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Hungry by Toni Marshall | flash fiction | #thesideshow

It likes doughnuts. It really likes doughnuts. Particularly the pink glazed ones. The ring ones, which are sprinkled with hundreds and thousands and look like a unicorn threw up on them. That’s why I think it’s a girl. Girls like pink don’t they? I’m a girl. I like pink, at least I think I like pink. I wanted to be slim, just a couple of pounds off.

And now it lives inside me.

It plays my ribs like a xylophone when it wants more doughnuts. When that doesn’t work it tugs on my veins, pulling them like reins on a horse. It used to hurt. I’m used to it now. I wanted more likes, I wanted more follows, but now even the Instagram filters won’t hide my flaws.

The advert flashed at the corner of the page and I clicked. Baited like a maggot for a fish, I couldn’t resist the formula. I too could have the perfect selfie. I caught myself, for a second, and just like when the fisherman knows the maggot will leap from the hook, a chat bubble appeared in the corner.

“Don’t worry” it said “You’ll be safe. All the celebrities are doing it.”

And that was me – hook, line and sinker.

I sat by my door for four mornings until it arrived. I thought it was a tablet, but tablets don’t hatch, right?

I got my wish. I’m slimmer and the thinner I become, the larger it becomes. It scrambles between the wetness of my heart and the back of my throat, it’ll be big enough to burst my windpipe soon. If I open wide I can see it. Poking its bald head into my mouth. Its black slits squinting in the light. It waits impatiently for more bacon, for more eggs, for more doughnuts.

I could cut it out. Rip it from inside of me and let it drown in my blood. More food is arriving, it’s at the door. I think it’s laughing, giggling inside of me. The takeaway driver looks my frail body up and down suspiciously.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah” I say “I’m just hungry”.


Toni Marshall is a girl with two boys’ names and that’s working out just fine for her.  She’s previously been published in Flash Fiction Magazine and was nominated for the Bolton Octagon New Script Award.  She lives in Manchester.  It rains often in Manchester.  You can find her @ToniMMarshall