Title: Meek (1/1)
Summary: M'Lee is born into a dying people.
Spoilers: Bone to be Wild
Distribution: If you want, take.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Date: April 5, 2002
She is soft-boned at birth, squealing and screeching in her hunger. She is held carefully as she is brought to rest upon her mother. Calcium production has increased in her mother's body during the time she has sheltered M'Lee within the rounded walls of her own bone. M'Lee eats of her mother's body, mindless in her hunger, hardly hearing the soft sighs above her.
She eats enough to harden her bones and trap life within her. She is pulled away before she is ready, still making hunger-noises. M'Lee will live with this hunger always, never full enough, always feeling hunger edging around her. Her mouth is still moving, chewing air, and the earliest memories she holds are of hunger and small animals being pressed into her curling hands so that she can press her mouth to life-warmed fur and tear and crack her way towards bone.
M'Lee is born into a dying people. They were brought to this place to eat and eat and die, and this is what they have done, this is what they do now, always. Her people have not been wise in their hunger, and they have sucked and cracked at bones, they have left skins rotting atop the roots that stretch the length of this never-to-be home. Father's fingers skate over her darkening head-bulbs, and he knows stories about this world when it was a feast, when there were creatures big enough and plenty enough to feed dozens. M'Lee shudders and whines and all she can see are trees stretching above her, crushing them all.
She grows, and the sound of rustling in the underbrush and cries in the darkness are less and less. They spend their lives hunting, moving over and under and around roots, branches, bushes. Something small and grey flicks across the edges of M'Lee's vision. It plucks at berries that are nothing to M'Lee and she is quick and silent because to wail her hunger would to be to die of it. She crouches behind a tree fat with life as she is not, and this creature is smaller than her hand.
Her brother comes, hunger-red in the tree-cast shadows. M'Lee hides and curls over small bones and larger and larger hunger. She sinks her fingers into her small feast, and barely waits for its death-squeal to end before she tears bone free of wet flesh and fur. K'Ree is calling her, louder now, desperate, and he can smell fresh kill through the cloying scent of earth and vegetation. M'Lee eats fast and there is nothing but skin when he finds her crouched between thick roots and pushes her to the tree's trunk and bares pointed teeth at her as he wails his hunger-rage.
This brother has held her and played with her and taught her to hunt. M'Lee sucks at the inside of her cheeks, still feeling, still tasting, and she does not care.
The air tastes of leaves, grass, bark. It tastes of slow starvation and they screech their despair and turn inwards. Barely thinking, hunger in their bellies swallows love and they devour their own. M'Lee cries the first time, but she has already begun, she is already a monster and she can not stop now. She remembers the death cries of small creatures, but does not know if her own cry out. She can not hear anything but the hunger-whine in her head and the crack of bone. Can't not eat, can't stop, and clever enough to kill, never enough to save themselves, she eats until she is alone.
She thinks the aloneness is worse than the hunger until hunger rises again. She misses the sound of voices, laughter and music, her mother's eyes and her father's careful hands. Hungry again, she misses the size of her people, the scent and taste of them and how they filled her belly--and she has no room for disgust, guilt, loss--and they had all done the same, all knew, all wanted to survive.
Trees as tall as the sky waver and rustle and watch her die a bit at a time and she sucks at her own fingers and feels the bump of bone beneath her flesh. She hates the smell of vegetation, rich and thick and it crowds into her head and chases her into sleep. She imagines moss covering her body, being sucked into the earth, roots sinking into her body and drinking of her death. She doubts in her own sanity.
When they come, these people who brought her kind to this place to eat themselves to death, it is all M'Lee can do not to fall upon them, mouth wide. They keep her with them, sweep caves free of the rotting remains of her dead. She is quiet and watchful and nearly chokes on her own hunger as she waits. M'Lee has seen this world dead but for herself and plants, and she will be wise now. She can be clever, she will learn, because she knows this twisting need too well, had done too much to soothe it, and she will not die.
She thinks of filling herself, and the thought it wonderful.
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