A short story by Fabrice Nozier
“Amelio,” Ms. Farajah said. “It’s called Amelio”. Sitting at her red clothed roundtable were Ms. Faraja’s first visitors in years, Owen and Anne. “It’ll open her right up. She won’t be able to stop talking,” her elderly voice cracked. After Anne’s husband of three years and high-school sweetheart had suddenly passed away, Owen had done his very best to ease the great emotional pain of his longtime friend. He had tried everything from joint therapy sessions – he was a friend of Anne’s husband as well – to walks in the park, to meditation but all of them led nowhere. The overly bombastic, lively friend Owen once knew in his college days was now shrunken down to a nearly mute woman. Looking down at the jar of the red gelatin substance in front of them, Owen said to Ms. Faraja, “So it’s like a truth serum?”. The frail old lady shook her head “No, it’s Amelio,” she rasped back with her distinctive Mediterranean accent. “She will finally start talking like you asked but whether it’s the truth or a lie… we’ll never know”. Owen stared at his emotionless friend, back at the jar of Amelio and around Ms. Faraja’s weird apartment. Light had barely shone through the thick red curtains but the rooms were just bright enough to see the beady eyes of taxidermied owls. Clocks of all shapes and sizes were scattered across all walls ticking in unison. Tick! Ms. Faraja took a spoonful of the Amelio and smudged it on Owen’s head while he was distracted by the strange aesthetic of her apartment. “Now let’s begin,” she said.
Owen was overwhelmed with an emotional high. For an instant, the world moved in frames as the feelings of rage, laughter, loneliness, anxiety, and confidence swelled around his body all at once. And suddenly everything returned back to normal except he felt an inexplicable need to say whatever he thought. “JUST FUCKING SPEAK ALREADY! I’VE DONE EVERYTHING TO HELP YOU AND YOU JUST LUG YOURSELF EVERYWHERE LIKE A LITTLE SHIT!” he yelled at Anne. She raised an eyebrow at him showing the first expression he’d seen from her in weeks, but she instantly returned to her sulking self. “Oh jeez, I’m so sorry Anne. I don’t know what that was. This feeling just…came over me,” Owen apologized. Anne was barely responsive. He looked over at Ms. Faraja disgusted at the words that just came out of his mouth. “What the fuck did you do to me?”. Swearing in such a manner was foreign to the well-mannered Owen but he couldn’t help but blurt out every word that crossed his mind. “Amelio,” Ms. Faraja calmly said as she put another spoonful in the jar and leaned over towards Anne. Pulling her head back, Anne tried to resist but uncharacteristically conformed to Ms. Faraja as she gently smudged the Amelio on her forehead. Tick! The room fell silent as they waited for a reaction from Anne. Nothing.
“Well? Why hasn’t it worked yet?” Owen demanded. Tears began to gather at the brim of Anne’s eyes and her faced scrunched up as she naturally tried to force the effects of the Amelio. She locked her mouth tight visibly holding back words.
“Why is she doing that!? Why hasn’t she said anything yet” Owen shouted impatiently.
“The pain must be so great that the dose isn’t enough to open her up,” said Ms. Faraja as she smudged a spoonful of Amelio on her own forehead. “Dear,” she said looking at Anne “your friend is here to help you. I even want to help you. Just let it take you away love. I understand your pain, trust me. My husband died too. In fact, he was murdered. At least yours passed away. Mine was mutilated. Guts spewed everywhere. You have it lucky”. Anne was struggling to breathe, huffing as tears swelled higher and higher in her eyes refusing to let a single one drop. “Love, speaking about loss is the best form of therapy”. Anne gulped hard and proceeded to stare at Ms. Faraja still refusing to cry. Owen’s friend was clearly distressed.
“Just give her a second,” he said. Owen was starting to find a way to fight the Amelio. He was slowly becoming the empathetic, patient friend he had been for the past several months.
“Don’t you want to get over this? Stop feeling lifeless? Stop being a burden to your friend and everyone around you? Move on? Meet someone new?”.
“Ms. Faraja please stop. You’re overwhelming her,” Owen said.
“And what then? She needs to learn how to deal with the pain. How do you think I felt when I was left on this Earth all alone when my husband was killed? I had no friends. I had no Ms. Faraja or Amelio like she has!”. Ms. Faraja’s voice continued to elevate as a teary eyed Anne began to tremble.
“Please, stop Ms. Far – “
“Stop what? I am helping her! You are helping her! We are here to help her! But she is being self-centered! She doesn’t acknowledge others at all! You want her to keep using you forever? She needs to speak up and let it all out!”. Ms. Faraja was speaking an odd amount in comparison to her one worded response self. She took another spoonful of the Amelio and rubbed an obnoxious amount on her forehead.
“You’re addicted to this shit aren’t you?!” asked Owen. Ms. Farajah slowly let out a breath of air. Owen stood up and reached for Anne’s hand but instead she slowly grabbed a spoonful of the Amelio for herself and rubbed it on her temples. Tick!
“I poisoned him,” Anne said candidly. “I poisoned my husband”.
Owen stared at Anne in disbelief and slowly sat back down. “Stop it Anne. You’re lying. It’s this Amelio. Don’t let it take you like that”. He looked over at Ms. Faraja, “she is lying right? You said we won’t be able to discern the difference between the truth or a lie”. Ms. Faraja smiled revealing her browned set of teeth.
“I poisoned my husband,” Anne continued straight-faced. “He abused me for most of our relationship. I was always too scared to leave him. I regretted most to all decisions made when I was with him but the greatest one was not telling you how I felt,” Anne said. She hadn’t spoken this much in months. “I love you Owen”.
Without hesitating, Owen slowly grabbed for a spoonful of Amelio and smudged it all over his forehead.
Inspiration for this Short Story:
This story was strangely based off a weird dream I had a couple nights ago. I thought it was really essential that I write it out as soon as possible before I forget any details, which I inevitably have. It was a dream where I wasn’t myself but someone else. Anne, for some strange reason, was Anne Hathaway and Ms. Faraja wasn’t an old lady but a friend. It’s weird,I know, but this is what my imagination gets to sometimes. Amelio wasn’t Amelio but some other super complex un-Earth like name. The name of the substance was written in big letters on the jar and I forgot it the second I woke up. The only word that remained in my mind was “Amelio”, a word I had never seen or heard within the dream.
There were no hints that I wasn’t myself but I somehow just felt like I wasn’t in my own head but in someone else’s. Again, this really made me contemplate what exactly our minds’ are showing us in a state of rest. Was I peering into the life of someone in the past? Present? Or future? I forgot to mention that I could see flying cars outside the window too. Was this an alternate reality? Another timeline where Anne Hathaway is a normal person and technology is more advanced than our present?
Have any weird dreams lately?