Alkahest 4

“I see you’ve awoken. I am Dr. Lewis Ashling. I’m terribly sorry about what happened,” the man said, rising from the stool and kneeling beside me on the smooth cave floor. “The miasma must have caused you to forget who you were. Often thoughts can lead a victim to forget who they are, to some extent. I can assure you that the effect is temporary. It would seem as though my creations have been troubling the population of the island. I’m quite sure that you would want a clear explanation for what happened yesterday. I’m the alchemist who created the beings you know now as the Unsent.

“Eleven years ago I believed I had discovered the material that would enable me to create a life-prolonging elixir. The more I researched, the more I came to realize how much potential this material had. Not only could it cure every disease known to mankind, but it could also create substances out of thin air. As soon as I had mentioned this to my comrades, they all volunteered to be exposed to the material to further my research. Being so wrapped up in what I was doing, I agreed right away and sent them into a sealed safe house where the material was released in the form of a gas. I stood outside the safe house and watched as all of my friends died after three seconds of exposure. Mortified, I ran back to my research lab and did a few more tests. It was crucial that I found out what caused this. Hours later I discovered the key piece of information: Alkahest. Alkahest is the universal solvent believed to be able to dissolve every substance including gold. My comrades had been dissolved from the outside in. Five days later, I summoned the courage to hold a burial ceremony for my fallen comrades. The only thing was when I arrived at the safe house, they were gone. Of course I assumed that the alkahest material had done all too well in eliminating every trace of their existence. But closer inspection revealed traces of dead skin, hair and bodily fluid. They had only been exposed to enough of the alkahest to lose their humanity. Within five days, some unknown force caused them to rise in their mangled forms and seek to expand their race.

“They are called the Unsent because such unholy creatures cannot be expelled by scientific means. They must be sent by a holy man in order to kill and prevent them from rising as the undead. Until we can find a priest to send them, they will only multiply and cross-breed with animals.” Mira, whose attention had been solely focused on the doctor, raised her hand to speak.

“So all we need to do is find a priest and everyone can come back to the island,” she exhaled with a sigh of relief. The doctor cleared his throat.

“It’s not that simple. As far as I know, we are the only living people on this island. All of the priests and other alchemists I know of managed to board the ship. Kye, do you have any thoughts?” I thought. I thought again. It seemed as though there was no way out. Then I remembered what my parents had said.

“This is the chamber, is it not? The other safe houses are made of wood, not stone. The Unsent can’t reach us here. All we need to do is wait for the next merchant ship. Surely someone knows that we’re still here,” I finished thoughtfully.

“Yes! Of course!” Mira said happily as she threw her arms into the air.

“That sounds like a splendid idea,” Dr. Ashling said contently to Mira as she skipped off to eat the rest of her ration. 
And then to me he whispered cryptically, “But no one knows we were left behind.”

The End

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