30 stories, 30 days

Day 21, story twenty-one: The Hunger

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Day 21

The Hunger

She licked the grease, salt and pork juice from her fingers and asked for more. Her mother said no, that is enough for you, and she lunged forward and grabbed more from the pan anyway.

She read every comic book that she could find in the library, then she worked her way through the children’s storybooks, then the adult fiction, then the non-fiction, biographies, dictionaries and atlases.

She drank a bottle of milk, cool, clean and mild, then another, and another.

She watched the first series, then the next and the next and the next, until she had seen them all. Then she started a new series, and watched them until they were finished as well.

She listened to the first album, then the second, then the third, fourth, fifth, all of them until she heard everything ever written, played or sung by that artist.

She licked the ice cream away before it could melt, then bought another with five scoops, nuts, chocolate and a wafer and ate that as well.

She consumed, taking in in gluttonous measures, but still always hungry, hungry, hungry.

People she met asked how she stayed so thin, and people who knew her marvelled that she was never full.

She began to wonder, to worry that something was wrong, so she went to a doctor.

‘There is nothing wrong with you; you just have a big appetite and a fast metabolism. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and you’ll be fine.’

She consulted a psychologist.

‘I can only help you find an answer that you already have inside you.’

Finally, in desperation, she visited a psychic, an empath.

‘There is a hunger inside of you. It is consuming everything in its path, everything you can give it. One day it will consume you, and then your home, and then the whole world.’

As the psychic spoke she had a vision of herself, outlined in stark flat red, black and white. An outline of herself ate, read, watched and listened, and inside her everything disappeared into a swirling black hole. The hole grew and grew, becoming larger as she consumed more, and soon it grew over her, her body disappearing into it. Then it consumed her house, her family, her town, her country. The whole world became a swirling black hole of nothingness; her hunger consumed everything she had ever known.

The psychic brought her back, saying ‘You will consume yourself and everyone else into oblivion unless you learn to redirect your consumption. Right now you take all in, but you do not produce anything. Learn to create, and then your consumption will not be consumption, merely a redirection of cells, light, sound and energy.’


So she learned to create. She took classes in everything imaginable: pottery, painting, flower arranging, public art, writing, music, cooking, landscaping, illustrating, shadow puppetry, regular puppetry, gardening, fireworks, dancing, acting, blacksmithing, haberdashery, sculpture, sewing, graphic design, translation, poetry, candle-making, sky writing, ink drawings, mandalas, sand art, macramé, architecture, paper dolls, toy making, origami, carving and quilting. She created more than anyone ever had before, and gradually the black hole diminished. What she consumed was redirected into the things she created, and she found balance between what was within her and what was without her.

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