It's about time I do one of these. So I've decided to post some MAAH. Here goes!
This is a flashback scene to when Emil was seven.
. . .
“One side makes you larger,” said the man, “and one side makes you small.”
Emil looked up at the mushroom, giant and bright purple and towering over his small form. His blond hair was tangled and filthy, a mixture of sweat and dirt and blood ratting it up. He didn’t look at the man—wouldn’t look at him.
“Wh-what?” he asked, his voice shaking. He kept his eyes firmly on the mushroom.
“Which side do you choose?”
Emil’s bare feet curled up around the long blades of grass. A whimper escaped his throat.
“Oh, don’t be like that, Emil,” said the man, his velvety voice clear and smooth and deceivingly warm, wrapping itself around Emil’s head, ringing in his ears. “Think about it. Don’t tell me you’re a stupid boy, as well.”
Emil’s lips quivered.
“Bigger. Smaller.” The man stepped a little closer from behind. Emil could feel the heat radiating from his body, standing out among the freezing cold air.
Emil locked his muscles, refused to shiver, refused to move, refused to give any sign of acknowledgment.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Deaf and dumb, it seems.” There was a sound of movement, and when the man spoke again, his voice was right in Emil’s ear.
“One side lets you live,” it said, low and dangerous. “And one side lets you die.”
Emil’s breath caught in his throat.
“So which do you choose?” asked the man.
Emil clenched his eyes shut, blocking out the scent of blood and salt and fear and death. “I’m not hungry,” he said.
“Oh, that’s sweet,” said the man. “You’re not hungry.”
Emil felt the man’s body move away from his, and he relaxed.
A second later, rough hands were on his shoulders, throwing him to the cold, wet ground.
“WHICH SIDE DO YOU CHOOSE?”
Emil was frozen for what seemed like forever. Then, slowly, each motion difficult, he pulled himself to his feet, walked toward the mushroom, and stood on his toes. He ripped a tiny piece with yellow spots off the right side and, making sure he didn’t hesitate, bit into it.
He heard a heavy sigh from behind him, and, like magic, the air began to warm around him, soothing and comforting. “You chose the good side,” said the man. “Ah, well. All the better. I’ll get to kill you myself.”
As soon as the man’s footsteps had faded, Emil threw up, blood and purple mushroom spewing onto the grass at his feet. He rocked back and forth, breathing deeply, running his nails up and down his left forearm, up and down, up and down.