Chapter 29 Human desires
“I can’t imagine what the world would turn to if plants tasted worse than feces.” Chang reached for an empty bowl after he heard Qing shui and filled it with the vegetable soup.
“Cheers for the sh*tty vegetable soup!”
“That was a vulgar joke.” Pangzi who was standing beside Chang, furrowed his brows, and then went to get himself a bowl of soup.
Pangzi, Lin and Jing each took their own bowl. When they first smelled the soup, they simultaneously frowned with a disgusted face.
After a while, Jing braced herself for the first sip. As the soup stimulated her taste bud, her pale face turned white, but she managed to swallow the soup as her cheek went up and down. The first taste came strongly and swiftly, so Jing immediately held her nose as if she was drinking bitter traditional Chinese medicine. She didn’t chew on any vegetables in the soup so that she could finished her dinner as fast as possible.
Lin wanted to imitate Jing’s way of drinking, so she first held her nose and then took a deep breath. She gulped a mouthful of soup, but as the liquid flowed down to her esophagus, she dropped the bowl. What followed was intense vomiting.
“Blarghhhh..” the vegetable soup gushed out from her mouth and nose along with gastric juices, making the room smell even worse.
“I’m sorry.” Lin basically threw up everything in her stomach. She wiped her mouth roughly and gave an apologetic look to the other four. She then picked up the broom and cleaned up her mess while her left hand lightly pressed on her stomach.
“Well…” Pangzi had just witnessed Jing and Lin attempt to gulp down their dinner. He tried to muster up his courage to eat it, but he eventually gave up after only a sip.
“No…I can’t chug it.” Pangzi put away his bowl, indicating that he wouldn’t touch the soup again.
“Humans are so fragile…” Qing shui didn’t force them to finish their dinner as he saw their reaction. After finishing his own portion, he put down the bowl and closed his eyes to think.
Chang didn’t say anything about it either and quietly slurped the last bit of food in his bowl, as well as the rest in the pot.
Subsequently, Chang felt a strange yet comfortable warm feeling raising from his stomach. The smell in his mouth seemed to be become less intense – human suffering, regardless of what pain one experiences, will gradually lessen as one’s body begins to learn to adapt to it. Moreover, human bodies had evolved to an ideal state where excessive pain would cause a a person to faint. However, if humans were unable to faint, the pain would slowly fade as time passed by; there were even some cases where people developed pleasure in feeling extreme suffering.
Therefore, human really were amazing creatures.
It seemed like Chang had suffered enough that the only sensation he had was the warmth in his stomach; it made him no longer feel hungry, and instead, he was relaxed and comfortable.
“How can you eat that much?” Lin saw the empty pot and asked. Her pale face made an admiration expression, “I couldn’t even take one sip.”
“If you can endure how disgusting the first sip is, everything becomes simple afterwards.” Chang replied honestly.
“I can’t even drink a drop of it.”
“I bet that in three days or even less, you’ll be able to endure the disgusting smell, and you’ll think that it’s delicious.” Qing shui opened his eyes and joined their conversation and smiled, “After all, humans aren’t as delicate and picky as we thought. The desire for food will overtake any other feelings we have.”
“I don’t believe you!! I won’t eat this until the day I’m dead!” Lin retorted. “I’d rather die if I have to eat this sh*t to appease my hunger.”
“You aren’t willing to eat this because you’ve never tasted the feeling of real hunger. To those who’ve faced famine before, they know how low humanity can go in order to find food. Sexual desire is derived from the craving for reproduction, but the desire of food is essential to survival. All animals or plants need to resolve their hunger before even thinking about reproducing. Therefore, our desire for food is a thousand times greater than our lust for sex.”
“A truly hungry person is worse than a person who’s been fed an aphrodisiac potion. The latter would hunt for the opposite sex as long as they’re available, but the former would take everything as long as they could stuff their stomach. In ancient times, it wasn’t uncommon for people to strip bark for food; when people were hungry enough, even if the only food available was poisoned, they would still eat it to satisfy their hunger.” Qing shui stood up and laid back on to his bed. “Hence, I won’t push you to have the vegetable soup, but sooner or later, you’ll have to eat.”
Qing shui closed his eyes again after he finished speaking. Apparently, he was the type of person who knew how to conserve energy.
Chang did the same as Qing shui; he went back to his bed when Qing shui was speaking – even though his stomach was full of vegetable soup, in the end it was just a liquid. Without carbohydrates and protein, this meal couldn’t replenish his full strength.
Therefore, conserving energy became critical to ensure survival.
As Chang and Qing shui stopped talking, Jing remained silent as she huddled up beside Chang; Lin and Pangzi didn’t respond either as they heard Qing shui. The five of them sunk into a brief silence.
The other two families kept silent as they were listening. One of the families had lost their son, but because the authorities didn’t take their case seriously, they started to blame Chang and his party by giving them occasional glares, but the overwhelming and distressing atmosphere kept their mouths shut.
As for the other family, they were in an even more dire situation. The parents of the young woman seemed to be sick; their hunger and stress, along with their old age had caused them to become weaker. Their daughter gave her single bed to her parents and she stood next to the bed to look after them silently.
Chang obviously knew what happened to that family as he slept beside them. However, he didn’t plan on giving up his bed. Despite how incapable he felt in helping others in this new world, he had gotten a taste of how difficult hunting and finding food was today. Lying on a bed was much softer compared to the ground, and this was the only thing that could help him recover some strength. Good strength meant a higher chance of survival. It would be impossible for him to give his chance of survival to others, even though the pair of sick elders made him feel really bad.
Despite there being three “families” and eleven people in the single room, no one spoke after that.
The sky turned completely dark – in this new world, everyone knew that the night concealed uncountable dangers. Hence, no one dare to go out at this time.
Chang opened his eyes and took a quick look at the dark and red world again before he went to sleep. He kept his hand to pat Jing’s back so that she could relax her nerves. They both slowly slid into their dreams.
“Are you accompanying me tomorrow, Mr.Li?”
“Yes, I am.”
These were the last words that gloomy night.