((Rhory Anne Broderick continued from Just Like a Hangover, But Without All the Fun))
It only took a few hours for her to run out of metaphors to hide behind.
She crumbled against a tree again, empty-breathed. It hadnt been a run for miles now. More desperate verticality. Away from the ground, away from anything, all she wanted. Even the ground sickened now. It was nothing but layers of bedded spoiled meat. She still saw a mound of sliced fat in her back vision. Not a mound but a body. Not a body but compost. All blood and rot. She was going to be that or maybe she already was. Something in her had collapsed, she felt, but maybe really it just decayed. She remembered the sick little bloodhand and wondered if she was still alive. She hoped she was smothered, down under her own waste creation. More to rot.
She was crying again, she realized, and clutching her knees at the tree base. It heightened her disgust. She would vomit at her own vileness if she hadnt so much already. Maybe she had been bold once, she thought, but she was just a corroded frame now. She would trade her soul for a new spine. Shed trade her meat for one. Bones broke too but at least they left a trace. She would just spoil and bubble away. All meat but no real substance. No consequence. Would she make the same sounds?
She tried to wipe the meat from her head but it was too caught in, too vitally linked to her insides like a new organ. Blood rushed through it and changed all its courses. She knew where she was now. She felt it on her neck clearly. In her hand, too, sharp and deadly cutlery. It was an unappetizing meal to face. But she couldnt ignore the hunger. She needed to live so, so badly. Even her cigarette-burned lungs called out for it. She could not become an it. A rotting sack of juices. It was all too horrible but she couldnt force it out. Goddamnit fuck. The tears and gasps came harder.
It spewed on like this on and on and on and on until finally (or maybe just suddenly) it was dark again. She only really realized it had even been light once it was pitch like this. Between the body and the bodycount from what had probably been morning nothing really seemed light. But now her vision was gone and her terror tenfold. There had been voices and screams and godawful noises all dark day but she carefully avoided them. Here in the real dark they could move. They could always be behind her. She tried to cry again but she really was dry. In all senses. She knew there was water in her bag but she didnt dare reach for it. The slightest move would make her vulnerable without a tree for a spine. Finally, her body cried out for it loudly and she caved. Her bracelet clattered against the insides of the bag like a dinner bell as she grabbed for the bottle. Fresh meat, come and get it. She was sure shed become a vegetarian. That made her a primary consumer, she supposed. It was a thought entirely without humor.
She swallowed the water down. She breathed.
It made it a little easier to think.
She pushed the grisly picture of the mine under the rest of her thoughts. It was doing her no good. She knew how real the danger was now and she needed to focus. Being invisible had worked for her so far, but in reality it was a skill she lacked. She would get claws in her back, she knew, and still had no spine to protect her. She thought of Erik and Ethan. They were always her backbone. Now they were just prepackaged meat. She decided not to think of them. It was a jinx to think of them, as if thinking their names would make those awful speaker parrot them. She thought of Coffee Boy, and she thought of Kurt. She thought of her parents and Erika and that last fight she had with her sister before she left. She thought of Señora, just a thought now herself. She thought of the red girl. She thought of compost.
She decided it was time to stop thinking.
It was dead air for several minutes. It was cold. She focused on that. She pulled her denim in. Even her tits were freezing. She rubbed her arms but couldnt prevent a chill. She was exhausted but the cold made her restless. She needed to move. She carefully wiped her face with her sleeve and silently thanked herself for not putting on much make-up. It took several more minutes to lift herself. It felt like some support was gone, like something had exhausted or atrophied. Maybe she really had lost her spine.
She made one last offer for it. Soul, meat, anything, as long as she could stand. There was no answer.
So she went off in search of more meat.
((Rhory Anne Broderick continued by Ella in Still Going Strong))