starvation - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
I would never let a child starve. Not one I knew or loved. Ten years ago I would have abhorred my new morals but there's no welfare state. No money means no education, no healthcare and no food. So charity is the worst thing you can do. Give that bread away today and maybe your child starves tomorrow. They're everywhere, abandoned waifs, left for the free-market to feed and clothe. Only they have no monetary value and their parents are jailed for not paying the citizen tax. These destitutes will risk being shot just to forage in the garbage of the wealthier streets, to shoot one is no more murder than destroying a rabid dog. People even talk of it as a mercy, putting them out of their "misery". We hear all the time how if you work hard you'll be rewarded, secure. The money gurus are the new celebrities. Success means you earned it, failure means you earned your new dehumanized status. It seems that to do the unconscionable all you have to do is first dehumanize your enemy.
We starved in our own armoured enclaves. If you weren't with your own clan you were competition, just another mouth who takes resources. You could even be viewed as a delicacy by some of the tribes that decided morals were for the weak. Before the droughts we'd all seen starving people in far off lands, some of us had even donated a quid or two and thought ourselves charitable. Now their pain wasn't so esoteric, it was the ubiquitous experience in every individual's mind. I hear the rich were the first to go despite their hoarded resources. They were about as safe as Marie Antoinette. When 99.999999% of people need what you've got or face death, including your ex-employees, there's just no hiding. The children are undersized, they don't play, they search for good alongside the rest of us carrying a weapon and a grass-reed whistle. At first we fed children before adults, now it's reversed. If the adult is weak they can't work to get more food or fight the loners who come on night raids.
When the food had first run out we were hungry, bitterly hungry. Then after a couple of days the hunger went away, we felt weak, we still wanted food, but the hunger pangs weren't there. Then one by one, as each person's personal fat stores were exhausted the hunger returned with vengeance. It was the most terrible pain, constant, grinding. That's when we began to look more skeletal with each passing day and people began to eat the hard baked mud and the inedible leaves that would pass right through them...anything to alleviate the torture of the starvation. Some folks began to die and the rest were too weak to bury them, the flies buzzed around their corpses. Then after a day or so someone had the bright idea to eat the dead and that is how we survived.
Before the starvation we would look down on fat people. Now any sign of plumpness is a sign of success and everyone wants to be your friend, to learn from you, find out how you are so good at keeping the wolf from the door.
When the starvation hit my parents decided they only had enough food for one child. So at the next meal they gave me both my meager portion and my little sisters and told me to eat. I cut it in half and gave it to her. My mother shoved it back. "You eat it all or she gets it all, it's you or her." I almost choked on every bite, tears ran down my face. At first she cried and made a fuss, but after a time she just became limp and listless. Her eyes became unfocused and then one day she simply did not wake up.
Before the starvation hit the land we were principled and full of high morals. We never used to steal,lie or kill for food. But in this new reality the old rules will get you dead...fast. The only rule now is survival of the fittest, and the fittest are the most ruthless and cunning groups. Lone wolves never make it, the groups will carve them up every time. If you're not with your tribe you'll be cut up and shared out like wieners at a barbecue.
When a stranger would pass by the district, well fed and clothed, their eyes would fall on the villagers and their insides congeal with sadness. They would hand out a few rations like band-aids on gaping wounds and retreat back to their life far away, haunted by the eyes of those who suffered in barren lands they could never leave. They would dream of the children with no padding for their bones, living a hellish nightmare with no hope of relief.
Like all forms of pain, starvation is a suffering locked into one person, just a hint of their anguish transmitted by their eyes and weary movements. There is nothing kind about withering away until taken by an opportunistic disease, it is simply violence slowed down to the pace of the psychopath, a cruelty of non-action by those who hoard surplus for the sake of saving money instead of lives.