It took Zach a few moments to realize the bottle was empty. Just a happy swig, and a quick visual check. Huh, must’ve drank the salt. Bah, all that BS is probably way overblown anyway. There was a palpable difference in taste, the sweetness of the jooz giving way to a flavor that produced a vaguely unsettling saline flavor – henche the name salt. Unconcerned, Zach leaned back and let the drink work its magic.
He felt his muscles relax, tension oozing out through his back into the chair behind him. His vision changed as well, following the progression of his tension until it seemed his eyes must rest on the back of his skull. He looked as if out of a tunnel made of light, with the real world – some mindless science fiction film blaring on a television – taking up a small portion of the center of his vision. Ahhhh… this is the life. He sighed contentedly as a drowsiness descended, seemingly holding him bodily in the recliner. He never felt as relaxed as when he was on jooz, which was the primary reason he kept handing over half his paycheck for the glowing purple liquid with the gravel in the bottom. At least he thought it was gravel.
Man, that salty taste is weird. Zach worked his tongue in his mouth, trying to get some saliva flowing as he reclined. His body felt as if it were floating on warm air, immobile yet delicately suspended in a comforting liquid environment. He lazily smiled as he let his mind slip away, following the tunnel of light towards the entertainment of the environment around him. The tunnel walls pulsed curiously with the actions of the television causing the character of the light bathing him to flicker and transform.
Out of nowhere, his hearing seemed to fold. What the hell is that? As if he had been listening to a sheet of paper, and that paper folded abruptly in half. As the crease solidified his hearing cut out completely, leaving him in silence to watch the light show. His tongue continued to work of its own accord, seeking out the salty flavor while simultaneously trying to muster up saliva that just wasn’t coming. Agh, so salty. Need drink. As he tried to fight his way out of the fogged state his body lay in, he found he wasn’t able to move. He sent orders to his limbs, but they just wouldn’t respond.
He felt a twitch in his shoulder blades. It was mild at first, barely a noticeable hitch. Then it came again, moments later. The salty taste in Zach’s mouth continued to grow, and he felt a burning need inside of him – a need to twitch, centered right between his shoulder blades. Each successive twitch reduced the feeling, but it was coming back faster each time, like an itch he couldn’t scratch. Constant crescendos leading to a spasm of his shoulders, then a complete reset only to start the process all over again. The twitch became more uncomfortable, the desire to move his shoulders being stymied by his inability to control his muscles. His tongue jumped with each twitch, by now tasting nothing but salt.
Each twitch was painful at the peak by now. The movement brought blessed relief, but it just kept coming back.. Zach screamed in his silence, his frustration and terror building in his mind, but with his tongue now affixed firmly to the roof of his mouth, a roof seemingly made of salt, he made no sound. He tried to rationalize that the feeling would fade eventually, that he would come down, but then another twitch occurred, jarring his mind, and beginning the slow build back to painful discomfort.
He willed himself to pass out, trying to escape into unconsciousness, but he was a helpless prisoner to the misfiring neurons of his body, with nothing to do but experience the salt and the need, the burning need to twitch his shoulders. He felt as if he had been there forever. He felt as if he would never leave. The pain was becoming excruciating, like a butterknife being slowly pressed into his spine. At its peak, Zach passed out.