Count to Ten

One day I’ll leave this cage, and leave nothing but

Two eyes lurking in the shadows, waiting for the clock to strike

Three, so that I might reenact this struggle of

Four lonely years locked in only my fear that

Five me’s would not be enough for you.


Six moons come and go before you commit sin

Seven, with little regard for the

Eight cries I’m holding in as I count crows of

Nine, that gather as the clock strikes



Hush, hush, quickly, before it begins again.


One more hallucination that the world is made up of just us

Two; you shove it down my throat with

Three wicked fingers that make me wince

Four times before I draw the line at Five.


Six senses take me over, if only in my imagination that houses

Seven realities in which you take

Eight wounds delivered with

Nine easy strikes that come from my very own

Ten fingers.


Hush, hush, quickly, it’s time to breathe again.


One happy ending I’m determined to find for the

Two of me’s that you’ve created in the hell of just us

Three, where Four thousand screams have never been heard and

Five thousand tears have never dropped.


Six emotions; constantly churning what feels as though must be

Seven stomachs, all in disgust that I’ve let the clock strike

Eight again, while plotting

Nine ways to never see your

Ten temperaments again.


Hush, hush, quickly, the moon is sneaking up again.


But they say all I have to do is count to Ten.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Reruns, A to Z

Apparently, Hunter had not been quite the man he had hoped to be.

Better to admit it now, he figured.

Caressing his own hands, he tried his best to ease the nerves that came with facing his true self.

Downstairs, his father’s TV was echoing reruns of black and white comedies that relied too heavily on the body.

Even in the chaos that was his current mind’s state, Hunter was annoyed by the sound.

Forgetting to lock the door behind him, he swiftly exited the house and headed down the road towards the liquor store.

Gathering his thoughts as he walked, he tried to recall the moment in which everything he thought he knew about himself had collapsed.

Hunter was sure that, at some point, the change had been provoked – but that was mostly because while admission was easy, taking responsibility was not.

Instinctively, Hunter tugged on the heavy glass door and gasped a little when it creaked open.

Just as he had not expected to commit his most recent crime, he had not expected to find the liquor store still open.

Killian was behind the counter as usual, tired and hacking up a lung.

Little else could Hunter say about the storeowner but that the man sure loved his cigars.

Murder, She Wrote moved silently about the small screen propped up in the corner.

Numbly, Hunter gave a friendly nod and continued towards the back, where they stocked the cold beer.

Overhearing two other customers rattle on about the rising cost of Californian wines, Hunter stopped dead in his tracks.

Perhaps it wasn’t her – no; no, it was definitely her.

Quaking under his two sweaters, Hunter glanced back at the exit, wondering if he could make it unnoticed.

Realizing the impossibility of it, he opted to proceed towards the refrigerators, though he did so with much lighter steps.

Soon, he told himself, he’d have his beer in his arms and he’d be out the door; easy as pie.

“Twelve – eighty-five.”

Under his breath, Hunter thanked Killian and gestured for him to keep his change.

Very carefully, he peeked to his left to verify that the movement he sensed was her; she was getting closer.

While it had briefly occurred to him that she might not recognize him after all this time, he knew it simply couldn’t be so.

Xeroxed images of their time together seemed to flash rapidly before him, so that he had to squeeze his eyes shut to rid himself of their light.

“Yeah. I knew that was you. Off the wagon, as per usual.”

Zero sympathy – yes, that was her alright.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Night From Within

Dusk was settling in; no escape.

In the distance, a wrangle echoed.

Her propinquity with night suddenly ignited.

Like the blackness of pupils fixated forward,

The night called out her name.

An opal moon peered down devotedly.

Transfixed, she glared back at it.

A snake-like sensation crawled through her.

The night; it felt so divine.

Frightening; tantalizing; misinterpreted – a warning unheeded.

Provoked by its charm, she transformed.

With morality shadowed; monstrosity shined through.

The darkness was always so inviting.

Edacity came from within, of course.

The night was not at fault.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©


After the Storm (Opal POV)

A big thank you to Opal POV for including my noir micro-fiction, After the Storm, in their December issue, page 13. Here’s an excerpt:

Guy’s boots slapped against the wet pavement, splashing silt back up at him. Any quiver in his breath or thumping of his nervous heart was drowned out by the collective whir of passing cars driving through the dying storm.

Opal POV is currently available as a free PDF. The issue is themed Noir/Crime Fiction. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to click the link and have a read!

A Penchant for Madness

I’m not quite right. Never have been.

Sometimes, I feel only partially human, as though I might be an Android from a distant world.

Sometimes, I feel only partially present, as though I might be a shadow of a fuller me.

If either of these things were true, I’d be less accountable.

I haven’t quite decided if that’s what I want yet.

And what I want, well, it changes day to day.

If I wasn’t made to be broken, I wasn’t made for anything at all.

Come the day’s end, I just know –

I’m not quite right. Never will be.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Humble Pie

Yvonne Reached over the stove and closed the window, suffocating the sweet smell of baked goods within her tiny kitchen. The sun, unwilling to set just yet, let its orange light coruscate through the shutters.

The room fell still. Her silence was thick, her limbs heavy, and her fresh bruises sore. Yvonne sucked back the last of a cigarette, its sizzle screeching through the room until it was almost an echo. 

She stood wide-eyed; her consciousness watching  from somewhere outside of her body, floating among the tarred nicotine smoke and the swirling blueberry-scented heat. The fog grew heavy around her, but she didn’t bat an eye.

When Yvonne heard his car pull into the driveway, she dropped the wilted butt into the sink and exhaled the last of its unsavory fumes. Donning her oven mitts, she pulled the oven door open and peeked inside at her masterpiece. The blueberry pie was perfectly sculpted and was perhaps the most delectable image she had ever seen in her own home. She had been so patient with it, so tender and cautious. After all, any misstep would spell disaster, and Yvonne was through with disasters.

His footsteps thumped through the empty halls and trailed into a back room. He hadn’t even said hello. The nerve of him – it shouldn’t surprise her anymore.

Yvonne placed the pie on the white wooden table, a sharp edged spatula neatly at its side. There were no heart palpitations, no shivers; no indications of anxiety at all. Her peace had been made.

He entered the kitchen, sniffing his way to the pie like a dog. When he spotted the nectarous dessert on display just for him, he smiled. It wasn’t a genuine smile, or a thankful one. It was a smile of triumph. He was filled with pride at the idea that he had once again smacked some sense into his feeble little wife. The pie, he thought, was his reward – an assurance that she had been put in her place.

For too long, Yvonne figured out that morning, domesticity had been thought of as synonymous with docile. For too long, Yvonne realized that morning, she had let it be. Well, not anymore.

She picked up the spatula, gleaming in the dying sunlight still trying to seep through. She watched him seat himself, eager to be served, like a royal who thinks he has no enemies when the whole court is plotting against him. She almost smiled, but that would be a misstep.

The hunk of pie, perfectly cut, was surely a sight to remember. Its glazed crust, its prominent fruit filling – everything about it was so inviting. And, so deceitful.

Yvonne backed away from the table, faced the sink, and wordlessly set to work on the dishes. It was only when she heard the gurgling begin to creep out of his throat the she let herself smirk. At first, it was slight but as the sound of struggle behind her increased so too did her sense of victory. Soon enough, the smile had taken over her entire being.

Until that moment, she had forgotten what it was to be happy.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©


There was no way to undo it. That’s the thing about surviving. The medley of blood, hair, and fingernails just kept swirling about in Jordan’s mind, imprinted behind his ocular nerve. Tugging and pulling so that the recalled sight of it was accompanied by physical pain. It was all he could manage to spread his eyelids every now and again; check if the world was really still there – wondering if he had really made it out, wondering if Jess and the others really hadn’t.

The melody of the epidecium hummed deep in Jordan’s ear drums, rattling them back and forth no matter how unpleasant. This was what it was to be haunted. The ghosts were only inside of his head, but they were real. They were persistent. They were his friends; all of them dead, along with the biggest part of him.

“Jordan Marks?”

Jordan looked up, surprised he had recognized a sound outside of himself. The secretary was trying to smile as she held the door open for him. “Dr. Casey will see you now.”

The doctor was gentle, but rushed. There were a lot of patients in the waiting room, so it came as no shock to Jordan that getting the prescription had been so easy. Anti-depressant experiment number 4. Maybe this one wouldn’t make him tear at his skin, drool on his sheets, or mix-up his words. Maybe.

The first few hours were good. Relief came like a tidal wave, throwing him off balance then gracefully carrying him away. He didn’t think about Jess; about the blood, the hair, or the fingernails. Instead, he thought about the beach on a sunny day. But once the high dulled, so did the sunshine, and Jordan was back in his dark, damp, room. No – he was back in the dark, damp, cave. And there was the medley of gore he just couldn’t escape. He thrashed in the swamp of sewage and bodily fluids. He clawed at the rocky walls, and screamed so loud he hoped he might break, and somehow blind himself from the horrors before him.

Jordan’s mother crashed through his bedroom door and eyed her son helplessly as he scrambled violently in his bed. She cried out his name through a tear-soaked tongue, trying to remember a time when he was just a normal teenager, vibrant and brave and full of life, seeking an adventure. A time before the monsters came.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Final Girl Syndrome

I hadn’t pictured it this way. I thought it would be exhilarating, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 when she spins the chainsaw round and round; victorious. Or, maybe even like Halloween, when she just cries and cries.

I guess what I’m saying is, I thought I’d finally feel something. But I don’t. It’s more like Black Christmas; the original or the shitty remake, take your pick.

Just numb. Catatonia, I think it’s called.

His body finally limp; the blood that once filled it splattered across my face and clothes. The nightmare finally over. The chase complete. And he just lies there, and I just stare at him.

He’s taken everyone from me. Everything.

There’s no avenging that.

I’m guessing by tomorrow, I’ll look more like Girl, Interrupted.

How dissatisfying.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©