30% Off

Smashed Egg

Photo by Ganesha Balunsat via Flickr

This morning Donna’s life fell down. She was at the shop when it happened, the corner shop run by the Chowdry family.

In one hand was a packet of Devil’s Food Cake, a picture of icing balls perched on the thick chocolate layer. In the other a carton of four eggs, battery white with 30% off.When her phone rang she was wondering if she should get a basket, or at least ask for a box to put her shopping into. She barely said hello when the words came, in a gush of someone needing to get them out.

“You weren’t successful I’m afraid. We have no choice.”

They said you and we as if talking about a different species, a different type of human.

“You’ll get a chance to see her beforehand. Some time alone.”

Donna nodded, her eyes aimed straight ahead, to the bright light and rows of bottles in the fridge.

“Are you still there?”

In what way she wanted to ask, in what way?

“I hear you,” slipped out in a croak.

“I’m sorry it came to this. Really I am.”

Donna slipped the phone into her pocket, tight to her hip bone. Hair strayed into her face, damp and faint with coconut. She let it cling, felt the black roots on top of her head slide down like mud.

In the glass of the fridge she caught her reflection; saw her skin fall away in fat bloody chunks. It was skeleton Donna again, a shard of a person hooked on making life go away. She opened the carton, the 30% off carton and took out an egg. It rocked in her palm, smooth, warm. She threw it at herself, Donna in the glass, the middle a paint explosion, a star of weakest yellow. She took the next, plucked it from its cardboard nest and threw, watched it slip to the floor, a pile of gluey goo.

At the counter Mr Chowdry dialled. “Yes, please come. We have a problem.”

He liked Donna, knew her when she was bad and had seen how she was trying to be good.

But he knew the line between was a thin one, and the shop was all he had.

Donna threw the third egg, hard, so the shell flew like the maybe-bird it surrounded should have done. The pieces were so light they floated, white crisps in the air. The fourth stuck to her hand, small and blemish free, perfect as her daughter, soon-to-be owned by someone else. She clenched, squeezed until it gave way and oozed right through her fingers.

Clodagh O'Brien writes flash fiction, short stories and the occasional poem. Based in Dublin, she has been published or has work forthcoming in many interesting places such as Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Literary Orphans, Flash Flood, Poetry Bus, The Bohemyth amongst others. Her flash fiction was recently highly commended at the Dromineer Literary Festival and shortlisted for the Allingham Arts Festival. She likes to write in bed and realises there are too many books to read before she dies. You can find out more about her at www.clodaghobrien.com.

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