24 Hours

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A Chilling Short Story

Submitted: July 22, 2019

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Submitted: July 22, 2019

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‘Normally Despatched within 24 Hours’, read the email.

John Harper scratched his head as he looked over this simple message. What was going to be despatched within 24 hours? The email was devoid of all the normal clues that accompany a notification such as this.

There was no company logo, no little thumbnail picture showing the recipient what they purchased, not even an indication of how much they had been charged. Nothing! Just an email in black Times Roman font, upper and lower case against a white screen saying ‘Normally Despatched within 24 Hours.’

The first thing that John did after reading the email was to check his bank account, maybe there would be a clue giving details of a company who had taken money off him. Then he went cold, as a realisation hit him. He’d been scammed! That was it, someone had hacked into his bank account and was actively on a spending spree!

He typed in his bank password and held his breathe waiting to see how much these criminals had taken out of his account. However, to his relief but equally adding to his frustration there was no unusual bank transactions.

His next port of call was to look at all his online shopping sites and view any recently completed orders. Again, drawing a blank. He looked at the time, 7:30pm, time getting on and he had exhausted all the possible avenues to explore. There was only one thing for it, he’ll have to wait in all day tomorrow for this mystery purchase to arrive.

John rose sharp at 8:30 the next morning and phoned in sick. He was pleased to hear that the fictious virus he had given was doing the rounds, as quite a few others had also phoned in that morning. Maybe he wasn’t the only one that day receiving anonymous packages.

John went to his kitchen to make himself a coffee. Looking at the clock he saw that it was now 9:00 am. Today was going to either go slow or fast depending on when this delivery would arrive. He hoped he wouldn’t be the last drop of the day; the suspense was already becoming unbearable.

He couldn’t settle on anything, so instead pulled a chair up at the lounge window and watched with anticipation as cars and lorries drove passed.

He must have dozed off because he woke with a start when the doorbell rang. John leapt to his feet like a coiled spring. With his heart thumping he fumbled looking for his front door key. The doorbell rang again, where was that blasted thing. He didn’t want the courier to post one of those, ‘Sorry we missed you’ notes through the door. He couldn’t stand to be informed that another delivery time had been arranged.

Finally, locating his key he successfully flung open-wide the front door to be greeted by a tall man dressed in black and was wearing dark glasses despite it being over-cast. He pulled them down the bridge of his nose and stared at John over the rim.

“John Harper?”

“Yes!” His eyes scanned the stranger, no sign of a parcel anyway.

“John Harper of 2 Dunnock Drive?”

“Yes!” The suspense was shattering his nerves.

“Good. I do hate it when I’m given the wrong address.”

Then with a smooth movement of his hand, the stranger produced a scythe from inside his long black leather coat. In a flash quicker than lightening, John Harper laid slayed at his front door. The stranger returned the scythe within the folds of his coat and upon retracting his hand held a delivery sheet. Looking at his watch the time was 11:30, then licking the nib of his pen he ticked the box that read:

Despatch completed. 

 


© Copyright 2020 Markie Bee. All rights reserved.

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