Mire of the Tortured, Tantalus; part 1

The air was cool and gentle… like spring water on the tongue,  ah… Water, he  remembered the taste of that. Thirst was the least in a long list of lack plaguing him, a need he didn’t have the luxury of filling. tantalus

Then there was the hunger, he’d long resolved that every being was comprised of four parts, the spirit, the mind, the body and hunger. What other explanation would there be for this everlasting sinking feeling?

Hunger as twisted as the old roots of an ancient tree wrapped around another ancient tree’s gnarled roots, hunger as deep as a sink hole created by a dried up river…. ah, there it was again… water…

He was knee deep in it

If he concentrated well enough, he could feel the it sloshing around his legs, the thirst returned with a vengeance in response to this new sensation. It was a regretful feeling, he’d managed to forget in the last few years that he was wading in his salvation.

He withdrew sharply, contented to look straight forward across the stream towards the bleak landscape of the fields of punishment. He thought he could hear the screams of his fellow occupants, but that was probably a hallucination, screaming lost its purpose after years of the same horror.

The scent of the fruit wafted down again, as it always did when he took his mind off it, today it smelled of freshly baked sweetbreads, just the way his mother used to make it just before she….

Memories, they were useless things those, the plague of the ancient, salt on the wound of loss and in this case a catalyst to reactivate his undying hunger.

Maybe he’d have been able to take his mind off the pain if he had someone to converse with, and at the very least he could have attempted to solicit for help. Almost no one came to the fields of punishment except to be punished and however, the other eternal inmates here had their own enduring labours to worry about.

Leaving him alone in his misery.

Here was his fate, immobile except for his hands and head, standing straight up in a stream that reached just at his knees. He looked up, the same fruit glistened with a promise of succulent release, it hung just out of reach…. although that didn’t stop him from trying to pluck it when it got unbearable.

The scent changes almost every hour now, he laughed ruefully, his own personal clock deep down in the underworld. When he’d first arrived they’d only changed once every few years, when the scent had lost its mouthwatering savour. Now they continually tormented him, his stomach rolled with each inhaled breath.

The fruit was something to behold, a wonder only possible through the majesty and immortal power of the gods, even if they were unrelenting in their judgement they made up for it in the sheer creativeness of their works.

If only he had known that they wouldn’t appreciate his cooking, perhaps it was his choice of ingredients, Pelops had always been a good looking child, maybe that’s all it had been, appearance without taste.

It was also probable that the gods had finer tastes, Kronos had swallowed his children whole and even Zeus had eaten one of his wives, but that was immortal godly ingredients, incomparable to the dusty flavour of mortals perhaps, he’d often wondered how sweet an immortal tasted… It might even be the solution to his problem.

Immortal food to quench eternal hunger.

Pic credit: http://www.suggestkeyword.com

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