The Tour

James was interested in paranormal occurrences, so he was touring an old, forgotten part of Ireland. It was a nightly tour, perfect for adding to the spookiness. His tour guide, Cathal, was taking him past some centuries-old buildings.

“This area is abandoned,” Cathal explained, “because it is said that a vampire has roamed these streets since the 1700s, taking innocent human lives.”

“What’s in here?” James asked, entering an open mausoleum. “It’s empty.”

“The recently dead, still having blood, were offered to the vampire in place of the living,” Cathal told him from the doorway. “You may not want to be in there. If you look closely enough, you might find bodies or even ghosts of those who lost their lives in there.”

“Lost their lives?” James asked as he closed the mausoleum and followed his tour guide down the street. “So the vampire cornered them in there and killed them?”

Cathal shook his head. “Actually, it was the perfect safe place for people on the streets at night after houses were locked up. You see, although the mausoleum door didn’t lock, vampires cannot enter buildings if they are not invited in. But the awning outside provided the vampire enough shade that he could wait them out during the day too. People would pass by during daylight, knowing that the monster could not come after them, but sad that they could do nothing for the people trapped in there, for once they came under the awning the vampire would take them before they could get inside.”

“So they were trapped in there,” James concluded, “and they eventually starved. Wow, that’s ironic. They died inside even though the danger was outside.”

His tour guide nodded. “Starving is a danger too.”

“Wait,” James said, “if no one ever caught the killer vampire, and it’s nighttime now, are we in danger?”

Cathal laughed. “No, of course we’re not.” And he continued the tour.

Doting Mother

As a single mother, it’s my sole duty to keep my young ones from danger. We recently moved into a new house, and once I had put the groceries away my parents came to the door to drop my kids off at their new home.

My baby was crying, so I told my 3-year-old son to look around while I put his sister down for a nap. I then thanked my parents for their help and they drove off. My son explored his new home while I took my daughter to her crib.

After I was done singing the baby to sleep I went into the kitchen–to find my son with a bottle of bleach on the counter! He was unscrewing the cap as if he intended to drink it. I pulled him away from it and frantically asked if he had drunk any already. He said no, but just to be on the safe side I grabbed him and the baby and went to the hospital.

While I was cradling my daughter in the waiting room I remembered that I had forgotten to put the child safety locks on the new cabinets before the kids had arrived home. I’d had several bottles of bleach in there–How many could he have drunk if I hadn’t stopped him?

The thought was too much. I was terrified until the doctor approached me and said that the tests came back negative; my boy had no trace of dangerous chemicals in his system. I cried with relief and hugged my kids and took them home.

I immediately put the child safety locks on all the cabinets while making sure the children stayed out of them. Then, since we had gotten home late at night, I locked all the outside doors, put the kids to bed, and went to bed myself. It had been a long day.

Imagine my horror when I went to the kitchen the next morning to find my son lying dead on the floor. I called an ambulance and found myself once again crying in the waiting room with the baby. I managed to call my parents in between sobs and they came right away. Then the doctor came out and said that my boy had ingested a large amount of bleach.

My dad had to hold my daughter while I wailed in my mom’s arms. I told them I had used only the best safety locks, and had put them on correctly; I didn’t know what had gone wrong. My parents reassured me that this was not my fault, but I couldn’t help thinking there was something important that I had forgotten…

Alien Planet

A race of extra-terrestrials from a distant planet called Dasba had formed an alliance with humans and now had a special request. So they set up communications between the ambassadors of the two species:

Alien Ambassador: We have a lot of information about Earth, but we would like to learn more about humans. As the ambassador of your species, would you be willing to come to our planet and be studied for a short time? Our home world is similar enough in biology to Earth that it could be inhabitable to humans. Our planets are in different galaxies, but we know of a wormhole that can transport you, unharmed, to our planet and back in a matter of minutes.

Human Ambassador: How long would you want me to stay on Dasba?

Alien Ambassador: We were hoping your visit could last for 200 years.

Human Ambassador: 200 years?! I don’t even have that long to live!

Alien: Oh, no, I mean 200 of our years. A Dasban year only lasts as long as one Earth day.

Human: Oh! So I’ll only be gone 200 days…Okay, I can do that.

Alien: Excellent. We will prepare for your arrival and contact you shortly.

The human ambassador went home that night, excited about his upcoming outer space trip. As he got out of his car, he paused to glance up at the night sky.

‘Soon I will be up there. This is what I’ve always dreamed of,’ he thought to himself. But as he gazed at the sky, another thought came to him. He suddenly got back in his car, drove back to work, called up the Dasbans, and cancelled the trip.

Snake Trainer

“Wow, you’ll really let us play with your pet rattlesnakes?” Cassandra exclaimed.

“Of course,” the snake trainer told her. “I have years of experience with rattlesnakes. These two have been well-trained.”

“But you said they started out as wild animals,” Christopher pointed out. “What if they try to hurt us?”

“No worries,” the trainer assured. “They are still tame enough that they always obey me. If they are about to harm you, I’ll call them off with a whistle.”

“Okay!” Christopher was excited. “Then what are we waiting for?”

Christopher and Cassandra entered the enclosure of the rattlesnakes. They tried petting the snakes, which merely flicked tongues at them, watching them warily. Eventually the creatures grew tired of the attention and shook their rattles in warning. Christopher and Cassandra didn’t seem to notice as they continued laughing and trying to play with the dangerous reptiles. Finally the rattlesnakes reared up and prepared to attack. Cassandra called out to the trainer, knowing she and Christopher would be fine.

Coconut Cake

Kata had been on a nature hike most of the day, and was enjoying the fresh air too much to realize she had gone too far into the forest. When she finally took in where she was, she realized she was lost. It was a large forest, and as she tried to find her way out she felt she was only going farther in.

After 4 days of wandering she was certainly out of food and very hungry. It was late in the evening when that she saw a house in a clearing with a man on the front porch motioning her over.

“Something wrong?” he asked when she approached.

“I’ve been lost for four days,” Kata said, “and I’m starving and cold.”

“Well, I live alone out here and don’t get many visitors,” the man told her. “Why don’t you stay the night? I don’t have a phone, but I know these woods well. When it’s light out, I’ll show you the way out.”

Kata was a smartĀ child who knew it wasn’t wise for her to stay with a stranger, but a freezing wind blew by and she heard a wolf howling. So she agreed to come in.

“Why don’t you have some coconut cake?” the man pointed to the kitchen table, where a beautiful cake sat on a plate. Kata’s instincts told her not to, but her stomach said otherwise. So she cut a piece off for herself and was about to eat it, when she thought of something.

“Would you like some?” Kata offered the piece to the man.

“No thanks,” he replied, and then saw what she was getting at. “Oh, no; it’s not poisoned. It’s just that I’m very allergic.” To prove it, he pulled some coconut off of her piece and placed it on his tongue. Within minutes, his tongue swelled a bit.

“See?” he said.

“Oh,” Kata smiled, and began to eat the piece of cake. She couldn’t exactly be sure it was safe, but she certainly was starving.

A Kastoria Trip

I live in Wyoming, and was very sad when my best friend Thekla moved back to her hometown of Kastoria, Greece. But one summer I had built up a lot of frequent flier miles, so I went to visit her.

We went to a restaurant one evening and had some delicious gyros. As we were walking back to Thekla’s apartment at around 10 at night, we spotted a man in the distance. He was sprawled on the road as if injured, propping himself up with one arm.

“I forgot my glasses,” Thekla told me as she squinted at him. “Does that guy need help?”

So I called out to the man, asking if he was okay. It was very dark, but I could clearly make out that he was nodding at me.

“He’s fine,” I said to Thekla. “Let’s go.”

The next morning, we saw a news report that a man had been hit by a car and killed on that very street.

“We saw a man on that street last night, remember?” I mentioned to Thekla, and then recounted the whole story to her.

Thekla looked back and forth from me to the TV, eyes wide. “I wish I hadn’t forgotten my glasses last night. Then this wouldn’t have happened.”