A short story from my first Nanowrimo attempt (my first ‘nanovel’, as I call them) about someone who is… quite unwell.  Quite unwell indeed.  This is one of the darkest things I have ever written, and it makes even me feel uncomfortable when I read it.

Trigger warnings: pretty much all the trigger warnings.  I cannot list them all here.  Just know that this is a very, very dark and unpleasant thing, and only read it if you really like reading dark, unpleasant things.  There is nothing fun or happy about this story at all.

It was dark inside her mind, and she knew that the night had fallen on the other side of her eyes.  She couldn’t see the darkness, but she knew it must be there.  The scent of coffee was stronger now, and she knew it was the kind of coffee her mother used to make for her.  In the morning, she would pick the Lady’s Mantle leaves and collect the dew in the kettle before roasting the thick, grey-white larvae.  They would scream and cry as they where put in the frying pan above the gas flame, and her mother would join in, singing merrily.  The thick bodies would sizzle and blacken and sometimes burst or pop.  The cheerful sounds would always wake her up, and she would curl up beneath the blankets woven out of bracken and ferns from the valley.

She did wake up now, but she couldn’t move.  If she moved, her dry skin would shatter and leave her more than naked.  Her face would fall off, and her eyelids would reveal the darkness.  The darkness outside scared her more than the darkness inside, because in the darkness inside there was only herself, she was alone, and she wasn’t dangerous.  In the darkness outside were the larvae, the worms, the maggots.  The wingless butterflies who hated her because she had torn off their wings.  She could hear the disembodied wings flutter around her ears.  She waited for the sizzling and popping, for the screaming to stop so that she knew it was safe to leave the bed.

But there was only the fluttering of the wings around her head, making her dizzy.  She opened her eyes and there was nothing.  The whisper-light fluttering was gone.  The scent of coffee was gone and she knew she had to do something.  Her mother was gone.  The blanket of bracken and fern was gone, and in its place was the emptiness and the silence of abandonment.  She reached out her arm into the darkness, and found the light-switch.  There was light in the room.  No white, fat larvae, but the blood was seeping down the walls again.  The blood had probably drowned them.

Rising from the floor, she knew that her mother was gone forever.  Only a dried up carcass remained, and sometimes she could swear that the rotten awayed eyes were still watching her.  Then she would stab the eye-sockets until the larvae in the walls laughed at her and she felt stupid.  Of course the corpse couldn’t see her any more; the larvae and maggots had already stolen the eyes to watch her with.  One day, she would find them again.

She went into the small kitchen, stepping on the cockroaches with her bare feet.  They sounded a bit like when she had been running on the gravel driveway, grinding the small stony bodies to one another under her feet.  She had been running from the house; it had been burning so bright hot, white hot.  Her father had been screaming like the larvae in her mothers frying pan.  She had been so small, and her limbs had been so delicate.  She had to wait, to be careful until he passed out from the vodka.  She had put him in the cage and locked him in, covering the cage with all his booze, and the napalm from her closet.  She had set fire to a few matches and thrown them into the cage.  He had woken up when the fire enveloped him, and he had screamed.  Just like the maggots he had screamed, trashing around, rolling around, flailing his arms and throwing burning napalm all around him.  On the books he used to hit her in the head with and on the curtains he used to close off the world with so that the neighbors wouldn’t see what he used to do to his daughter.  He screamed and screamed as the fire burnt him, and his white fat body burst with a satisfying pop.

But the house had caught fire, and she had to run.  Run down the gravel made of the cockroaches – the driveway – as her father continued to scream and melt into the floor.  His fat sizzling, the maggots in the walls wailing because they wanted to have him, but they couldn’t have him because he was melting away now; the floor absorbing him like the dehydrated ground absorbed water after the long summer drought.  Reluctantly at first, but as soon as he had seeped down through the top layer the floor absorbed him eagerly, pulling him deep inside.  The maggots shrieked in fury, the wood of the house cried out in pain and sadness…

The cockroaches under her feet were silent now, no longer sounding like the gravel.  The rest had skittered away and hidden in the cabinets and drawers.  She sat down on the floor and started to lick the crushed roaches off her feet.  They tasted like the crunchy sweets her grandmother would make for Easter.  They tasted sweet, like spring and returning green.  Soon the Lady’s Mantle would return, and then there would be coffee.  Then she could collect the dew, and she would catch some of the squirming bodies and roast them, pop them.  They would sizzle merrily.

The walls were sobbing again.  The blood was coagulating.  She tried to wipe it away, but it burnt like acid.  She watched her hands bubble a bit.  Her tendons were moving under her skin and intrigued her.  They told her they were feeling claustrophobic encased in the skin, and she wept for them.  They had to be set free.  The scalpel cut through her skin so very easily, and she gently pulled away the skin to free her poor hand.  It deserved better than imprisonment after such painfully long service.  But now her hand was also bleeding, and wherever blood from her hand mixed with blood from the wall it was turned into beautiful white and purple flowers.  She giggled, and began to mix blood from her hand with blood from the wall in a bucket.  She would flush it down the toilet so that the flowers would spread through the pipes.  When the flowers came to the sewage plant, they would feast upon the waste and the water, and they would grow long and delicate limbs.  They would take over the world and cover it with their vine-like limbs.

From outside the walls she could hear the foxes and raccoons.  They were fighting each other for food and pelt, and they sang in their pain.

Won’t you please give me your hide?  I want to hide inside, inside.  Won’t you please give me your meat?  I want food to eat, to eat.

She put a transparent rubber glove on her skinless hand.  It was happy with that, because now it could still see out through the rubber and study the air around it.  She smiled at it, and they joined in for the refrain.  The foxes and raccoons were dancing out in the night, singing for her.

Your heart has caught me in its trap.  Can I die in your soft lap?  Will you give me flour of lead?  If you do, I’ll bake you bread.

The kitchen looked unfamiliar, and for a moment every darkened window was like a door to the darkness in her head.  She saw herself hovering in the darkness, and she screamed for her mother.

Such a beautiful neck, dear goose.  Will you please lend it to my noose?  I have made it just for you.  Made of bracken and covered with dew.

The light bulb went out with a bang and showered her with glass.  They tinkled just like stars and pierced her skin like meteorites, leaving small craters in the landscape of her skin.  It tickled.

Outside the walls the fox overpowered the raccoon.  The night sang.  The fluttering was back around her head and she felt dizzy.  Laying down in the darkness, she was back on the gravel.  It shifted beneath her weight, and she closed her eyes to separate the darkness outside from the darkness within.  She could hear the maggots now.  They were closing in.  They wanted their wings so that they could fly to heaven.  They also wanted to meet God.  Only he could mend their roasted, burst bodies.  He would make them soup and sing them to sleep.

Outside the night was singing.  Softly, silently.  The trees whispered, and the wood in the walls joined in.  The maggots and larvae and worms were over her now like a blanket.  Like a blanket would be if it had hundreds of legs.  They were chasing the wings fluttering around her head.  They were chasing the wings, but they could not jump.  The wings eluded them.  She laughed and laughed and laughed and then passed out.  Perhaps in the morning her mother would wake her up again, with the screaming and crying from the frying pan and her cheerful singing.

She would capture the maggots, and put their squirming bodies in the pan.

I want to tell you a story, my dears.  I will whisper it in your cut-off ears.  There has never beaten a heart that was true.  Never in me, never in you…

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