The prompt for The Red Dress Club this week is gluttony, and so I continue Sarah's story. The closest thing you'll find to where Sarah is right now is from the first piece I wrote on her story, which you can find HERE. There are plenty of happenings between now and then, but you'll have to use your own imagination until I get around to writing them down! Critique is welcomed.
It was four days since Sarah had torched the cabin with Granny Rose’s carefully washed body eternally resting inside. On the move since then, she’d spent the days walking, avoiding the little towns in the hollows and staying up on the ridges of the Appalachian mountains. Her feet, already well-calloused, were toughening up even more, and soon they would no longer feel the brutal wear of twelve hour walking days. Oh, Sarah had a pair of shoes. But when she’d tried them on, they were too small and pinched, and she liked her toes to breathe anyhow. She could’ve taken Granny Rose’s boots, but somehow she couldn’t bring herself to do so.
Spring was in the mountains, and the trees provided canopies of green protection from the sun. A few thunderstorms had rolled through, but Sarah didn’t mind getting wet. She had Granny Rose’s good shawl, which was thick and warm. The biggest challenge had been food. Sarah was no stranger to foraging for food in the woods, but there were no nuts to be found this time of year, and it was a bit early for berries, but already past the morels. She’d found some tubers and some ramps, but she was hungry most of the time. She forced herself to embrace the hunger like an old friend.
And so it was on the fourth day that she found herself getting shaky. She knew she was going to have to descend a bit to try to find a better food source, and she needed water too. The last stream she’d passed was yesterday morning. She began making her way down, figuring she’d covered at least 40 miles since leaving the cabin. Soon, she’d be out of the territory of Preacher Robbins and she’d be able to breathe a little easier.
The ground was rocky, and several times she started to slide downward, catching her fall with her wrists, which were now covered in a hatching of bloody scrape marks. Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes, and she hated feeling so alone, here in the woods so far from home, with no living relatives. She knew she had to keep pushing, though, so she fought those feelings, pushed them down, and continued walking. It was then that she sniffed the air and smelled something sweeter. Just a touch of sweet and sour hit her nose. Pausing, she looked around, and spotted the raspberry bushes to the right.
They weren’t ripe yet. Sarah knew that. But her stomach grumbled angrily, and she figured there wasn’t any other choice. The first one was so tart that she felt a cramped burn across her jaw and up to her ears as she chewed and swallowed. After so many hours without food, the tartness felt good, and she greedily began picking berry after berry. A few she didn’t even bother to chew, just swallowed whole, in a pathetic attempt to fill up her shriveled stomach. She picked the bush raw, leaving it naked and exposed. Then she wiped her mouth with the back of her arm, stood, and started walking down again. She needed water.
It wasn’t 30 minutes later when she started feeling the cramps. Her stomach gurgled. Soon, she couldn’t even walk. She laid on the moist dirt, curled up as pains raked across her midsection. Moaning, turning, she couldn’t find an escape from her boiling intestines. Her head swam with it, and sweat ran down her face as she rocked on her heels over and over, letting forth a fury from her bowels that left her weak and shaking. By nightfall, she’d collapsed in her own filth, passed out in her soiled, ragged dress, the moon caressing her forehead in the only comfort to come that night.