The doctor just sat there, mumbling.
That was how Amelia found him, thin and ragged with bloodshot irises and gray bags under his eyes. Mumbling, mumbling.
"Ethan? Ethan, what's wrong? I haven't seen you for days. You skipped church, didn't answer my calls, are you...Ethan!"
He jerked at the sound of her voice. The look he gave her was chilling. Haunted, like a man who just performed murder or found out his mother died in his abscence. One bony hand clutched the cross around his neck. It hung there by a small silver chain, which was shaking. His knuckles were white. His wrists could not stop jerking.
"...thetic foods..." she caught him mumbling.
"What? What food?"
"Synthetic Foods. Pills. Nutrition jabs. Lab-grown proteins. Drips."
His voice was barely a whisper.
"You mean the Artificial Nutritional Sources project? Didn't it get scrapped? I remember the biologists saying they didn't provide everything grown organics could. Said something was missing. One of the biggest mysteries in the field in fa-"
"I solved it."
"I found out what's missing."
"You did? That- that's amazing! You could- we could-"
"Come look through the scope."
Suddenly, Amelia felt uneasy.
"Erm. Can I? I mean, it's your discovery, and I have my own..projects..to..."
"Look through it!"
The chain snapped. A tiny trail of blood seeped out from where his fingers gripped the cross and dripped onto the floor.
Hesitantly, frightened and worried, Amelia looked.
"Is- is that...?"
"You mean all this time, we have been-"
"It looks so...beautiful. So fragile..."
"Can you see how it screams? How it begs for release, for a right to exist? It doesn't need words, it talks straight to yours. They are the same thing after all."
"The soul. You discovered the soul. And every living thing has one. So when we eat something, does that mean...?"
"Yes. Look through the other scope."
"...I think I'm going to be sick."
"True Soul Food. Hah! Guess we never knew how accurate that was eh? Ha. Hahaha..."
The grin he gave her was the crazed, starved smile of one who had not eaten for three days, and would probably never eat again.