a dark place

I thought I was lucky when you told me that you wanted to make me fatter. Just a little bit, you promised. I said yes. It’s what I’d always wanted, you told me.

You cook, and I eat. Every meal drips with butter and oil. You want more, and I say yes. I quit my job. You tell me that you’ve prepared the basement with everything I need. It’s a struggle getting down there, but I rejoice - no more stairs, at least not today. You bring me meal after meal, day after day. Every morning I get up to shower, and every morning it is a little harder to hold myself up. You watch as I spend ten minutes shuffling myself out of bed, and back in.

I’m sure the days are becoming shorter, but I only have your word to go by - there’s no window down here, and I’ve not yet needed to go upstairs. You keep bringing me food, and I struggle to raise my arm to my face to eat it. You sigh, and take over. My arms stay by my side. I try to get up to shower and feel my legs quivering, sharp pains shooting up my legs and my spine. I sit. You tell me it’s okay, this is what I wanted. I look wistfully towards the stairs and know that I will never again see them from the top. You tell me to get back into bed.

It’s only been a few months, you say. I know that’s not true but I say nothing. You’ve stopped hand-feeding me and now each meal is liquid, entering me with a tube, bypassing my mouth and pouring directly down my throat. I don’t recall the last time I chewed. I wonder what my family thinks. You assure me they don’t mind. Every day seems a little shorter and you have started injecting me with something to help me sleep. I suspect my family doesn’t think much at all. I suspect you have told the world that I am dead.

The fatty sludge keeps coming - it stopped tasting of food long ago - and you insist it’s always been like that. For once I say no. I’ve had enough, this has gone too far, you’ve lied and manipulated me for too long. You say I’m just moody. You inject me with something, say it will calm me down. I lose focus. My vision becomes blurry. I say yes. I keep sucking down the sludge. You put me to sleep a little sooner every day and in the morning I consume. You keep the drugs topped up. I am not aware of how much time is passing.

There’s the occasional moment of horrifying lucidity, as the drugs wear off from my growing resistance to them, and I’m able to look down and recognise what I’ve become. I am sweat and flesh, a haulk of fat that spreads over what used to be the bed. I am decorated by dark patches, every fold is highlighted with irritated red skin, and you’ve put bandages where the skin has split down the sides of my lumpy legs that have long since turned grey. Sometimes I’m lucid when you roll me over onto my side, and I suffocate as my weight crushes my lungs and windpipe, physically unable to complain as you rub some liquid into the folds on my back that stings like sweet hell before you drop me and I fall back onto the bed, raising a cloud of damp dust that fills my lungs as I try to catch a breath that always eludes me. I try to say something, but I can’t - my mouth is rusty, the muscles have atrophied from never needing to chew or speak, and my lips can form no shape but the outline of my feeding tube. But you notice my feeble attempts and, with no change in expression, you press a syringe into me somewhere that I can’t feel it - some grossly overused narcotics entrypoint - and my mind recedes back to that blurry place.

I have become your plaything, nothing more than a mouth to feed and a body to grow. My mind was a distraction, from your perspective, and you are slowly killing it off, making me your bloated doll, trapped forever in your dark dollhouse. I try to raise my hands to my face - anything to hide the tears - and can’t, my arms locked to my sides in the sticky embrace between my weight and gravity. I cannot call for help, my vocal chords have long since withered. I cannot remove the tube from my mouth. I desperately want to quit your game but I cannot. One by one you took away my every option. You have checkmated me. The only way out is to keep playing until you win.