Horla Flash Fiction (April – May 2021)

 

THE OTHER SIDE

by PEI WEN

“YOU need to stop killing yourself,” she says.

“Shh. She’s sick. Stop agitating her,” he says to her.

Stuck in flank by both of them, they each wrap an arm around mine, hands clawing around my wrists, embedding their fingernails into my angry paper-thin skin. I watch an allegory of their distress and helplessness unfold around me without the slightest bit of anxiety.

Their eyes are clouded from the lens of ignorance that ensnares their lives into this complex deception. They are, after all, asleep. Simply doing what they think they need to do. But in time to come, they will be liberated after the temporal runs its course. There is no need to resist within impermanence, because what is inevitable remains inevitable.

Nevertheless, I want to go home.      

They lead me past the backyard where we see a fraction of the moon peeping from behind the clouds. It draws us into its light, an accidental distraction that lures our attention away from the secular. I faintly notice the tension easing away from my sore arms.

As if to convey delayed gratification for my patience, the clouds waft aside and unveil the lustrous moon in its full glory, bestowing a cold glint upon the silver blade that beckons me at the lower edge of my eye.

Chance.

I surge forward, unlocking my arms from theirs to seize the knife. Crimson spills into the light, tainting the moon with blood.

“No!”

They huddle over my fallen body as I find myself no longer anchored to a hefty facade. I drift away, watching from above the avatars of my mother and my father turning smaller and smaller into nothingness, the world fading into complete darkness.

My eyelids lift the shadows to reach the light on the other side. I recognise the sensation of the gentle breeze of the fan caressing up my forehead and into my hair. Pressing my cheeks against the familiar solace of my pillow, I listen to the sounds of my parents having breakfast in the kitchen.

Good morning world.

 

***

Pei Wen is a communications professional based in Singapore where she says ‘eternal summer is interspersed with intense and satisfying thunderstorms’. When not writing or reading, she says she likes to relax in a jacuzzi or by drinking bubble tea.

Title photo credit –  Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

Image has no direct connection with the fiction