The beach is a wonderful place to sit back and enjoy the weather. She knew that as well as any girl her age. That and the break from school was all the reason she needed to go out and relax. The waves were blue, the sky was clear, and there was nothing that could ruin this day. Barring something completely ruinous, of course, but she didn’t really think about such things; leave the girl to her fantasies.
As she lay back on a particular stretch of beach, she was quite surprised to feel a small sting on her arm. She sat back up to examine her arm, but found no trace of any spot or wound. She dismissed it as nothing, and lay back down. Her short nap was enjoyable, and lasted about twenty minutes. She woke up feeling refreshed and energetic…
On a whim, but nothing more than a whim, she picked up her shovel and walked down the beach. Every once in a while she would stop and shovel a bit of sand, looking for anything that might be interesting.
Before long, she found something. A shell, she thought. It was large, and it had pointed barbs on it. It must belong to some kind of turtle, she thought, and it was easy enough to imagine the shell as the upper half of the shell from some turtle. She took it home with her with the intent to look it up on the internet when she got home.
She woke up in a cold sweat. Not from a dream or nightmare, but because her body had pulled her out of sleep quite abruptly.
She got up and walked around the house. Dig? Dig what? Why did she want to dig? What was the purpose of digging? There’s no reason to. She decided to go back to bed.
She got some clothes on, good for going out and getting dirty in. She wasn’t sure why she was going to go out and dig, only that she had to. She had to! She picked up the family’s shovel, and started out. A bit away from the forest, she stopped. This was a good place, right? This was a fine place for some midnight digging. It wasn’t enough. She had to dig more.
She stepped into the kitchen, made herself a sandwich, and grabbed some more snacks. She didn’t really expect to be back soon… she somehow knew that she had to dig a lot. She got a piece of paper and a pen, and decided to write her family a note, so they wouldn’t worry too much. Or they would worry, maybe? In any case, when she tried to write, all she could think of was to dig. She couldn’t even remember her own name, she had to dig so hard. Part of her wanted to tear into the tile of the kitchen, and from there dig and dig until she didn’t have to anymore. Words failed her. In the end, all she could scrawl on the paper was three words,
I MUST DIG
She was not back by sun-up. Her parents were in a great panic. When she was still not back by sun-down, they formed a search party. They looked all through the nearby area, but no one found anything.
She woke up the next morning, deep in the woods. She had fallen asleep in one of the holes she had dug… large enough to curl up and fall asleep in. You would think that falling asleep in a depression in the ground like that would not be very restful… apparently, it was for her. In fact, she felt better than ever… not sore nor even drowsy.
In fact, the only downside was that she was hungry… and she had eaten all the food she had brought with her. She had to… she needed the energy to dig. Without food, she realized, she would have to go back home and get more. And explain to her parents what had happened.
She was a little confused when she got home and everyone was out. Even her brother wasn’t there… where were they? She would have to go into town and look around, then. Or maybe she could stay here and-
No, she thought, I did that. I dug until I couldn’t anymore. I dug lots of holes… big holes, small holes. I don’t need to dig anymore.
Except, she did.
She packaged up more food, anything she could take with her, and went back out to the woods. There she dug more holes, travelled deeper into the woods, and dug more. She dug all day. And when night fell, she dug a big hole for herself to sleep in. And she slept; a temporary reprise from the manic need to displace large amounts of dirt.
When she awoke, she felt amazing… and hungry. She finished the food that she had brought with her, and dug a few more holes just to keep the urge down. From there, she began to get hungry again. She wanted to go back to her house and get more to eat, but something caught her eye: a wild blueberry bush.
She cleaned that bush out. It gave her the energy to go further into the forest, and dig more. She wanted to return to her home, but she had already dug near her home and it was a long way away, and she had to dig now. As the day went on, though, she got hungry again. And this time, there wasn’t any berries around to simply eat. She had to go back. She knew it.
It was no use. She just had to dig hungry. She had noticed by now that when she got hungry enough that the urge to dig was drowned out a little… but it wasn’t to that point by the time she hit the root. It was a big root, one from a tree, but not as tough as roots that grow above ground. She had come across roots earlier when she was digging; it just took a thwack or two with the shovel to cut through them. This time, however, the root gave her pause. She cut it out, and pulled it up and looked at it.
She was hungry.
No, she said to herself, she wouldn’t eat roots. It was a root! Certain insects and small mammals ate roots, sure, but she was a human. She would not eat roots. Her digestive system couldn’t take it, anyway. Roots were tough stuff! And it would taste nasty.
Once again, her body and her mind disagreed. She ate the root anyway. It tasted good, and somehow her jaw was strong enough to bite through it. It was filling, too, and it didn’t give her any digestive trouble at all. That is how she got through that day, eating roots and berries. She even tried a little tree bark. At the end of the day she dug an extra-large sleeping pit… she just felt she needed more space. As she dozed off, she mourned that she had doubtlessly gone insane.
She woke up sore. Her lower body especially, but her upper body was pretty bad-off, too. She slowly stood up, and stretched her eight legs…
She had changed during the night, turned into a bizarre, centaur-like abomination. Her lower body was similar to a scorpion, but had no stinger. The claws were still there, large and strong. She was hungry… hungry for roots and bark and whatever else she could eat. And she had to dig.
That’s when she truly went insane.
She went on for a while, digging here and there. Before long, she found that she could dig deeper and easier, now. Her claws were perfect for digging, her human body had gained muscle, and now she could spray the walls of her holes with a spray from her mouth that kept them from crumbling… and when she began to dig actual tunnels, it worked on the ceiling, too.
One day, when she was digging a tunnel, she broke into the tunnels of a group of moles. The little mammals came tumbling out, scampering around and trying to find the tunnels that they knew were here not ten minutes ago.
She killed them all. It was easy, with her claws and shovel. She killed them, and stripped their bodies of all meat. Such a feast sated her for two days. It was not the most unappetizing thing she had eaten… in fact, it was good to eat some meat.
One day, while digging a tunnel, she stopped and dug a room. After she finished the room, she realized that she could feel an end… there was just something she had to dig. A home. Tunnels and rooms, all together so they could move from one to the other. The dirt was fine here, and there wasn’t even any boulders or rocks in the ground. As she dug, she felt the goal getting closer. She would dig her home, and then she wouldn’t have to dig anymore.
Iriel is an eldritch being, that was pulled into the Nexus due to a recent apocalypse. Not directly, but she can be traced back to the incident where the stars were right. This was the same incident in which the local benevolent Elder God, K’ra-Naggath (known to many as Zee), got bombs in her brain and was thrown into a far-coma.
Now, Iriel helped K’rax recover a bit. Recently, they had a short (short short short) chat that ended in K’rax being annoyed, and giving Iriel a note.
“Needs food badly”
Not super helpful. Iriel knows the reference, but she somehow thinks that it’s something more. Right now, she’s in a kind of vapor form, floating over the streets of inside. She’s not sure what it means, and isn’t in the know to ask the right people and find out. So right now she’s floating along trying to think of something.
After a COMPLETELY unrelated series of events, Kate Kyland steps out of a park, walking home. It was a nice walk. Nothing weird happened at all. Iriel (a steam trail with half a vauge face) is flying along, looks at Kate, and comes to a screeching halt.
No way, Iriel thinks to herself. There is no way. There. Is. No. Way.
Her curiosity piqued, Iriel follows Kate. Not too obviously, not that it’s terribly hard to sneak behind Kate. She follows her to her apartment, and slips under the door… usually Iriel wouldn’t ever invade household except under extreme circumstances. These circumstances are a bit extreme, though… It looks like her, but with cybernetic additions and several abnormalities to her bioenergy.
Iriel is distracted by Kate’s roommate, a large and sentient spider. That’s something you don’t see every day… although it occurs to her that Kate does, doesn’t she?
Iriel is surprised at this. Kate… she’s named Kate?
“Hey, some kind of mist followed you home.”
“What? Oh, no.”
It’s so easy to forget that being in vapor form doesn’t actually make you invisible.
Kate steps forward, looking at the cloud of steam with half a face. “Can I help you?”
Unfortunately for any of you that were hoping for a scene of very awkward conversation, Iriel is much better at the whole talking thing. “I just wanted to ask a question. You seem like a knowledgeable person.”
Sophie backs up. She’s not sure what to make of this…
“Um, I’m not too knowledgeable, but I’ll help if I can. What do you want to know?”
“Who is the man that knows or can find out anything?”
“There should be a guy that can find out anything that he wants to… anything at all. Do you know who that might be?”
“No I don’t-”
Both Iriel and Kate turn toward Sophie “Who?”
“Magtok. Cyborg? The half-metal face you see everywhere?”
“Him? Is he really the man to talk to?”
“Well, he is a supervillain. He might be an ex-supervillain, it’s not too clear. He is a solid businessman, and doesn’t exactly keep his nose clean.”
“Thank you! That’s a place to start.”
“Please, what’s your name?”
“Thank you! I won’t forget you!”
Iriel slips out. It must be an alternate Kate Kyland. There is no way that she’s connected to… well, to Kate Kyland. Duh. Alternate selves: The logical conclusion.
Iriel flies away, given a hint and feeling a little silly. Kate goes on, with a ton of bricks that will hit sometime in the future in a different universe.
That, of course, is for the future in an alternate form of media that will hopefully someday be written.