[Short Story] The Dinner Party

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Maggie and Dion got married a few months ago. They moved to a new town because Dion got a good job with a software company. Maggie and Dion live in a small apartment on the top floor of an apartment

Maggie hasn’t finished her degree yet. She is studying by distance learning. She doesn’t know anyone in the town. Dion is out at work every day, so Maggie often feels lonely.

One Friday morning, Dion is late for work. He eats some toast quickly and drinks half a cup of coffee. He kisses Maggie goodbye. He picks up his bag and hurries to the door. Then he stops.

“I forgot to tell you. I will be home at 6:30. Pam and Brian are coming with me. They are coming for dinner. Have a good day!”

Maggie runs to the open door. Dion is still talking as he runs down the stairs, but Maggie can’t hear what he is saying.

She closes the door and goes back inside.

A dinner party! This is exciting. Pam and Brian will be our first visitors. But I am a terrible cook! What can I make for dinner? I must think of a menu.

Dion is a very good cook. He makes the evening meal every night. Maggie usually buys something from the convenience store for her lunch, or makes herself a sandwich. But Dion will have no time tonight to cook for their visitors.

I will have to make something, thinks Maggie. I will text my mother and ask for advice.

She soon gets an answer from her mother. ‘Maggie! You can’t cook, so please make something simple. How about a roast chicken? You can cook some potatoes in the oven with the chicken and make a salad. Make an apple pie. Sorry I can’t help you any more. I am going to an all-day yoga retreat. Good luck.’

Maggie looks on the Internet. She finds many recipes for roasting a chicken. It doesn’t seem difficult. She reads how hot the oven must be and how long to cook the chicken. I can do this, she thinks. And maybe I can buy an apple pie from the bakery.

Maggie makes a list and goes to the supermarket. She makes a timetable, so she knows what time to start cooking the chicken.

She cleans the apartment. She prepares everything for the salad. She puts flowers from the supermarket in vases. She sets the table. I can use all the beautiful gifts we were as wedding presents. The table will look beautiful.

Maggie feels very pleased. The dinner party will be a great success. This is not so difficult.

It is late in the afternoon when Maggie reads her timetable. 4:30. Time to put the chicken in the oven. Then I will prepare the potatoes and put them in the oven with the chicken.

Maggie follows the recipe from the Internet carefully. She does everything the recipe says. She sets the temperature for the oven and puts the chicken in. She prepares the potatoes and puts them in the oven too.

Everything is done and Maggie can relax. I have an assignment due on Monday. I haven’t done any work all day. I must do some work now.

She sets the alarm on her phone for 6:00 pm and starts working.

When the alarm goes off, she goes to the kitchen. That’s strange, she thinks. I can’t smell anything. When Dion cooks chicken, there is always a delicious smell. It makes me feel hungry. Maybe I should check.

Maggie takes the chicken and potatoes out of the oven. The chicken is white and cold. The potatoes are raw. Oh, no! The oven is broken! I only have snacks, salad and apple pie!

Dion comes home. He is very cheerful. “We left work early. Pam and Brian are parking their cars. They’ll be here in a few minutes.”

He looks at Maggie. She has tears running down her face.

“Oh, Dion! The oven is broken. We have no food to give them!”

“You cooked dinner? But……”

He looks at the chicken and potatoes on the counter. He goes to the oven and opens the door. He puts his hand inside. The oven is cold. He looks at the oven controls.

He hugs Maggie. “Did you look at a recipe?”

“Yes. I wrote everything down. The time. The temperature, everything!”

Dion laughs. “Quickly. Put the chicken and potatoes in the refrigerator. We’ll eat them tomorrow. I told you this morning that we would buy pizzas on the way home. Brian is bringing them now.”

“Oh,” said Maggie. “I know you said something, but I didn’t hear.”

Brian and Pam are at the door. They have the pizzas. They have wine.

It is a great dinner party. Maggie’s salad is good. Everyone likes the apple pie.

When Pam and Brian leave, Maggie says to Dion. “We must call the repairman tomorrow. The oven is broken.”

Dion laughs and hugs Maggie. “Mmm. The oven is not broken. You set the temperature. You did everything right, but you didn’t turn the oven on!”

“Oh,” said Maggie. “The recipe didn’t say anything about turning the oven on!”

[Short Story] The Ghost Chair

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Matt and Paul are engineering students. They do not have a lot of money, but they need somewhere to live. They find an old house that is very cheap, but it has no furniture. They look in charity shops and secondhand shops for furniture. They buy beds, desk, a sofa, a table and chairs and other things but the house still looks very empty.

One day, Paul is riding home from university when he sees a chair outside a charity shop. It is a big, old armchair. He gets off his bike and goes to look at it. It looks very comfortable and it is free! He tells the man in the shop he wants the chair. The man says, “It’s strange. Many people have looked at that chair. They say they want to buy it.

They sit in it, and then they change their minds. They go away. It has been in this shop for a long time, so I thought I would put it outside and give it to anyone who will take it away.”

Paul calls Matt. Matt has an old van. He comes to the shop. They put the armchair in the van and take it back to the house.

The chair looks very good in their living room. Paul and Matt are very pleased but they don’t sit in it because they are busy. Their girlfriends are coming for a small party. After dinner, they sit in the living room. Matt’s girlfriend Cindy, sits in the new chair. After a while she moves to the sofa. “Don’t you like our new chair, Cindy?” asks Paul.

“No,” says Cindy. “It makes strange noises.”

Everyone laughs at Cindy.

A storm blows up and the weather is very bad so their girlfriends go home early. Just after they leave, there is a lot of thunder and lightning and the power goes off. Paul and Matt clean up the kitchen and go to the living room. It is very dark and quiet because they have no TV and no electric lights.

Paul sits in the new chair “Aah,” he says. “This is so comfortable! And it was free!”

Matt is sitting on the sofa. “What’s that?” he asks.

“What’s what?” asks Paul.

“That noise.”

“What noise?”

“Listen.”

There are strange sounds coming from the chair. There is a rattling noise, like something knocking. Paul stands up. The sound stops. He sits down hard and this time there is a different noise. It sounds like a child crying.

He jumps up, and the sound stops. “Someone, or something, doesn’t want you to sit in that chair!” laughs Matt.

Paul’s face is white. “Don’t joke. It’s not funny. There is something wrong with that chair!”

Paul and Matt go to bed. When they leave the living room, they shut the door very carefully.

The next morning the sun is shining. Matt is cheerful but Paul is worried. “I think we should take that chair back to the shop,” he says. “It is a very scary chair.”

“No!” laughs Matt. We were tired last night and it was dark, and cold. We imagined those noises. Let’s go and sit in it again.”

The living room is bright. The chair does not look scary, but Paul won’t sit in it. He stands by the door. “No way!” he says.

“OK. I will,” says Matt. He sits in the chair, and they both listen. They can hear the knocking sound.  Then Matt stands up and pushes the seat of the chair, very hard. ‘Mama!’ the sound comes from inside the chair!

He pulls the cushion of the chair seat. “Come and look!” he says. “I have found the ghost!”

Paul comes and looks. The chair is old and the material over the springs has holes in it. Matt puts his hand through one of the holes and pulls out a money box! He shakes it. It makes a rattling noise. Then he puts his hand in again and pulls out a doll. He pushes the doll’s stomach. ‘Mama’.

Paul is happy. “Mystery solved. No ghosts. Just a small child’s hiding place for her toys.

“But I wonder what happened to her?”

“Don’t think about. We have a very good chair and it was free!” answers Matt.

[Short Story]547 Westerfield Road

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Samuel drives a courier van. Every day he goes to the courier depot and picks up all the boxes to be delivered to houses in the area. He checks all the addresses and plans his route.

Most of the boxes are deliveries for online shopping. People buy many different things online – clothes, books, furniture, toys, wine and food.

Samuel likes his job. He likes driving his van and he thinks it is interesting to go to so many different houses. He often goes to the same houses, so he becomes friendly with the people who live there.

The week before Christmas is always very busy. Samuel starts work and 7:00am and sometimes doesn’t finish until 7:30pm. The 21st of December is a normal day. Samuel goes to the depot. The boxes for his area are waiting for him. There are different instructions for different boxes. Samuel must get someone at the house to sign for most boxes but there are a few small ones where the instructions say ‘leave in letter box’. Finally there are some that say ‘leave on the porch’, ‘leave outside the front door’, or ‘leave behind the house’. Samuel knows that usually these are boxes for people who work. They are not home to sign for their delivery.

There are five boxes for the same house. They have a label, ‘Leave on the front porch’. The address is a new one. Samuel has never delivered to this house before.

 Mmm, thinks Samuel. Violet Danford, 547 Westerfield Road. I often go to Westerfield Road. It is a long street. But where is house number 547? He has trouble finding the house. It is at the end of the road. The driveway is very narrow and there are many trees. He drives his van down the driveway and sees a little old house. He jumps out his van and opens the back door. He takes the boxes and walks towards the house. He leaves the boxes on the front porch, gets back into his van and drives away.

The next day is December 22nd. There are more boxes to deliver to 547 Westerfield Road. Someone has been doing a lot of shopping, thinks Samuel. The boxes have the same label, ‘Leave on the front porch’. When Samuel carries his deliveries up to the front of the little old house he is very surprised. Yesterday’s boxes are still there. That’s very strange, he thinks. But it is a very busy day and he has many deliveries to make. He jumps back in his van and drives away.

All day, Samuel thinks about 547 Westerfield Road. He thinks maybe something is wrong. When he had finished his work, he is very tired and hungry. He wants to go home. There is a big football match on the TV tonight, but he can’t. I don’t know why, but I am sure something is wrong. I have to go back to that house.

When Samuel gets to the house he goes up to the porch. All the boxes from today and yesterday are still there. He knocks on the door and waits. No one comes to the door. I’m crazy. The people who live here are probably away. Why do I feel worried?

He knocks again. There is no answer. He puts his head against the door and listens. He can hear a TV playing. It is very loud! He can hear a cat meowing. Then he hears a very soft voice, “Help. Help me!”

What shall I do? I can call the police but maybe they will take a long time to come here.

He tries the door handle. The door is not locked. He opens the door and shouts, “Hello! Are you OK?”

Again he hears the voice. “I’m in the bathroom. Help me!”

Samuel runs through the house looking for the bathroom. He finds it. The door is open. An old lady is lying on the floor. She looks very ill.

“Thank you!” she says. “I came to have a bath and I fell over. I have been here for two days. I can’t get up.”

Samuel pulls out his smart phone. He calls the ambulance. “Come to 547 Westerfield Road,” he says. “There is a very old lady here. She had a fall. She has been on the floor for two days. She is very ill.”

Samuel thinks it takes a long time for the ambulance to come. He goes to the kitchen and brings back some water. He tries to give it to the old lady. It is very difficult. She is very weak and Samuel is too frightened to lift her. Finally she drinks a little. She closes her eyes. Samuel is very worried.

Then Samuel hears the siren. The ambulance is coming!

Samuel goes into the living room and turns the TV off.

The paramedics come in. They are professionals. They know what to do. Very soon, they put the old lady on a stretcher and carry her out. Samuel stands and watches.

“My cat!” she says suddenly. “Who will look after my cat?”

“I will look after your cat,” says Samuel.

“Oh, thank you. My son will come from Australia on the 24th. He can look after the cat then.”

The ambulance men go away. Samuel takes the boxes from the porch and puts them in the living room. He finds some cat food and gives it to the cat. The cat is very hungry. He leaves more food and some water for the cat. He finds some keys and goes out. He locks the door and drives home. It is 9:00 pm and he is very, very tired.

For the next two days, Samuel goes to 547 Westerfield Road before he starts work and when he finishes work. On the morning of the 24th he feeds the cat, locks the house and leaves the house keys in the letterbox.

I hope the old lady is OK, he thinks. I hope her son comes today.

Samuel only has three days vacation for Christmas. When he goes back to work, the boss comes out of his office.

“You have a visitor,” he says. “Come into my office.” Samuel follows his boss into the office. There is a man waiting there. The man jumps up. “I am Oscar Danford,” he says. “Thank you for saving my mother’s life!”

Samuel says. “Oh. I didn’t do anything. I just called the ambulance.”

Oscar shakes his head. “No. You did more than that! If you hadn’t gone into the house, my mother would have died. But I have a question. Why did you go into the house?”

Samuel explains about the boxes. “I thought it was strange. I don’t know why I was worried, but I was. That’s why I went back after work. I listened at the door and I heard your mother crying out. But I have a question too.”

“What is your question?” asks Oscar.

“People often ask me to leave their boxes somewhere. But that is because they are out at work when I come. I guess your mother is usually at home. Why does she ask for her online shopping to be left on the porch? “

Oscar laughs. My mother loves TV. That is why she shops online. She likes watching TV more than shopping! She has the sound up very loud. Often she doesn’t hear when people knock. And even when she does hear someone knocking, she doesn’t want to miss any of her favourite programmes!”

Samuel laughs too. “Now I understand.”

“And thank you for looking after the cat.” Oscar puts his hand in his pocket. He gives Samuel and envelope. “Please take this. It is a small thank you from my mother and me.”

“On, no!” says Samuel. His face is red. “I don’t want anything!”

“Please take it,” says Oscar. Samuel doesn’t know what to do. He looks at his boss.

“I think you should take it,” says the boss. “You are my best courier driver, and you are a man who cares about people. It’s Christmas and Oscar is giving you an extra present.”

Oscar looks at his watch. “I must go back to the hospital. My mother is getting better and now she wants me to arrange a television in her hospital room!”

He hurries out. The boss is smiling at Samuel.

“You did a good thing,” he says. “Do you know who that was?”

“Uh. Oscar Danford,” says Samuel.

“Yes! And he has a big mail order company in Australia. He thinks our courier service must be good, so he is going to use us for all the companies deliveries! I want to do something for you too. I am going to buy you a bigger van, so you can make more deliveries!”

Oh, no! thinks Samuel. But he is not very unhappy. He has opened the envelope. Inside is a cheque for $3,000!

I can buy a big flatscreen TV to watch football on!

[Short Story] The Present

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Cora has been married for six months. She lives with her husband in a small town outside the city. Houses in the city are very expensive, so they bought a house with a big garden about an hour by train from the city. Brian, her husband, takes the train to work every day. He works in a bank. Cora doesn’t have a job. Sometimes she gets bored. Brian bought her a dog for Christmas. The dog is very naughty but he is good company during the day.

Today is Cora’s birthday. I wonder what Brian has bought me? she thinks. I hope it’s something very pretty.

Brian gets up very early in the morning. He has to take a train at 7:00am. He always brings Cora a cup of tea in bed before he leaves for work. Today he brings Cora’s tea and a parcel wrapped in beautiful paper with a big ribbon tied around it.

“Happy birthday!” he says. “I hope you like your present!”

Cora puts her teacup on the table next to the bed. She unwraps the present.

“Oh,” she says.

“Aren’t they great?” says Brian. He is very pleased. “They will be perfect for working in the garden!”

Cora looks at her present. It is a pair of black rubber boots. Cora is very unhappy, but she doesn’t say so. She knows that Brian thinks it is a very good present.

“Oh, thank you!” she says. “They look very useful!”

“I have to go,” says Brian. “I’ll see you tonight. I have made a reservation at the local hotel for dinner.” He kisses Cora and leaves the house.

Cora is very sad. Then after she gets out of bed, she starts to feel angry.

What a terrible present! I hate these boots. I wanted a romantic present!

She throws the boots into the garbage bin and goes into the living room to watch TV.

A little later she hears the mailman. The mailman rides a motor scooter. It stops outside their house.

Maybe my mother has sent me a present, thinks Cora. She knows I like pretty things.

Cora goes to the door. She wants to go to the mailbox, but it is raining heavily.

I didn’t hear the rain because I had the TV on very loud. Where are my outdoor shoes? Did the dog take my shoes? Where did he hide them?

Cora looks everywhere, but she can’t find her shoes.

The dog is out in the garden. Cora opens the kitchen door and shouts, “Bad dog!”

The dog runs to her. He is wagging his tail. He is a very friendly dog. Then Cora sees the garbage bin. I could wear those ugly black rubber boots, she thinks.

Cora goes to the garbage bin and takes the boots. She takes off her slippers and puts on the boots.

Oh no! They are ugly and they don’t fit! They are too small and very uncomfortable. Why did Brian buy these?

She feels very angry. She takes the boots off, and throws them into the garden. One of the boots lands upside down. Cora can see something on the ground. It is a small box. She runs into the garden in her bare feet. She picks up the box. She takes the other boot and shakes it. Another box falls on the ground.

Cora takes the small boxes back into the kitchen. She sits down at the table and opens them.

There is a beautiful pair of earrings in one box and a matching necklace in the other box.

 I am very lucky. The garbage man will come soon and he will empty the garbage bin. Brian is a wonderful husband but sometimes he has very crazy ideas!

 

 

 

[Short Story] Scare the Children

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Here is a short story for Halloween!

Wallace lives alone. He doesn’t like children.

He hates Halloween. He doesn’t want any children coming to his door for Trick or Treat. He doesn’t want to give them candy.

When the children ring his doorbell, Wallis gets very angry.  He doesn’t open the door. He stays inside and shouts “Go away!”

One Halloween, Wallace has an idea. I will scare the children. They will be too frightened to come to my door.

Wallace is very smart. He knows a lot about electronics. He goes to the electrical shop and buys everything he needs to scare the children. He buys a sensor, a mini sound player, speakers, batteries and switches.

He finds audio files of screams and groans on the Internet. He makes a recording.

Then he sets up his system in his mailbox.  He tests it. It works very well.

If anyone walks towards his gate, the recording will start playing. There will be very loud screams and groans. Walter thinks the sounds will frighten the children and they will run away.

This year, Wallace is looking forward to Halloween.

He waits until it is dark. Then he goes to his mailbox and turns the sensor on. He turns the volume on the recorder up to maximum. He goes back into his house and waits by the window.

I will see the children in their costumes, he thinks. I will see them come to my house. I will see them run away because they are so scared.

About 30 minutes later a group of children walks down the street. They are dressed as ghosts, princesses, and super heroes. Their parents are with them. The parents are dressed up too. They walk to Wallace’s gate. The sensor works. The sounds of moans and screams are very, very loud. Wallace can hear them easily inside his house.

The children shout. They jump up and down. Wallace cannot believe it. The children laugh. They do not run away. They run towards Wallace’s door. They ring the bell.

“Go away!” shouts Wallace. The children are still laughing and talking outside his door. He waits for a long time.  Finally, it is quiet. The children have gone.

Wallace does not understand. I thought my plan was very clever. Why didn’t my plan work?

The next morning, Wallace goes out to his mailbox. He takes everything out of the mailbox.

Lucy Parks, who lives next door, comes into the street. “Wallace!” she shouts. “Thank you so much! The children loved your surprise!”

Wallace shakes his head and walks back inside.

It’s not surprising I don’t like children, he thinks. I don’t understand them at all!

[Short Story]Footprints

It is nearly Halloween, so here is a strange story. We hope you enjoy it!

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Malcolm has a new job in Bayerville. He will work as a mechanic in the gas station. It is a very small town. He has to find somewhere to live. It is very difficult, but he finds a small house about 2km outside Bayerville. The rent is very low. Malcolm is pleased.

I can save money and buy myself a new motorbike, he thinks. The house is old and dirty, but I can clean it up. And it’s next to the river. I like that. I am very lucky.

Malcolm works hard to clean the little house. After two days, he can move his furniture into the house. He rides his motorbike into Bayerville and buys food from the supermarket. He is pleased and excited.

He goes back to the house and cooks himself a meal. He drinks some beer. Then he feels very tired. He goes to bed.

Very early the next morning, Malcolm wakes up. There is someone in his bedroom!

He is very shocked. Then he sees that it is a small child. A little girl in a nightdress.

“What are you doing here?” he asks. “Where did you come from?”

The child doesn’t answer. She turns and walks out of the room. Malcolm jumps out of bed.

She is too young to be out alone at night. I must find out where her parents are. I must take her home, he thinks.

He sees the child’s footprints on the floor. The footprints are wet.

Has she been in the water? This is very strange. Malcolm follows the footprints. The child has walked out of the house.

It is still dark outside. Malcolm takes a flashlight from the kitchen. He hurries out the door.

He can see the little girl walking towards the river.

“Stop! Come back!” shouts Malcolm, but she keeps walking.

She moves very quickly and Malcolm has to run.

At edge of the river, the little girl disappears.

Oh, no! She has fallen in the river! I have to save her! he thinks.

A little later, the man who delivers the newspaper comes to Malcolm’s house.  He sees the door of the house is open. He is a very friendly man.

I will say ‘Hi’ to the new customer. I will welcome him to Bayerville, he thinks.

He goes to the open door. Then he stops. He can see very small wet footprints on the floor.

Oh, no! Not again!

He takes out his smartphone and calls the police. “Mary Lou is back!” he says. “Yes. I’m sure. There are footprints on the floor. This is the first time in ten years. Yes. I’ll wait here for you to come. I will help you search the river.”

He goes back to his truck and waits for the police.

Ever since Mary Lou drowned in the river, some people who live in this house disappear, he thinks. We always find their dead bodies in the river. The only clue is the wet footprints on the floor. I think she gets lonely.

[Short Story] Saori makes her own luck

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It’s Monday morning. Saori has no classes today, so she decides to clean her apartment. It takes a long time and it is almost 11:30am when she is finished. Next to the door are bags of bottles and jars and a pile of old magazines.

I take those to the recycling station, she thinks.

Saori ties some string around the magazines.

She puts on her jacket, and puts her keys and smartphone in her pocket.

She picks up the bags and the bundle of magazines and leaves her apartment.

The recycling station is at the local community centre.

It is a cold windy day, and Saori hurries along the road to keep warm.

Even thought the weather is not good, there is a group of older people outside the community centre. They are practising Tai Chi.

Saori puts the magazines in the paper recycling crate, and walks along to the bins of different coloured glass. There is a cage for clear glass, a cage for green glass and a cage for brown glass.

She is careful to put the glass bottles into the correct cage, but she makes a mistake.

Oh no! I have put a wine bottle into the clear glass cage. I must take it out.

Saori is not very tall, and it is difficult to reach the wine bottle. She leans over the edge of the cage. I’ve got it! Now I’ll just put it in the green bottle cage and I can go home, she thinks.

Saori doesn’t notice, but her smartphone has fallen out of her pocket. It is in the cage full of clear glass.

When Saori gets back to her apartment she thinks, I’ll call Michiko. She doesn’t have classes today. Maybe we can meet for coffee.

She puts her hand in her pocket. Where is my phone! It’s not here. I have lost it! Where did I lose it?

Saori remembers leaning over the recycle cage. Did it fall out of my pocket?

She runs out of her apartment. She runs to the recycling station. Oh no! The bins are empty! Someone has come and taken all the bottles and glass away!

Saori wants to cry. My phone! It has all my contacts! No one can call me. No one can text me! And it was so pretty!

 “Excuse me.”

Saori is surprised. There is an old woman standing next to her. “Are you looking for something?”

“Yes,” says Saori. “I have lost my smartphone. I think I dropped it in the recycling cage. And now they are empty! My phone has gone!”

The old woman smiles. “Today is your lucky day,” she says.  “When I finished my Tai Chi class, I walked past the recycling station. I saw something pink in the cage for clear glass. I thought ‘that’s not good. I must take it out’. It was too difficult for me. So I called our Tai Chi instructor. He is taller and fitter than me. He rescued your smartphone.”

The old woman puts her hand in the pocket of her track suit. She takes out Saori’s smartphone and gives it to her.

“Oh, thank you!” says Saori. “I am so lucky.”

“You’re welcome,” says the old woman. “But maybe you made your own luck. Your phone is pink. That’s why I saw it. Maybe if it was silver or black I could not see it. I think pink is a good colour for a smartphone. Maybe I will get a new one.”