Thirst – an excerpt

From The Medium

It’s not like an addiction. In some ways it is, but it’s only an analogy, and the analogy breaks down under close scrutiny. When an addiction forms, you start out doing the thing, whatever it is, the stimulus, because it makes you feel something you want to feel again. It feels good, so you do it again. You do it until you get used to it, and then you can’t stand feeling normal any more. Normality hurts. It’s called withdrawal. Some people manage to quit. Someone close to them begs, or they get sick, or the loved one gets sick, and they have to come down again. It hurts, and they push through, and they quit. Some never do quit, and it kills them.

leonard hugo vampire thirst addictionIt’s not like an addiction. Imagine trying to quit air. What happens? You hold your breath. Maybe you’re really determined, and you find some way to plug up your nose and your mouth, so that no matter how much it hurts, you can’t take another breath. Your lungs start to ache, and then they start to burn. Your head pounds. Your eyes water. You lose control of your diaphragm, and it tries to take a breath whether you want it to or not. Your lips and your fingertips begin to tingle, and you panic. There’s nothing for it; you can’t help panicking. At that point, you’re not really yourself, any more. You’re a vacuum pump, trying to restock the oxygen before the machine gives out. Nothing matters except air. You forget how to speak, and then you forget how to see, and then you forget how to live. Darkness. End.

It’s not like that, either. I don’t get the darkness. I don’t get the end. I get stuck at the panic point, when everything condenses and distills into one thought, that need. I forget. I forget myself, and I forget how to pretend. Apparently, it looks a lot like rabies. It’s desperation. It’s fear. Animals don’t really need names, so I forget that, too.

©2013 MR Graham


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