Wells: Scaring Us With The Flowering of the Strange Orchid

purty ebul orchidz

“I have a fancy,” he said over his coffee, “that something is going to happen to me today.”

He spoke – as he moved and thought – slowly.

“Oh, don’t say THAT!” said his housekeeper, who was also his remote cousin. For “something happening” was a euphemism that meant only one thing to her….

H. G. Wells

This is my favourite of the Wells short stories, and foreshadowing was the least of my reasons: I’m not sure why it made such an indelible mark on me. Perhaps it was because my brother read it to us that night around the camp fire, or maybe because it was the summer my mother had started to raise orchids in the hot house. It hardly matters. None of us ever went into the hot house alone after that. We always had another accompany us inside, with someone standing guard outside. Yes, even in broad daylight. Quit judging me. I was five.

Download the free public domain book, or listen to the Librivox recording by Jason Mills.

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