Eating Away

19 4 10

After trials and errors, Octavia mastered the broom and dustpan. She used her hands, at first, to pick up big pieces of food but abandoned this method once she cut her fingers on the glass. Hatchette was unsympathetic and gave her nothing for her injuries until she was finished cleaning. Then, Octavia was given bandages and a small amount of alcohol to tend to her wounds - something she learned to do from dramas she watched on the Net. She suppressed screams as the alcohol set the wounds on her hands and ankle on fire. With gritted teeth, she proceeded to bandage her hands and rebandage her ankle. Hatchette watched unamused over Octavia the entire time.

The supplies were all returned to Hatchette and Marque. Marque volunteered to take care of everything. Hatchette keeps sharp eyes outside of the cell in his absence.

Octavia is glad Hatchette keeps her attention outside of the cell so she cannot see Octavia's pained expression. Her stomach growls. The empty turning in her stomach aches. Her mouth and throat are drying out. Suppressed screams seemed to crack and burn them more. Her hands still faintly buzz from their contact with the alcohol. The bandage might be done too tight, but she is too exhausted to move from the bunk. Her arms and legs weigh more than ever. The events of today catch up with Octavia's body, and she has no food or water to help it recover. She won't until the day after tomorrow. And this length of time is already longer than any time in the past she has gone without food.

Heaviness lurks in her brow. One thing not taken from her is sleep. She hopes to sleep this foodless time away.

Octavia wakes with jitters. Her mind instantly goes to food and is tortured by the fact she can't obtain any. She instinctively wants to walk to the fridge in her house and grab something - smooth strawberry yogurt, crunchy carrot sticks, bitter-sweet German chocolate cake... All these things she can taste and vividly see in the fridge but can't reach it. The urge hits her again to run to the sink and stick her face under it, but turning it on earlier, there was not a drop to come out. Sandpaper and cotton sensations coat her mouth down her throat - all sealed will cracked, splitting lips. A feeling she could get no relief for until tomorrow.

Another growl from her stomach reaps a groan from her. Her throat doesn't appreciate it.

"Are you that miserable?" Hatchette says.

Octavia doesn't respond. She rolls over on her bunk.

"Ya really are a spoiled princess, y'know?" Hatchette speaks without looking at Octavia. "Wastin' food rations we don't have to give to you brats. Acting like ya haven't eaten in weeks when it's maybe been a day. There're those in your picture-perfect country who go days, weeks without real food. Clean water, too. Some here feel that too since your folks love depriving the underprivileged beyond their borders."

"That's not true," Octavia says.

"Oh? Enlighten me," Hatchette says.

"We have programs to help those in need. Poverty levels continue to drop."

Hatchette laughs. "Oh, I'm sure they do drop. I'm sure."

Octavia wanted to question the meaning and tone of Hatchette's statement, but she was too tired to argue. Despite having slept, she is still tired but can't sleep anymore. She stares at the blank wall and imagines foods and drinks alleviating her growing misery.

The rest of the day drags on. Octavia does her best to conserve energy and keep her mind distracted. Marque eventually returns and continues to display his discomfort around Hatchette. Octavia watches them for awhile, trying to get amusement from Marque's discomfort but bores of it. She takes to scraping rust off the ankle chain, counting scratches in the bunks, making pictures in her mind out of the scratches, and daydreaming. Turbulent sleep comes and goes during the time between events. When night falls, she can't sleep and sees the guards switch out for the first time. Marque and Hatchette are replaced by two men who spare her a glance and show brief surprise at her being awake but take their place and pay no mind to her the rest of the time. She soon continues her bouts of falling in and out of sleep.

ShardsWhere stories live. Discover now