Content Waning: body dysmorphic disorder, allusions to self harm
When Estella was young, there was only one part of herself that she truly loved. Her eyes. Clear and bright, her pupils shimmered blue like marbles in the sun. But that was all. The rest of her was haphazardly round. She wasn’t soft – the way fat people are often thought to be – but disproportionately swollen and spider-webbed with seams of cellulite. Brown remains atrophied under her fingernails, and the friction of skin on skin secreted a salty odour between her shoulder blades.
The worst part of all was that Estella was under no illusions as to what she looked like. Most girls believe their mother tells them they are beautiful because she has to. Estella’s mother was firm in her belief that if you had nothing nice to say, you shouldn’t say it. Instead, her mother’s beady black eyes would drag upwards from Estella’s feet, pausing unenthusiastically at her middle, before boring into Estella’s face. To Estella, those beetle eyes were a constant reminder that bigger was not better, and with every slick roll of fat wrapped around her centre, disappointment squeezed tighter.
Every night, Estella’s dreams were haunted by serpentine rolls of skin tumbling towards her. She tried to escape, slipping on leathery dunes, gasping for hot damp air. But the skin always caught her. It eclipsed her in darkness until her salty breaths became shallower, shorter, until eventually there was nothing left.
Each time morning came, tinting the sky the colour of tangerines, Estella marvelled that she had survived the night. Her throat was always sore, as if the nightmare had dived down into her sternum and sucked the air from her lungs. The parasitic dreams left only so much oxygen for words, and day by day it got harder for Estella to talk herself out of bed. Instead, she would lay on her back, alone in the dark, unable to bring herself to open the windows. Even the smallest sliver of fresh air and birdsong made her shudder in revulsion. It foreshadowed the coming day, and she knew that the moment she left the house she would walk into a barrage of all the usual taunts: Why do you need a watch when there is a clock on the oven? Stop making fun of her – don’t you think she has enough on her plate? For you, life’s like a box of chocolates – it won’t last long! Did your dad really leave, or did you just eat him? Eventually, she gave up on the outside world altogether, and turned to living life through a screen…
Coppelia458 is a level 57 elven thaumaturge. She began a lowly sylvan mage, then grinded her way up the ranks by completing several prestigious quests, obtaining a wide circle of allies. Among her other achievements are a stately blue-stone manor in the lovely Wysteria Way, and elevation to a tidy position on the Mages Council after three years of service.
…And three years was not so long – not when Estella’s eyes glimmered cerulean with joy every time a defeated enemy groaned into translucence, or the orgasmic harpsichord of victory signalled that Coppelia458 had risen one level higher. Estella was so used to the invisibility that accompanied the averted gaze of society – people walking off if she waved, or ignoring what she had to say, then repeating it – that being Coppelia458 nourished her with the glow of achievement. Nobody had asked her to do anything since she could remember, but in the warmth of Coppelia458’s shadow she could strive for anything…
Coppelia458 has recently received a letter from one of her underlings at the Council, username SnowPiercer97. It bears the forbidden glyphs: a meeting “IRL”.
…At first Estella was apprehensive, but she was also hopeful that SnowPiercer89 would give her a chance because he had met Coppelia458 first.
On the day, Estella drowned herself in ImpulseTM to make sure he couldn’t smell her nervousness. When she arrived at their meeting place – a cute café outside the station – she spied a gangly young man looking around furtively. He eyed her discreetly, then leaned towards her and whispered: “Are you Coppelia458?”
Like all young lovers in the physical realm, they had coffee, lunch, and of course, a “nice time”. He paid. He hadn’t minded that she had eaten both a cheesecake and sandwich. His face had not contorted into a grimace as each morsel of her meal plunged into her mouth. At long last, Estella lavished in the felicity of being a real “nice young woman”, simply having lunch with a “nice young man”.
It took longer than usual for Estella to log on to Perfect World. She had paid her bill late and the ADSLR was sputtering along at a sickening pace…
Coppelia458 eventually spawns outside her manor. A black storm broils in high definition. Claps of thunder bellow like the horns of war and the wind wails like a dying horse. The façade of the manor has been defaced. Letters crusted in blood howl:
The map wheels as Coppelia458 searches for the culprit. Mephit’s fireball slams into her display. Critical hit. – 945 HP. Paralysed. Cannot react. Lightning bolt. – 457 HP. Paralysed. Cannot react. Mephit’s Fireball. – 745 HP.
… Lying on her back in the dark, Estella traced the shape of each letter behind her eyelids. Seven letters. Two words. One meaning: FAT SLUT.
Since that night, Estella had gotten into the habit of counting. Her eyes flickered with numbers. Counting steps. Counting days. Counting calories. The average adult female may consume up to 2000 calories per day without putting on weight. The average adult female must complete 6000 steps per day. If she does not consume less than 2000 calories and completes less than 6000 steps, the average adult female will become a FAT SLUT. Estella already was a FAT SLUT so she had to count backwards. A FAT SLUT may consume 1200 calories per day. A FAT SLUT must walk 8000 steps per day. A FAT SLUT may drink as much water as she likes, however she may not drown herself. Drowning takes 3-4 minutes, depending on the FAT SLUT’s lung capacity. And a FAT SLUT can only get fatter from then on. The air sacs in her lungs will suck up the bathwater like a sponge, and she will become even more bloated, even more putrid. Even the only things the FAT SLUT loves about herself – her azure eyes – will be drained of colour until they are nothing but pickled eggs. A FAT SLUT can try to write a note, but what could a FAT SLUT possibly have to say? Those 3-4 minutes were not worth a FAT SLUT’s time.
Instead, the FAT SLUT sat, hypnotised by her laptop screen, electric blue eyes gleaming with images of all the clothes she would wear. Visions of terracotta tanned models in skinny jeans, airy summer slips and tight leatherette nothings pirouetted across the display. Like Coppelia458, their elegant limbs, sinuous and slim, flashed image by image, screen by screen. 20 minutes, click. 40 minutes, click. Two hours, click, click, click. The FAT SLUT’s eyes devoured hours of defined jawlines, cinched waists, and swan necks. Then swallowed days of the supple caress of satin on skin and bone. As time wore on, the FAT SLUT’s waist became as serpentine as an hourglass, her breasts as supple as silk, her legs as long as willow wands.
Born anew, the FAT SLUT was almost her real self. Almost just “her-self”.
By night, her eyes would trace the lace of stretch marks which ghosted across her skin. By moon, her red lacquered fingers shadowed the seams of silver branching between her belly button and the swollen orchid between her legs. By stars, her eyes crinkled shut, gasps squeezing out images of skinnier women. By dawn, with each sigh she was a splinter lighter.
The FAT SLUT counted the hours til morning. As blue sky peeled away tangerine clouds her hands traced pitter–patterns of concealer across the stretchmarks on her stomach. For breakfast, she swallowed glossy visions of ASOSTM and a single blackened slice of toast.
Then the FAT SLUT realised that her laptop opened the way to more than simulated worlds. It was a portal to the sunlit realm she would blossom in. At last, the FAT SLUT felt smooth enough, sleek enough, for Facebook. After meticulously selecting the perfect combination – a billowing ruched blouse, distressed skinny jeans, and leather ankle boots, she paid for express shipping. She counted exactly two business days before the parcel finally arrived, then tore the plastic wrapping open with her teeth and slipped her lissom form into the garments. Next, she contoured high cheekbones, puffed herself up with blush, and painted her lips a delectable cherry red.
Satisfied with her trimmings, the FAT SLUT then had to do the most lip–curling thing of all. She had to turn the reverse camera upon herself.
Pixels rippling against the glass, the FAT SLUT’s reflection transfixed her gaze. With the weight gone, even her eyes seemed to have changed for the better: light shone through them so that they were now a true sky blue. A ghost of “her-self”, the avatar of the FAT SLUT was the perfect body through which to gaze at the world outside and dream of what was to come…
The photographs came up well. Taking up an inconsequential alias, the FAT SLUT posted her profile picture: #No Makeup #No Filter, then concocted a heart-warming confection all about her:
I am interested in men. On the weekends, I enjoy long walks on the beach and Pilates, and miss the days when all I had to worry about to keep in contact with friends was phone numbers. Go TIGERS!
The FAT SLUT only had to wait 3 days, 88 hours, and 5,280 clicks for a photograph of SnowPiercer89 to appear in People You Might Know. His real name was Noah Jones. A small stalk revealed he had lots of photos with his girlfriend, but even more photos with his dog (a snarling husky). The FAT SLUT sent him a Friend Request. He accepted, then messaged her:
Hey beautiful 😉
Hey handsome. Wyd?
Whiling away a lonely Thursday night…
… Typing. Typing. The FAT SLUT responded:
¬Maybe somewhere quiet?
How about urs?
What’s the address?
458 Wysteria Way.
SnowPiercer89 was on his way. Now, all that was left for the FAT SLUT to do was prepare. First, the FAT SLUT vacuumed the floor. Then she tidied up all the glistering express shipping wrappers from her online clothing orders into the garbage. Last of all, the FAT SLUT turned on the oven, for it was all the better to warm up the house.
7:57 pm. SnowPiercer89 arrived. The FAT SLUT asked if he’d like to sit on the couch. Then if he’d like something to drink. He declined, then pulled the FAT SLUT onto his lap. Her laughter tinkled. Peeling off her raiment, he gazed up from the slippery curve of her waist to her ice blue eyes. The FAT SLUT thrust against him. The sway of her back traced hypnotic patterns in the air. SnowPiercer89 groaned in pleasure. In the sibilance of each of their shared sighs, the FAT SLUT felt a splinter lighter. A splinter closer…
Just as she is on the verge of orgasm, the FAT SLUT wraps her hands around her partner, caressing each follicle of hair on his head with her long red talons. Then she squeezes. And squeezes. – 900HP Critical Hit. He screams. And screams. Her legs shudder in bliss.
… It takes 3-4 minutes for the average person to drown to death. The FAT SLUT estimated it would take just as long to suffocate. Her blissful tremors continued until SnowPiercer89’s head bent at a hairpin angle with a delectable crack.
The FAT SLUT lapped up the drops of blood gushing from where her fingernails had been. “Just a taste”, the FAT SLUT hissed between her teeth. Her stomach twisted and burned. By now, the smell of fresh flesh was becoming irresistible.
She deserved a treat.
Blood and sinew slopped down the FAT SLUT’s chin as she gorged upon just a finger. Then just a hand. Then just an arm. Eventually, her prey gurgled into wet crimson translucence and bone…
It had been such a long time since she’d tasted meat.