These short stories have serial killers, either as one of the main characters or as someone being pursued by the authorities. A relevant anthology you might like is Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen and the Criminally Insane. See also:
Spoiler Alert! Occasionally, the serial killer’s presence could be a bit of a surprise.
Serial Killer Short Stories
“12:01 AM” (A Karen Vail Story) by Alan Jacobson
Vaughn is on death row and due to be executed in 2 hours. He thinks back on his “work” and accepts his fate. He takes some solace in the fact that his legacy will live on. Three hours earlier, Debra Mead was coming out of a grocery story when she was pulled into a van. A rookie detective noticed a similarity to an old case.
This story can be read in the preview of Nothing Good Happens After Midnight: A Suspense Magazine Anthology. (28% in)
“The Bully” by Jeffery Deaver
Henry is in the Eagle tavern when he spots his bully, Stan Whitcomb, a very big man. He wants to get out of there, and hopes his friend Larry won’t notice any problem. Henry has complained to the Sheriff’s Department about Stan and now he has to again after Stan confronts him.
This story can be read in the preview of Exit Wounds. (22% in)
“The Commuter” by Jeffery Deaver
Charles is getting the train to work when he gets a call from his wife. She’s worried about him because another body was found—a victim of The South Shore Killer. He’s not concerned and is annoyed by the call. His loud talking disturbs the other passengers. He also calls Carmen, his mistress, and a competing company about selling insider information.
This story can be read in the preview of More Twisted: Collected Stories Vol II. (54% in)
“The Doll-Master” by Joyce Carol Oates
Robbie remembers when his cousin Amy died when they were young children. She had a doll, Emily, that Robbie felt a strange attraction to, almost like it was a real baby. It was the beginning of a fascination with dolls for Robbie, and he started looking for more.
This story can be read in the preview of The Doll Master: And Other Tales of Terror.
“Chip Assassin” by Mark Gardner
Josephine and Doug investigate the scene of a murder. The potato chip killer has struck again, leaving a sour cream and onion this time.
This story can be read in the preview of Stories on the Go: 101 Very Short Stories by 101 Authors. (87% in)
“#8” by Jack Ritchie
A man and his young redheaded passenger listen to a news report about someone who’s killed seven people. The police are searching the area and have roadblocks set up. The young passenger is impressed with the killer, and talks about his motivation and how smart he is.
This story can be read in the preview of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Presents Fifty Years of Crime and Suspense. (65% in)
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
An extended family is headed to Florida for a vacation. The grandmother wants to go to Tennessee instead, so she talks about an escaped murderer—The Misfit—who is suspected to be on his way to Florida. Despite her efforts, her son Bailey is set on going to Florida.
This story can be read in the preview of A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. (Kindle preview)
“Click!” by Lawrence Block
After some time out hunting, in a manner of speaking, Dandridge returns to the mountain lodge for a drink. He starts talking to another man seated at the bar. They drink and discuss hunting, focusing on a feeling of disillusionment with it—the thrill is gone. Dandridge has found an interesting work around for this problem.
This story can be read in the preview of Enough Rope. (81% in)
“Collecting Ackermans” by Lawrence Block
Some buzzes Florence Ackerman’s intercom. A man says he has a telegram from Western Union. Being suspicious of criminals, Miss Ackerman challenges his identity, turns him away and threatens to call the police. The next day, as she walks home from some grocery shopping, she’s grabbed and pulled into an alley. Soon after, Freitag and Poolings, police officers, talk about the case. It reminds Freitag of something.
Some of this story can also be read in the preview of Enough Rope. (89% in)
“The Girl With the Blackened Eye” by Joyce Carol Oates
A woman relates what happened to her when she was fifteen, something she never talks about. She hasn’t told her husband or daughters, or anyone who knows her now. She was walking through a mall parking lot to a bus stop when a man started talking to her. He knocked her unconscious and threw her into a vehicle. He drove them to a cabin in the Sonoma Mountains.
“L. T.’s Theory of Pets” by Stephen King
L. T. likes to tell the story of how his wife left him, but he doesn’t like talking about how she’s likely dead now, a victim of the Axe Man. Arriving home from work one day he found the garage door open and her car gone. Inside, there’s a note from her on the fridge telling him she’s left him and detailing her reasons. L. T. believes a lot of their problems came from their two pets—a dog she bought for him and a cat he bought for her. She says she’s going to her mother’s but she never arrives.
The serial killer doesn’t play a large part in this story.
“Bright Blades Gleaming” by Basil Copper
A man has recently arrived in Berlin and is staying at Frau Mauger’s boardinghouse. He has enough money to get by for a while. His case has a strong lock to keep it from prying eyes. He thinks about how to proceed this time so there won’t be any complications. There’s a plain girl staying at the boardinghouse but he’s not interested in her type. He wants to find a suitable café to take his meals and observe people.
I’ll keep adding short stories about serial killers as I find more.