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Jogger's Trail the Story (Part 9)

The Fifth Peril: Gluttony

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 12 min read
10
Jogger's Trail the Story (Part 9)
Photo by Constantinos Kollias on Unsplash

This is Part 9, for previous installments click below:

Jogger's Trail - Jogger's Trail the Story - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six - Part Seven - Part Eight

A cold empty feeling washes over me as we enter into the realm of Gluttony. My muscles feel weak and my stomach aches of emptiness. It grinds on itself with stabbing pain in my abdomen. But the sensation begins to fade as I watch the horizon around me change and my physical form too. Which holds a similar shape and size to what I already am, so I begin to focus on the landscape that slowly emerges.

My sandals slap against the cobblestone of the street as I find myself walking alongside a woman, our arms linked as she guides me along. Allowing her to steer me, I try to piece together where we are and possibly which era.

Listening to a few passers-by, I am unable to decipher anything they say.

The phrase “It’s all Greek to me” comes to mind and then it hits me. Looking down my clothes are made of a simple linen, arranged to look like the pictures I’ve seen in textbooks, like a tunic or toga. This confirms that I must be in ancient Greece.

Soon we exit the street and are among the crowd in a market. The exterior is lined with shops of all sorts and the inside holds carts of merchandise.

The young woman I inhabit grows increasingly more uncomfortable as we continue to walk. It’s a weird mixture of fatigue, nausea and bloat. Her stomach feels distended as though she ate too much, and her feet feel like lead as she leans against the woman alongside us for more guidance.

Until we stop just before a fruit stall, “We’ll try a few figs, thank you.” The woman beside us requests, accepting them when the owner of the stall hands her a few slices.

Watching her mannerisms and body language, I get the sense this woman is a motherly figure to the young woman I inhabit.

It takes everything in the young woman’s willpower not to lose her breakfast, watching her mother eat the fig. The juices run down her chin as she takes a second bite.

“Here,” She offers, holding it out to the young woman.

“No thank you,” the young woman I inhabit declines, trying to put a hand up to block it or push it away.

“Nonsense, you need it to keep up your strength.” She insists, shoving it into the young woman’s mouth.

The sweet flavour coats our palate but only aggravates our overfull stomach. The young woman chews it a few extra times before forcing herself to swallow.

“Well?” Her mother asks, expectantly.

“It’s good.” The young woman mumbles, sighing in discomfort.

“Perfect we’ll take six.” Her mother commands, pays and lets a servant collect the merchandise.

This happens a few more times as we visit other stalls, I feel the young woman I inhabit getting more uncomfortable. If that is even possible.

We become increasingly weak, bloated and sluggish, as she does her best to fight the oncoming food coma.

The young woman is all too happy when she realizes that her mother is steering us home. But still has to fight to remain alert and conscious, her vision blurs with delirium.

It becomes hard to remind myself that this isn’t my body or headspace, this is her reality and I’m just here to help her.

“Alright girl, let’s get a move on.” Madra’s voice interrupts my thoughts.

“I’m sorry?” I ask, confused by what she’s trying to say.

“Hurry up and take over so we can get out of here.” She clarifies.

“I’m not ready to, I need to see more. I think this is a little too obvious and it’s not quite in this girl's control like the other perils are.” I counter.

“It’s classic gluttony from overeating.” She argues, “What else could there be?”

“But she doesn’t want to overeat, her mother is forcing her. Maybe you can help the mother see what she’s doing to her daughter?” I ask, hoping Madra will be able to help.

“No, I can’t interfere with the other people. My job is only to guide you to help these people.” Madra answers, sounding increasingly annoyed.

“Then guide me on how to help the girl stand up to her mother,” I state, annoyed that Madra seems to be less than helpful in this realm. I wonder if I should have chosen a different Rellik after all.

“My advice is to take over and just do it for her.” She replies with dissatisfaction.

“That’s not what this is about. If I’ve learned anything about the perils, it’s that I can’t do it for someone. Only show them the error in their ways and help them make a better choice.” I explain in disbelief that I have to explain this to her.

But before she can answer, we arrive at the young woman’s home. Her mother starts ordering the servants around, requesting them to prepare lunch. She tells us to go rest and someone will come collect us when lunch is ready.

The young woman I inhabit waddles, sleepily to her quarters. Her eyes close for longer periods of time as she barely makes it to the bed.

Instantly she succumbs to the food coma, relief washing over her as she rests her head upon the pillow.

This is my chance to confront her, so I begin to paint a picture in her mind.

Looking through her eyes as I place the young woman in a seated position at the edge of a fountain in the village square. A breeze tousles her hair and the sound of water trickling in the fountain fills her ears.

“Can you hear me?” I call into the void.

“Who's there?” She asks, looking around for the source.

“I am a friend, and I am here to help you,” I reply in a soft voice.

“Where are you?” She asks, looking around more frantically.

“I am in your mind, you can’t see me,” I explain, waiting for her to settle.

“Why are you here?” She asks, biting her lips together nervously.

“As I said I want to help you,” I answer, continuing to speak softly in an attempt to soothe her.

“Help me with what?” She asks, less nervous but still unsettled.

“I’d like to help you find your voice, starting with standing up to your mother,” I explain.

“I’m not sure I can do that.” She admits, swallowing hard and bowing her head in shame.

“See she’s hopeless, just do it for her.” Madra chimes in with a tone of exasperation.

“I will help you. When you wake up I will still be with you and I can feed you the words to say.” I explain, “All you have to do is have the courage to do it and trust me.”

“Okay.” She agrees.

“Then it’s time to wake up,” I command and immediately the young woman opens her eyes just as a servant taps her on the shoulder and helps her get ready for lunch. Before entering the kitchen the young woman paused in hesitation.

“Are you sure I can do this?” She asks with uncertainty.

“Yes, I believe in you.” I try to reassure her, “All you need to do is tell the truth and be firm. If you believe in yourself, she will listen.” I explain.

“Okay,” she agrees again, walking in.

“There you are, Darling. Come and have a snack before lunch” Her mother beckons, getting to her feet and pulling her further into the room. Then offering a few small bites of food.

“This is your chance, you can do this.” I begin, “Just say no thank you and hold your ground.”

The young woman nods and repeats my words.

“Nonsense Dear, you’re just a bit peckish. Here, I’ll help you.” She offers, bringing the food to the young woman’s reluctant lips.

“Gently block it with your hand and repeat yourself,” I instruct.

The young woman does exactly as I say.

“What’s the matter with you?” Her mother asks, batting her hand away and trying to feed her again.

“Tell her you’re not hungry and stand up to give yourself space,” I say, nervous that her mother might win this battle.

But she does exactly as I ask, holding her breath nervously.

Placing the food back on the plate, “Then I’ll have someone bring you something to settle your stomach. I’m sure you’re nauseous from not eating in so long.” She replies, snapping her fingers to summon a servant.

A servant comes with a flute of something I don’t recognize and a pale they place at the girl's feet.

“What is that?” I ask her and she explains that it’s a drink to make her sick so that she won’t be so uncomfortable.

The young woman reaches for the flute and I tell her not to.

“Say thank you but you’d rather just go lay back down and rest,” I instruct.

“Thank you Mother but-“

“Hush child, mother knows best.” She coos, cutting the young woman off and pulling the young woman back into the chair alongside her. “Lunch is already made and we don’t want to waste it.” She explains, scooting over and sitting closer to the young woman. Cupping the back of her head in one hand and picking up the flute with another, bringing it to the young woman’s lips.

“Stand up, don’t let her force you,” I command urgently.

The young woman does exactly as I say and gets to her feet, spilling some of the drink on her mother.

“I’m sorry mother.” She moans in fear, grabbing a cloth and dabbing the spill.

“It’s alright dear. Here finish the drink and I’ll get changed.” Her mother replies, pushing the drink into her hand.

“Don’t do it. Dump it and leave.” I instruct.

The young woman waits until her mother is out of sight and does as I say. The moment she passes through the doorway to her quarters, Madra and I find ourselves walking through the veil and into the Hall of Perils.

We are met by a silence which Mendel brings to an end, “That was a weird one.” He comments, reeling in thought.

“Agreed, I wasn’t sure we’d get through to her,” I admit, turning to watch the veil change to grey and the image of the young woman appears.

“Maybe now is a good time for a break.” Nakos offers, placing a cold scaly hand on my shoulder. Before looking at Madra with a weary expression of suspicion.

Nodding, I agree and hobble over to the centre archway. Leaning against it, I ease myself to the floor with an exhausted sigh.

The room falls silent but soon is interrupted by Alaric passing through the original veil into the hall with the rest of us.

Jumping to my feet, I glare at him in bewilderment as the realization hits me.

“Where were you?” I ask in an accusing tone.

“The peril made me hungry so I grabbed a bite to eat.” He admits, wicking away a drop of what appeared to be blood from the side of his mouth.

“What?” I ask in disbelief.

“Watching the Peril made me hungry so I popped out to grab something to eat.” He repeats, giving his distended stomach a pat of satisfaction.

“Ignoring the fact that you just casually murdered someone because you were bored and hungry,” I say, turning away from Alaric. “You guys can pass through the original veil at will?” I ask, looking at Nakos with an expression of betrayal.

“It’s not what you think.” Mendel intervenes.

“We don’t have souls so we aren’t bound here like you are. We still need to complete the perils to get your soul back and free us from the curse.” He explains.

A sick feeling washes over me as I start to feel like the walls are closing in and I long to be home once more. I sink to my knees and feel the hope begin to drain from my mind, wondering why this had to be my fate. Even feeling envious of anyone who need not battle the perils, wishing to be anyone else in the world at this moment.

As if sensing my willpower weakening, Nakos settles beside me on the floor with a groan.

“I know this is hard and we are asking a lot of you. But this is something only you can do and only you can choose to do. I do not doubt that you are The Chosen One and that you will help us beat the perils, I only ask a little more of you now.” He explains with a sigh, “So it’s okay if you need a break and it’s okay if you have doubts. I have enough faith for the both of us and when you are ready we will take on the last two perils.”

I am moved by his words, his expression of faith in me is what pushes me to stand once more and seek out the next peril. Stopping only feet before my second last doorway, I admire its sage-green rippling veil.

“This one says, the green-eyed monster that leads to wrath and comes from greed.” Alaric reads, standing alongside me.

“Jealousy or Envy?” I ask, looking at my companion.

“I think so.” He agrees, “I’ll go with you.” He offers and the room falls silent.

It sounds like everyone is frozen and holding their breath, including myself.

“It’s my turn again,” he adds with an all too casual shrug.

We all continue to watch him in shock.

“In the words of the old man, this goes hand in hand with my previous sin.” He begins again. “When I was a newly appointed guardian angel there were so many rules and responsibilities I had to abide by. I envied the humans I was charged with protecting, their free will and lack of responsibility. Most of my humans never lived passed age ten under my watch. Because I was always shrugging off the responsibility of watching them, more interested in adventures of my own.”

“That would do it, yup.” I agree with a nod. “Are you ready then?” I ask, looking to Alaric who held a look of determination.

With a nod from him, the pair of us pass through the veil and into the realm of Envy.

Part Ten:

Young AdultMagical RealismFoodFictionFantasyCliffhangerAdventure
10

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for stopping by!! 💚💙💜🩵

If you are interested in longer works by me, I have two books published on Amazon.

Jogger's Trail and Fox in The Hole.

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (10)

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  • The Invisible Writer7 months ago

    Way to turn the tables. My favorite part was at the end back in the house of perils. I’m starting to question wether they can be trusted to hold their end of the bargain and set her free at the end or if the last peril will be a battle with them. Very good Donna can’t wait until I have time to read the next part.

  • ema7 months ago

    Gluttony would be too great an obstacle for me, I don't know if I would be able to pass this test!😂 I like how you chose to represent it because food is a gesture of love and comfort, but it can also turn into a means of control and dependence!

  • Mohammed Darasi7 months ago

    😂😂 I like the twist you had with this peril. My grandmother is usually like that, she always tries to feed us (out of love of course), but it was nice that you combined that with a timid personality to create the gluttony aspect. Nicely done Donna 😊

  • Alexander McEvoy7 months ago

    Wow I’ve known some people who had parents like that and they weren’t easy to break free from. I could really feel the nervousness and trepidation of the girl from Gluttony, beautifully done as always! 😇 And oh wow I share POV’s response to that one Rellik eating some random person. The casual nature of it was… disquieting

  • Oh my, that poor girl! I felt so nauseous seeing her mom trying to keep stuffing her with food! Also the mom wanted her to throw up so that she'd have more space in her stomach? That's crazy! I mean if you got so much money and food, feed the poor, woman! I'm so happy Tesha helped the girl stand up for herself. I wonder what was up with Madra in that realm. Craaaaazyyyyy 🤣🤣🤣 So the next one is Envy with Alaric. I guess I'm very similar to him in this. I don't think my kids would live pass the age of 5 if I was him 🤣🤣🤣 I enjoyed this part so much and I'm eagerly waiting for the next one!

  • Dana Crandell7 months ago

    Donna, your imagination is incredible. I'm kinda' sorry we'll be running out of perils! I'm gonna' stick my nose in again and suggest checking the difference between whose (possessive pronoun) and who's (contraction of who is).

  • Mark Gagnon7 months ago

    Only two perils to go! I liked that you made an overbearing mother the villain in this segment. She doesn't seem to realize what she's doing to her daughter. Well crafted. Two things you may want to check. In the beginning, you use guides me along and then steers me along. Possibly drop the second along. Further down you use increasingly in two sentences following each other. Looking forward to the next episode!

  • Naveedkk 7 months ago

    Excellent

  • J. S. Wade7 months ago

    Great episode. 😎

  • Thavien Yliaster7 months ago

    I thought I was about to get duped when it came to gluttony. When Madra was like, “Alright girl, let’s get a move on," and “Hurry up and take over so we can get out of here.” I thought this would be about overcoming Madra's gluttony cause she doesn't see the joy nor the glory in helping out somebody fulfill such a humbling, calming, existence. When it came to the young girl that Tesha was supposed to help I initially thought that the young girl was pregnant. My mom told me that "People think pregnant ladies eat a lot, and a lot of women get it wrong too. They're not meant to eat for two, and they don't eat a lot. They eat a little bit over a long time. Due to the baby taking up space and squishing their stomach, they eat smaller and smaller amounts over time, but they eat more continuously." Lowkey, I thought the young girl was dealing with morning sickness. When we got to the flute, I was like, "Oh sh*t, are they gonna play her a song to induce her vomiting? Are we dealing with bulimia?" I also thought that this would be gluttony about dealing with beauty and how the mom was gluttonous for attention and being viewed as the most beautiful woman in the household, so she's trying to fatten her daughter up. "Men may like many a form, but most will prefer an hourglass glass, pear, or fig in comparison to that of an apple." I just wanted to know the reason why the mom was constantly trying to shove food down the daughter's stomach. It felt like a weird version of Snow White and the apple, but for all of the wrong things. I had my own journey with gluttony when I was on a calorie deficient diet. There were times that I would binge. The worst shame I had was when I hid a PB&J and snuck it upstairs to eat it in secret. When Your body's on a calorie cut, it craves things like sugar that much more. I remember eating a half-a-chicken dinner at a nice restaurant and then going home and eating double chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk. I didn't want to, but felt compelled to do so. I didn't puke at all, but my stomach felt stretched and near to bursting. It was like my body was trying to make up for all the calories that it was losing and had lost. This was during wrestling. I was burning so many calories that before weigh in, I had dropped two pounds just by standing around in my underwear. I had to chug a few water bottles just so I could make my weight class and not be underweight. I know that Alaric just killed somebody, but I hope he actually killed somebody who was committing or had committed heinous crimes. Like, if he just killed a random hiker, I understand Tesha's anger a bit more. However, if he killed a serial murderer, like the next up and coming Ted Bundy, then I'm more okay with it. It would be ironic if he ate a cannibal. Sounds like some Tokyo Ghoul stuff right there then. When Madra and Tesha left the veil, I thought the veil had a consciousness and decided that the task it had assigned them was alright, but having to deal with a gluttony of the relliks would be better. I think it would've been great for Tesha and Madra to deal with the illusion of Alaric having strayed away to go eat. They would've dealt with Madra's gluttony of wanting to get the perils of Efil done and over with, but also the gluttony that is their own very nature. In a line I heard from a TV show called Dinotopia years ago, "Eat to live. Do not live to eat." For instance the ghouls in Tokyo ghoul only need to eat a substantial meal once a month, and they curb their hunger pangs with coffee. One ghoul though was called the glutton, and she would eat humans and ghouls alike. She actually kickstarts the entire series. Now I like, "What?" When I read that Alaric didn't let most of his humans survive past the age of 10, I tried to figure out how he kept getting assigned humans. I sort of thought that guardian angels can watch over humans at any part of life. Like one might watch over infants, another, children, some teenagers, a few for young adults, there would be a group specifically for pregnant mothers, another for people with disabilities, etc. etc. Though, Donna, I think the route You're going is that the guardian angels are supposed to guard a life for life. I now wonder if this means that Madra got bored with watching over children and allowed them to perish so that she could watch over newborns that were born to famous and wealthy families. Now that really puts her motherliness into full irony. Cause at least Alaric sounds like his survived past the toddler stage, but if Madra let them die prematurely (maybe even before birth), then that really shows how gluttonous she was for people with full potential and that she wanted their environment to be well primed as well. Alaric's jealousy of human's free will reminds me about why the devil, Lucifer, rebelled against God. Though the first of the original sins is often classified as pride and originating from the devil, the thought of jealousy being the first also comes in mind because the angels were going to hold the humans up high, and humans at the time were just looked at upon as dust (mud). My Muslim friend told me that the devil in Christianity is more akin to a djinn. It makes sense for the jealousy to emerge. Why would a being of fire, a being of energy, ever think about raising up and ever sort of praising the work of a being that was made from mud? It was a whole superiority complex. Now I also wonder if Alaric led a few of his young humans astray, leading them into danger as Alaric wanted to go on adventures. Alaric: "Hey kid check out that cave." Kid: "I dunno, it's dark and scary." Alaric: "You're not afraid of the dark, but what could be in there. I bet'chu it's empty." Kid: "You sure? Okkayyyy." *Kid wanders in* Bear: *roars* Alaric: "Oh sh*t, it is late spring after all." Kid: "Save me, Alaric!" Alaric: "Sorry kid, the walls are sturdy so I can't drop anything on the bear's head. Plus I can only convince you to and to not do stuff. When it comes to other beings I'm sh*t out of luck. See?" *goes to punch the bear* Bear: *paw swipes right through Alaric cause he lacks a corporeal form* Kid: *struck by paw* *lays lifelessly* Alaric: *whispering* "Kid? Hey, are you alive?" Kid: *standing beside Alaric now, but it's not the kid's body* "When I get up these stairs I'm so telling on you." Alaric: "NOOOOOOO! PLEASE!" Kid: *runs up the staircase to Heaven* Alaric: "Oh yeah! I'll just race you there! I got wings you know!" *Tom & Jerry antics proceed to play till they reach the pearly gates, confronting St. Peter. Once they get there they have a bickering match which turns into a he-said he-said and trying to talk over one another* St. Peter: *thinking* "They don't tithe me enough for this holy sh*t."

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