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

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!

Manufactured Immortality

Kato approached the window and laid his hand upon the cool, hard, glass. On the other side of it lie his trusted advisor, and surrogate big brother, unconscious. It had been exactly thirteen hours since the craft crashed, nearly taking Hays’ life. What was left of it, flesh and bone, was practically unsalvageable. As he watched the galaxy’s most renowned doctors busy about Hays’ crushed, inoperative, body – Kato couldn’t help but wonder if making him cyborg was the right choice. Hays had told him once, before he even became King, that the biggest obstacle humans have ever faced is mortality, and that banning cyborgism was the only way to make us face it. Cyborgism, he explained, was not a solution, but a pacifier. All the same, he added that if he were ever on the brink of death, that he’d take all the metal he could get, legally or otherwise. He had chuckled heartily at his own irony, and Kato had smiled along. But he never forgot those words, “a pacifier.” He recalled them in a public speech the day he signed the bill. Now he wondered if it was a pacifier for the patient, or their loved ones who simply won’t let go. Tomorrow, he’d have to publicly retract those words. Tomorrow.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

Invisible

Eliza was always trying to be someone new; live another life; know another mind. When she was twelve she read a story about a boy kept locked away in an attic for months that turned into years and years that turned into decades. Eventually, he died, and became the ghost of the mansion. Of course, Eliza saw that he had always been the ghost. After reading the story, she locked herself in her own attic. She wanted to see how long she could stand it without going mad like the boy, but her mother found her after just two days, and she wasn’t mad at all. When she was sixteen, she saw a movie about a girl trapped in a well. She considered jumping down one, really she did. But she didn’t want to tear her dress. Now, as she stared blankly at the job application before her, she wondered if it wasn’t too late. Perhaps she could simply disappear, after all.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen