exceedingly eager or avid:
voracious readers; a voracious collector.
I kind of want to make it like an allegory for addiction and also why people have little control of themselves…I don’t know, it’s sort of (really) a mess right now. Here’s the first chapter.
Chapter I And they all sat at the table, the king at the head, and queen at the other end. The ladies sat to the sides, waiting. He was about to speak, but he got a chunk of pork stuck in his throat. This caused his face to freeze up in a constipated fashion. He started to gag and one of the servants had to rush over and do the Heimlich maneuver on him. After the unbearable silence that followed his phlegm filled gags, he cleared his throat. “Today is not just another day,” the king spoke. Some of the royal ladies nodded in approval, and the lords stared in anticipation. He was very dramatic, to the point where it would have been humorous if any of the royal people had a sense of humor. Mabel poked at her steak. Didn’t he say that everyday? It was february twenty third. It was just another day. Another day in the most depressing, lugubrious month of the whole winter. Why was it always steak? Couldn’t the butchers find something else to kill? She hated steak. Especially this one. She pretended to eat it, but secretly dropped it in her lap and wrapped it up in an overly embroidered napkin. No one was looking at her anyways, so nobody could tell her she was being unlady like. She knew she was, but how else was she supposed to properly dispose of the steak? She would bring it down to the village and hand it out to some of the poorer folks that night. No reason to waste food. Even if it was nasty steak. The king got pork, the queen got beef, why was she forced to endure the steak? First world problems. Nobody would expect her to refuse food, since she was such a thick, round faced maiden. They wouldn’t question what she was eating, they probably assumed she was hoarding steak for herself, much less for the village folk. She always used this to her advantage. “Tonight my eldest son will leave us to join the royal boarding school in the west. This had been a long time coming, but this meager kingdom cannot provide him with the education he so rightly deserves.” A very haughty looking man stood up, dressed like he was going somewhere important. He wore a burned out purple tunic and had ridiculously curly hair that he constantly had to sweep out of his face with dramatic neck movements. Brycen, the prince, the king’s oldest and most superficial offspring. Mabel chewed some spinach. Mmm. That nasty boy would finally be leaving the castle. She knew it was coming, but she had assumed it would be much later in the month. Why start school in late february? But she was delighted, nonetheless. No more Brycen the smooth faced man baby to pester her about her eating habits or tell her to go fetch things for him. She would not have to listen to him complain about how hairy certain woman were when he resembled a naked mole rat with a afro. One time he had told her to shave her legs more often, and she replied with, “Why, so you can collect the hair and glue it to your face?” He had no response for this. She grinned at her steak filled lap as they talked about the details of his departure. “I’m honored to finally join people of my real class,” He said slyly. Of course, he was suggesting that the people he grew up with were not good enough, that he was better than all of them. Mabel snorted. He narrowed his eyes at her. “Have something to say, little piggy?” He always had some nickname to call her, but she also always had some nickname to call him so they usually came to an equilibrium when engaging in insults. Her favorite name to call him was Bubba. He hated being called Bubba. The woman looked shocked at this comment, and they all turned to look at her. Her fork stopped midair, her mouth wide open. She laughed. “I didn’t say anything. Just listening to you degrade us, is all.” The king coughed. “You were not asked to speak.” “Sorry, man. He was indirectly insulting you though, and he kind of did ask me a question.” she said. Of course everyone sputtered, as if this was the most unbelievable notion and she was an insolent child. Royal people were always sputtering at rebellious teenagers. She often found this to be a true and common occurrence in the musty old castle. For some reason Brycen was a favorite among the woman, although she couldn’t understand why. He reminded her of a squid, or a really skinny octopus. Yeah, that was it. The king sighed loudly. “It doesn’t matter. Brycen will leave tonight, so we’ll all be having a three course dessert to celebrate.” The candlelight provided by the hanging chandelier flickered and sent a warm glow across her face. Dessert, of course. To celebrate. She took a deep breath as Brycen smirked. Oh, she would have the last laugh. She always did. The servants came and took away all of the dishes, many of them still holding most of the things they started out with. Royal woman were so obsessed with their bodies. Mabel didn’t understand it. They would look better to her if they had some meat on them, but then that was just her opinion. After everything was cleared away, rich pound cakes and pastries were brought out decked in fluffy frosting and whipped cream. Deep dark chocolates and creamy vanillas stood out to her. Puddings swirled and topped with strawberries and granola. Glazed treats drizzled in lemon icing. She licked her lips. To everyone else in the room, she was just a hungry girl. She was so much more than that. The lights were dim and almost eerie, and she felt anticipation building up inside of her. Just a minute or so more, just a minute more… Finally she could dig in. As the desserts were served, she ate until she felt sick and then she excused herself to go to her room. Everyone else laughed and stuffed themselves, but everything was Brycen this, Brycen that. The conversation centered around his new education, the new life he was building for himself. Who he would meet and what he would become.They were all in high spirits, but it annoyed her enough to cause her to slip away. She made sure to carefully roll up the napkin on her thigh, securing the discarded meat. It bulged in her skirt pocket, a fairly indiscreet way to carry it. She closed the great dining room door behind her softly, tiptoeing away. Burping, she made her way down the long hall that stretched on and on and opened up into separate chambers. Her kingdom was not an especially rich one. Actually, it was the third poorest kingdom in all of . You could tell just by walking down the halls. The floor was carpeted with a long, maroon rug that was faded and ripped from years of wear. The ceiling dripped and cracked, the stones were crumbling. It was not a large castle, but it fit all of the king’s children and his step brother, who was Mabel’s dad. She wasn’t exactly royalty, but she wasn’t exactly a normal citizen either. She was the daughter of the king’s step brother, whatever that made her. The king’s step niece? Ugly portraits hung on the walls, all of old men and awkward woman. The frames were made of some cheap material that became water damaged over the years. When she was younger she was afraid of some of the faces in the frames, they were so strange to her. Now she felt sorry for them. They seemed like oddballs. She could relate to that. Mabel wandered down deeper into the basement of the castle, where the catacombs were. No one ever went down there. That was where the old dungeons and the old tunnels were. They were outdated and considered unsafe. So basically the places where she spent most of her time. She grabbed a torch from one of the walls as she went deeper down. It was colder and darker down there, and the silence was different. It seemed to hold some kind of secret. She could feel her stomach churning and her heart rate picking up. She smiled. It was happening. She stood in the catacombs, closing her eyes and holding a torch to the ceiling. The orange flame lit up a small area around her, revealing dark, chiseled blocks of stone in the walls and metal bars. Everything was dingy and cold, but her plump form radiated heat. It radiated energy and magic. Her blood was circulating, pulsing, filling her up. She could feel it in her fingertips and in her ankles. She could feel her heart beating in her cheeks, her pulse exploding in so many different cells, awakening her senses. She opened her eyes. She was ready now. She used the catacombs to leave the castle, picking up speed. She rushed out into the night knowing in her heart that the streets were at her command. No one could stop her now. Her body had changed. She looked the same on the outside, but her insides had enlarged. She opened her mouth and gulped down two trees and a few potted plants. She munched on stone walls and park benches, she ate street signs and horse drawn carriages. Everything in her reach was consumed. Her mind was racing. She was growing, expanding, changing… She was alive now. She climbed back into the castle through a window after her night raid and stripped down to her slip. She untied the intricate bun she had done for the “special” dinner, letting it flow like a waterfall on her half naked body. Her hair was very long, cascading down her back and clinging to her waist. She would’ve chopped it all off and shaved her head short like those knight girls in other kingdoms did, but she was afraid her face was too round and her cheeks too puffy for that. Besides, she hadn’t cut it for over four years. She had grown attached to it. She carried her little oil lamp over by her night stand and sat in her sheets. Brycen was actually leaving. He was going to be gone by the morning. She laid back in the soft cotton cloud, enveloped in fabric. Tomorrow would be a great day, she knew it. She couldn’t wait. Soon her eyelashes touched her cheeks and she was sent into the world of dreams. She jolted out of that world as someone cracked open the door. She had eaten enough of the palace to understand and know every movement, and what was happening in every room. Someone was twisting the door knob slowly. Sitting up, she stared at it, trying to sense who it was. Her sense didn’t make sense. Why was he coming into her room at this hour? Why was he coming to her room at all? “Mabel,” Brycen said. She grunted. “What do you want? You woke me up!” “I’m leaving now. I wanted to say goodbye.” “Bye,” she said before diving back under her covers. Why did he care about saying goodbye? She waited under the sheets, hoping his sense would disappear from the room so she could go back to sleep. It did not. He was still standing in the doorway. What did he want? Was he making fun of her again, or did he place a spider under her pillow as a farewell token? Maybe he was waiting for it to crawl on her face so he could have the last laugh. Whatever it was, he wasn’t budging from her room. She sat back up. “Are you going to go?” He nodded. “Yeah, in a few minutes.” She raised an eyebrow at him, right before he walked over to her bedside table and place something by her lamp. “It’s over now.” He said. “What are you talking about?” That was odd. She wanted to zap him away. She looked over to see a tiny stuffed horse. As soon as she turned around to look at him, he was gone. She blinked. She examined the toy, feeling an air of familiarity that she couldn’t quite place. She couldn’t remember exactly where she had seen it, or what it had meant. All she knew was that suddenly her heart ached and she was longing to go back to the past. She was longing to be a child again. She tossed the horse across the foot of her bed, letting it fall onto the stone floor. Whatever. She wasn’t about to feel. This would undermine her whole night raid. She wasn’t going to let an emotion dwindle her magic. Morning came and light bled in through her windows, warming her face. Already? The night hours always passed by so quickly, slipping past her like sand in the wind. Her feet touched the icy floor and set shivers up her legs as she got out of bed. She put on a long orange sweater that went down to her knees, not bothering to fully change. She was still hungry. The dining hall was less crowded, as not everyone ate together for breakfast. At that moment, it was only her father. She sat down and yawned like a cat, stretching up in folds of knit. He was eating a poached egg. This caught her attention. She loved eggs. “Hey, Mildred, can I get one of those?” She asked one of the servants. She nodded, disappearing into the kitchen. Her dad stared at her. He looked like he had something to say, but the only movement from his mouth came from his chewing. Mabel scratched her eyelid and then her scalp. She blew her hair out of her face and spit. Her bare calves swung under her chair. “You seem very restless,” her father finally commented. “Why do you say that?” Mabel shifted in her seat. He raised an eyebrow. I thought you would be happy. Brycen’s gone, and you have the weekend to yourself.” Although this was all true, Mabel felt like it wasn’t real. Any moment Brycen would walk back in and her spirits would sink. She wasn’t really upset, just fidgety. She always got this way after consuming large quantities of landscape and vehicles and such. She could feel the energy in her body building up, and releasing. She needed to let it out somehow or it would all sink to her feet and get stuck there. “I’m fine, just feel like going out in the fields today for some exercise.” Her father nodded in approval. She honestly wasn’t all that big, just a bit chubby in the hip and thigh area. And everywhere else, but she actually really liked her body. She felt like she had weight in fairly okay places, proportioning her out. People seemed to be pleased whenever she said she was going to “go exercise”, so she used this as a cover. It really amused her how effective this could be. Mildred brought out her poached egg which she inhaled ravenously. She burped after, comfortable enough to do it in front of her father. She wouldn’t have done that if the rest of the court was there. Maybe she would have. They already seemed to disapprove of her enough, and at that point she was just messing with them. He made a face at her, but it wasn’t one of disgust. It was simply a face showing slight annoyance. Mabel grinned ear to ear, slumping back in her chair. He cleared his throat and looked at her, and then the ground. He repeated this several times, creating an awkward silence. He looked guilty. Mabel knew how to sense guilt in a person, especially when she knew them as well as she knew her dad. He didn’t hide it very well either. She let out a sigh. “Okay, what is it?” He blinked. “What…what do you mean?” “I know you have something to tell me.” He hesitated. “Well, yes. I’m afraid it’s about Brycen’s school.” She knew it. He probably already got expelled, before he could even attend classes. Maybe he annoyed his roommate so much that he threw him out the window. She knew it was too good to be true. “You mean he’s not going there?” He shook his head. “No, he’s still there.” “Was there a fire of something?” “No no nothing like that. Everyone is safe.” “What is it then?” Her dad had this habit of taking a while to get to the point. He stuttered for a moment, searching for his words. “The boarding school…this boarding school, it’s his school, but now…” “What?” “It’s yours too,” He finally said. “How so?” “Mabel, I’m trying to make this as clear as possible. You’ll be joining Brycen.” She blinked. She didn’t understand. She did all her schooling within the castle walls, she had a private tutor who taught her whenever she was in the mood to learn. She didn’t “do” actual school. It just wasn’t for her. Her father had agreed that tutoring was the best option, that she would never have to set foot in a brick and mortar school building. “Are you saying you want me to go to his school? Because I don’t want to. And there’s no reason to.” “What I’m saying is you’re already going, tonight.” This announcement was completely out of nowhere. She couldn’t help but feel more than a little betrayed, after her father let her have that celebration dinner just to ship her off to another kingdom. What did this mean? Had her attitude finally gotten on the king’s last nerve? Was this a punishment? Why was he doing this to her? Why so little warning? She felt her magic firing up in her veins, a sudden flash of darkness sweeping across her face. She stood up from her seat, her head down. “Look, I didn’t want to, but things are getting out of hand and you know it. People are starting to talk!” Mabel sputtered in disgust. “Oh, dear me, people are talking? About me? However will I deal with this tragedy, this injustice…” Her father huffed. “Maybe you don’t care, but how are people going to react when they know that the beast that has been ravaging the countryside is a royal lady? That you are not a regular person?” She knew people didn’t think she was regular, because she wasn’t. She had no indication of hiding it, but her powers were something she hoped no one would be able to connect directly back to her. Apparently some people could, and somehow it was endangering her. She couldn’t help it, she had instincts, her body needed fuel, her emotions needed substance to draw upon. It wasn’t her fault. “I know I need to be more careful, but how is cramming me in a building full of spoiled brats going to hide me? I grew up here, I feel safe here. How do you think this is going to affect me? I could kill someone, dad! I could end up killing everyone, and then what would people say, huh?” “Look, you need to take a breath. Just listen to me.” “You thought it was a good idea to warn me about this the morning of? You thought you could get away with tricking me like this?” Her fist slammed down, the jolt causing her teacup to spill over on the tablecloth. A nervous sweat appeared on her father’s forehead. He tugged at his collar. “There’s no need to get upset. Just calm-” “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” A cloud of negative energy was gathering around her. Come on, calm down, just…just…stop. Stop. Stop this, she pleaded with herself. Her powers had already taken over, her emotions were too strong at that point to go back. She sprung into action. Her hair was suddenly alive, moving around like flailing octopus limbs in the air. She wasn’t in control of her body anymore. “MABEL! Stop it! Let me explain, please!” “No,” she whispered. She was growing now, her eyes turning white and suddenly the dining table had snapped in half. She stepped on it. China and half eaten eggs crashed to the floor, shattering. She ripped the table cloth in her hands. Her father crawled out from under it, scrambling out of the room. “She’s gone rabid! Get me the serum!”