Once upon a midnight dreary, an East End resident was snacking on chicken wings when he heard a tap-tap-tapping at his chamber door.
When he peeked out the window he didn’t see anything, so he returned to his snack.
A few minutes later the tapping came again, and he ignored it.
But after he heard the noise a third time, he opened his chamber door and found a small chicken on his front porch.
“Nevermore,” the bird said.
“Excuse me?” the man asked.
“Nevermore,” the bird repeated. “Nevermore.”
“If you want snacks, I’m afraid I don’t have any,” the man said. “Unless you want some — heh-heh — chicken wings.”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time,” the man said. “Nevermore what?”
“Nevermore,” the chicken replied, “will you eat chicken wings in air-conditioned comfort while we scrounge in dumpsters.”
With that, the chicken’s feral friends came flapping out of the darkness and ambushed the man.
They pecked out his eyes, dragged him into the street, and left him for dead. Then they stormed his house, turned on his stereo, and partied all night long.
Similar scenes played out across Tortola as feral chickens took over the entire territory. The end.
The Phantom Resort
Once upon a time, government promised to bring a five-star resort to Prospect Reef.
Everyone was excited by the idea, and residents started counting the dollars the project would bring to the economy.
Then the plan mysteriously disappeared.
“What five-star resort?” officials asked reporters. “We have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The idea was quickly forgotten. As the resort fell into serious disrepair, however, it unexpectedly proved to be a popular destination for the ghosts of wealthy tourists.
At first, government welcomed them with open arms, but leaders lost interest when they realised that the banks would not cash ghost cheques.
Forever after, the resort continued to drain public funds at an alarming rate. The end.
The Headless Horseman
Once upon a time, a man was decapitated by a speeding truck while he was riding his horse on Tortola.
So he went to Peebles Hospital. Unfortunately for him, it was Jan. 2, 2016, and the National Health Insurance programme had just kicked off.
“May I see your NHI card, please?” the receptionist asked when he arrived.
“I don’t have one,” the headless horseman replied.
“You don’t?” she asked. “How can that be?”
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I just never got one.”
“Your employer should have signed you up.”
“Oh. Well, he didn’t,” the headless horseman said. “What should I do?”
“Well…,” she responded. “Maybe you should talk to your employer?”
The employer promised to register with NHI, and he followed through a few weeks later.
However, when the headless horseman finally saw a doctor, he was told that Peebles Hospital does not have the necessary technology to reattach a head.
“We’ll have to send you abroad,” the receptionist explained. “And that means you’ll have to pay for the treatment up front.”
“Will I get reimbursed under NHI?” the horseman asked.
“That’s hard to say,” she replied. “That will be decided by a committee.”
“Who is on the committee, and when does it sit?”
“Those are good questions,” the receptionist said, “because the committee hasn’t been formed yet.”
“Well, can I at least start the process of filing my claim?”
“Umm. No,” she said. “You see, the NHI programme still has a few hires to make, and that includes the people who process claims.”
With that, the headless horseman ran screaming into the night. He subsequently decided that he would rather try to live without a head than continue navigating the labyrinth of NHI.
But of course no one can live without a head, and so he died. He has haunted the halls of Peebles Hospital ever since. The end.
The Buried City
Once upon a time, enormous machines arrived overnight in the parking lot next to the Road Town ferry terminal.
At first, residents in the area weren’t worried: Government promised that the project would be completed quickly, and they were excited to get a shiny new parking lot.
But as the machines began digging holes, they left large piles of dirt everywhere, and residents noticed a thick layer of dust in their homes.
Though they did their best to remain optimistic, they finally decided they’d had enough.
But when they tried to go complain to government, their doors wouldn’t budge because on the piles of dirt.
“Oh well. Surely this will be over soon,” they said as they retreated inside and sealed their windows. “The government wouldn’t abandon us at a time like this.”
That night they were buried alive. The end.
Disclaimer: Dateline: Paradise is a column and occasionally contains satirical “news” articles that are entirely fictional.