I hate the cold.
It is cold all the time in the valley, even in summer when the snow has melted the icy wind blasts up the valley from the cold sea and burns my skin.
In winter it is more than horrible - there is no escaping it. Even in the longhouse, bundled in fur and curled up trying to sleep near the fire that the Thralls keep burning all through the night, the cold’s icy fingers creep through my furs and clothing and find my skin, making it all shiver-bumps like the pale skin of a plucked fowl. Who will ever want me with the white bumpy skin of a dead chicken?
But I am warm now as I slump naked inside the belly of the Kraken while it lumbers back to its cave by the sea. I can hear his steady heartbeat and the growling of the stomach around me. He’s hungry and he has me.
His hunger woke him from his long winter slumber and he set out to find food. The Kraken awakes three times each winter, and three times the village feeds him a girl.
The elders tell the tale of how they offered boys and the Kraken rejected them and attacked the village, destroying the longhouse until he found a girl and so satisfied his hunger.
No one knows why the Kraken prefers girls, but he does.
His stomach sways side to side as he walks back to his cave, rocking me like a babe in a cradle, and if I weren’t so nervous I would be lulled to sleep as I move with it. I’m not so much scared of what is about to happen to me - I’ve known for two years that it would, but what scares me is falling asleep and being awakened as he starts to digest me and not knowing what is happening to me.
I think that’s why the girls screamed before. They felt as I do; warm and sleepy, being gently rocked as they listened to the Kraken’s steady heartbeat, and they fell asleep only to awake to the horror of their flesh being dissolved in his belly.
My eyes are drooping, so I snake my fingers between my thighs and I play there, feeling my own wetness build and that sweet feeling deep in the pit of my lower belly start to throb. Feels so good. So, so good. But it’s making me more awake and nervous again, so I tremble as I become aroused.
We know the girls scream because some of our men always hide near the Kraken’s cave and venture inside when they hear him settle. The girls’ screams are carried up from his belly as he exhales in his deep sleep, his tummy digesting them while they are still alive. The watchers return to the longhouse and laugh as they tell the stories of shrieks and terrified begging of the girls as they are digested in the Kraken’s immense belly.
I promise myself that I won’t scream as I die. I don’t want the men to hear that and I don’t want them to tell that tale in the village.
I didn’t want to scream when the Kraken took me, either, but I did scream then, I’ll admit that. Anyone would though, even the men who bravely go a’viking each spring knowing only half of them will return - they would have screamed too. The Kraken is bigger than anything and its teeth are long and savage. He scared me shitless.
They shook me roughly out of a dead sleep and rushed me out into the deep night to the clearing and made me stand on sacrifice rock. I couldn’t have fought them even if my head wasn’t muzzy from sleep - they were strong and silent as they held me tight with their large rough hands and each cocked an ear to listen. They’d heard the warning horns from the watchers telling us the Kraken had left his cave and was moving toward the village and they were going to hold me there until the last moment so I didn’t try to run. I was shivering and so very cold as we waited. Bjorn shook me hard by my upper arm.
“Be still.” he hissed at me under his breath.
“I’m cold.” I complained, knowing it was only half true - I was cold, but I was also afraid.
“You’ll be warm soon enough.” Oleg chuckled and the others, except Bjorn, laughed quietly.
“That’s enough.” Bjorn growled.
“Warm in his belly. It’s all I’m saying.” Oleg muttered.
“Easy for you to joke.” I said quietly, “Big brave man.”
Oleg bent and kissed my cheek. I could smell the mead on his breath.
“We are grateful for your sacrifice.” he whispered.
“Do I have a choice?” I asked him. There was a long silence.
“No, you don’t.” said Bjorn.
“Then it’s not a sacrifice, it’s murder.” I mutter just loud enough for them to hear.
I think that’s another reason I was chosen; my big mouth. Always challenging the men. Always standing up bravely to them, but brave as I can be, I admit I screamed when the Kraken took me. I screamed my head off.
The silence was horrible as we stood as still as stones and listened to nothing for such a long time. Snow does that - it muffles sounds. I hate snow.
When we heard the crackling of frozen tree branches snapping off we knew the Kraken was closer than it sounded and sure enough, within three heartbeats the trees at the other end of the clearing were shaking and the Kraken’s long neck snaked through the treetops before its huge body crashed through and shattered them like they were made of ice. The ground shuddered as he came at us fast. Bjorn, Oleg and the others took a tighter hold of me and ripped the furs from my body, leaving me barefoot and naked on sacrifice rock as they scrambled off it the back way. I felt the sharp prod of a spear-tip dimple my bum.
“Don’t you dare run!” Bjorn growled as he nudged me forward with his spear. It was stupid of him to say that - the Kraken was already there, raising his head and making a deep ear-splitting sound like boulders grinding against each other. In the next instant his head was blurring down at me like a snake striking and all four of his jaws open wide and his hot breath like a horrible wind blowing my hair back. I screamed loud and shrill and suddenly I was in his mouth being sucked down his long slimy gullet. I peed myself as I slithered downward into the dark.
It was seeing his teeth that made me so scared - they were almost as long as my body and sharp like spears. For an instant I thought he was going to bite me and chew my flesh and crush my bones, but he didn’t. He used his teeth to pull me into his mouth, then hundreds of little tongues licked me swiftly toward his gullet, and with a gurgling suck of air, he pulled me down his long throat and I slithered far down into his belly.
I feel a change in motion, and can feel that he is climbing down into his cave by the sea. I feel him curl, then settle, his stomach changing shape and size around me as he lies down. I hear the low grumble as he sighs. He’s going back to sleep.
It is light in here. I thought I would be in total darkness once he swallowed me, but there is an eerie glow inside him. It’s like the little creatures of the sea that glow in the wave crests as they curl onto the beach at night, but their light is white with a hint of blue. The Kraken’s stomach is yellow and red. The walls of his stomach have large pores that leak yellow fluid and suck when his belly growls with hunger.
Under my bum and feet are rope-like things that look like fat worms as thick as my lower leg from knee to ankle. They have tapered tips and bases rooted in his stomach walls.
A few moments after he settles, the worms begin to move - I feel them squirming under me, across my thighs, my lower back, my arms and armpits, the crease of my bum. I look at one that is near my face; there is an opening in the tapered tip and from it a long pointed tongue slithers out and licks me. Other worm things are exploring my body, licking me everywhere. The little tongues are no thicker than the smallest of my fingers, but they are strong and firm when they move.
He’s tasting me.
In the seasons leading up to this night, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be alive inside the Kraken. I imagined that his stomach would stink like rotted meat, but it doesn’t. It smells sickly sweet, and when one of the worms licks around my lips, I open my mouth and let it lick inside. It tastes sweet, like honey, but with a musk to it - the closest thing I’ve tasted before is what is left on my fingers after I explore my sex and bum when they have been wet and slippery for a long time.
I giggle when I feel one of the worm tongues licking inside my sex, then slither up my crease to find my bum. It licks deep there, and that feels so good it makes me squirm. It feels better than when I explore as deep as I can with my own finger. The tongue is longer than my longest finger and as it wiggles deep inside me I quiver and pinch my tight hard nipples. It keeps wiggling deeper and suddenly the tapered tip of the worm is pressing into my bum as well, opening me up and taking my breath away.
I’ve never felt anything like this before; it slithers deeper, and though it doesn’t hurt, it sends tingles up my back and sides because it feels so foreign and I feel a strange nervousness. Its slimy length wriggles inside my bowels, forcing my bum hole wider and going deeper and it feels like I’m about to have one of those belly clenching explosions of ecstasy but along with feeling so good and so excited I’m starting to get scared about what it plans to do in there. I start shaking from arousal and nerves. I want to scream.
I can’t handle this.
I try to squirm away, but another worm wraps around my wrist and another around my throat and they hold me tight and still. It’s going to do what it’s going to do and I can’t stop it.
I’m being raped.
The thickness of the worm is stretching my bum so wide open and filling my bowels so much I feel my belly growing tight as more and more of the worm slithers into me. Is this how I am to be devoured? From the inside out?
The worm is undulated in my belly and despite being afraid I feel my belly muscles tighten as I start to have my sexual explosion, but suddenly I feel a gush deep in my bowels and everything changes.
It just squirted something thick and liquid in my bowels. At first it burns, but the burning goes away quickly leaving a tingling pleasure. It squirts again and with it comes the burning then the pleasure, then again and again. It’s pulsing inside me - the worm undulating, gushing, slithering deeper. The feeling is overwhelming me and I cry out, pant, and squirm. I’m right on the edge of my body going crazy like it does when it cramps tight.
Oh, Iðunn! It feels so good! My belly is swelling from the fluid, the burning then the pleasure spreading. I can hear the gurgling of it being forced into my belly, making it swell more and more. I’ve seen guts before - all twisty inside us - and I can feel air being pushed around corners inside me as the fluid is forced into me deeper and deeper. I even have the crazy thought that it will fill me up so much that the fluid will come out my mouth - oh, I want that ... I want that so much.
Even though I know what the fluid must be, I want it inside me. I want it to fill me up and end this and feel this good right into Valhalla. I start humping my hips as the worm works inside me, feeling my belly muscles stretch until they’re as thin as parchment, feeling my bowels bloating bigger and bigger like fat sausages inside me, feeling the worm force itself deeper, owning my belly, my body, my soul. The other worms let go of me and I’m free to move, but I stay and hump the worm in my belly.
In the summer, our völva, Kettil took us girls to the sea to teach us what was going to happen to us inside the Kraken. She brought a basket of clay jars and her light net and waded into the shallows and captured some of the little fish that live in the tidal pools. She filled the largest jar with seawater and put enough little fish in it so each of us could have five. Then she filled the three smaller jars with seawater.
She’d made sure we did not eat that morning, so we were all hungry when Kettil sat us in a circle on the beach and had each of us in turn swallow five little fish, putting them in our mouths head first so they could wriggle down our throats. Then she told us to drink the seawater.
“But water from the sea will make us sick.” I said, holding my jar.
“We’re here for you to learn.” she said sternly, “Drink the water.”
I drank my jar of seawater and quickly felt the little fish in my belly wriggling inside me. The other girls did as well and we giggled at the sensation until we felt sick. Kettil made us wait though, fighting off the nausea we all felt. When ever one of us gagged or heaved, Kettil would say; “Swallow. Swallow.”
Then - when she was ready - Kettil slid two fingers down our throats one at a time and rubbed hard until we violently vomited into our jars.
“Now look at your fish.” she said once we were all done.
I looked down and saw that despite being near death, three of my five fish were still wriggling feebly. I reached down and touched them - their skin was loose and tattered easily, parts of their bodies were dissolving into a white paste, yet still their mouths opened and closed, and their little bodies squirmed as they clung to life.
“See what the juices in your belly has done?” she asked. We all nodded our heads.
“Do they look like they are in pain?” she asked. We all shook our heads.
“Do they look like they are suffering?” Again we shook our heads.
“This will be you three when you take your turn in the belly of the Kraken.” Kettil told us, “Like these fish, you will digest in his belly. Your flesh will liquefy and will be absorbed. You will do this for your people, like the boys who go a’viking and die in foreign lands die for us.”
“But girls.” Kettil had said with her grim smile, “The boys die brutal and painful deaths. Yours will be slower and blissful. A gift from the Kraken.”
’How can you know?’ I remember thinking, but now I realize she did know. She was, after all, our völva, and knew many things hidden from our eyes.
I swallow hard, remembering the feeling of the little fish wriggling inside me. How it felt titillating and arousing. I hope I am making the Kraken feel titillated and aroused now, because I am aroused ... I am beyond aroused.
The burning inside me is the Kraken’s fluid digesting me, and the pleasure that spreads as the burning spreads is his gift.
Now my belly is bloated fat and tight, larger than it would have been carrying children I will never carry, and still he pumps more into me. So much pressure, so much pleasure. It feels impossibly good, to lie undulating in his soft warm stomach, no longer able to move gracefully as I once could, but to slump, cradled inside him while his stomach worm gushes inside me, humping myself against its pressure.
I gasp, cry out, whimper and whine like a whore, wanting more ... wanting this to last forever.
When I am alone I play between my thighs, sliding my fingers into my oily sex and lubrication my bum with it so I can get a finger up there as well; and when I do, a cramping wave of bliss grips my belly tight and I jerk and gasp and shudder and kick. This feeling is bigger than that, except I can’t clench my belly. The bliss comes in hot waves that flow through my body from my stretched bum, through my belly, and ending by tingling my tight nipples.
I’m feeling feverish now, a hot ache behind my eyes, and I feel dizzy and weak. I’m sweaty and I can smell myself - the stink of hot, wet sex; some of it him, some of it me. Even my small breasts are swelling, so I know the fluid is leaking from my gut throughout my body. I wonder if the girls who screamed were able to surrender to this in the end and allow the pleasure to invade their bodies. Or did they fight it in their terror and die horribly bloated. I hope they felt this bliss, because if this is what dying feels like, it’s a wonderful end to a cold hard life.
And I wonder if my cries and moans of pleasure have been carrying up the Kraken’s throat, and if they are, what the watchers make of them. I hope they do hear and I hope they tell that tale back at the longhouse and give heart to future girls who will be forcibly taken to sacrifice rock and stripped bare to be eaten by the Kraken.
I feel the fluid inside my tight bloated belly finally gush and gurgle up into my stomach - it bubbles and churns there as it bloats and makes me gag and heave gently and when I do I feel something pop deeper in my belly. I know this is the beginning of my end - it’s the sound of my guts dissolving and bursting, but it doesn’t frighten me. I feel three more pops in my swollen belly and know it is the fluid turning my flesh into paste that the Kraken can absorb. My entrails are bursting as they dissolve.
I cry out as the worm inside me is suddenly ripped from my bum and I begin to leak. It isn’t like when my belly is sick and I squirt foul liquid from my bum, this is thick, and I can feel the texture of my half dissolved insides fluttering as my mess oozes from between the cheeks of my bum. I reach behind me and slide my fingers along my crease and find that my bum hole is huge and loose and open. I can feel a building pressure high up in my stomach, it’s a squirmy feeling and I know what is about to happen.
I lie still and try to catch my breath. Smelling the sickly sweet scent of my own body dissolving and flowing from me. I can hear the pores in the Kraken’s stomach sucking down my nutrients as he feeds from me.
My stomach tightens suddenly and my mouth waters like crazy, so I turn my head and lay my cheek against his wet stomach. I open my mouth. Here it comes! Here it comes! My stomach twists inside me and I relish the feeling as it gurgles up my gullet and past my lips. It tastes sweet and musky like the taste from my sex when it is oily and I’m excited but blended with his sickly sweetness. I burp and gurgle and flow, the little pops in my belly almost constant now - my bliss almost constant now.
I hate the cold, and maybe that is another reason why I was chosen. I always complained about being cold - my pale body always shivering and tight. I wasn’t made to live where we live. I was made to live somewhere warm.
But now I am warm and my body is loose and I am sleepy and content. I am cradled in his belly while my own melts inside me and I regurgitate his fluid along with bits of my flesh knowing he will sleep, fed and happy. In the spring he will awaken and shit out my bones on his way back to the sea. He will feed on men in ships and he will rend and chew those men with violence. But for us girls of winter, he takes us gently with such sweet, slow bliss.