The Black Hunger
By the March Hare

As soon as she had lost her hand, she knew she was theirs. Not when she was losing the game. Not when she was losing her grasp on her reality. Not when she had said hand dismembered by the same girl that she had promised to them would be theirs.

As soon as the wayward limb went down the well, and the open wound in the earth was covered up, she was dead.

But like any hopeful fool she fought. Left blind and malnourished by the wretched little brat that had unknowingly pronounced her death sentence, she began to claw and snap at the shadows. There was no chitter, no scratch, no scamper that could not escape her notice as her slow descent into depravity sharpened her senses into fine blades. In the walls, under the floor, leering through the cracks in reality. Their infernal eyes scoured her for weakness, chattering their teeth in anticipation.

"Leave me alone!" she cried.

In return they echoed "Repent, Harlequin"

"Or end my suffering!" she begged, clawing at the void.

"Nevermore!" they sang, tails twitching in mind-numbing hunger.

"I who once cared for you, gave you power!" she roared in despair, wishing she still had eyes to rip out.

"Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh." they sang as a chorus. "I don't believe there's an atom of meaning in it."

"Mock me not with words! I have had my fill of the night!" she tore her hair out, long, black locks giving way to a clear pale surface. She had no blood in her, only a self-realization that they were only tooling with her. She was to receive no mercy, in this dark, lonely place, once a palace, now a dungeon. No longer did she hold the power. Like a spider's web her might had been broken by the buffeting of the wind.

The days passed on, but to her deranged mind, each second was an eternity. She clawed at the walls, stripped of their paper. She broke the ticking clock, its sound torturing her ears. She consumed everything that move to stave off her hunger, to no avail.

Everything, but the rats.

At first, she had done everything she could to break the door, but she was merely performing a Sisyphean task. It was shut, locked by a key she could not have ever again. In desperate hope, she began to chew and bash at the doors and the windows, the ways that led to a sheer white nothing. In madness, she had forgotten it was she that made this realm, and that of course there was nothing out there. However, out there, in the void, was better than in here, in the house of watching eyes and chattering maws.

She relearned what it meant to cry.

She began to wonder if she was meant to die, if this was merely Hell and she was to be tormented forever.

She started to remember things she had long ago cast away as weak, as foolish.

She wished she could of done it all again.

Blind, delirious, alone in the prison of her own making, she finally met the swarm head on, hunger and revenge fueling her every blow.

She lost.

With no limbs, torn flesh, and the sounds of screeching roaring in her ripped ears, she cried "Who do you serve now? If not the hunt, then what? If not me, then who?"

As they tore away at her guts and ripped out her tongue and ate her alive, they sang in unison-

"Coraline, Coraline, Coraline…"

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Button eyes of your choice if you can guess where the literary lines the rats quoted came from!

So, the rats have switched sides. I wonder what Coraline thinks of that, and for the matter, why did they switch sides?