CHAPTER TWO – “The Living Storybook”
By Michelle Ho
Exhaustion took over, not necessarily a surprise after the day – has it been only a day? a few hours perhaps? – that the sausage had. Most of that time spent on the run from a wolf that needed the sausage as payment, while also: learning how to navigate in this new and unique body, understanding the environment around it, and acclimating to unnatural senses. Then again, was a living sausage even normal? What is normal?
After all the sausage was just created by some twist of fate and magic upon the embers of a fire that would have killed most magical creatures. The three pigs died whilst being chopped and ground into meat then stuffed into the sausage wrapping…
The sausage shuddered at the memories as the three pigs within fumed and boiled at the imagery. Collectively the three pigs urged the sausage to go back to the wolf and attack him while he was still weakened. The sausage remained steadfast primarily because it was so tired mentally from the day’s exertions all it wanted was a short rest… to just shut its brain down for a little while.
Except the sausage knew what would happen then: should the sausage were to just mentally rest it would risk allowing one of the pigs to come to the forefront to control the body. Chances are, it would be for just a moment but it is more than enough to instill paranoia into the sausage. Who knows what would happen then? The question then became: how can one mentally recharge when there is another just around the corner waiting for a moment to strike?
The “rebirth” of the three pigs – could it really be called a “rebirth”? if not, what to call it then? – was not surprising. The creation of a fourth mental entity within the conglomerate was wholly unexpected. Taking it a step further: imagine having those four minds share one body is more than… well… one body could handle. Four minds for one body, how could one possibly imagine more? The sausage did not want to think about it.
So exhausted… So mentally exhausted… rest would be the best and worst thing for the sausage right now…
“Mommy! What is that?”
“That is a very large sausage dear.”
The sausage looked around at the voices and was just barely able to make out a family of mice in the distance. Two little ones and a larger one, probably the mother and her two sons.
“Can we eat it?” one of the little mice asked prompting the smallest of the bunch to stare at his brother wide-eyed in shock.
“No, of course not. We never eat other living creatures. Not after what happened to your sister.”
“But that’s not us, it was that horrible cat, they were supposed to be friends! Why won’t you let me go after the cat?” The little mouse broke down into tears at the memory.
The mother comforted the crying little mouse, “Because revenge is never the answer. Revenge only leads into more anger and what then? Come along you two… let us leave the poor creature to its rest.”
As the family disappeared into the thick brush, thoughts were swirling around in the sausage’s head. Particularly the bit about how the small mouse wanted to eat it! Not only that, but his mother prevented her son from what she considered an atrocity, but could her son be right? The sausage was technically a sausage and a sausage was edible, wasn’t it? Before the sausage was able to ponder on this further, the littlest mouse scampered up to it and stood on his hind legs, staring.
A long moment lapsed as the two looked upon one another, both unsure how to express their thoughts. The mouse finally asked, “You’re new around here aren’t you?”
The sausage nodded.
“I can tell. You don’t look like anything I’ve seen before. My brother says that I am not old enough to understand, but I know you are a good and couldn’t hurt anyone even if you wanted to.”
The sausage wanted to object, because she did hurt someone. Granted it was in self-defense and that someone was the enemy. Or was he? The sausage did not know for sure if the wolf was an enemy. What the sausage knew of the wolf came from the three pigs who insisted the wolf was the enemy. Taking that a step further those same three pigs had performed all sorts of atrocities during their lifetimes, so they deserved what they go, right? Though technically since the pigs are now a part of the sausage does that make the sausage evil too? The sausage shuddered with guilt.
Wait… what was that? Did the sausage just refer to itself as a “she”? But the three pigs were male, right? And isn’t the term “sausage” was a euphemism for “male”… this was all becoming way too confusing.
Off in the distance the little mouse’s mother was calling for him. “Oops, I have to run. It was nice to meet you! Bye!”
The mouse scurried away leaving the sausage back to its thoughts. Good? The mouse thought it was good? It didn’t even have a heart, and the pigs souls were as black as… well… burnt sausage. How could she be good with all that extra weight on its shoulders?
There it was again, well kind of. It was “her” as opposed to “she” but still the same idea… does sausages have genders? Or are they just a thing? But she was alive, somehow and as thus “it” wouldn’t apply to her. She could sense the restlessness of the three pigs in her thoughts as she attempted to decipher her / it / whatever self.
Mulling through these thoughts the sausage found itself drifting in and out of consciousness, just barely aware that the three pigs were unusually quiet. Perhaps they have found peace through this simple field mouse? The sausage was almost calmed by the thought, almost.
Suddenly, the sausage body roared into life, waving its arms wildly as it tried to head back up the trail. The eldest of the three pigs, the stubborn ringleader as it were, was forcing his will upon the body.
But the sausage was going to have none of that. Pushing, straining, willing the rogue mind to relent and acknowledge that he had no claim to the current body, that the three pigs were just supplements to the mind of the sausage, memories and recollections that the sausage could touch upon for advice. The body belonged to the sausage and it was going to stay that way.
All too soon the other two pigs were adding their mental weight to that of their brother in the fight for control over the singular sausage body they all shared. For every step that the pigs were able to push the body back towards the wolf, the sausage willed herself to move away and towards the fork of the road just yonder the hill.
No way was the sausage going to risk detection, let alone questions from the fishing port. As tempting as asking for help would be, the sausage was still unable to find a way to speak to others. No, it was far preferred to take the path to the fork in the road… away from any possible prying eyes and definitely away from any other potential enemies.
What were the pigs trying to do? Push him to the point of complete mental exhaustion so that they could use the body to achieve their vendetta? Do they not realize that in doing so was a lost cause? That nothing could be gained in seeking retribution? Not one mind in the sausage body knew how to communicate to the outside world. Despite all those thoughts the pigs still refused to budge from their agenda.
“You there! State your purpose!” a voice hollered just yonder the hill.
The sausage attempted to turn the top half of its body to see where the voice was coming from, but at that instant the pigs forced the same portion to twist away from the voice.
“No? You misunderstand me: If you intend to cross this land you must state your purpose and provide documentation of your travels.” The sausage realized that the source of the voice interpreted the movement as a negative response.
As the sausage continued to struggle for some sense of stability, it barely registered the new voice. The movements clipped and forced, while at the same time wild and free in what could only be described as a maddening dance craze. During the crazy dance, the outsider continued in his attempt in gaining the sausage’s attention. Could he tell that the sausage was having problems of its own?
Twisting and turning randomly, the sausage managed to knock several branches off of the nearby trees. In a flash, the sausage picked up a long pointed branch and directed it at the newcomer in a fencing pose.
“You wish to fight? Very well!” Focusing on the outside for the first time, the sausage realized that the newcomer was a dog. One that worked for the law from the looks of his uniform, and he was drawing his sword! The sausage attempted to make a retreat while trying to loosen the iron grip on the branch. However, the pigs fought against the gesture, insisting that this dog was an enemy and must be destroyed.
The sausage managed to toss the branch from its hands, angering the pigs. Within that moment the dog bounded towards it and swung his sword towards the sausage, just barely missing it.
The dog rolled off to the side and stood back upright, “The punishment for fighting against the law is instant death. If you won’t come quietly you leave me no choice.” The dog leaped in the air and swung at the sausage again.
This time the dog did not miss his mark. The sword caught at the sausage’s side slashing it open. The sausage felt the wound, but the pain was nonexistent. The sausage attempted at that moment to run but the pigs would have none of that and instead urged the sausage to stand its ground and fight back.
“What witchcraft is this?” the dog exclaimed as he took a few leaps back to survey his damage. “No blood, no wound, but yet alive.”
The dog’s eyes went wide when the wounds that he inflicted on the sausage cauterized on the spot, sealing the wounds with little difficulty. The pigs seized that moment to pick up the branch and lunged at the dog for an attack, only for him to duck.
Immediately the dog prepped for a counterattack and lunged at the sausage. Instead of slashing the dog managed to cut a chunk out of the sausage before leaping away from the damage. The sausage swayed from the attack and felt the missing chunk on its side. Looking around the sausage attempted to search for the missing piece except that the dog managed to extract the piece away from the sausage and started munching on it.
“Mmm… freshly cooked… pork?!?” The dog licked his lips as he stared at the piece of sausage in his hand then back at the sausage being itself. “Could it be? Could you really be…?” the dog shook his head defiantly, “no, you definitely cannot be them.”
For the sausage’s part, she really did not know what was going on. What the three pigs kept repeating was that they did not like this particular dog and that he needed to die. But unlike the wolf, the sausage saw no reason to kill someone that was clearly a member of the law. The sausage wasn’t about to fight anyone of the law despite the intention of the other minds.
One word kept repeating in the sausage’s mind courtesy of the three pigs: “Elite… Elite… Elite”, which eventually evolved into “Must destroy the Elite.” If the circumstances weren’t so dire the sausage may have taken the time to ponder what was going on and why must the Elite be destroyed.
Suddenly the sausage felt its hand grabbing the long branch once again and attempting the attack the dog. With each attempted attack the dog parried and trimmed the branch down to a stub, but there were moments where the sausage took over the body and worked towards a retreat, with minimal success. The dog was very keen-eyed and persistent, for he wasted no time in taking advantage of the constant internal struggle within the sausage in his continuation of carving chunks of the sausage so it could not easily heal itself.
Struggling, the sausage attempted to gather the missing pieces, but despite not really feeling the pain, the empty portions of the body made it even more difficult to stabilize itself.
The dog readied for another swing when he felt a series of nips around his ankles. Yelping and howling in pain the dog dropped his sword and attempted to swat at whatever it was that was biting at him.
The sausage recognized the rodents to be the mice family from earlier that day, except they seemed to have multiplied in number. It would also seem to the sausage’s eyes that a fair number of them were gathering the pieces of the sausage that strewn all over the forest floor. The sausage spotted the littlest one trying to get its attention screaming: “Follow us!”
Soon the sausage was fully engaged, stamping out the other minds with the singular thought of “survival” the sausage chased after the mice deeper into the forest far from the path.
After what seemed like hours of running the sausage saw the pile of itself against a tree. Immediately she took a handful and pressed it against its body in hopes that it would heal and reseal itself. The sausage repeated the process until it was whole again. Well whole enough, the sausage noticed that there was less of it now than before. Remembering that the dog had eaten some of it the sausage wondered if he was the only one that took a bite?
The sausage looked around for the mice but found none. Slumping against the tree, the sausage prepped herself for the one-on-three conversation between her and the three pigs. If they were going to survive this new existence they were going to have to learn to work together as opposed to against one another. Well, was she definitely a “she”? She did refer herself as such every now and then. Perhaps the body was more the “it” while as this fourth mental being was indeed female in nature. If this was the case, could this be considered a fate’s punishment to the three pigs for their wrong doings? To be tied to a body with a female mind as the primary? If that is to be the case, she definitely could see this battle to be a long and arduous climb.
Granted she knew that this was not going to be an easy process for any of them, but they are a unit now and there was no denying that the sausage needed them as much as they needed her. But how to compromise when the three pigs were used to things being done their way?
The sausage looked up to the sky and noticed a flock of black birds flying overhead… taking a few moments, the sausage wondered how to start the mental conversation that needed to happen now before any other surprises popped up.
Considering the day they just had, surprises were very quickly becoming the norm in a very abnormal existence. Nothing about the sausage was normal, nothing about the lives of the three pigs was normal, so how could the sausage even remotely hope for stability in a life that clearly wasn’t meant for one.