Darlin sat down beside Valar at the long plastic school table. Sat. It was an odd sensation, pressure having been something she’d long forgotten about. To have her lower legs pressed against the bench was both terrifyingly claustrophobic and grounding. She was real. She had real flesh that could feel and touch and pull and push.
“You okay?” Valar muttered, pushing the bland mash on his blue school tray from side to side. She nodded, although was unsure. She thought she possible liked it, but all the sensation were too strange to tell. It definitely was something she wasn’t ready to give up again. She doubted Selina would mind how long she kept her body. Selina liked being dead.
“You should eat,” Shylock muttered. He sat opposite her, chewing quietly, watching his food, refusing to look up.
“The hippie’s right.”
Darlin glared at Valar for calling her brother names, but Valar didn’t seem the least bit phased by it.
“When exactly was the last time you ate?” he continued.
She didn’t know if he was referring to her or Selina. For her it must have been about three, maybe four hundred years. Was she hungry? She’d forgotten what a normal body felt like. She pressed her hands into her stomach which gave off a loud gurgling sound as it did so. it tickled making her giggle at the strange sensation of actually having internal organs inside her. Valar looked at her as if she was mad. Shylock made no moment either way, continuing to mechanical eat his food. Darlin had picked out everything Shylock had because Valar had only gotten mash to push about his tray. She had mostly fruit; an orange, grapes and slices of pineapple, accompanied by a single packet of crisps. She had never had crisps before but she remembered oranges and grapes vaguely. They were sweet and sticky. She picked up the orange, holding it in the middle of her two hands, observing it with a critical eye. It felt rough and waxy, the skin shining in the dim LED lights from over head in the lunch hall. It looked like something man made, too glossy, but she did indeed remember them tasting wonderful. She sniffed it. Like being sent back in time, it brought back unsolicited memories of her childhood, of being able to feel sunlight and lie in fields of grass. Fuelled by her sudden nostalgia she bit deeply into the orange, tearing it apart.
It was glorious.
It was hard to chew and tasted bitter, the sweet centre barely coming through as she choked it down but it was amazing. She beamed, light almost radiating from her soul and through the body’s pours. The orange was dripping now, covering in sticky juice and Darlin lapped her tongue over it like a cat. The sweet juice tasting of energy and light, the life of the fruit igniting on her tongue, with the bitterness of the waxy rind still clinging to her tongue.
“You know most people take off the skin.”
She ignored Valar, putting down the orange in exchange for a grape. It felt wet and bouncy. She squeezed it but overestimated the fruits strength and little grape burst at the seams and splattering everywhere, making Valar yelled in protest and Shylock shield his food. They were gathering attention from other school kids. Some looked at the small group like they were mad, others giggled at the strange girl. Casey looked over her shoulder at the them and turned back to her gaggle of friends, her lips pressed together as if she was trying to stop herself from bursting out laughing. Darlin didn’t care licking the gloop left on her fingers. It was much better than the orange, sweeter like laughter and much easier to swallow. Shylock had cut his own orange into segments and passed her one, silently. She bit into it, delighted by the squelch it made against her teeth. it was sour with a tang to it like the sting of swimming at sea or the whip of leaves against her face. She grinned into the slice sucking up the last few remnants of deliciousness.
“If you’re with excited about eating it, Lord knows what you’re going to be like when it comes out the other end.”
She slapped (slapped!) Shylock’s hand. He slowly moved it under the table, still eating with his other. She was smiling despite his crudeness. even though she knew she shouldn’t feel so, hell she hadn’t been to the toilet in nearly four hundred years she was allowed to feel some anticipation at the situation.
“How do I know if I need to go?” she asked genuinely confused and worried.
“We are not discussing this at the table,” Valar said firmly, shaking his head in disgust.
Darlin smirked and turned to face him, “So is there anything I need to do, to make it come out or…”
“Right!” Valar jumped up from the bench, picking up his tray with him, “Valar fun time’s over! See you later weridos!” he then swaggered off, dropping off his tray before heading out to the courtyard.
Shylock silently watched him leave and when Valar had once out of sight, he said, in his quiet voice, “Glad we finally got rid of that pompous prick.”
Darlin glared at him, but like Valar, he didn’t appear to notice, only continuing, “Now we can eat in peace.”
She wondered if she was doing something wrong with her face. She took another one of Shylock’s orange pieces and bit it, the juice dripping down her grinning face.