Checkout

Two bags of chips, onion dip, a collection of those cheap mixed gummies – the ones that are kind of sour, and tin foil (just because she was out). Eden started placing her items on the counter, self-consciously. She didn’t always eat like that. Or, at least, she didn’t think she did. It wasn’t as though she kept a food journal. She began moving quicker, eager to get her impromptu, late-night drug-store transaction over with. As she handled the foil, she caught sight of her chipped nail polish and felt suddenly as though it was evidence of the fact that she hadn’t figured out life yet. Not even the simple, daily mechanics.

“Hello, how are you?” the cashier asked without looking up.

There it was. The dreaded question. Eden held her breath. What could she say, really? ‘Two weeks ago I miscarried and I’ve been having night terrors ever since. Though, I must be exaggerating because I also don’t believe I’ve gotten any sleep at all. I don’t think it’s healthy. And everyday now I’m afraid to look in the mirror because I no longer look like me. I’m not me. Not that I’m terribly well acquainted with me. I’ve got a million faces. It’s hard to keep track. And, no, I’m probably not as fucked up as I think I am. But I’m definitely not as together as I pretend to be. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m lost. I can’t find me. And it’s not just the miscarriage. It started before that. Long before that. I’m just… lost. So, overall, not well. I’m not well.’ 

“9.75.”

Eden snapped out of her daze and mechanically handed a bill over to the cashier, awkwardly hiding her nails. Her hand was shaking but she gave a pleasant nod when she received her change, before hurrying out the automatic door.

‘Fuck,’ Mia thought, staring down at her till. ‘Did I give that lady the right change? Shit – did I even greet her? A simple: hi how are you?’ She sighed and checked the time. Three more hours to go. ‘Get it together,’ she thought, promising herself to be attentive with the next one.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

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Hunger: Two-Sentence Horror Story

I gobbled down my first meal in days, barely chewing, expecting to feel guilty about it afterwards. But I only felt relief; besides, I never really liked my neighbours.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

Thanks for reading my two-sentence horror story… Mmmm human flesh… Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Letters to Addie: #2 – The Book Burning

March 9,

Addie,

I’m sorry I couldn’t write sooner; things have been … well, I don’t know the word exactly. Something just isn’t right. I tried to keep track of my thoughts on paper, like you said; likes, dislikes, opinions, things I’ve seen, words I know – the stuff that makes me me. But it’s all gone. I came home one day and the notepad had all the used pages missing. Then they recalled the paper. All paper, Addie. Notepads, scrapbooks, books, printed media. Everything had to be handed over by February 28th, and on the 29th, they stormed houses and tore them apart looking for paper, Addie – Paper! It was all burned they say. There was a public demonstration where officials set fire to heaps and mounds of the stuff, but it probably wasn’t all of it. Some say they just incinerated the rest in – what do you call those things… where they cremate people. Anyways, it’s all gone. Now you know why I’m writing this on a napkin.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I’m starting to think you might be right. It’s like what you said that time, “control the medium, control the message.” I think you said it was a quote, but I can’t remember. All I know is I’m getting a distinct feeling that this is the beginning of something really, really big. I’ll keep you posted when I can. I hope these are getting to you. And I hope you enjoy the fruit basket I’m sending this one in.

I know I probably don’t have to say this to you of all people, but be careful. I love you.

Darcy.

P.S. Mom got hacked. They swapped everything out, but she seems to like her new name. Just some adolescent shit-disturbers, I think. She’s fine, though.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

Letters To Addie #1