Short Story: The Beginning (part 3)

This is the final part of the short story I promised to post quite a while back (the last installment was in April 2008). When I get the chance, I’ll be ripping it to shreds… but for now, here’s the end of the story. Why did it take so long? I only had a hard-copy, but I finally found a CD full of burned docs including all of my old articles from various news-stand magazines in the UK! (Yay!)

In case you’re coming into this late, or don’t have the memory of an elephant, and the patience of Job, here’s some links to the First Part and the Second Part.

“Finally you wake” I heard a man's voice say. Slowly the world came into focus, and I could see that I was in a large, well furnished room with a tall roof and a wooden floor.

I was laid out on a large leather couch, a cushion beneath my head. Behind the man was a large wood fire, banked up and spreading its flickering glow throughout the room. Above him was a stag's head, flanked by two portraits in gouache. He was standing, wearing immaculately polished shoes on a bearskin rug, between two leather upholstered chairs pointed towards the fire.

"I do hope that you will not even think of trying anything as rash as violence - it would be most... " he paused "Inconvenient".

I did not feel I had the strength - nor the will - to even consider fighting him. And anyway... why should I? I felt confused, disorientated and suddenly so cold... so very cold...

Without conscious thought, I rose from the couch and started to move towards the warmth of the fire. My limbs moved with no input from my mind to make them do so - my body desired the warmth.

"Good." I heard the man whisper, as much to himself as to me. "My name is Alexander Potter, and I feel we may get to know each other a lot more ... intimately in the next few hours."

I moved forward faster, the fire's warmth inexorably pulling my body towards it, its incandescent glow dragging me onwards.

I reach Alexander, and stop. Standing where he is, he is preventing me from reaching the warmth... and then, inexplicably, I am no longer cold. I no longer need the fire.

He reaches down and tilts my head to the side, exposing my neck. And I realise what it is that is happening.

I try and break away, try to push him back, and I succeed, except it is not him that moves, it is I, stumbling backwards. I try and ask him what is going on, why is he doing this, but I cannot. Instead, I find myself moving back to him, tilting my head for him, watching him bend towards me, his fangs bared, glistening in the dancing light of the flames nearby.

Again I push away, but this time I am not able to break his grip. Again, my head tilts to the side for him, but this time I cannot break away from his grasp. Transfixed, as if I were an animal trapped in the gaze of its predator, I cannot do anything.


Pain floods my neck, head and wracks my torso. I stiffen, my body spasms and my back arches with the feeling of the two intrusive needle-like points. Further in they burrow, piercing the living flesh below the dead skin, digging into the thin sheaf of muscle fibre and nerves, into my pulsing artery. White hot lights dance in my vision, as the artery is opened, my life blood spilling out of the twin channels broached by my captor.

His lips close over the open wound, teeth withdrawing as he sucks and drinks deep. His mouth curls into a gruesome smile, smearing blood over his cheeks and chin in the process. The pain, still incessant surmounts me, and as he drinks further of my very life essence, I thankfully grasp at the curtain unconsciousness lowers over my mind.

* * *

I awaken in a dungeon-like room. The walls are damp, the floor cold stone. In one corner straw is scattered. A long gnarled wooden table, soft and rotten, riddled with woodworm is in front of me. At the room's far end a small set of stone steps lead up to a large strong oak door, locked and bolted, the only opening being covered with a square of solid steel.

I feel incredibly hungry, incredibly thirsty and incredibly weak. There is no strength in my arms and legs as I drag myself up from the damp stones. On the table is a large plate, dressed with salad, upon which a large, prime quality steak lies. It is still steaming, its succulent smell and deep brown colouration causing me to salivate wildly, only increasing my thirst. A large pitcher full of water stands next to the food, light from a torch on the far wall dancing through the glass that stands on the table by the pitcher.

I almost run to the table, grabbing the pitcher and drinking from it eagerly. I vomit violently, water tainted with digestive juices and enzymes splashing over the damp stones of the floor.

Realising my error, I take a tiny sip of the water. But this is to no avail. Instantly, I vomit again, bringing the water back up from my empty stomach.

With a low groan, I tear a tiny portion of the steak with my teeth and cautiously swallow it, but within seconds it too joins the water on the floor, my guts not accepting what they cry out for...

With a cry of resignation, I crawl to the straw bedding in the corner, curl up in a foetal ball, and sleep...

... I wake to see a fresh, steaming steak on the table, the pitcher of water topped up to the brim. My hunger and thirst overwhelm me with their strength, I scrabble towards the table and bite then immediately swallow some of the steak, its odour tormenting my appetite. As before, the steak is propelled vigorously from my stomach, and as I look up, bent forwards by the force of my expurgation, I see my captor's eyes looking through the view-hole in the door.

"Look to the right of the door, Jeremiah - and make your choice. To eat, or to die."

Confusion wracked my mind as I looked where he had told me to. In the corner of room a bundled figure lay. I rolled it gently over.

To my horror, I found that it was my beloved, Kathryn. She lay unconscious on the floor before me, battered, bruised and broken. Anger filled my mind at what had happened; I shouted, a long primal scream of rage, "WHY???". Alexander's eyes looked on from the doorway.

"As I said, my dear friend, you must choose. To live or to die. To eat and survive, or to die from your hunger."

"What do you MEAN?" I screamed to him, but the panel in the door had been closed and bolted. Hunger overwhelms my anger and pity for my ravaged lover. I bite a chunk out of the steak on the table, sucking the juices from it in a vague hope of satiating my hungered, wanting stomach. Spitting the drained meat out, I lie next to Kathryn, hugging her gently, crying over her battered state.

Within a minute, I heave. The few drops of fluid fly from my body, flung with the sharp, crippling motion of my unrelenting body. Whimpering, hungry, thirsty, almost deadly weak I hold Kathryn in my arms, rocking her gently in self pity.

. .. .... .......... thud...... thud .......thudd ... thuddd... THUD.... THUDDD... THUD .... THUD......

The sensation, the noise permeates my body. The warmth of my lover's body in my arms, the relentless pressure of her heart, the sonorous ring of the blood running through her arteries and veins, her very life force that coarses through her body... The noise stifles me, paralyses my being. I bend down, lying her head in my lap, her neck across my thigh.


Her neck twitches in time with the sound, the movement exaggerated by my mind and imagination... My hunger overwhelms me, the sound of her heart taunting me with its pounding relentless attack.

My mind detaches its control from my body, my very consciousness looking on in terror, confusion and disgust as my body moves and bites deep into the neck of my Kathryn, of the golden hair, the perverse raping and defiling of her body by my own, the destruction of the one I love the most by myself horrifying me... Yet still I bite, drawing blood...

The coppery taste of the warm, thick fluid overwhelms my tongue. I drink deep, the fluid sickening me as it flows down my throat into my stomach, stealing the life from my poor, dear Kathryn... More I drink, drawing the crimson liquid from her neck, satisfying my stomach as my mind reels, uncomprehending,
horrified at what it is that I am partaking in.

I drink deep, until my stomach is satisfied, and then, somehow knowing that I should stop, I release Kathryn, her body dropping to the stone with a thud.

I lick my lips, and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand.

Conscious action returns, and I weep. Uncontrollably I cry, not knowing why or what I have done, only that I have destroyed the only thing that I love. Then, mercifully, I sleep.

I awake, and Alexander is beside me.

"You chose rightly," he said slowly, "and she will probably recover, with the medical help I have provided for her. Probably."

“What have you DONE TO ME?" I shout.

"You are, as I am. A beast you are, lest a beast you become." He sighs. "It is an ancient riddle, yet it is probably the truest thing you will ever hear. And I am sorry to have caused you so much pain, so much agony, so much... well, it is over now and you shall never be the same again.

"I have known you and your family for a long time. I met your father in Africa - you will not remember me, you were too young. We made... an agreement. Anyway, come with me to the fire place. We have much to discuss, and no doubt you are cold and shocked from your ordeal."

He left the dungeon, and I followed him, my head in my hands.

* * *


Dyson Vacuum Cleaner - COVETED! ... but boy does it suck…

So I went out and bought a Dyson DC14 Vacuum cleaner today. Bagless. Cyclone driven. High tech. I’ve coveted them for several years now (if it’s actually possible to covet a vacuum cleaner), and we needed a new one… soooo…

I brought it home. Assembled it. Turned it on.

Nasty loud CLACKING noise. Allegedly this is the ratchet on the brushes to stop them from getting damaged. Play with the setting again. Keeps doing it.

Open up the bottom – nothing obviously wrong. Search online…

Apparently this is a problem with the clutch mechanism. Very common. Happens within 3 or 4 months to a LOT of people with this model.

And, because technology hates me, it happened to me day 1 minute 1.

It goes back tomorrow (well, I might call tech support first). I’ll swap it for something a little cheaper.


The Obesity Virus?! ... and a cure?

According to a number of studies (and news stories floating around the internet), at least 30% of obesity cases could be caused by adenoviruses.


What's an Adenovirus?

It's one of a set of viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms. These include the influenzas (the flu), the rhinoviruses, and adenoviruses.

Symptoms include:

  • common cold
  • conjunctivitis (an infection in the eye)
  • croup
  • bronchitis
  • pneumonia
  • dry eyes
  • ... and apparently, obesity.


OK, so why does it cause obesity?

Apparently it causes fat tissue stem cells to become full-blown fat cells, and encourages them to accumulate fat.

That's in addition to giving you a runny nose.

What's the Evidence?

Mostly this is from chickens, marmosets and mice, where there's direct experimental evidence that it increases fatty tissue build-up. In humans, when markers for specific adenovirus types (there are 51 adenoviridae known to infect humans; 5 of which appear to cause the effect), 30% of obese people have antibodies to the viruses. And a few people who aren't obese have them too, but it's not clear why they don't develop symptoms. It's probably genetic.

The recent paper in the research journal Obesity (A Human Adenovirus Enhances Preadipocyte Differentiation - Sharada D. Vangipuram, Jonathan Sheele, Richard L. Atkinson, Thomas C. Holland and Nikhil V. Dhurandhar), shows explicitly that if you take Adenovirus type 36, and give it something to grow in, it'll create fatty tissue as fast as it can. And the cells express a gene from the virus itself, so it may be acting as a retrovirus.

If you use Adenovirus type 2, the same isn't seen. No effects whatsoever.

So What's the Cure?

Well... step 1 - get rid of the virus. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Use a goddamn handkerchief people - I find it amazing the number of people who will happily cough and sneeze all over their coworkers and the room. The virus can live for a few days outside of the body in aerosol, and tests with dye show that if you don't use a hanky, you're going to get that stuff EVERYWHERE in short order. And that's how it replicates. (It's also how entire offices get sick for months at a time in this day and age).

Show some common decency - use a handkerchief!

Just in case you'd forgotten what these things look like... see above.

As for step 2 - what do you do to help get rid of the virus?

Here's my recommendation. Note: I'm not a doctor. I just read a lot. Take this advice at YOUR OWN risk.

Well, a start might be to take Omega-3 fatty acids. They've been shown to reduce the ability for viral capsids to cross the cytosome by modifying the structure of the lipid raft. (You should do this anyway, if you fancy your chances at living past 50 - it'll help with heart disease - but don't take too much, as studies are showing that they can slightly depress your immune response by down-regulating inflammation).

Another trick - Green Tea. Down that stuff in huge quantities. Even better, take EGCg - a green tea extract - one paper shows that adenovirus infection is inhibited by this substance. (Link to paper here).

By the way, adding milk or cream massively decreases the beneficial effects of green tea...

Of course, the old standbys - lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, honey and garlic can't hurt either. And if you make a nice drink of hot water, lemon juice, ginger, honey and a splash of cayenne, it'll clear your sinuses pretty nicely too and make you feel better.

Now... Here's the fun part. I did a little research which led to a paper on AMPK expression in fat cell apoptosis & metabolism. The research is actually aimed at coming up with a drug that works for fat loss.

The great thing about this research, is that they've got a nutritional approach that they're trying to replicate in a drug.

Which means, dear reader, that you might actually get somewhere yourself if you just go the nutritional route.

A Nutritional Approach to Fat Loss

The paper I'm talking about is here: Genistein, EGCG, and capsaicin inhibit adipocyte differentiation process via activating AMP-activated protein kinase - HWANG Jin-Taek ; PARK In-Ja ; SHIN Jang-In ; YUN KYOUNG LEE ; SEONG KYU LEE ; HAING WOON BAIK ; HA Joohun ; OCK JIN PARK.

So what does this mean?

Well, they did some research and found out that Genistein (a derivative of soybeans), EGCG (a green-tea extract), and Capsaicin (something found in hot chillis and cayenne pepper) will encourage fat cells not only to not be formed in the first place, but also to encourage them to release their fat stores and kill themselves.

Cayenne Peppers
Mmmm... I once ate one of these as a dare. I hate you at times, Mr. Beynon ;-)

This is good news for anyone trying to lose weight - one problem with weight gain is, once you have the fat, your body has created new fat cells to store it. (And this is also how the adenoviridae are doing their magic obesity trick - they're creating new fat cells - your body just goes ahead and fills them up). Because you've still got those (empty) fat cells even after losing weight, one ice-cream too many, and you're stashing away all that fat in those hungry adipocytes which are ready and waiting - like a squirrel stashing away nuts for winter.

So while these guys are theoretically working on a drug to do this faster, better and stronger, you can add the following substances to your diet and get some of the effect.

You can find Genistine (note: it's a phytoestrogen, so it may have adverse side effects in men) in your local supplement store. Or, if you want to avoid extracts, eat more soy beans. That edamame? It's good for you.

You can find EGCg in green tea - so drink more of it, or buy the extract.

Capsaicin? Eat more hot & spicy foods. Or alternatively, you can get Cayenne extract in the supplement section too. You'll find it in the "Ayurvedic" section, where it's used in Indian medicine. Note: I do not know if the so-called "cool cayenne" variety has the same effects.

A couple more things worth adding? Omega-3 fatty acids (you should be taking these anyway), and Niacin - in Nicotinic acid form. Niacin helps with fat metabolism and cholesterol regulation, which if you're going down this path, you're going to want to do.

Dosages? I'm sorry, but you're going to have to figure that out by yourself. Please don't take too much, maybe just stick to the recommendation on the bottle.


So I'm going to give this a shot. Tomorrow, I take a baseline weight, and start doing this once a day. I'll report back with the results.

Oh yeah... and the Niacin story I promised? It's coming. I've got 4 or 5 queued up ready to roll just as soon as I finish my research. Consider this a bit of a teaser.

#Health, #cure, #theory
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Goodbye Eartha... You were fantastic

from SeaTurtle's photostream on

Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day, 2008.

I've seen Earth Kitt perform twice, both times at Jazz Alley in Seattle, in 2006 and 2007. My friends Bach, Aydin, Anna, Pepe and my fiancee Darci have all seen her perform on stage.

Aydin and I both agreed a long time ago... She could have had us in a heartbeat. All of our friends who saw her felt the same way.

No, seriously. We both had the hots for this 79 year old (and at the next performance, 80 year old) woman. She was that sexy. She was the consummate embodiment of hot blooded womanliness.

She was an amazing singer, an amazing person with an amazingly varied life. Well traveled, incredibly well educated, intelligent, fiery, funny and with a sense of class missing from most of today's life.

Today, I'm incredibly glad that I got the chance to see her in person. I'd never have known her incredible charm or magnetism if I hadn't.

Which just goes to show - see live performances. They're worth their weight in gold. You may never have the chance again. (I'm just glad that at least once in my life I've seen David Bowie perform in person - another person so charming, wonderful and down to earth, that he's someone I'd love to just sit down with for an hour or two and talk with in front of a roaring fire over drinks).

Eartha, I'll miss you. I'm sure you're out there, somewhere, drinking a martini and singing your lungs out.


Coming Soon... New Theories

One of these theories is an out-there what-if? And I don't have anything to back it up right now. But I'm going to try to piece together a mechanism that explains eczema and peanut allergies as a fungal battle going on inside your body. I can't find much research to back up this position, but I'll explain my logic.


Here's the bigger one. I've rediscovered some old studies from the 1950s that give a way to massively reduce nicotine and other withdrawal symptoms. I came across this through a happy accident mainly; I was looking for a way to reverse the side-effects of smoking on skin healing while I was still waiting for a good way to quit that didn't involve taking mind-altering drugs, as I appear to be particularly sensitive to them. That, and I've heard enough worrying things about Chantix, and I've got issues with Wellbutrin (I get visual side effects).

070516104053[1]So a happy accident, and it's cheap, easy to get a hold of, has minimal side effects (or rather, minimizable side-effects.. they're actually not all that bad), and rumor has it, it will help with the weight-gain issues of stopping smoking as well.

And! as an extra bonus benefit, if you're an alcoholic? Apparently, according to the studies, it works for that too. Suffer from anxiety or a broken heart? It'll help. Crave sweets/starchy foods all the time? Yep, it should help with that. High HDL cholesterol? Check. Serotonin deficient? Hell yes.

What's more, it's probably already in your cupboard. All you need to do is up the dose. Carefully. And preferably under medical supervision (hey, I'm not a doctor. I don't claim to be one. Anything you do with this advice is your own look-out; tread carefully).

Sounds magical, no? Well, I'll lead into my next article (coming in a couple of days - I'm still experimenting on dosing patterns) by telling you what this magical substance is.

It's plain old Vitamin B3, a.k.a. Niacin. And from my own personal experience, it's already working 100x better than the Nicotine Patch that I used to quit smoking last time.

Who'da thought it?

#Health, #smoking cessation, #allergies
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