Modern Day Hermit

Millicent Van Der Walt

You like the darkness of this place. It brings with it a warm and safe kind of comfort when the outside is utter chaos.  

You like the walls of this place. Decorated with all of your favourite things. Posters of TV shows, movies, games, characters. Photos of your loving family and friends. The space is yours and yours alone. There are two doors in this four-walled room, one leads to a much smaller four walled room. In there is a toilet, basin and a combined show and tub. You don’t remember the last time you had a shower, and you try to keep your bathroom breaks as infrequent as possible. The other door leads to the dreaded outside. You’ve more recently taken a shower then you have been outside. You hate it out there, nothing good ever happens. Your whole-body shivers just thinking about it.  

You like the screen that is in front of you. It is the only source of light. Anything you could imagine can be found in the confines of its creation.  

It’s all you need. There is nothing else you could possibly want except for…  

Your hand reaches into the plastic packet and feels around. There is nothing left, only the exquisite flavouring that coats your fingers as you withdraw you hand. You stare at your left hand in mute horror. It shakes as the muscles in your fingers are pulled taut with shock. Your throat starts to tighten, and you begin swallowing excessively to compensate. Your mind begins to run at a rapid speed.  

What am I going to do?  

You lick your trembling fingers clean. The flavouring burns your tongue and catches in your throat. You start coughing violently, your eyes spilling over with tears and your nose pouring salty mucus. You fall out of your chair and crawl over to a small cupboard. You thrust it open, reaching your right hand in and pushing everything else aside trying to find what it is you’re looking for.  

Where is it! Where are they! Surly I have some left, please. Dear God, I know there are some left!  

But there aren’t. They aren’t there. You are all out.  

Distraught, you fall to the ground, sobbing. There are no more Takis. 

You know what you must do next but the very thought of it quickens your heart and makes your hands sweat. You have to go outside.  

It’s been so long since you left your apartment. Everything you could possibly need is delivered to you every month. So, how did you run out of Takis so quickly? Did you not order enough? Did you eat them all too quickly? Maybe the delivery guy took some thinking you wouldn’t notice? It doesn’t matter why or how anymore, the only thing that matters is getting more.  

You compose yourself, as best you can, and get up. You go into the bathroom and wash your face clean of Takis dust, tears, and snot. You don’t change out of what you are wearing but instead add on more, layering coat over jumper, a scarf, a beanie and some sunnies. You put on some old sneakers that are still clean and stiff. You grab your wallet and keys and stand frozen at the door. Your heart is pounding in the flesh of your chest, each beat louder and stronger than the last. It feels too big for your ribcage, pushing against your lungs and depriving them of air. You’re breathless as you try and work up the courage to turn the knob and open the door. Your fingers are swollen and stiff; unwilling to move, but your primal need for Takis is important, more important than your health. You take a deep breath and hold it, trying not to focus on the pumping of your heart. With iron willpower, you force your arm to twitch, then extend, then grab the door handle. With a thick, mucus filled gulp, you twist the knob and pull the door inwards.  

Light pierces the dark seal of the door frame, filling the small room with sunshine. Particles of dust swim in from of your vision as the light floods the space like water breaking through a dam. They cover every inch of the room, but you don’t notice. Even with your sunglasses’ protection, the pure rays stab through to your eyes and force you to squint in pain. Blinded and terrified, you remind yourself of the very reason you’re doing this.  


The image of those blue twisted chips gives you strength, the thought of their spicy taste lights a fire in you that pushes you out the door with a burst of force.  

You’re outside now. You’ve officially left your apartment. Your head swims for a moment and you close your eyes and regain yourself. Okay, let’s do this. For the Takis. You open your eyes and without turning around, close the door behind you. With heavy feet you begin walking along the concreate balcony and reach the top of the steps. With a gloved hand you grip the railing and start your decent. At the bottom you let out a shaken breath and turn so that you are now on the footpath. Before you even begin walking your eyes dart back and forth, looking out for danger.  


You jump to the side as a woman on a bicycle rides past from behind. Outside is so terrifying, I want to go back home. You look back up to your apartment and feel as though you can hear it calling to you. You tear your head away from the beckons and bring your focus back to the whole reason you’re doing this. You can see it. You can taste it. Your goal, your dream, your Takis. Right there in front of you. Ten paces away from where you stand sits the convenience store, nice and snug, right under your apartment – at your convenience.  

EzyMart. The yellow and orange logo is displayed above the automatic sliding glass doors. As you enter you see a surly young woman lazily leaning behind the counter. She looks you up and down without bothering to move her head, her eyes scanning you top to bottom. Your face reddens and you begin to sweat a little under your layers. She rolls her eyes in disinterest and goes back to ‘work’.  

You swallow your anxiety and pick up a provided basket and make your way to the snacks rack. There they are, in all their glory. The sterile white light of the store reflects beautifully off the plastic packet, making the colours dance before your eyes. Your mouth salivates just thinking about the taste and you have to consciously stop yourself from letting drool spill from your lips. You grab one, then another and another. The need is uncontrollable, and you don’t stop until the basket is full. 

Satisfied with the contents of the basket, you nervously make your way up to the counter with your Takis. The young woman raises an eyebrow as she takes the basket and begins checking out the items. The process is slow, the machine beeps as she scans and bags every packet. She goes between staring at you and back at the Takis.  

‘So, you like Takis?’ She says, after bagging the fifth one. Instantly you mouth dries up like a lake in drought and the best answer you can give is some grunting noises and a self-loathing nod of the head. She stares at you for a moment and then continues scanning and bagging.  

‘That’ll be a hundred and twenty dollars. Cash or card?’ She holds out her hand in waiting. With your gloved hands you struggle for a moment trying to pull your card from your wallet but then you get a grip and hand it to her.  

‘Have a nice day.’ She says insincerely as she hands you two big plastic bags full of Takis. You nod a polite ‘thank you’ and take the bags. When you turn to hurry out through the sliding doors you see a poster tapped up on the inside, it reads: 

EzyMart is now introducing delivery! Enjoy the luxury of your favourite snacks being brought right to your door! No fuss, no hassle. Just download the app and snack away! 

Delivery only available when ordering 5 or more items. 

A Delivery fee of $6.99 will be applied to locations outside a 3Km radius. 

As you exit the store, excitement fills your strained heart. Your mission is complete and you can’t wait to get home to the comfort of your home. Even though the battle was long and difficult, you know that you’ve won the war…the first thing you’ll do when you get home is download the EzyMart app. 

Author: Millicent van der Walt is a fourth-year creative writing student at QUT. She has a passionate love for fantasy writing but is trying to break out of her comfort zone by exploring different genres.

Artist: Sarah McLachlan is a third year Bachelor of Creative Writing student who likes to draw in her spare time. She wishes to combine both her art and writing skills to create a webcomic of her own one day, but she’s also open to illustrating for books and book covers. Sarah is also a major The Legend of Zelda fan and can be found drawing a lot of elves. You can find her at @hideriame02 on Instagram.

Editors: Jasmine Tait and Eliana Fritz