“Comfort Food” is part of a collection of short horror stories for teens. But Cheryl Rainfield’s short story is a horror that many teens survive in real life.

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Read an Excerpt from Comfort Food:

I grip the edge of my seat. I don’t know how I got here. The last thing I remember is closing my eyes last night to go to sleep, and now here I am, sitting at our regular table with my dad. I hear the cashiers taking orders, hear coins clink, kids noisily sucking milkshakes through straws, the sound of oil hissing and popping, just like I always do.

But it’s like I’ve blinked and suddenly found myself here, like time folded in on itself, transporting me from my bedroom to now, with the early morning sun beating on my face through the window. My chest tightens. I don’t understand it.

Dad’s watching me, so I take a deep breath and force a smile. The heavy smell of grease, eggs and hash browns, bacon and processed cheese coat my mind, dulling my senses, making me sleepy. I try to relax into it.

We come here every morning at six. The cashiers know us by name. So do some of the regulars. So it’s not like anything is unfamiliar. It’s just the loss of seven hours that has me on edge. No one should lose seven hours from their life.

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