The following is a raw run of a particular part of Rise of the Piscaureus. No edits and written tonight. So uh…be gentle or whatever.
When I was first born I remember looking out at the world and thinking of what majesty must lie out over the horizon. The shimmering crystal expanse had entranced me in ways that I could not, for quite some time, cope with. My mother was talented, or at least that is what father had said – for I was one of two hundred children.
We roamed around our little world with great gusto and had not a care in the world. The lords of our world delivered unto us great gifts. Nourishment fell from the heavens and we were well fed. It was a simple life, our little village had all the amenities that any living thing needed to get by without much concern.
On occasion some of my kin would be taken by the over beings. Scooped up like grains of sand and carted off. Those that remained would pine over what great sights they must be seeing at the far end of the great cavern. Sometimes we’d be taken in groups of three, other times five, and on a few occasions only one or two. A tear was never shed for the family that was taken.
We knew that they were going to somewhere beautiful. They were going to the great beyond. Our own world was not sad or difficult, but it is in the nature of all life to pine for something greater and more glorious. It is the majesty of our minds, after all.
None of us had names. It seemed rather trivial. You knew your kin and they knew you. Conversations were fluid and our discourse always natural. If you wished to speak with your forty seventh sister you could easily do so. She would always know you meant to speak with her. In kind you were never lost when a voice called out in your direction.
Over time this was less and less magical with the every dwindling numbers of those that stayed behind. I had always wondered why I was not chosen. Did I have something strange with my face? Did I not believe enough? Was I not desirable?
Our father was taken one day too. This did hurt me a bit because I enjoyed his company and conversation quite dearly. But if anyone deserved to move on it was him. What remained was my mother and thirty of her children. There was an abnormal period of time where we were not spirited away that followed this point.
Then one day we were taken not in groups of one or two, but the entirety of us. All thirty one hoisted away and carried down the great cavern. In that moment I could see my entire world reflected against the translucent shielding that held us aloft in space. I promised myself I wouldn’t miss it when I went. But even with it empty I found my heart beating for it ever harder.
Our carriage was anything but glamorous or comfortable. We were jostled about and bashed into one another for what seemed like forever. A little beast not much younger than you all stared at us. There was not so much a smile on her face as one of wonder. I must admit that at the time my own face likely mirrored hers.
I was standing before gods and they seemed to revel in I just as I them. It was a moment of living poetry and I couldn’t have been happier. I was chosen and with my mother we journeyed on to the great beyond. A short time later and we plummeted down into our new home. I had wondered just where my kin had gone. What beauties they had uncovered in their new lives.
In this moment I prayed that it was something greater than my own. A small sphere many times less than our birthplace encased us. Very little of our amenities remained. It was like leaving the rainforest and stepping into the desert. At first our new caretaker was quite gracious and giving. She watched us at all hours of the day and night.
The attention was desirable and it helped me get my mind off the tiny new world I lived in. That was until the dark day, the penultimate moment of my innocence. I call it the dark day but it was anything but. An incandescent glow filled the skies.
Up until that day we were fed every day a few times a day. This was good for there were many of us and food is a precious thing. But that glow, that horrid glow, it consumed our caretaker. At first she would miss only a feeding a day. Then sometimes she’d miss multiple feedings. Occasionally miss none. Then worse she’d miss an entire day.
Then two days. Then three days.
We all knew that she’d be back. She must be. Our caretaker could not be so callous to leave us to starve. There was no other option but starvation without her guiding hand. Have you ever been starving? Truly, genuinely, starving?
No I suppose not. I don’t think anyone genuinely understands what lurks beneath the upper crust of their brain. Underneath our skin rests a beast that we suppress in order to be normal. Suppression requires a simple solitary ingredient.
That ingredient is food.
Once you are without food you begin to hear it whisper. The voice is too quiet to make out at first. Or maybe it isn’t? Maybe we just choose to not recognize its calling. I know I for one was not swayed by its growling. Not until I saw one of my sisters die in front of my eyes. It was like she was suffocating but nothing was strangling her.
Her breathing grew fainter and fainter until she just ceased to be. My sister one second and then flesh the next.
I looked to my brothers and sisters. Some had greater resolve than others. But those that did not understood the look in my eye. I could see that they were of like minds because I saw my own face reflecting back in the glassed over eyes of my once sister.
I took just a small bite, a little flesh to calm the beast. As the flesh hit my gut I could hear the groans grow fainter and fainter. The worst part of the beast is that once you have satiated its hunger you are left to realize what you have done. You awake from your fugue state to find the flesh of your kin dangling on your cheek and the horrified glares of your family. My own mother looked on at me with pure terror etched across her face.
The cycle never ends. You fight it but the voice gets louder and louder. So you feed and are once again forced to live with the horror of your monster. He never suffers, he never feels pain, he only shows to torture you again and again.
Days passed and more of our kin died. My tiny clan and I would feed on their flesh slowly. You could not gorge. The putrid smell of the previous days feast made you nauseous anytime you came back to your senses. The walls of our tiny hell shifted from a crystal to a faint green. The scum of our horror crawled along the walls to serve as a reminder that there was nowhere to escape.
I realized by the seventh day that our caretaker would never return. I had eaten four of my siblings. Were they my siblings? Once they had passed were there truly any of them left? What separated us from food, after all? I know now but at the time it was a difficult question to come to terms with.
Another day passed, and then another. I counted each fallen brother, each fallen sister, each feast, one, two, three-
Four, five, six, seven, eight-
Twenty-one, each time you satiate the monster inside you the less it hurts to regain control. The agony you feel behind your eyes is a little less fiery with each cycle. A few of my tiny clan had died from the growth; it had clung to their lungs and suffocated them. We carefully ate around it.
I remember when my mother pleaded with me. How she had survived so long was beyond me. Whatever she was eating was not readily apparent to the three of my clan that remained. I remember assuring her that it would be better. I snapped her neck between my own jaws.
Twenty seven, twenty eight, and then twenty nine, one of the clan had underestimated the hunger that raged inside of us. Truth be told at a certain point I was no longer eating because it pained me to not do so. I ate because of the crippling fear that I might grow too weak and be next.
My final brother and I clashed. He tore a chunk of my face but ultimately I dined upon his eyes. They popped between my lips and I remember how terrified he was. He ran around our little world, shouting at me. He told me that if he ever found me I would be dead.
It is so strange when the dead make idle threats.
I ate the last of my final sibling. Our caretaker had forgotten about us truly. You might wonder how I know. Well I’ll tell you, there was a single untainted edge of our world. The green growth had not yet filled it in. From through that hole I could see our caretaker and that incandescent glow. She never once looked my way. I stared and stared until the green closed there too.
I was alone, save for the bones of my family and the smell of decay. I began to laugh. Not because I had gone in sane, no my sanity had checked out long before and then came back again. I was fully lucent in what I had done, I had lived.
But that was the most wonderful irony of my situation. I had prolonged my survival for what? To die – here – alone. I had been forced to consume my entire family, my own flesh and blood, only to now die here. In that moment I was ashamed. In that moment I realized why it had taken so long for us to be chosen.
I was tainted, weak, disgusting.
I then began to count once again. To see how long it would be until my own body ate the last thing that remained. One… Two… Three…