It burned as it slid down his throat, raging. It spread with false gentleness in his stomach, reaching with fiery fingers that numbed all they touched. Soon it would find its way to his heart and slow its pumping to a bearable speed. Then it would make its way outwards in all directions. His legs first, perhaps. Unnoticeable, it would have him lying in his bed, limbs sprawled haphazardly. Then it would move upwards, fighting gravity to do as it willed.

And finally it would reach his head where it would seduce his mind, moving his thoughts in another direction, always turning from one subject to another. It would keep him from thinking of things he wished to forget. And that was what he wanted most.

He took another swig, sighing as he let the bottle drop to the ground to imitate his supine position. It landed with a dull thud, a slight wobble of protest, then silence. Residual drops, despite their strength, dissipated within minutes.

Growing in strength, it misted in through the gaps of his mind, obscuring. He leaned his head back, the world shifting slightly as he stared listlessly at the wall in front of him. And finally, finally, he felt the pain lessen. The ache that throbbed from the very core of his bones. That was fueled by every pump of his heart.

Finally the agony withdrew into the depths of his mind, hidden temporarily by the substance that had conquered his body. And he sighed, as he did every night, letting his control slip into the hands of the empty bottle that joined the cemetery of others on the floor.

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