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41 Short Stories for High School: Free PDF Downloads

Below you will find 34 short stories for high school across multiple genres: horror stories, mystery stories, humorous stories, classic stories, and more. Each story includes a link (READ IT) that will take you to a free copy you can read, copy, download or print.

We’ve also included a free PDF of our personal selection of the best short stories for high school, which includes 7 more short stories not found below. This PDF is also used in our post 41 Short Stories for Middle School, which is why it is titled Best Short Stories for Middle School.

In spite of its title, this PDF includes stories perfect for both middle and high school by authors like Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur C. Clarke.

Looking for Christmas stories for high school? Go here.

Need lesson plans? We created a 90-page lesson plan book covering all eight stories in our Best Short Stories for Middle School PDF.

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Best Short Stories for High School:
Free PDF

Here are the Best Short Stories for High School (at least according to us).

We’ve taught each of these stories to high school students. Kids of all reading levels (including reluctant readers) found them engaging and suspenseful. They are thought-provoking with plenty of spectacular twists.

As noted above, this PDF was originally put together for our middle school post, so the title says middle school. But these stories work equally well for high school students.

To share, you can click the thumbnail, open the preview and select the share icon at the bottom of the screen (next to the zoom icons).

Click to download our Free PDF.

Best Short Stories for Middle School

Funny Short Stories
For High School

Lord Oakhurst’s Curse

By O. Henry
Lord Oakhurst lay dying in the oak chamber in the eastern wing of Oakhurst Castle.

Machiavelli in Kindergarten

By Peter Schooff
A hilarious story told as a series of letters from the
kindergarten teachers of young Nicolo Machiavelli.

Joy

By Anton Chekhov
A young man rushes to his parent’s house to tell them the joyous news about how his name is in the newspaper and he has become famous.

Cannibalism in the Cars

By Mark Twain
A train is snowbound and the passengers must find a way to survive. Twain turns the ghastly into the wickedly hilarious.

Mystery Short Stories
for High School

Full Circle

By Sue Grafton
Private detective Kinsey Millhone witnesses a tragic car accident in which a girl is also shot.

Slowly, Slowly in the Wind

By Patricia Highsmith
A man wants to purchase land from his neighbor, but the neighbor refuses. When the man’s daughter runs off with the neighbor’s son, bad goes to worse.

Possibilities

By Bill Pronzini
I had been in the backyard no more than two minutes when Roger Telford’s bald head popped up above the boundary fence.

Uncle Auguste

By Andrew Allen
No one seemed to know exactly who Uncle Auguste
was. There certainly hadn’t been any members of the family by that name. 

Scary Short Stories
For High School

Love horror? Check out our page on 40 Scary Stories to Read Online.

Mars Will Have Blood

By Marc Laidlaw
“Too much ichor,” said red-faced Jack Magnusson, scowling into a playbook. “The whole tragedy is sopping in it. Blood, blood, blood. 

Markheim

By Robert Louis Stevenson
Markheim enters an antique shop late one night to
sell a rare item but ends up murdering the shop owner instead.

The Great God Pan

By Arthur Machen
An experiment designed to reveal the spirit world goes horribly wrong, leading to a series of disappearances and deaths.

The Armless Man

By WG Litt
I had for some months been trying to find gold or
diamonds by digging holes in the veldt.

An Original Revenge

By WC Morrow
A soldier intends to kill himself in order to return as a vengeful spirit and take his revenge upon his commanding officer.

The Little Room

By Madeline Yale Wynn
A tiny room in a farm house holds a mysterious secret, appearing to be a different room to each person who enters it.

The God of Dark Laughter

By Michael Chabon
Thirteen days after the Entwhistle-Ealing Bros. circus left Ashtown two boys stumbled on a body that was dressed in a mad suit of purple and orange velour. 

Literary Short Stories
For High School

The Other Woman

By Sherwood Anderson
A man struggles with his final days before marriage as he falls for a young barista.

The Scarlet Ibis

By James Hurst
The intense relationship between two brothers pushes one boy over the edge into death.

Your Body is a Jewel Box

By Kay Boyle
The rain was falling just as it did every day at this time of the year, and when Olive got out of bed she saw that Mildred was sitting on the roof again and crying in the rain.

The Love of My Life

By TC Boyle
A haunting story of two high schoolers in love as they enter college, get pregnant and decide what to do about the baby and their future.

A Father’s Story

By Andre Dubus
A father frames himself for a potential crime to shield his daughter after she is in a car accident that may have killed someone.

Adventure Short Stories
for High School

The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes

By Rudyard Kipling
There is, as the conjurers say, no deception about this tale. Jukes by accident stumbled upon a village that is well known to exist, though he is the only Englishman who has been there.

A Descent Into the
Maelstrom

By Edgar Allan Poe
A seemingly old man recounts his horrific tale of being sucked into a massive whirlpool at sea and how he managed to survive.

The Boar Hunt

By Jose Vasconcelos
A group of hunters stalk wild boars through the jungle. When they begin shooting a herd from the trees, they mistakenly believe it’s their lucky day.

An Occurrence at Owl
Creek Bridge

By Ambrose Bierce
A man set for execution escapes his fate when the
noose breaks. He flees, desperate to escape from his executioners.

Science Fiction Short Stories
for High School

Everything’s Eventual

By Stephen King
A young man with very special powers is enlisted to quietly and mysteriously kill people around the country.

The Nine Billion Names
of God

By Arthur C. Clarke
A group of monks living atop the mountains purchase a supercomputer to help them identify all the names of God and bring an end to the universe.

Nightfall

By Isaac Asimov
The planet Lagash has known nothing but sunlight for over 2,000 years. Now they are preparing to experience their first nightfall in millenia.

Arena

By Frederic Brown
Escalating conflict between Earth and the alien
Outsiders must be resolved through single combat
between an earthling and an Outsider.

Microcosmic God

By Theodore Sturgeon
A brilliant biochemist creates a synthetic lifeform in an attempt to improve mankind, but the results are not at all what he imagined.

Classic Short Stories
for High School

The Murder

By John Steinbeck
A man finds his wife in the arms of another man, leading to a horrible murder and its aftermath.

The Tall Men

By William Faulkner
Two men arrive at a house with a warrant for the
McCallum brothers, but they must first deal with the McCallum relatives, one of whom has had a terrible
accident and needs his leg amputated.

The Blue Hotel

By Stephen Crane
An intense card game leads to a brutal fight in a blizzard.

The Gambler, the Nun &
the Radio

By Ernest Hemingway
They brought them in around midnight and then, all night long, everyone along the corridor heard the Russian. ‘Where is he shot?’ Mr. Frazer asked the night nurse.

A Good Man is Hard to Find

By Flannery O’Connor
A family finds themselves in dire straits on the road when they run into the Misfit, an insane, murderous escaped convict. 

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