Aesthesia: Chapter 6 (3)

08:59 Tuesday 3rd February 2578, Ethan 

I hadn’t yet been disturbed by my ostensible friend Caleb. I still wasn’t convinced I should trust what this man was telling me; that time moved differently for me. Surely if that were the case I’d have realised by now. I walked into the kitchen and set about the daunting task of trying to make something to eat and drink. For as long as I could remember food had been provided for me, and I’d never really had to think any further about where it came from. The room lit to display the clear marble tops hanging on each wall. I walked to the black tile of the worktop closest to me, and placed my hand over it, to unveil a few cups next to a small metal cylinder on the work surface and cupboards underneath the marble top. As I continued round the kitchen, I found the various contraptions and a cupboard holding boxes of a gelatinous porridge type food and small cartons of capsules of various different colours. 

I poured myself a frothy hot drink from the metal cylinder. I took a sip of the frothy sweet drink, which warmed me from inside out; it was not quite like anything I had ever had before. It was creamy and sweet, almost like butterscotch but mildly bitter, with a bit of a kick. I felt an instant calming effect. I wiped off some residual froth from my upper lip. 

Starving, the only food I could find was the thick gelatinous porridge, so I decided to heat it and brave a bowl full. After heating the smallest quantity, I took a seat at the breakfast bar and took a spoonful to taste. The smell was nauseating, nothing like the smell of porridge. The spoon hovered in front of my lips for about half a minute before I took a chance and risked a taste. No sooner had the spoon entered my mouth, I regretted my decision. It was like a mouth full of semi-solid glue. I heaved and spat it out. I took a swig of the frothy drink in an attempt to revive my taste buds. What on earth was it that these people ate?

I decided to make my way to the lounge, but no sooner had the thought entered my mind did I hear a knock at the door. With anticipation I walked toward the door, half certain who I would find at the other side. Sure enough I opened the door to find Caleb. Something was different, the outside world looked dreary. As I peered past Caleb to catch a glimpse of the building that had been previously built of glass, he pushed his way in. 

‘What you up to?’ he asked, ‘Last night must have been a lot to take in. You don’t mind if I get a drink do you?’ he continued barely waiting for an answer. 

I shook my head and we went through to the kitchen. He looked around and poured himself a drink from the metallic cylinder. He glanced around, when his face turned to a look of semi disgust.

‘Oh, please tell me you did not try and eat that in its original form?’ he asked staring at me. 

I nodded.

‘Sorry, I keep forgetting this is all new to you. I always promised I’d walk you through everything you needed to know. Well, this is Victuals, it’s our main food source,’ he said pointing to the bowl of gelatinous goo. ‘Fresh food is a delicacy nowadays with the scarcity of fresh produce. Victuals provide everything you need, well on a nourishment level. But you never eat it without added spice.’ 

He walked across to the cupboard holding the various brightly coloured capsules, ‘these send electrical impulses to your brain creating any flavour, any texture of food you desire. With these and you lenses in place, you could believe you were eating steak and chips, popcorn, anything you want.’

He studied me for several minutes, seemingly expecting a response. I felt obliged to break the silence.

‘The metal cylinder?’ I eventually asked, unsure of how to complete the sentence. 

‘That’s for Chiaro. You can have it hold or cold, by adjusting the temperature control gauge on the side.’ He paused, poised to speak. ‘Ethan, I’m still the vi….’

As was the nature of my life, the end of that sentence was not meant for my ears. A momentary shift had occurred. I  found myself stood in a freshly painted shop of some sort next to a familiar face, who was talking about holding up some races. Fortunately, with the next blink I had returned to my own confusing World. Caleb was once again awaiting a response.   

‘It’s a lot to take in,’ I cleared my throat, uneasy with my lack of knowledge, ‘so, how do these capsules work? I’m starving.’

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Filed under Fiction, The Book: Aesthesia

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