“Fifty bucks for a flippin’ cookbook?” Alastair shook his head and put down his phone. “Guess Mother will be getting the usual $5 bangle from the discount store again this year.”
He microwaved his dinner, flicked on the TV and settled on the couch.
Alastair picked up his phone.
Oops looks like you forgot to complete your order. ‘The Feasting’ cookbook is still in your cart. Here’s 15% off if you buy within the next twenty-four hours…
Alastair did the math. “Nope. Still too expensive.” He put the phone down.
Be quick! Limited stock remaining! Cookbooks make great presents.
Alastair switched his phone off and slammed it on the coffee table. Ugh — online shopping. Next year, he’d go back to the physical shops.
The wind howled outside and the house creaked and groaned. Alastair shifted in his seat.
All the lights went out.
The TV too.
Blackness enveloped Alastair and he shivered as the temperature plummeted.
A low humming emanated from the TV. The screen flickered.
Slowly, very slowly, a picture of ‘The Feasting’ cookbook materialised.
Whispering voices surrounded Alastair. Buy it. Buy it. Buy it.
Alastair jumped. Hadn’t he turned his phone off?
Stock is running out fast. Buy now. Buy now. Buy now.
The window near the TV rattled. Something invisible scratched on the glass and letters appeared, one by one.
The whispering voices transformed into ear-splitting wails. Buuuuuyyyyyyyy.
Alastair screamed and ran to his bedroom.
His phone floated in behind him and hovered around his head. Pingpingpingpingping.
Do it. Complete your cart. Your mother deserves a cookbook, not another cheap bangle.
Alastair slumped to the floor, hands over his ears. “Leave me alone,” he screamed.
The noise crescendoed. PINGPINGPINGPINGPING.
Do it. Do it. Do it.
“Please just make it stop,” he whispered, curling up in a ball.
His phone spun around his head, faster and faster.
Alastair closed his eyes and sighed.
“Fine.” He grabbed the phone. “But I want a better discount.”
All the noise immediately ceased, and the house lights flicked back on.
25% off if you buy two or more.