9 of the Most Disturbing Short Stories You'll Ever Have to Read for School

Unsplash/Wade Lambert


"The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury

In “The Veldt,” Ray Bradbury imagines a future in which people live in automated houses that help you cook, clean, get dressed, etc. The house comes complete with a virtual reality nursery that allows the children to go anywhere they choose. 

Currently, the nursery is stuck on an African grasslands (a.k.a. an African veldt) setting, which includes a couple of lions in the distance munching on carcasses. The mom is afraid they’ll all be eaten by the lions, but the dad reminds her that it’s VR (ergo, not real). However, the dad is worried about the children’s reliance on technology and their growing obsession with death (um), so he threatens to turn off the house at the suggestion of a child psychologist. The kids beg for one last visit to the nursery. Then they LOCK THE PARENTS IN, AND THE PARENTS REALIZE THE SCREAMS THEY’VE BEEN HEARING WERE THEIR OWN ALL ALONG. THE CARCASSES? ALSO THEIRS.

As with most Ray Bradbury stories, the message is that we are all just one technological innovation away from BEING EATEN BY VIRTUAL REALITY LIONS WHILE OUR CHILDREN WATCH.

Topics: Books
Tags: high school, books we love, classic literature, short stories, short stories we love, warning: very spooky

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