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Short Stories

BAD APPLE

She glanced up as the siren wailed past her house. Blue strobes penetrated the slits in the bedroom shutters. She frowned and tried to concentrate on the I-pad she was holding. A mild glow illuminated her face as the words on the screen reached out to caress her. Her eyelids began to droop and the tablet tumbled gently onto the duvet as she drifted off, dreaming of Sebastian’s Seduction.

She awoke, heart thumping, straining to listen. A draught was playing across her face. The door and the windows had been shut when she went to bed, she was sure of that. A floorboard creaked. A floorboard in her bedroom. She closed her eyes wondering whether it was safer to pretend to be asleep.

“Hello Fay.”

She sat bolt upright. A man was perched on the end of her bed, casually turning over the tablet with bright red hands. She looked up at his face and saw that it too was the colour of poppy leaves. Fay stared more closely. It didn’t look like make-up. He wore a crisp grey suit and, under the jacket, a t-shirt with ‘Bite Me’ written across his sculpted chest.

“In case you were wondering, you’re not dreaming.”

“Oh.” She hugged her knees to her chest while her eyes darted around the room.

“That won’t work, by the way,” he said pointing to the bedside table.

Fay lunged for her phone and, for the first time ever, selected emergency call. Nothing happened.

The man shrugged and put the I-pad down. His long, blackened fingernails caught on the tablet cover. “These are not good for your soul, you know?”

“What?”

“Porn. Online gambling. Erotic books.” He arched an eyebrow. “Trolling. Sexting. Misdemeanours, all stored up in the clouds. The Angels are kept so busy these days.”

“I didn’t realise anybody checked.”

“Not that I’m complaining.” He grinned and drew his tongue across his teeth. “He tried to warn you all.”

“Who?”

The man jerked his head towards the ceiling. “Him.”

Fay looked blank.

The man picked up the I-pad again and showed Fay its back. “The forbidden fruit? He did put an apple on every device.”

© David Barker 2016