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Surreal Estate

by Elliott James

Publication Date—Jan 15, 2014

This is the fourth in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, CHARMING (US | UK), is available now.
The line between reality and dream is never entirely clear under the best of circumstances…and when John Charming finds himself being hunted through a nightmare house, it is far from the best of circumstances.
Word count: ~4,100


Once upon a time I am in a classroom. I am a child, old enough to read and write with some degree of sophistication but not yet having reached puberty, and I am wearing the black slacks and blue blazer and red tie that we have to wear because we are pretending to be an elite Catholic school. Blobs of gum do not lurk beneath our desks, however, and graffiti is not scratched on top of them. Cell phones have not been invented yet, and we do not whisper or snicker behind our teachers’ backs. We communicate wordlessly in sign language.

Our instructors don’t mind. We are being trained to hunt creatures with exceptional hearing, and our instructors want us to learn how to communicate covertly and quickly and silently. The teachers stroll among us dressed as priests and nuns, and perhaps some of them are, but they do not use rulers or wooden paddles to enforce discipline. They carry bamboo poles.

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