Puzzle Does… Six Word Horror Stories.
Once again we
forced some of the staff to endure a tortuous challenge had another fun and totally-NOT-forced challenge. This week’s task was simple: a 6 word horror story. For example… “inescapable and mandatory Puzzle team challenge.” We’ll be rating allll of the submissions, as we did for the last challenge, but this time you have the pleasure of Ella (me) – Senior Community Manager, living* legend, and arguably the most notable figure at Puzzle, to rate them. (*disputed by many)
We’ll kick this off with Francis, our
glorious leader wonderful founder:
Locked in a room, Nigel Farage
Strong start in the first clause, already terrified at the thought of simply being locked in a room. The addition of Nigel Farage is, of course, frankly horrific. However, I can’t help but notice the structure of this sentence actually implies the writer is speaking to him, rather than being trapped with him. To me, this suggests that the narrator (presumably Francis himself) actually has Farage locked in a cupboard and is mocking him for this. Big power move. 7/10
Next up, Lillie:
Tiny kitten heels with overhanging toes
(remember to show Ella the picture)
Despite asking multiple times, not one single person has shown me this mystery photo. I can thus only guess how offensive it is to the naked eye. But we all agree, as a human race, that toes are not ok. So the concept of such… obscenities.. dangling over the rim of a heel is enough for my imagination, without said promised image. 7.3/10 very scary.
Editor’s note from George:
Sorry, Ella. Here is the picture, I don’t know if that changes anything.
Nooo I’ve run out of chocolate
Now, this narrative has the grounds for some truly horrific details. I like the way the author has positioned this – as if they are speaking to themselves after discovering an empty chocolate shelf. I imagine this whispered, bitterly, on a crisp winter morning – when it is frankly too cold to venture out in hunt of the delicious sweet elixir that is chocolate. 6.7/10 Good one, Meg.
It’s time for Carys:
Please call to make a booking
Now, for those who may not know, Carys hails from the Land of The Free (and personable customer service), America. What this tells me, without a shadow of a doubt, is that she truly has assimilated to British culture. There is nothing we hate more than communicating with others, especially on the phone. What is this, the 50s? Let me make my booking via a form with no human interaction. Even better when the hotels have a self-check-in (love u Premier Inn x). This story is a perfect example of a well executed disruption in an equilibrium, following a classic narrative structure… and the content frankly brings a chill to my spine. 8/10, nice.
Bring it on, Joe:
A simulation stuck in 2020 forever
Somehow Joe has managed to do the impossible; sneak into the darkest corners of my mind and use my recurring nightmare in order to try and win this challenge. I don’t even have words for this one. The thought of being stuck in this hellish year for the rest of time makes me wish I could unread that sentence and permanently wipe it from my mind. I’d rather be locked in a room with Nigel Farage. 8.5/10, solid effort.
Now to my oldest and longest friend, John:
Looked in mirror. Monster looked back
Oh John, my sweet, sweet John. This is no monster, it is simply you, with your unruly lockdown beard. I can understand why this may be horrific to see, after spending years crafting the perfect upside down face tree. Do not fret, the barbers will be available for you again soon. Let’s just hope it’s not Sweeny Todd. Pie, anyone? 7/10
Next up, George, the second best Community Manager:
I’ve just checked my bank balance
I started crying after reading this. I can barely type through the tears. All I can see is thousands of 0s and the sound of a supermarket self-service till shouting “payment declined” to an entire shop full of people, all without masks, who are shaking their heads at me. I’m not sure how anything can top this. 9/10. Excellent, George, just like all your copy.
Time for a true angel, Fabienne:
Please can you update me on…
Shit. I forgot. I totally forgot. *sweats nervously* – that’s the reaction this story gave me. This story is brilliant: horrific, perfectly executed and I’d like to think unanimously relatable. It’s context, while ambiguous, leaves more room for it’s horrific nature. Is this on email? I almost hope so, because the thought of someone popping into your office and asking that question out loud, with nowhere to hide, is something I cannot bear to think of. *shakilly pours a glass of wine* 8.7/10
TikTok being banned, that’s clown shit
Now, this to me feels more like a political statement than a horror story. I’m assuming this is about Trump’s recent threat to ban the platform in the US… and whilst the first clause is certainly an unpleasant thought (how would I continue to impress millions of Americans with my Doctor Who memes?), the “clown shit” feels like a direct criticism of Trump. As a horror story, there’s certainly ground for a scary narrative. As a political statement, I couldn’t agree more. 6/10
The eagle himself, Malky:
David Cameron enters animal farm, alone
I have so many questions. I feel like I need to know more about where this narrative is supposed to go. In my head, the thing that immediately springs to mind is Black Mirror S1 Ep 1….. Which I’m not sure was where Malky intended this to go… oink oink. And definitely not what Orwell intended. If it’s a narrative in which the big DC gets mauled or overthrown by animals, well, that’s either a horror or utopian, depending on your political standpoint. Unfortunately I’m going to have to give this a 5/10 – or 50% – purely because it’s unclear on which angle was intended. Sorry Malky.
The Queen of Puzzle herself, Lauren (LHW):
A human-sized wasp chasing me
Promise me you’ll never watch The Unicorn and The Wasp, a cracking Doctor Who episode that does feature just what this horror story entails. If you want to see it, click this at your own risk. Though, I find it interesting that the author, here, has chosen a wasp as the antagonist in this horror story. Why not a human-sized Murder Hornet? Or maybe a human-sized Henry Hoover? This leads me to believe that the wasp in question is a specific one – perhaps a personal enemy of Lauren. For that reason alone, and the terrifying thought of my own personal enemy (who cannot be named for legal reasons) chasing me, I will have to award this a 8/10. Nice job.
Finally, my own story:
*Text received* hey I’m outside yours
Now, I know last week George got me to rate their drawing ‘in the interests of fairness’, but unfortunately that’s not how the real world works. I’ll be rating my own
masterpiece story, and giving George (who will be proof-reading this blog) an opportunity to offer their own thoughts too.
Straight off the bat the first two words are enough to bring chills to my spine. Do not contact me. Ever. Not via any method – even text. The author, who I can confidently infer is both beautiful and intelligent, then leads us on to a second, more chilling development. The antagonist is outside the house. Absolutely not. This is exactly why my house is covered in barbed wire and booby traps. This story has all the makings of the perfect horror, fit for the modern day era. I can only, rightfully, award this a straight 10/10. Perfect.
George, I guess you can offer your own opinion below…
Thanks, Ella. I thought yours was neat. I personally would hate to be contacted, which is why your story spoke to me so deeply. Nobody knows where I live, and that’s by design. I communicate with my coworkers through smoke signals. I send Ella my copy for approval in coded runes. I got a text from Virgin Media earlier and seriously considered changing my phone number so it wouldn’t happen again. I dread to think what would happen if someone simply showed up outside my house. 9/10, if only because it’s so accurate.
Thanks, George. Check back in next week to find out what else we can make the team do under the guise of team building!