you up. You don’t recognize the phone number and turn it off. The following morning, you notice that the entire flat is empty. Everything is on the floor and there are signs of struggle in your parent’s bedroom; stains of blood are left on the walls and covers. You realize that the police won’t believe that you have slept through such a scene and panic. That’s when the same phone number calls and the voice on the other side say, “do I have your attention now?”
  5. Earth has changed. The warm climate had caused floods and mayhem but when the sun starts to lose its color and die — a group of scientists gathers to figure out why and find a solution. Their findings lead them to you, a jobless person at the mercy of other people; once a former college student studying physics before falling ill to social phobia and locking yourself up in your studio. But one of the scientists keeps a secret and you are about to find out what it is.
  6. This is your first time on a cruise. What appears to be a normal night soon gets twisted, when a woman bangs on your door. She tells you that her husband has been killed but can’t say what or who did it. You let her rest and head out into the night in an attempt to find out whether she told him the truth or lied.
  7. You left your kids at home to enjoy dinner with your girlfriend. The kids are old enough to care for themselves. When you’re at the restroom, you try to call your oldest daughter but she won’t answer. You figure that she must be angry with you for leaving their mother for your girlfriend when she returns your call. But she won’t speak. That’s when you hear a faint voice whisper, “help us, daddy.”
  8. You enjoy wandering the forest on your own. As a hermit, the busy life in the city bores you and the silence helps you regain your energy. When you sit around the fireplace, warming your body up since the nights happen to be below freezing point, you notice a girl among the bushes. Her clothes are torn into pieces and her face is riddled with stains and mud. You ask if she is okay and where her parents are, but she bolts out of sight before you even get to rise to your feet. When you return home the following week, you hear about the gruesome murders of three siblings. You recognize one of them.
  9. A friend of yours has been missing for a decade. Just as you thought you’d never know what happened to them, you see a newspaper article on the feed of your Twitter account dating back to three years. It shows a photo of a young boy in his pre-teens interviewed by a journalist called Amira Al-Abdullah. You know there is no way your friend could have stayed the same without aging for the past decade, but you can’t help but wonder “what if…”. You try to contact the journalist and find out what’s really going on.
  10. You park your car and go into the restaurant near the gas station. You’re on a business trip and your boss awaits you at a location twenty miles from the station. The restaurant is more empty than anything and the owner, an unfriendly cowboy, asks what you want to eat. You ask for a fizzy drink since you are going to drive and some shepherd’s pie when you notice a homeless woman staring at you out of the corner of your eyes. You ask if there is something wrong to which she whispers after looking around them, “don’t eat the pie”. You disregard her warning and tell the owner what had just happened. He answers, “don’t mind her. She thinks the food is made of human flesh.”

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Dawn Jones

Dawn Jones

An autistic, depressed, and horror-loving writer. When I don’t write, I condemn my existence and battle my autistic mind.