Tags: bendy | flexible | contortion, commission, Her Imperious Condescension (Homestuck)
Unfortunately, perfection did not last terribly long.
She really should have seen it coming. For all Prochnow’s empty posturing and love of the crowd, he still had methods of enforcing his will upon dissidents. So it was that the second Lindah finished her performance and stepped offstage, she found herself surrounded by Kynag and a contingent of guards aiming their shotguns directly into her abdomen. They waited behind the performance tent until the rest of the freaks finished their acts - Lindah couldn’t help but smirk at the lower levels of applause after her little show - and the crowd dissipated, whereupon Prochnow came bursting out, brow furrowed in anger and mustache aquiver.
He’d shouted abuse at her for a good hour, and it took all her self-discipline to not snap his neck right then and there. Apparently, her performance was so fantastic a good quarter of attendees walked out in the middle of the following act, and were, in his words, “incredibly unlikely to send word down the road that my show is worth any of their friends’ time beyond the Cavewoman’s act thirty minutes in!” When she’d asked why it was so terribly important the audience stay when they’d already forked over their cash, Prochnow signaled one of Kynag’s goons to slam her in the small of her back with the butt of his gun. As she quite literally bit back her tongue while on her knees, the ringmaster informed her the rest of the camp would suffer tonight for her insolence, and that she ought to count herself lucky if they didn’t tear her to shreds before the next show.
Although she had no love for her fellow freaks, Lindah still winced somewhat as Prochnow rounded them up, had Greenstein tie them up tight in chains, and tossed them one by one into the back of a traveling wagon. Snide comments about how they could possibly be expected to perform again after such treatment rose to her lips, but died as she heard the unmistakeable sound of bone forced too far in an unnatural direction emanate from Murry’s arms. Prochnow’s brutality didn’t bother her - it was his sloppiness. Punishment of those you disapprove of who sit at the bottom of the pole should be handled by those at the top - to do damage to the rest of the group and then hope they’ll destroy the initial offender indicates weakness, and an unwillingness to get one’s hands dirty. She’d have to remember that.
Once Halfy was haphazardly stuffed into what seemed like the last remaining corner, Prochnow stood back to admire his mens’ handiwork, chest puffed out and hands upon his hips. Then he turned to glare at Lindah, and with a small smile said, “Now you.”
“Yer glubbin’ crazy if ya thhhhhhhhhhhhhink I’ll fit,” she hissed.
“I did promise you the others would suffer for you crushing them on stage, did I not?” he replied, stepping aside and waving her in. “Now they’ll have to suffer in a… rather SIMILAR manner, I should think.”
Lindah glared back for a moment before crouching down to look at her situation. If Prochnow really wanted her to squash the other freaks half to death to make them hate her, he could hardly have arranged them better: Bodies lay precariously atop one another, limbs jutting out at odd angles from beneath the chains encircling their bodies, with naught but the thinnest corridor of space left for her to squeeze through. If she simply jammed herself in, half of them would be pulped before the vehicle got moving and started really slamming them together.
It was, at the very least, a unique twist upon the punishment.
Squinting through the darkened compartment, Lindah began to form a strategy. Of the roughly 30 freaks Prochnow kept in the camp, fifteen were crammed into this small space. He seemed to have favored the smaller, slighter-figured ones, so as to maximize her chances of crushing one of them. This gave her the advantage of having more space to work with, but less room for mistakes - little as she cared about these malformed humans, she very much did not want to ruin her plans by unintentionally killing some of them on her first night. There was enough space for her torso and maybe two limbs to slide in without costing anyone space, but the second she tried to get the other two and her head (not to mention the sheer volume of her hair) in, the risk of breaking bones or inducing suffocation increased dramatically. Going in head-first would force everyone to deal with her locks, so the only real option was feet-first, but that would leave her dangling out the back with either her head dragging along the ground, or her stomach crunched so as to prevent that fate… and subsequently keeping her up all night…
Lindah could feel Kynag’s gun trained on her. The paid workers were starting to grumble about wanting to get back out on the road and catch some rest. Even though she didn’t have a plan, she’d have to try SOMETHING, lest Prochnow decide they should just knock her out and cram her in. She drew in a deep breath, hoisted herself onto her back, and started to slide her legs in.
Her feet met no resistance as she started to slide on in, and her lower legs only lightly brushed up against a squirming body or two. When she attempted to bring her thighs through, however, she felt her toes bump up against the wooden wall. With a groan, she remembered how he night before her head and legs had dangled off the top of this stupid thing. How in the glub was she supposed to cram her whole body in without reducing everyone inside to paste?
Experimentally moving her legs around in search of some extra room, she found her answer - there was a small window about halfway up, hinges dangling open so the driver in the front carriage could check on the contents of the back. She likely wouldn’t be able to get away with forcing her legs into the driver’s compartment, but if she took advantage of the open space between the two windows…
Lindah lifted herself onto her elbows, and began shoving herself deeper into the carriage. The little window’s blinders slid apart upon their hinges as her feet went through, and contacted the front carriage. Another deep breath, and she brought her lower torso through the back doors, twisting onto her side so as not to prematurely ram anyone into the walls. When her shins were fully out the window, Lindah started rotating her knees from side to side, attempting to overcome the limitations of her joints and bring them to face backwards as much as she possibly could.
As her upper legs began to bump up against the edges of the window, she pivoted them again and heard a small double pop. “Thhhhhhhhhat’ll do…” she murmured, swinging her now fully-rotatable lower legs about, and hooking her toes onto the siding running along the roof of the carriage. She gave a few more good shoves (bumping a few of the tied-up freaks with her rear along the way), and managed to get her thighs at least halfway out the window. The rear- carriage now sprouted what looked like a pair of bizarre grey, fleshy antennae out of its front, twitching every few seconds to stave off stiffness.
She wanted to take another steadying breath to prepare herself for the next part, but with her abdomen pressing up against the freaks now, she had to settle for several shallow, quicker nostril-flares. She COULD try cramming her upper torso, arms, head, and hair into the compartment, but a better idea had just occurred to her…
Pivoting her body so her lower half remained horizontally-oriented while the rest faced upwards again, Lindah pulled herself into a crunching position, and wrapped her arms around the outer edges of the carriage. Before Prochnow or his men could protest, she started swinging her neck about in circles once again. This time, however, instead of building up momentum to wrap it about herself, she jerked her body to the side, and caught it underneath the carriage on a downswing. In seconds, it whipped about the whole circumference once, twice, three times , trapping her forearms beneath it and drawing her upper body closer and closer to the roof’s rim.
With a small whap! the hair came to a halt, and Lindah was fully upright and secure, half her body crammed into the compartment with minimal discomfort to the others, the other half firmly secured by her down hair.
Prochnow made to complain, for the doors to the wagon were still wide open, but one of his men moved forward to point out how Lindah’s body kept the others compressed well enough to prevent any falls, and besides it was nearing midnight, so they’d best get on the road anyways. Lindah couldn’t see the frustration raising the blood to Prochnow’s face, but she could hear his teeth grinding as he silently debated pressing the issue further. After a minute or so, he compromised by having the doors closed as far as they could with the giantess in the way, then chained the handles together before calling it a night and setting off.
In retrospect, Lindah thought to herself as the wagon trundled down the uneven backcountry road, low branches whipping her in the face as they went, she should have anticipated this. Using underlings to get her way was a favorite tactic back home; Prochnow simply extended it further than she ever thought practical. Continuing to gain influence within the camp would ultimately have to be balanced against whatever punishment and tortures the ringmaster came up with for her fellow freaks. The triumphant exhilaration from the end of the night’s show wasn’t quite gone yet, but she definitely felt more exhausted than empowered.
Ah well. She sighed and closed her eyes, trying to ignore the frequent impact of twigs and branches against her legs and face. It might prove harder to find the ebb and flow tonight, but if she could sleep while leading a dragout battle with West Nigsrian insurgents on the high seas of Ulntia, she could drift off here… no trouble… at all…