The book lay before him, splayed open and heavy, the archaic lettering spidery and so faded in places, the necessary ingredients for the desperately desired results were difficult to read and translate in the tallow candle’s light. Up above him the shadowed shelf contained what he hoped was the correct final ingredient; if he’d read the spell book correctly, the results would be abiding love, but if he had not, the potion would deliver never-ending death.
The bottle was brown and opaque and surprisingly heavy for its small size, the handles on either side muscular, like arms held in a pugilist stance; nevertheless he grabbed both handles, and slid it to the edge of the shelf, slowing its drop to the work table beneath.
He popped open the cork, suddenly dizzied by the sharp herbal scent that burst forth, and doubting, for one tiny moment, the accuracy his translation, as well as his choice to risk spell-work at his stage of apprenticeship.
With one hand cradling the belly of the bottle and the other gripping the far handle for stability, he tipped it into the waiting copper bowl filled with the sixteen other critical ingredients, adding two drops, pausing for one beat, two, and adding two more; he smiled in satisfaction at the sizzle and animal-floral scent that peaked into a blood-red foam.
Swirling the ingredients as he lifted the bowl to his mouth, his last coherent thought was “I love or I die, but best case, I become a zombie and do both, until the end of time.”
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2021)
*The challenge? Write a story in 6 sentences, no more & no less, and if you’d like, share your creation or just visit and comment on others’ ideas, with GirlieOnTheEdge, Denise. The prompt is “HANDLE”, and here’s where you join the party: Six Sentence Stories