Challenge #01716-D255: One Pot ScreamersteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction4 years ago

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Hwell Barrow gets his hands on "knurd" that Discworld drink that you wake up sober with. He drank a Lot! -- Knitnan

Shayde is old enough to remember what 'Kickapoo Joy Juice' was, and when she or her friends were studying for extreme lengths of time, she had invented 'Kikyernuts Brain Fire'. Which was a carefully-calibrated mixture of every stimulant known to mankind at the time. In a dose so strong that it was fractionally short of being lethal. She had a pot brewing in front of an audience of horrified and fascinated Medik trainees.

"Na while that's reducin' tae a syrup," said Shayde, "I need tae stress the importance o' drinkin' this shite out of a shot glass." She held aloft the tiny container. This one was double-walled and shot through with gold wires to prevent breakage through temperature shock. "One dose. Three hours. Otherwise ye run the risk o'--"

Hwell Barrow, freelance adventurer extraordinaire, and possibly permanently under the influence, fell through a patch of ceiling. He was evidently worse for wear. If he was a book, he would be slightly foxed, very badgered, severely bear'd and possibly dragoned[1]. He pulled himself laboriously to his feet, managed to focus on the bubbling pot, and cried, "Lor' bless you, I'm gaggin'." He marched straight for the pot and, ignorant of Shayde's frantic and urgent cries not to drink that, seized the whole pot.

There was a moment of silence. Filled only with Hwell's gulping and the metaphorical sound of a lit fuse.

Shayde raised her hand. "Anyone go' paramedic trainin' fer catastrophic metabolic imbalance revival?"

Hwell finished the last drop. "Oh I needed that." He licked his lips. "That was some strong coffee. And hot. Why's everyone starin' at me like--" his eyes flared open, apparently staring at nothing.

"An' thar it goes," said Shayde. "Nobody's ever drank tha' much. Ever. Closest was when Patty Ellins had a whole cup. She got her thesis done, aye, but she wound up in 'ospital." She coiled, ready to spring. "I tackle 'im, you lot get th' sedatives."

Hwell dropped the flask. Contrary to narrative impulse, it neither smashed nor startled an offscreen cat. It merely bounced harmlessly on the floor. Hwell started making a hissing noise. One finger slowly rose, pointing at something only he could see.

"It's coming through the walls..."

"Aye, they do that. The walls aren't here for them, ye ken." Shayde kept up a calm, logical, soothing tone. Still ready to pounce at a moment's notice. "We aren't here for them, either. They're harmless. Jus' fishin' in another dimension close tae ours. That's all."

"Why's everyone so beautiful?"

"That's the true lights," cooed Shayde. Now she was certain that he wasn't going to run around screaming, she slowly reached out and grasped his arm. "Yer seein' a little bit too much truth, right now. In a moment, yer goin' tae get existential. But while tha's happenin', I'm goin' tae feel yer pulse."

He looked at her in amazement. "You're like a beautiful star that doesn't hurt me eyes," he said. "Throwin' off solar flares of rainbows and sparkles."

"That's nice to know," she singsonged. Fingers on his neck. An urgent glance at the students. "His heart's hummin' C sharp." To Hwell, still in the singsong voice, she said, "Na. We're goin' tae just sit ye down nice an' comfy and these nice med students are goin' tae try an' slow yer heart down before ye die. Yer a silly bugger, did ye know that?"

"That's not the right bedside manner," complained a student who was having difficulty assembling their injector.

"It is if he can see when I'm tellin' a lie," Shayde singsonged. She got him sat and tried to get him to do yoga breathing when he was busy hyperventilating. "Try an calm yerself down, now. Yer juuussst seein' things."

"Do you see this all the time?" wondered Hwell.

"Most of it," she said. "Loads of it's completely harmless. Even the ugly ones. I can tune 'em out, most the time."

"...lucky," muttered Hwell, just as a student injected him with a superior sedative. His pulse slowed to something more rational. "I love my life," he slurred. "Errybody sh'd getta pony..." And then he passed out.

Shayde laid him down in recovery position. "Reet. As I was sayin'. Small doses, widely spaced out, or ye run the risk of tachycardia, hyperventilation, burst blood vessels, and one fook of a headache. He's no' goin' tae be a happy chappy when he wakes up."

She was right, of course. And Hwell later reported that 'Kikyernuts Brain Fire' was like being struck in the brain by a coffee-flavoured time hole. Or a black hole. Or a mix of the two. He could see the world slowing down around him and felt like he could run all the way home to New Cymru before he needed to breathe.

[1]: GNU Sir Terry Pratchett, much loved and missed.

[AN: For those of you unfamiliar with Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, 'knurd' is the actual state of pure sobriety that's the opposite of drunkenness. Being 'knurd' is being so sober that you see all the truths of the universe. Especially the ones you don't want to]

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / mflippo]

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Contrary to narrative impulse, it neither smashed nor startled an offscreen cat

That was the first laugh. Then there was the entirety of the rest of it XD Everyone should get a pony XD

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