- Vol. 02
- Chapter 06
There is too much food here, far too much for human consumption and yet some take up the challenge with gusto. They gobble down steaks smothered in onions, chips drenched in ketchup or mayonnaise (occasionally both), apple pies bursting with wholesome fruit, golden syrup sponge oozing treacle, and still they cry out for more.
I watch the odd few unbutton their trousers, complaining of terrible stomach cramps while others hurl up their gluttony in the far corners of the feeding hall.
We all know why we’re here and no-one has willingly entered the hall, except the gluttonous few. Since this is our last supper, we get to choose what our last meal is. We can plump for something rich and calorific, or bland and meagre. In the end, it doesn’t matter which option you choose, the outcome is always the same – death. It’s funny how final that word is, it’s the word to end all other words, it is nothingness, absence; it is death. And now it stares at us either from the plate or the steaming bowl of soup we’ve chosen.
They haven’t told us how long the effects will take to kick in but I assume they’ve arranged it so that we utter our last breaths in the early hours of the morning. They’re very good like that, very thorough, our executioners.
The elderly guy sitting beside me has already devoured his way through a three-course meal and pummels the table with his podgy fists demanding more. He looks around and catches my eye.
‘Might as well eat up all the grub if it’s going to be our last,’ he says. I nod. What he says makes sense but I just can’t bring myself to consume the tiniest of morsels.
Instead, I pick up the glass pitcher and pour myself some water. I am grateful for its relieving effect. The dull ache in my stomach is satisfied. I sit back in my chair and watch the others stuffing themselves silly. Here, satisfaction is gained in so many ways.
I close my eyes and afford a tiny smile, content in the knowledge that tomorrow I will still be alive while the others will have perished around me. After all, I have resisted temptation and eaten no food.
The elderly man has finally fallen silent; his face is pallid and grim like a fish suddenly ripped from the water. His jaw is slack, his eyes like glazed marbles. His time has come.
I turn away, wishing to spare the dying man his last few moments on earth, and taste blood in my mouth. I freeze. I have eaten no food. The poison was in the food. And then the reality hits me – the water. I turn to the glass jug; it no longer contains water but a pale yellow liquid which will serve as my maker.