The Ceaseless Hunger – Indepentional

A flash of lightning just outside the window lit up the room, the thunder that followed shaking the steel frame. The howling of the storm filled the room as if the thick stone walls were not there at all, the rain making a constant drumming sound on the glass of the windows.

The ceaseless noise of the storm was only broken up by the sputtering of boiling liquids and the muttering and shouting of the man working the sprawling web of alembics , vials and tubes that filled the chamber. Despite the bone-chilling cold of the storm outside the room was filled with a sweltering heat from the burners speeding clouds of coloured steam along the tubes. An acrid smell emanated from the maze of tubing, though its orchestrator was too caught up in his fervent experimentation to pay such mundane sensations any heed.

His long black hair was slicked back with sweat and oils from his work. His pale face felt stretched over his skull, his gums sharp in his mouth as his hunger rose and rose. It had been days since he had feasted, fearful, no, terrified it would scupper his experiments and leave his efforts for naught. Wide and dry eyes pored back and forth over his nigh-endless notes as he directed the massive alchemical labyrinth of tubes and vials. Liquids and vapours of every colour under the sun, and some that by all rights shouldn’t, flowed and hissed through the glass pathways he had meticulously constructed. Some times he nearly fainted from the heat and his body’s craving for nourishment. But his fervor always brought him back, bringing his sharp mind back to his quest; to cure this affliction, this horrible state that had plagued him for decades.

Another lightning crashed and the tower shook, the generator that sat by one of the walls like a giant back serpent blowing a cloud of smoke into the room. The coils that led through the chamber crackled with renewed energy from the storm that was battering the castle. With a hiss of steam the final vial of the vast assembly line was filled with a liquid. It bubbled and steamed, the droplets that escaped the glass container sizzling against the wood surface it sat on. With a triumphant cry the man rushed to it and grabbed the vial, replacing it with another. He could feel the scalding heat of the liquid even through his thick work-gloves and his forehead broke into another bout of sweat as he brought it up to examine it. It matched what he expected, what he had researched during the long nights when he had fought off his need for a time. But now he laughed. Such struggles, such great pains were a thing of the past!

Without a moments hesitation he up-ended the vial, the painfully hot liquid warming him from the inside as if he had downed a whole bottle of vodka, albeit one with a taste like a rotten orange. His heart jumped in his chest and he collapsed, retching but desperately keeping the liquid inside him. A wave of heat swept through him. He tasted blood as he bit his tongue and stabbed the inside of his mouth with his teeth, his cheeks blushing from the heat. After what felt like hours he could stand up, resting on the table covered in sheets of notes and diagrams. Now the smell of the room was harshly apparently and he nearly retched again. His hunger was just as acute as ever but that was irrelevant. Leaning against the table he searched inside himself, scouting around in his mind for that feeling, that need which he had sought to cure. It seemed slighter, suppressed at best. It was, however, very much still there. Howling with rage he swept his body across the table’s surface, scattering tools and notes across the floor. Thoughts of slices with cheese and tomato sauce started bubbling back into the forefront of his mind and he collapsed to the floor, weeping.

He had failed. His unending craving for pizza was unchanged.

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