here i present to you a short story. does it have a secret meaning?
there once was a young girl who had gotten lost and found herself in a village.
she was twelve years old and emaciated. all her bones were showing. but apparently the hunger was not only her own.
according to the authorities, the problems of starvation had spread throughout the entire surrounding area. there had been a drought the previous year and multiple forest and crop fires.
no way out of the village. no way in.
the little girl had simply wandered in amidst the dusty, hot loneliness of this place. but now she was trapped. her parents were somewhere across what used to be a great river. perhaps people were satiated there.
but she had no choice. she was stuck in this dirty village.
in the alleys at night she would cry as the hunger pangs overtook her body, and rarely did she ever manage to sleep.
she wondered why she was still alive and what meaning it held, if she had become completely useless.
eventually, she began to beg others for food. she had no choice.
the first man she approached had a fat belly and waddling arms. he didn’t look hungry.
she kindly asked for a small bite of bread, noticing the plethora of freshly baked goodness in the glass cupboard.
“sorry little girl. i only have enough food to last me a month. if you were more resourceful, you would too!”
she was sent away, belly grumbling.
she was so hungry in fact, she could barely hold her head up. her vision was a dark tunnel eventually meeting the real world. she would have rather the tunnel go somewhere else.
the next man she encountered was a shoemaker in his shop. something smelled delicious.
“sir, i know food is short, but i feel i am on the verge of dying. if you could spare one bite of food, i would be forever grateful.”
around the corner she could see his wife setting the table with an enormous meal.
“listen little girl, if i were to go around giving food away all day, where would i be? why, right where you are! i have no room in my life to worry about the likes of you:
he tossed her some strips of leather he had cut during the shoemaking process.
there was nothing appetizing about it. in her hunger her self-control had been lost. she dashed into the man’s kitchen and grabbed a chicken leg before the family knew what hit them.
she got away, but however, the shoemaker spread the word through the entire village that there was a disgusting little pig with no morals at all, who would steal your food without a second thought.
people became wary of her.
although she did enjoy the chicken leg.
that night she didn’t sleep for a differing reason. her stomach felt full of concrete as it hadn’t sampled real food in weeks.
for days she wandered aimlessly, swaying like a zombie. tripping and falling on every bump in the road. she stunk and was filthy, and could have passed for a wild animal. to the village people she was.
a fiend who would blatantly steal before your very eyes.
in reality, however, she was a desperate, starving child.
finally, a pregnant woman selling dusty produce from a stall actually spoke to her, and offered her a handful of spinach. it was delicious. even her stomach seemed to like it!
“can i have more please?”
“no. i’m sorry. i am selling this produce to save money so that i may have a grand wedding.”
“but i’m going to die soon if no one helps me!”
“that’s nonsense little one. you only want the food. you don’t need it. leave me be.”
tears poured down the little girl’s face as she fell into the dust and groveled. she pandered to what she hoped was there; the woman’s sense of motherliness, her compassion, and the blatant truth of her own dire straits.
otherwise, the girl had no thoughts. weeks ago she had died. only the driving instinct for nourishment kept her moving.
by some miracle the woman caved, and offered for the girl to stay in her home.
through the rest of the day she helped the woman sell her produce, and she wasn’t allowed one single bite. she didn’t take one. it seemed that that one bite of spinach invigorated her enough to maintain self-control.
after a long day, she went with the woman into her home: once living alone, now with company.
the woman spoke up:
“listen girl, i am providing a roof over your head and a way to regain your reputation in this town, but i cannot share my food with you. i have the baby to worry about. plus, i haven’t eaten in three hours and there’s only enough for one.”
dumbstruck, the girl crouched in a corner and cried. she cried as she smelled the soup simmering, the bread baking, the meat being chopped.
in desperation she began to eat dirt off the floor, and chew on the leather the shoemaker had given her. if only to put something in her stomach. anything!
the woman sat down to eat her meal.
“sad, sad girl, that’s disgusting! if you are going to behave in such a way, you cannot stay in my home.
“you may think i’m an evil hag, but i love children. i would give up my life for the children. and imagine, soon i will have one of my own!”
the girl’s hunger evolved into a primal rage. instinct buried beneath years of manners and rules and decency.
she walked to the table as the woman eyed her warily.
she picked up a small knife.
she stabbed the woman.
the woman had fulfilled her dream; to sacrifice her life for the children; for a child.
the girl quickly ate the meal that was on the table, consisting of venison stew and baked bread. it felt so warm in her stomach. she waited two hours and returned for seconds, and then methodically waited again. the enjoyment of food was such a pleasure to her, she never wanted to leave this night, despite the dead body hunched over the dining table.
morning came. the food was gone. the woman was stiff. the girl knew her own life was soon over. she would be charged for this crime and hanged, all because of hunger’s desperation.
she tasted the woman’s blood before she left the house, and as she approached the middle of the road, she announced with a scream at the top of her squeaky little lungs that she had killed, and was ready to face the consequences.
she was hanged on a Tuesday. hungry again, if it matters.
people had things to say about how lacking she was in decency, in kindness, in compassion.
meanwhile, as the girl slowly strangled, the tunnels in her eyes finally expanded into blackness.