Arts + Entertainment
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9.30am Jason's coffee was cold. He considered transferring it into a glass over some ice to make it an iced coffee, but the arrival of the package had stirred him up so much that he no longer needed his morning perk up. The package in itself looked unremarkable; shoe box sized, wrapped in paper the same shade of brown as his now defunct coffee, the paper folded and taped at the edges like a gift, his name and address written in black marker on the top. He'd imagined every possible horrible thing that could be occupying the box, from severed fingers to some type of explosive device, whose detonation count-down would be triggered once it was unwrapped, but all he'd managed to conclude was that there was no indication of what might be inside it; he'd have to open it to find out. Any other person would have probably ripped right into the package without thought, excited to see what gift they'd received on their birthday, but even a birthday gift would be suspicious to Jason. He had no family left after his adoptive parents died, he had no old friends from school, and he'd made no new friends in this small town he'd moved to just over a year ago. There was the odd local that he chatted to while out and about, but none of them were friendly enough to have sent him a birthday present, even if they had somehow found out that today was his birthday. He had no partner, and his job as a freelance writer meant that he didn't have work colleagues.
The Devil and the Debutant
The Duke of Portland’s affairs were not as far in the dregs as he had originally been led to believe. It took only a little investigating to learn that the estate, all though disorganized and inefficient, was still prosperous and therefore lucrative. It took only a few weeks of browbeating, bribing, and throwing his title about for the people to realize he was no ordinary Duke and that he would not neglect what was his.
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Bull on the Rampage
Rebecca sat on the small bench beside the front door, grateful it was shaded by the large tree, and watched as James played in the grass around the cottage. It was warmer than usual for September, she had heard people saying, and with her advanced state of pregnancy, she was decidedly uncomfortable. She rubbed the sides of her belly, trying to ease the ache a little, and yawned.
You have reached your final destination
It’s a Saturday at the end of November. The Saturday after Black Friday so the van was packed to the rafters this morning with cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes. Now, there’s just one brown paper box rattling round in the back. One delivery between me and a hot mug of sweet tea, a warm bath and one of those posh TV dinners from the freezer. I might even crack open the Christmas whisky a bit early tonight.
Just One Week
Jenny wasn’t sure why she was at this club. She had been perfectly happy in her hotel room, curled up in bed with her laptop, watching Netflix while eating chips from the vending machine and drinking the mini bottle of wine she’d bought from the gas station on the corner, but her fellow class attendees had dragged her out to “see the sights,” and now, here she was. “Seeing the sights” of Sixth Street in downtown Austin, Texas. She hated clubs. She hated drinking in public, and loud music, and dark bars, and music so loud you could feel it throbbing in your very bones. Most especially, she hated crowds of people pressing in on every side of you. The smells of them, the sweat and body odor and clashing colognes and perfumes and hair products.
Cup of Sympathy
“I’m dying. I’m pretty sure.” I rolled my eyes and looked at Chris. “I highly doubt it. What are your symptoms?” “Well, I’m nauseated.”
Jimmy Fenton sat in his work cubicle scrolling aimlessly through his social media feed. Jimmy was a journalist at a mediocre news station and hadn’t contributed much during his time there. He longed for the chance to catch a big break and find that life changing news story that would finally make him visible to his colleagues. As he scrolled past countless memes, faked food hacks and subscription service advertising, he came across an ad that grabbed his attention.