Intuition

It started with nothing more than a quizzical glance from the girl next door on a stormy afternoon in September. It was the first time Jackson had seen her, and as he stared – as though marooned on a surreal planet made up of only her eyes – it occurred to him that her sudden appearance that day made perfect sense. If spring was a time of beginnings, it followed that fall would be the dawn of ends. She, he knew somehow, would be his death.

Noticing that he had mysteriously managed to grab her curiosity, if only for a second, Jackson decided to work up the confidence to approach her. He was not typically a shy guy, in fact he was usually downright impulsive, but something told him that this manoeuvre demanded a rehearsal or two. It was the way a simple glance from her seemed to tug at his brain and nestle in his gut like a parasite. She, he knew somehow, was a tumour.

Thanks to the storm, the bus was behind schedule, giving Jackson time to plan his attack. Her alarmingly green eyes, which had passed over him with an undeniable intensity, were now buried in a book. Her small umbrella seemed more protective of it than of her, and heavy droplets were rolling down her head and falling off of her pointed nose as a result. Having no umbrella of his own to offer her, Jackson opted for a more daring approach. He pulled out his phone and dialled a taxi. When it pulled up (luckily, before the bus), he gestured her towards it with a simple, “on me.”

“I’m Jackson,” he said once they were safely seated in the vehicle, which splashed silt up at the passer-bys as it took off.

She eyed him once more, squinting with persistence. Jackson almost worried that she was seeing through his veil of false-ease, but then decided to blame the dark grey day for her carefulness.

“Lianne,” she finally responded.

“Well, Lianne, where are we off to? Ladies first, of course.”

“Well, Jackson, that depends on whether you’re willing to play hookey with me.”

A subtle smirk appeared across her face just as a flash of lightening cracked through the sky. Had he not been stunned by her forwardness, Jackson might have noticed how it revealed a hint of monstrous salacity behind those increasingly haunting eyes. But wasn’t that always the story?

He, she knew somehow, would be just as easy as the rest.

©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 ©

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!