A Horror Story, sort of...
|Veronica jogged through the woods as the sun was setting.|
She loved running. She loved how it made her body feel. She loved wearing workout clothes in cool colors. Most of all, she loved how her body looked when wearing those cool workout clothes. I am really hot, she thought as she ran. Not like my couch potato sister, Francine.
Francine was two years younger, but she was already heavier. At least, Veronica was pretty sure Francine was heavier. Whenever, she tried to prove it by making Francine get on a scale, Francine would resist. "She's ashamed of being a Fatso," Veronica laughed to herself.
After she had been running a while, she heard something. It was music. She knew hearing music in the woods at night was a bad sign, but it was such a pretty tune. It was coming from off the trail somewhere and Veronica knew better than to go off the trail, especially after dark, but she decided it wouldn't hurt if she just had a quick look.
The sound of the music led her through the woods to a clearing, and the clearing was filled with tiny people. Most of them were about six inches tall, and some of them had tiny wings growing out of their backs. They were, of course, fairies and they seemed to be very excited and busy.
Still, when Veronica stepped up to them to have a closer look, they all immediately stopped what they were doing and looked at her.
"She's here!" cried an excited young fairy.
"Indeed, she is," said an older more dignified fairy.
"Ooh, mother!" said a fairy child. "She's so pretty! May I dance with her?" That made Veronica smile. Being complimented by a fairy was a rather nice experience.
But then the fairy child's mother said to the child, "You know I don't want you getting attached to her."
"Anyway," said a very old fairy with a long white beard. "She must eat before she dances. That is important."
"What is going on here?" asked Veronica.
"Ah Well," said the old fairy. "The truth is that tonight is the Summer Solstice. And on Summer Solstice fairies have a huge feast, to which we invite one mortal."
"And you picked me?"
"Well, yes. Because you're. . .special. The important thing, though is that you eat. Bring her a plate!"
Four fairies came forward carrying a silver plate with several slices of. . .something on it.
"This isn't fattening, it it?"
"Er. . .Not the way you mean," said the old fairy. "Just try some."
So Veronica shrugged, picked up a silver fork and tasted it.
It was delicious. It tasted something like fresh strawberries, something like chocolate ice cream, and something like pizza. Veronica ate several slices.
"It's good!" she said to the fairies.
"Not only that," said the old fairy, "It will make all your future meals taste good after you leave here."
Leave here. That was kind of a sad thought. "Will I ever come back?"
"Oh Yes." The old fairy seemed slightly amused by this. "One year from today, exactly."
* * *
The next day was Sunday. Veronica's Dad made pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Veronica surprised everyone by eating ten pancakes and six slices of bacon. Meanwhile, Francine had some surprises of her own.
"I don't want any bacon. And actually, could we learn how to make non-dairy pancakes."
"Francine doesn't want bacon," said Father with disbelief.
"She probably doesn't want to be a cannibal, anymore," said Veronica.
Francine ignored the insult. "Actually Veronica, I was thinking about you and how you told me I should take better care of my body, but then I also learned about how terrible it is for the farm animals, so I thought. Maybe I could try going vegan for a while."
Veronica rolled her eyes. Leave it to Francine to take something cool like having a better body and turn it into something dumb like animal rights.
"Anyway," said Veronica. "It's going to take more than a vegan diet to make your fat butt pretty."
"Veronica!" said Mom.
"No, I she's right," said Francine. "And that's the other thing. I thought maybe you and I could work out together. I could come jogging with you."
"You?" said Veronica laughing. "Am I supposed to go jogging with you at my side. You'd be huffing and puffing and never keep up."
"Young Lady, why don't you apologize to your sister," said Dad.
"It's Okay," said Francine quietly, before she left the table.
* * *
All through that summer, Francine spent a great deal of time jogging and exercising. Veronica didn't do much. She preferred to spend her time inside snacking on whatever was available.
Sometime in August the girls were invited to a beach party. Francine gathered her courage and asked if she could borrow a swimsuit from Veronica.
"Seriously?" Veronica asked.
"Well, why not? I think I can wear a bikini now. Besides, I notice that you never use them anymore. Are you even going to the beach party?"
Well, that was true. Veronica couldn't even remember the last time she had been in the water and truth be told she didn't want to do it now so she shrugged and ended up letting Francine borrow the bathing suit.
School started in September and everyone at school was startled at how much the two had changed. Ms. Langford, the girls; gym teacher, asked if Veronica if she would go out for the track team this year, but Veronica decided that she wouldn't. The truth was that she didn't feel up to it and besides, she didn't want to be seen in a track outfit anymore.
Fall passed. Veronica ate the most candy on Halloween and the most Turkey then anyone else on Thanksgiving. Winter passed. Veronica ate most ham on Christmas and the most Chinese takeout on New Year's Eve.
And the spring was more of the same. Veronica noticed that she wasn't nearly as popular at school anymore. Whenever she walked through the halls, people would giggle and point to her. Sometimes, they would even make oinking noises. It didn't help that Francine was actually becoming more popular. Lots of girls wanted to be friends with her and there were even rumors that some boys had become vegans just to impress her. But Veronica comforted herself with one thought. The fairy's had promised that she could visit them on the next longest night of the year. And that night was quickly approaching.
* * *
Finally, in June, it arrived. Veronica almost didn't go. It just seemed like such a long way to hike out into the hills, and she knew that she would be exhausted by the time she got there. But she wanted to see the fairy's again so bad, so she picked herself up and went into the hills.
For a minute, she worried that she wouldn't find the spot, but she heard the beautiful music and was soon in the fairy's ring.
"She's here! She's here!" exclaimed the fairies.
"We are happy you could join us again," said the old important fairy.
"I'm glad to be here," said Veronica. "Do you have anything to eat?"
A giggle passed through the crowd.
"Actually," said the old important fairy, "we were just about to start preparing the meal now. I'll send for the cook."
"Ooh, look at her," said a small voice. Veronica recognized it as the fairy child from a year ago. "Last year, she was so pretty. Now, she's fat and ugly!"
"Well," said the fairy mother, "I warned you not to get attached to her."
"I'm not attached to her!. Who'd get attached to a pig like that?"
"Just the same," said the fairy mother, "I don't think you should go play someplace else."
"Oh. I want to watch it," said the fairy child.
"No, you're too young," said the fairy mother.
A few minutes later, the fairy cook arrived. He was dressed in a white apron, that had splotches of red on it. He was also somehow carrying a silver knife which was twice his size.
"Try to do it quickly," said the old important fairy. "We don't want her to suffer too much,"
* * *
That same night, Francine decided to go jogging in the hills.
After she had been running a while, she heard something. It was music. She knew hearing music in the woods at night was a bad sign, but it was such a pretty tune.