At first she found it quite strange. There was a buzzing and popping sound coming from the salt pot, making it seem almost alive.
Mixed in with the the rock salt crystals were thousands, maybe millions, of minute red insects. They trived on eating salt and were elementally at home in salt cellars, drums and packets of salt.
You may be wondering why these strange insects were mixed in with the salt crystals. It’s because, in this particular salt pot, they had been put there, a delicacy served only in specialist restaurants.
It was said that if crimson salt was sprinkled on food, it conferred health-giving nutrients, at the same time stimulating the mental faculties of whoever ate it. Some people claimed that eating it gave them a high; others said they’d produced their most creative and imaginative work after eating it. With the deadline for filing a report fast approaching, she needed something to jolt her out of her writer’s block.
The waiter hovered nearby.
“Salt, madam? ” he enquired.
She nodded, taking a deep breath as he gently sprinkled the buzzing crystals over her meal. The noise was louder once the salt was out of the pot, the buzzing similar to that of a small bee. It was continuous but interspersed with those small explosive popping sounds.
She glanced down at her food. It appeared to be dancing, moving, undulating in tiny waves. The buzzing grew louder.
She recoiled. “I can’t eat that! It’s alive.”
“Alas madam, it is. The insects mixed in with the salt must be consumed live in order for the nutrients to work.”
Feeling weak and nauseous at the thought of putting the food, now swarming with crimson salt, into her mouth she hastily left the table, paid the bill and left.
Life on Mirzam V was proving to be more challenging than she’d ever imagined.
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