Chapter 9: Steam City
Location: Kitchen of the Dormitories
Staring at Melisande and Harriet, Orsola was fixated on what appeared to be a sausage with thin gravy. When she heard Melisande pronounce her name she had assumed she was from the Gaulic Republic or the eastern part of the Merovingian Kingdom. The woman had never been there before but always wanted to try the cuisine. Suddenly seeing the two of them quickly get out of seats and head to the main hall, Orsola stared at Harriet in confusion and thought, "Why is that girl wearing feathers? Must be buildin' some flying contraption..."
Try as she might, Orsola just couldn't take her eyes off of the meal they had left behind. Before she knew it, she had risen from her seat and found herself standing in front of the sausage, "Well I could guard it for them until they get back. She won't mind if I try the gravy." she thought to herself.
Once she sat down, Orsola found herself unable to get any of the oil to stay on her finger. Trying six times she simply gave up in frustration. Forgetting that she was supposed to be 'guarding' the food, she picked it up and began to smell it. The smell of meat bombarded and beckoned her. She was struck by how heavy it was as she mumbled to herself, "Makes sense. Seems like a kind of cobbled together beef jerky cake. The gravy is probably because it would be too dry otherwise. I did want to go on that diet, but it could wait another day. Besides, Melisande told me she owed me. Of all the things I could ask for, this is pretty small."
As Orsola put it her mouth, she was struck by how flavorful it was. Trying to take a bite she discovered it was too hard for her teeth to bite into. Just as she decided to settle on sucking on it for a while she heard a sudden commotion from the floor above. Tilting her head up in response Orsola lost grip of the slippery sausage and felt it slide down her mouth and into her throat! In a panic she put her head back down only to find the sausage stuck at the top of her throat. As she began to choke the woman shoved her hand into her mouth to attempt to pull it out only to find she could barely touch what little was still sticking into her mouth. Orsola realized that if she couldn’t get it back out, she’d have to get it all the way down. And so she pushed it further down with her hand.
That was when she was struck by one single thought, "Water!" Looking around the tables in a panic, she found a glass two tables away and sprinted to it. The whole way she repeated in her mind, "Oh God, I can't die like this! Forgive me for my gluttony."
Orsola grabbed the glass of water, pouring the entire contents into her mouth and swallowing immediately. She felt the liquid was down her throat, briefly catching on the massive object in her throat before finding it’s way around. The sausage moved down with the water slightly, only to stop with its highest point at her larynx. Unfortunately the water washed much of the slippery gravy down into her stomach as well, causing the sausage to once again become stuck.
Orsola gulped loudly several times in a row, forcing her throat to bulge and flex against the obstruction, only for there to be no budge. She felt her heart begin to beat rapidly as a sense of dread overtook her. Suddenly, Orsola remembered how she got into this mess and quickly tilted her head as far back as it could go. “Come’on, girl, you’ve got bigger down there...” she thought, encouraging herself. Orsola began to massage her throat with her hands, trying to relax and force the sausage down further. She even began to push down on the top of the massive bulge in her throat. Finally what little left over gravy began to allow the sausage to slide and with one final, mighty swallow the sausage dropped from her tired gullet and splashed down into her hungry, waiting stomach.
"I'm saved. Thank God. Thank God." She said with a sigh. Suddenly, however, Orsola began to feel incredibly full. Even worse, she could fell the giant thing inside pushing against her stomach wall from inside. She placed her hand against her belly, rubbing it in attempt to sooth her stomach, only to discover a noticeable lump bulging it out. It seemed the solid sausage was massive enough she could feel it inside even with her hand.. It was yet another unnerving thing about the situation. Even stranger was when she found her walk to be more of a lumber. She felt as if she had just eaten a cow and could barely walk with the extra weight. "That's strange. I've never felt so full in my life! I'm goin' to have to talk ta Melisande about that later. What an ordeal! I'm goin' to go ta bed."
"We're both going to have to be mindful of each other. I realize you come from a very different culture. The gap is much farther than my own and here. Boundaries will have to be set and..." Melisande trailed off as she noticed Harriet tuning out her words with vacant nods and idiotic smiles. The Icari suddenly stopped in her tracks, visibly shocked.
"My thing! Someone stole it!" Harriet looked at Melisande, tears starting to form from her eyes.
"Well maybe someone threw it in the garbage while we were gone? Perhaps it fell to the floor." She looked under the table and was greeted with a clean floor. "What am I going to do? I only have one now." The bird whined. Melisande cringed. She couldn't imagine anyone wanting to eat something so vile tasting. She patted Harriet on the shoulder, "I suppose you could tell me what equipment you need to make one. I'll get them for you." The bird girl wiped some tears away with her wing, "Thanks Mel... but we’ll need lots of stuff...."
As Melisande comforted Harriet, McGinty shambled into the room. He picked up the glass of water by the empty plate, noticing the lipstick marks, and sniffed. His face turned to disappointment, "Who be drinkin' me denture water?"