's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Baby Weight "

Submitted by Peppermint Monster

7:00am - Glass of room temperature lemon water with cayenne pepper

8:00am - Steamed, purred carrot, half. Eaten at desk

10:00am - 1/2 cup coconut milk. No added sugar. Four bites porridge

I watch the women from the phone bank while they eat. One is nibbling on a small, grey puck of a breakfast sandwich. The kind that you buy, store, microwave and eat out of a white paper wrapper. I can't look away. I watch while she's pushing bite after bite of the thing through her greasy, lipsticked mouth.

They put corn syrup in the meat patties for those. Corn syrup and starchy filler to stretch what little steroid-tortured pork is actually in that thing, until it's all a homogenized lump of bleached bread product. Doesn't she realize that? Isn't she revolted by the gritty lump of additives and nothing in front of her?

She's not fat by most peoples' standards. Not big anyway. But I can see what she looks like past her skin. She slowly becoming more and more like the soft, yellow sludge she's putting into herself. Just a pleasantly woman-shaped blob of gristle. A gingerbread girl made of cookie dough, shaped into something acceptable but no less rotten inside than the morbidly obese. I could almost respect it if it was her intent, her goal. But I know it isn't. She just doesn't care. She doesn't think about it.

I have a newborn daughter. I'm raising her alone and working full time and I still manage to eat healthy and get to the gym. She has no excuse.

I leave the break room and return to my own work station, cold calling people to ask if they're interested in participating in a survey for some bullshit hair product. It isn't work I can be proud of, but it's something to pay the bills.

12:00pm - Steamed watercress leaf, 1/2 cup black coffee, no sweetener

1:00pm - Glass cucumber basil juice, at desk

4:00pm - Laxative

Taking small bites throughout the day keeps hunger from being too much of an issue. I barely even feel the desire for food any more. It's amazing what the human mind is capable of when you learn to control it instead of letting it control you.

The human bowels on the other hand take more effort to control, and I never take the laxative more than a few minutes before I leave for the day. Lately I've only had two hours to devote to running after work before I have to pick up Anne from my sister's house. After the run, I sit on the toilet for half an hour and just let everything flow out. The horrid, toxic shits that build up in me after a day of suffering through this unhealthy world are all flushed away, and I'm clean enough to face my baby again.

My sister barely looks at me as she passes Anne into my arms. I bundle her up in her little coat and hat and take her back down the block to my apartment. Anne's coat won't close around her. She keeps bursting out of her clothes. The doctor said that babies gain weight quickly in their first few months of growth, but Anne must be setting new records. She's six months old and already feels as heavy as the 35-lb discs in the weight room. She was almost up to 40 at her last weigh-in, and I don't think she's lost any at all.

My body stopped giving breast milk shortly after I readjusted my diet, which is just as well. I can't imagine breast milk is too healthy for a little baby like her. The way I see it is, if it's unsafe to eat fish that have been contaminated by mercury in the water, then it must be unsafe to eat anything that comes out of our bodies, given how seeped we are in toxins and chemicals these days. Anne needs something healthier, something purer. I've been trying 6 oz bottles of alkaline water with almond milk mixed in. You'd think on a diet like that she'd be smaller, but she keeps growing and growing.

What you put into you determines what you are. If you put in fats and toxins, you're made of fats and toxins. I can't let my baby be hurt by things like that. But what about the things that come out of you? Anne came out of me, and she's every inch the pink, roly-poly flesh I've spent years carving away from myself.

6:30pm - Glass of lemon water with cayenne pepper and organic syrup

7:00pm - 2 fat free pretzels, 4 oz celery, 1/2 cup fat-free yogurt, no sweetener

9:15pm - Laxative

11:00pm - 2 x 2 inch squares cut paper

Paper, cotton, cedar chips...little things like these fill my stomach without putting food into it. What you put into you determines what you are, and I fall asleep dreaming of the rough, raw meat of my body becoming soft folds of linen. Of clean metal replacing my bones and coating my skin like chitin, of the sour jelly globes of my eyes becoming clear and pristine glass. Dreams like these get me through my morning run, through feeding and changing Anne (nothing comes out of her besides a muddy rainbow of tarlike excrement, vomit and tears) and through another day of work.

This is easy, really. Juice fasts were harder. I didn't need a laxative with those, everything came out whether I wanted it to or not, while I was running, standing, or working. I had to wear maxi pads to catch it, panty liners weren't enough and I wasn't going to stoop to diapers. There's too much sugar in juice anyway. I used to think that fruits and vegetables were clean foods, pure foods, that they could clean me out and detoxify me. But even organic, pesticide free fruits and vegetables carry the poisons of juice and pulp and fiber. There is no clean food. Everything rots. Even me.

2:00pm -Six small glass beads, at desk

3:13pm -Paperclips, folded paper squares

4:00pm - Laxative

I've been taking the glass and paper at my desk when people aren't watching me. I've been doing it for a week now, and as far as I can tell no one has noticed. I slip them in between my teeth and hold them there a moment, letting the glass warm on the humidity of my tongue before sliding them down my throat. When I take my session on the toilet they come out again, shining in the excrememental pile like diamonds. Clean, bright things peering out of filth. I want it all to be clean. All to be brightness and none of it filth. I'm not there yet. But I'm working towards it.

Paperclips, folded paper...cedar chips are too organic. I need something harder, colder, more polished. I'm afraid that broken glass will cut me inside, so I bought a bag of aquarium gems that are smooth and gentle as softened stool. But even they aren't clean enough. They're dyed. Probably adulterated with some other chemicals to keep algae from forming on them, or something. After a week I throw them out and replace them with ball bearings

Anne keeps growing. I've cut her diet in half, but she's still gaining weight. Her sickly pink skin has taken on a cool, grayish cast, but nothing can stop her from ballooning outward. It's as if she gains every pound I lose. From the moment she began to grow in me, she fed off my body, my sick, toxic muscles and bones and coiling innards. I have to keep myself clean for her, to keep her healthy.

She won't eat the glass or the metal, or the little bits of tinfoil I cut up for her. But I should have expected that. She's only a baby. She can't even chew. She has to eat the way a baby eats. I tried to think of ways I could get these things into a bottle for her, until the answer came as a stirring in my belly. My new diet, half-digested, was returning on me and when I felt the vomit rise in my throat I clamped my mouth over Anne's little face, forcing the purge down her. Like a mama bird and her baby.

She cried a little, but she was fed. I can fix her, make her better. That's what matters.

4:15am - Glass of alkanized water, nine small ball bearings

6:00am - Folded square of tinfoil, gold earring

6:30am - Water pill

9:00am - 1/4 cup stainless steel thumbtacks

Anne's doing better. The first few days of feeding her with purge she cried all night and spit half of everything back up, but now she's calm and passive when I feed her. It just takes a little getting used to, like any diet. She's still growing but somehow she seems to be growing inward, becoming harder and more dense. Her tummy makes a sound like a steel drum when I pat it.

I wish I could say I was doing as well as her. What you put into you determine what you are, but it seems like everything is coming out of me. More than what I put in. My twice-daily sessions on the toilet are becoming longer and longer affairs. Yesterday I was caught at work hovering over the porcelain seat while hundreds of ball bearings came out of me. Hundreds, it had to be. Obviously I didn't count, but they filled the toilet. Getting them to flush away was impossible. I'd only eaten four that day, how could so many come out of me so fast?

Two days ago I vomited on my run. It was tiny, steel needles. Like nothing I'd eaten. They came out in long, ropey clusters that split apart upon hitting the ground. Some had tied themselves in knots inside me. There was something else, a hard, black knot that stank and was too hot to touch. I was still holding myself and trembling when I saw it start to move and uncurl and I ran, as fast as I could.

I can feel the tears and rips in the soft tissue inside me. Organs being pierced and stretched around the cold, metal nests under my heart and lungs. Little bits of glass and iron are working their way through the meat of my breasts and stomach, first appearing as tiny rises in my skin like pimples or cysts, then bursting and poking through. They lodge painfully there, in my navel, around my lymph nodes, dangling from the tip of my nipple like a scabbed and painful piercing. Stuck until I pull them through and out of my body with my fingertips, crying from the effort it takes.

Why won't any of it stay in me? It rips through my body. It leaves blood in my bowels and throat. I wake in the morning to a thick, menstrual reek and find I've soaked the sheets under me.

Most people would be deterred by all of this. But I know that I can work through the pain. I know it. Like any diet, it will just take getting used to.

Like precious girl. She's taken so well to her new diet that she's started to chirp and wave her little arms at me, asking for more purge. More nurture.

12:00am - Laxative. Fast until next sunset.

Anne's eyes have gotten bigger. At first I thought it was just the shape of her face changing, but now they've grown into huge, black, quiet orbs. Her skin's grey has deepened and taken on a greenish cast. She's still growing, but her round little belly and her chubby little limbs are hard and dry, and covered with sharp hair the color of iron...spines, really. Thin, tiny spines. They cut my hands when I try to pick her up. That isn't all...the folds in her skin, the rolls of her belly fat and creases in her arms are deeper now, like cracks where plates of armor slide over one another. She laughs when I purge for her now. She waves her little hands around reaching for my face, my ears and what little remains of my hair. Her laughter sounds like glass breaking. She's gotten so heavy that I can't lift her all the way up anymore. Instead, I roll her onto her wheeled changing table to get her from her crib to the kitchen and back.

She's gotten heavy, and at the same time I've gotten weak. My legs can barely support my own body. I doze off behind the wheel of the car, starting awake to the honking of horns. The phone at work feels like a 20 lb free weight. I cut my hours at work. I had to. Can't spend so many hours a day sitting up or walking around. On the bright side, fewer hours at work means I don't have to take Anne to my sister's anymore. We get more time together. Before bed, I stare at my naked body. My hip and collar bones press up into the skin, dark hollows catching the shadows under them. My breasts have shrunk to two, small, limp little handfuls, but there's still so much further to go.

I'm wakened at night by screaming metal cries. Anne's begging to be fed, but my throat is aching from the unforgiving things I've been swallowing and from the burn of stomach acid coming up. My stomach is cramping and empty, but my baby needs to be fed. I steady myself against the bed, dizzy from the effort of standing. Hoping I can muster the will to swallow a few paperclips, at least.

I reach down to Anne and she reaches up to me. For the first time, I notice she doesn't have fingers anymore. Her arms end in fleshy little stumps that stretch and open to reveal two grasping claws, like the mouth of a hookworm. She reaches up to me, and before I can react, sinks her hooks into my shoulders. My scream is soft and weak as she pulls me down, halfway into the crib. Off balance, naked, I thrash around trying to get free but her hooks are in deep and the weight of her body holds me fast. Her mouth opens like a trap, and hairy, insectile mouthparts reach out to caress my face, travelling downward to find my shriveled breast.

It must be instinct, some deep-rooted nursing impulse that leads her to root about my chest, groping with her feelers in vain. I can't give milk. But she isn't looking for that. Two steel-hard proboscises reach out of her. Sharp as needles, she drives them through my breast and I scream again as I feel my sternum cracking.

My struggling finally tips the cradle and we go tumbling through the air. I land hard, and Anne rolls on top of me. Her weight, her incredible weight is all centered on my chest and I can feel it collapsing, ribs snapping, lungs deflating in one huge gasp as Anne sucks and suckles at the blood pouring out of me. My eyesight is dimming, and I turn away from Anne's inhuman eyes, now glazed over with hunger and the avid lust of feeding. Instead, I see myself in the mirror. Sunken, hollowed out...pale as death beneath the fat, green-black carapace of my daughter. Thin and fragile as a breath.

I'm beautiful.