You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

The sun gently rose from the east; illuminating everything in its wake. The silence was broken by the delicate chirping of a bird waking it’s young. The air was crisp and felt slightly damp from the previous night’s rainfall.

Laura’s eyes blinked open and rested on her digital alarm clock. The bright red numbers revealed the time to be 6:29. She was considering pressing the snooze button to give herself an extra 10 minutes sleep but then she wouldn’t have time to go running. Her alarm clicked over to 6:30 and with it came her signal to wake up. With a heavy sigh, dismissing any thoughts of extra sleep, Laura chugged the glass of water sitting on her bed side table. With each gulp, the water slowly brought her body back to life from its deep slumber.

Across the road from Laura’s first floor apartment was a beautiful park. This is where she spent most of her free time, either running or taking photographs of the stunning scenery. Oak and willow trees lined the outer edge of the park. Inside the park, there were many secrets trails along with an array of blossoming flowers and a river that ran through it.

Half way round the track Laura came across a large oak tree, on its side, that was blocking her entire path. Her only option was to cross the river and the only way across was by crawling along one of the stray branches. Laura shuffled across the branch cautiously eyeing the fast current of the river underneath her.

The unfamiliar trail was filled with dead flowers and weeds. Nothing like it’s neighboring trail that radiated with beauty with all the different species of flower. Not far along the trail Laura came to a halt. Her eyes lit up and she slowly licked her lips in anticipation. As she took another step, Laura reached out her hand but a single finger tapped her on the shoulder before she could grip what was in front of her. Laura’s whole body seized in shock as though she had been caught stealing biscuits from the cookie jar. After one deep breath, she spun round awkwardly on the spot. In front of her stood a plump lady covered completely by a long hooded cloak. A clump of matted green hair escaped from the hood as the stranger spoke, “Those strawberries are poisonous” she sputtered. The women’s voice was strained as though she was fighting for her breath.

Glancing over her shoulder, Laura eyed the strawberries longingly but when she turned back the figure had disappeared. Her eyebrows knitted together with a mixture of confusion and curiosity. Finally, she decided to dismiss what the odd stranger had said and tried a strawberry. The plant was glowing brightly and she had never seen anything so tempting. The strawberries were irresistible and they tasted divine. Within 5 minutes the plant was bare and all the berries had been devoured.

Collapsing to the floor she let her eyes close softly. Laura was full to bursting and still contemplating how anyone could think they were harmful. The sweet taste lingered on her tongue and she yearned for more. Surely, this can’t be the only strawberry plant in the park she thought absentmindedly.

A tearing sound broke through the silence and Laura’s eyes flicked open. She gulped. Maybe she ate too many strawberries. Peering down, her leggings had split all the way down the side. She could no longer see her feet because her stomach had quadrupled in size. Her skin was normally quite pale but now it had turned a pale red colour which was quickly becoming letterbox red.

Ignoring what was happening in front of her eyes, Laura had convinced herself that she had dozed off and everything was a dream. Even when her hair started shrinking back into her head transforming into emerald spiky clumps, she continued to slap herself across the face. She scrunched her eyes together as tight as possible whilst chanting, “this is not happening,” over and over.

She opened her eyes and looked down at her body and expected to see the size 12 body she had been trying so hard to maintain. To her astonishment, this wasn’t the case. This time she examined her body closer. It then became apparent when tiny black ovals started popping up all over her body. A strawberry. That’s what’s she resembled exactly.

You Are What You Eat is the first in a series of short stories titled Perilous Proverbs by Sarah James

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