Short Story: Terror By Night --- Or…

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Written by
Patsy R Liles


A different kind of terror after the battle.


  • 494 Words
  • 20 Comments
  • 78% Community Rating
  • 750 Views

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It was the light that woke him, but it was terror that kept him awake. He knew the moment the light was switched on, but not where he was located in that house he would never see.

"Beverly? Beverly! Is that you? They said you would arrive soon after me, but I must have been asleep for a while, wasn’t I? They gave me a pill . . ." He felt the sweat gluing him to the sheet. "Beverly, for God’s sake answer me. You can hear me — I did hear you switch on the light. You see I knew it was off because the orderly said he was switching it off and for me to get some sleep. I did, a little I think. Beverly?"

He swallowed, attempted to sit up but stopped and listened. There was no sound; wait – was that a creak in the floorboards? He didn’t know…

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Hugh Cron said "Hi Patsy what grabbed me about this excellent story was the thought of care for societies sake or actual bespoke care. The clever thing about your story is, we are not quite sure. It could go either way. There was an old line in an episode of 'Only Fools..' regarding returning service men having homes fit for heroes whereas they actually got heroes fit for homes. Your story made me also think of this. A two way story is a very skillful discipline. All the very best. Hugh"
3 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Thank you Hugh, for your kind words. This is a story that filled me emotionally and I think I actually suffered with him. But the two way story In this case was not intentional. It just happened, one of those writer's moments. Sort of humbling. Glad you enjoyed it and took time to comment. Patsy"
3 years ago
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Patsy R Liles replied saying "It's about over thank goodness, then I can have the remainder of the year for myself if this country holds together a bit longer. Ha. Troubles every here, with everyone I believe. Good of you to comment. Patsy"
3 years ago
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Patsy R Liles replied saying "Hey, thanks Robert. You have been looking at some old work, I take it. Appreciate the comment. I have tried to read most every day and always try to get into your submissions. I'll keep at it though as time allows. Tax time is very consuming of one's every aspect of life...over here. Patsy"
3 years ago
Willie Douglas said "His heart was pounding so hard it shook the bed, says much. He suffered there and upon his return from war. Thank goodness Beverly came afterall, and I feel thereafter he did not experience anymore heart pounding nights. I wish there were more Beverlys' in the world. Considering the word limit, you captured the full spectrum of story and emotion in this micro."
5 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Thank you, Willie. Yes there are a few Beverly's out there. I was concerned that I had not made his voice strong enough for her to hear, but sometimes when I experience fear, not much sound comes out on first try. Held by the strap, he had no idea how far it was he'd have to fall. Could have been 12 feet, or two feet. She did the first thing for his protection, then went down the stairs to prepare for him while he slept. I could not find any words for him to say in the end, because he knew without a doub that he was in safe hands. Glad you liked the story. Your comments mean much. Patsy R Liles"
5 years ago
Richard Ardus said "Oooh! I thought he was a recently blinded man at first, who knew where he was, calling for his wife and I liked having my assumtions trashed! To be marking time and the memory of light by the click of a switch and to not be sure you haven't missed one must be horrifying. The ending was a wee bit weak but this superior tale gets my vote!"
5 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Goodness, Richard, that was a reaction. Thanks for your appreciation of work, it means much to me. Yes, the ending may be weak, but what more was there to say? Poor man must harbor some resentment, or would it be relief? Word limit left it there.... I still read it with cold chills....not sure where it came from, except that i was watching a few moments of commentary on TV a while back and they were going over the fact that our returning military must have better care. This filled me instantly for some reason. Thanks, too, for the vote. Patsy"
5 years ago
Meg Malpass said "The clever thing I like here Patsy is that everyone else made it the brightness of the light that woke him. Good thinking outside the box. Good luck with the competition."
5 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Hi Meg, Ithink my reasoning was what would it be like to awaken expecting light only to have the darkness pressing down forever. New to his blindness, the Corporal was clinging to the sounds of the switch to assure him it was day, or night and he could then expect life to be normal again.... it is a deep subject that was triggered by the opening line... Thanks for your comments. Patsy"
5 years ago
James McEwan Guest Editor said "The idea of being made blind by an accident or injury is perhaps the most fearful consequence. To lose your sight, learn new skills that extract your world from the dark and worse depend so much on others. Oh, how cruel of Beverly."
5 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Well James,' they' had originally left him alone, drugged sleep, until she could get to him. Not nice of 'them' either. Coordination seemed lacking here. And insensitivity. He would not know if she had looked in on him before placing a protective strap across the stairs to avoid his falling while she was downstairs preparing for meals, medicines, etc. She heard him, but perhaps his shouts were not very strong, because of fear. It just told itself with all the failures included that are human and never excusable. The big bang for me was that they placed him in the upper level of any domicile to begin with. Thanks for your comments, James. ~~ Patsy"
5 years ago
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Patsy R Liles replied saying "It was pretty stark, wasn't it? Thanks for your comments, Jay. Patsy"
5 years ago
Melford Maderazo Guest Editor said "Very nicely written, Patsy. I always like your style. Clear and affecting. Thanks for this, Mel"
5 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Thanks Melford. Have you read my story 'Just Bill' ? I would like your opinion very much. It may surprise you. Patsy"
5 years ago
Patsy R Liles said "Thanks, Diane. I actually had a moment for tears. There are many returning with this terror. Thanks, Patsy"
5 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Oh dear, the poor poor thing. What a terrible thing this is. I can't say too much as I don't want to give anything away but you handled this well Patsy, a very clever twist. - Well done - Diane"
5 years ago

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