Where One is Fed

An unpleasant dream

Known colloquially as the "Realm of Dreams", Emea is a mysterious place accessed primarily beyond the realm of consciousness as the mortal body sleeps in Idalos. The mind travels far at night and Emea's not without its unique risks and dangers, though Jesine's vigilance keeps mortals mostly safe.
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Kyreen
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Where One is Fed

Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:57 pm

19 Saun 718


"The baker is nothing but unbaked dough!" a child's voice cried, and a dozen adults echoed the words as if they were the truth.

"I'm not!" Ky protested, beginning to tremble as the dream shifted into an all too familiar nightmare. "I'm NOT!"

Other voices drowned her out. "Bake the baker!" came the cry. It rattled from dozens of throats, then from scores, and everyone she had been trying to feed turned on her as one massed body. Their faces were blank save for the mouths shouting her down. "Bake the baker! Bake the baker!"

"Nooooooo!" It came out as a rising scream and she backed away as they came on, grasping hands reaching out to clutch at her, to pin her, to drag her over to the giant oven. She swung fisted arms in front of her like a pair of scythes, knocking hands away as hard and as fast as she could, but there were more of them. So many more of them, and she couldn't swing fast enough to clear all the hands away.

Then her back came up hard against a stone wall, and the faceless crowd surged forward. She couldn't flee. She couldn't escape. There were more than she could fight off. They overwhelmed her every defence, driving her down and down and down until she was curled on the kitchen floor like the ball of dough they called her. She wept, slow tears of terror sliding from her eyes and soaking into her skirt.

And so they shouted in triumph and hoisted her up and carried her to the oven. They threw her in there, among the glowing coals, and sealed the door.
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Kyreen
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Re: Where One is Fed

Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:36 pm

It had started so well. Someone had heard of her and wanted her to provide food for a party of theirs. She was sent into a kitchen and bakehouse with all the ingredients and equipment she could ever want and the door was closed, leaving her to work in peace.

She started with flatbreads. Just flour and water and a pinch of salt. A simple thing, for comfort and speed. And yet, it was harder to mix than it should have been. The water kept seeping out of the dough again every time she looked away, until finally she managed to glare it into submission. After that it was easy to make and cook the breads and stack them beside her. She decided to make sweet and savoury fillings for them and walked over to the pantry. The shelves there were full of neatly labelled pottery jars. Anything she could think of, there was a jar labelled with it. She lifted down a jar labelled "honey" and another labelled "cinnamon" and brought them out into the main work area.

On opening the jar labelled "honey", she found it filled with cinnamon sticks. She frowned and checked the label again in case she had misread it, but the label remained unchanged. She opened the cinnamon jar. It was half full of golden honey. Somehow, the jars had been wrongly labelled. Or at least, wrongly filled. Still, at least she had the ingredients she wanted. She just hoped that the rest of the labels were accurate or it would be very hard to find the ingredients she wanted for her food.

She spooned honey into a small bowl, broke a small piece of cinnamon into a pestle and mortar and ground it into powder. She tipped the ground cinnamon into the honey and stirred. The cinnamon dissolved smoothly and evenly, flavouring the honey. She spread the flavoured honey on one of the flatbreads, bit off a piece, and closed her eyes in bliss.
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Kyreen
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Re: Where One is Fed

Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:29 pm

In the oven, the heat quickly dried her tears. They steamed out of her damp skirt and turned to gritty salt on her cheeks. As the steam faded, she saw the coals begin to move. The coals uncurled and stretched like black cats made from fire. The bricks that the coals had heated clinked quietly, as if impatient claws tapped idly against them. The cats that had been coals lifted their heads and looked at Ky. They had no faces, only a red glow brightening to white for eyes. Each time she looked away and then back, they were a hairsbreadth closer to her. Inch by inch they narrowed the gap and she could sense a hunger there, and a desire to devour her inside and out. She swore at them, all the words she'd ever learned. It had no effect. She jumped to her feet and lashed out with a foot.

The coal-cats danced away from the movement and then flowed back into the gap, somehow hungrier than ever. She had nothing to feed them, nothing but herself, and she fled the coals to press her body against the door. The door wasn't as fiery as the coals stalking towards her. She slammed her shoulder against it, but it didn't even budge. She backed up a few paces and charged the door. Still nothing. Maybe a slight shudder. She tried again, but the approaching coals left her less room to do it. When she hurled herself as hard as she could, she bounced off the door equally hard and landed in a painful heap in the middle of the coals.

***
In the kitchen, Ky finished her bread and honey, and went back into the pantry for more ingredients. She wanted apples and raisins, oil, vinegar, and herbs. She started with the jars labelled as those things, but all of those jars held the wrong things. None of them held any of the ingredients that she wanted.
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Kyreen
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Re: Where One is Fed

Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:08 pm

As she searched through the jars, trying to find the things that she wanted, and only finding things that she didn't, as yet, want, she felt a sensation of eyes on her back. She turned slowly, the jars vanishing from her hands as she did so. Out on the edge of the kitchen, half hidden, half lurking in the shadows were sinks she hadn't noticed before. Entire rows of them lining the wall. And at every sink stood a scrubber that she hadn't noticed, any more than she had seen their sinks. And every scrubber, young or old or in between, had turned and was staring at her.

Their faces were in shadow. She couldn't make out any features, but she felt the stares, felt the weight of expectation crushing down on her. "I'll feed you," she whispered. "I will. I must."

She left the jars that she had been hunting through and rushed back to the stove to make more flatbreads. As fast as she made them, they vanished, and with every vanished flatbread she felt the weight grow heavier and the stares grow angrier. "I'm trying," she pleaded. "I truly am trying. Please believe me. I can't even get bread to wait for you. I have nothing but dough..." Tears of frustration and terror were welling up. She was failing and falling, crumbling beneath the weight of all the expectations laid on her and nothing she did or tried was good enough. All she had to offer was her own hands and her own self and skill. And they weren't enough. Not nearly enough.

She begged for understanding in unheard, unrecognised whispers, knowing that no one would believe her. No one ever had, so no one ever would. She knew that the way she knew flatbread in the pan and dough under her kneading fingers. She was nothing but a baker. Without bread she was nothing at all.

And so the child's voice, her own lost voice, cried out, "The baker is nothing but unbaked dough!" as if that were the truth, and the nightmare began again.
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Re: Where One is Fed

Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:23 pm

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Kyreen
Knowledge.........
Knowledge
Loot....................
None
Consequence......
None
Renown..............
None
Experience...........
10
Unfortunately I'm not able to award you your requested Knowledge for this thread, as it is a dream and Kyreen is not a dreamwalker. Knowledge can be rewarded for Nightmares (where an emean entity invades a dreamer's dream to consume them and needs to be fought off or it kills the dreamer), but Knowledge is not rewarded for run-of-the-mill nightmares. In the future, if you would like to self-moderate a Nightmare, just be aware that you'll need to submit a simple PSF request outlining the plot along with asking to self-moderate a Nightmare in Emea.

Good grammar, few mistakes, and nothing that was blaringly distracting. You did a really good job of capturing that ephermeral dream-like thought-process: not quite self-aware, but just enough that everything seemed normal. All the baking bits were good too, which is a shame because they easily would have been Knowledge worthy in Idalos. The ending, where it all repeats was also a great touch. Good work!
Please edit your grade request.

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