The sunset was beautiful. Paul could see it through his box window. The beams of gold worked their way through the smudges and blotches of the dirty glass window and touched his face, warming his old skin.
The light shining in was a stark contrast of how grey and dead the rest of his room looked. The bed sheets were lacking in colour and had an abundance of starch, and the television shacked up in the corner had long since died. …
By Jesse Stanchak
This story was written by the fantastic Jesse Stanchak who runs the Twitter page @MicroFlashFic. I highly recommend following the page.
The listing for the house was short: “$50 a night. Steps from the beach. Everything included.”
Sara wouldn’t have considered it, if not for the photos. They were lavish, artful things that belonged in a coffee table book about better people living better lives, not on a website for strangers subletting their homes to other strangers. All the images centered on the home’s many windows, which all seemed to look out on perfect beach views — a frame in a frame.
At $50 a night, there had to be some kind of catch. But it was cheap enough that if she booked it and it was infested with scorpions, she could still afford a motel room. And she needed that weekend away.
When she arrived, the back door was unlocked. There was a note on the polished driftwood kitchen table, written in beautiful fountain pen loops.
Welcome to this seaside sanctuary. Help yourself to anything you want. Be well and come again.
F. G. Morgan, Proprietor
PS: There’s nothing for you in the basement.
Just like the listing, it was maddeningly short on specifics. And just like the listing, the look of the place made up for everything. The light was perfect, pouring in through those big windows, into rooms where each piece of furniture appeared to be handmade, yet expertly crafted. This felt like a place where messes never occurred. It was too airy, too free to be bound by clutter.
The house made Sara want to learn to paint. It made her want so much: To be a person who drank herbal tea to fall asleep instead of wine; To be a person who ate fresh vegetables instead of sniffing old takeout containers before chancing food poisoning; To be warm; To be generous; To be free of self-doubt or worry or fear. And at the end, to dream effortlessly of the life she’d lived.
And for two days, that’s who Sara was. She was relaxed and happy and confident — until Sunday night. She was supposed to head home in the morning. That didn’t sit well. She didn’t want to leave Beach Sara behind. She opened the refrigerator and noticed a shelf at the bottom she hadn’t seen before, stocked with white wine. She hadn’t touched a drop since she got here, but with the daylight fading, now seemed like an excellent time to fix that.
She drank while the moon rose. And as she drank, she wondered. Who was F. G. Morgan? How did they afford this place? Why did they rent it so cheaply? Did they know what it was worth? Did they care? They couldn’t possibly. They didn’t appreciate it. They’d never leave it otherwise.
The more she thought, the angrier she grew. She considered vandalism, but it wasn’t the house’s fault. She thought about stealing something. But the owner already told her to take anything she wanted.
Except for the basement. She remembered the note priggishly informing her that she needn’t go downstairs. “There’s nothing for you in the basement.” Well, she could judge for herself on that score.
There were four heavy padlocks on the basement door. But the door’s hinges were old, held in place with long, thin pins. She swatted at the bottom of each pin with the flat of her shoe. They slid right out with a satisfying pop. The door fell off its hinges; the locks were meaningless now.
She touched the wall just inside the door frame, searching for a light switch. It wasn’t there. There must be a bulb with a pull cord at the bottom of the steps. Her grandparents’ home had been that way. The beach house didn’t look that old, but now that she thought about it, the place had almost had to be. How else could it be this cheap and this charming? Mystery solved.
But she still wanted a souvenir to remember the house by. Or perhaps to get back at the owner. Or just to poke around. Her wine buzz was shifting gears, and it wasn’t entirely clear to her where the evening would land. But she did need to go down there, dark or no dark.
She began walking down the wooden stairs, holding the handrail. The light from the kitchen was bright enough that she made it down a dozen steps before she could no longer see in front of her. She dug out her phone and put it on flashlight mode. She panned the phone around, but it didn’t reveal a thing. She still couldn’t see the next step, much less the floor. The phone must have broken.
It was planned obsolescence. Companies made these phones cheaply, so they’d break down, and you’d need to trade your old phone in to afford a new one. Then the companies would harvest the parts from the old phone and slap on a fresh coat of paint and sell it again. Or something like that. The point is, the damn thing was broken. It was all broken. And none of it was her fault.
She stuck out a toe to feel around for the next step. But the impact never came. She would have lost her balance and tumbled forward, but she was still holding the handrail, so she only tipped forward a little. She did drop her phone though. It fell away from her for what seemed like a very long time. Its flashlight was still on. She watched it with curious detachment. It flipped over and over in the darkness as it fell, the beam spinning like a receding lighthouse. It was working after all. How about that?
Then it was too small to see. She was alone. Everything was dark and getting colder by the moment.
Dropping the phone should have made her furious. She knew that. She’d spent far too much money on that phone. She knew that too. And she hadn’t insured it, of course. And getting money for a new one when the old one wasn’t even paid off would be such a headache.
Paying for what now? She really did have a headache. Or at least, she did whenever she thought about whatever it was that made her head hurt. She sat down and rubbed her temples and thought about how important it was not to think about things that hurt you. She began to yawn.
A soft voice in the back of her mind pointed out that the door had closed. That was strange, wasn’t it? The kind of thing she ought to care about. Then again, doors were always going places. Not like her.
She lay down. She wanted to stretch out and explore the space. …
Andy hopped on the 215 and plonked himself in the nearest window seat. The multi-coloured lights outside shone through the rain streaks on the glass, making pleasing twinkles that calmed and relaxed him.
The office was hectic that day but the bus was quiet. The journey wasn’t a long one, and Andy was enjoying the peace. Sam was probably back from work. Maybe she was setting up dinner. The word dinner set off a whine in the pit of his stomach that ended in a low groan. …
In a world where advertisements are found in every nook and cranny of modern life, most people actively avoid seeing ads to the best of their ability. This is even more difficult when trying to sell a book. So how do you advertise to an audience that are looking the other way?
“Didn’t you have ads in the 20th century?”
“Well sure, but not in our dreams! Only on TV and radio…and in magazines…and movies. And at ball games, on buses, and milk cartons, and t-shirts, and bananas, and written on the sky. But not in dreams! No sirree.”-Futurama¹
The most effective form of promotion in these hard times is called subtle advertising. But this must be done correctly. …
Written by Danny Rhodes
Danny Rhodes is the author of the novels Asboville, Soldier Boy and FAN. His short stories (over 30 tales) have appeared in some of the leading Horror publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including Black Static Magazine and Cemetery Dance Magazine.
The snow came yesterday, tiny white crystals so delicate and yet so determined. In a few hours the neighbourhood was hidden under a blanket of white. Once again, between bouts of splintered sleep, I was forced to think of him.
I was nine years old when the bad winter came. I’d seen snow before, a few inches each year that came and went, brief and playful bouts that added a touch of magic to the Christmas holidays and then melted quickly to nothing. But the bad winter was different. The snow fell and settled. More snow followed, snow piling on snow. There were huge drifts on the hills, great expanses in the streets. The first time I went out to play in the snow that year I became disorientated. All the distinguishable features of the world I knew were buried from my sight. There was just a wilderness of white. My mother had to come out into the street to fetch me in. …
The leader of the new socialist leaning Labour Party has had a fruitful and successful last few years. From being a long standing MP of 35 years, and now also the Labour party leader for 3, he has transformed a broken party to the massive over 540,000 member strong movement it is today.¹
But for someone that’s such a threat to the Conservative Government, and the billionaires that own 80% of British media³, it’s obvious that Mr Corbyn will no doubt have his unfair share of smears, lies and outright bizarre articles made about him in attempts to undermine him and his policies. …
Harsh lights shine against Archie’s eyelids and he makes a face. The face quickly changes into what he assumes is a charming smile when he sees busty blue eyes bringing his meds and breakfast over to him. She smiles back and pops his tray down on his side table.
“How are we feeling today?”
Archie stretches his arms out and hopes she notices how toned he is.
“All the better from seeing you,” he says desperately cool and casual.
She giggles and casts those blues to his arms. He loves it.
“Now take your pill and enjoy your breakfast,” she says sweetly. …
Welcome to Dreams/Nightmares! The place for sci-fi, fantasy and horror short fiction. This is a publication dedicated to short tales of the weird and wonderful, and the uncomfortable and unthinkable.
We’re looking to help fellow writers gain exposure for their engaging and interesting short fiction, as well as gain experience in the writing process and encourage discussion about their work.
Email either Laine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Nathan (email@example.com)
Please email your short story along with your Medium link and full name. We will reply as soon as possible with confirmation of the date your work will be published if accepted.
Note that by submitting your work, you are giving us the permission to edit/make suggestions to your work and return it to you for conformation. …
James Corden. We all remember him as the loud, lazy, obnoxious man child from Gavin and Stacey. And yes, Gavin and Stacey was a massive hit, one of the best British shows to come out of the late noughties in fact. And yes, Corden was the co-writer of the show, along with the lovely Ruth Jones. But with his break in America, and him seeming to be every film that’s come out in the last year, we should ask ourselves: Why?
What has propelled Corden into such a high reputation as an entertainer in America?
I for one can tell you that he is in no way as popular in Britain. In fact, after Gavin and Stacy ended, and after his *ahem* “sketch” show Horne and Corden ended… and after the scathing reviews of Lesbian Vampire Killers were released (I sincerely apologise for reminding you of that film) the British public had quite enough of James Corden, and pushed him off into the sea on a wooden raft, only for him to have washed up on the beaches of California and immediately given a talk show. …
Some things can only be thoroughly studied and then summed up if you can perceive the subject from all angles. As someone who come January would have not had social media for a full year (except Twitter for writing), I feel like I’m best suited to explain why social media is for idiots. Although like most people on social media, no one has asked me nor cares about my opinion. Welcome to the modern world.
Social Media is for idiots, like cigarettes are for smokers. The only people that smoke are smokers, and the more you smoke the more addicted you become. The same is for social media. With sometimes cleverly subtle, but mostly blatant techniques, social media is a self regulating way for idiots to be idiots with other idiots. Of course not everyone on social media are idiots, but when you break down what social media is made up of, it can be seen that social media is trying it’s very hardest to dumb people down. …