#Nightgale Week 1

A few weeks ago, I signed up to do the #Nightgale challenge that Stevie McCoy of Glitterword has put together.

I can’t believe it’s already time to start!

These will be 4 stories, posted over the next 4 weeks, a minimum word count of 200 words each.

The theme is immortality vs. mortality.

The prompt for week one is: Through Hemlock

That I might drink and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim . . .
~ Ode to a Nightingale, Keats

A Potion to Sleep

“Will it work?”

“A’course it will.  Ye know I’m the best potioner in town.”

Their eyes met, each surveying and trying to figure out the mystery within the other.  One set of eyes was blue, gazing steadily, and held both compassion and suspicion.  The second set was brown, bloodshot, and tried to hide the nervousness by flicking back and forth.

“I only let trusted folk ‘ave this, ye know.”

“I know. Don’t worry, I’m not murdering anyone with this.”

“Then wha’ are ye doing with it?”

“Finding peace.”

“Surely it ain’t tha’ bad.”

Brown eyes flashed.  Blue ones widened.  The subject was not open for discussion.

Gold changed hands, the coins clinked in blue-eyes fingers.  Brown eyes left, and feet familiar with the street traversed the path instead of sight.

The potion weighed heavy in the sack, and thoughts were focused on simply placing one foot in front of the other.  Death was not desired, necessarily, but in this case it seemed the only answer.

Death was simply the next step into eternal life.  One had spoken of this potion, that appeared to bring death to those unprepared, but all that was necessary now was for the dreams to stop.

They were dreams of blood and breaking bones, and of screams and frightened sobs.  Dreams that were feared to be all too real when one awoke with bed sheets and night garments dripping with viscous liquid.  It had happened every night for a moon now, and fear had stayed the desire to light a lamp and see what covered the bed.

The potion was not quite as heavy now.  The small bottle rested in a palm, the sunlight gently gleaming on the dark liquid as feet stepped from cobblestone to grass.  The branches were only a few steps beyond.  The cork was pulled from the bottle, and the liquid thrown back into the throat quickly.

The potioner had warned that it would burn.

Death was nothing to be feared when one was already lifeless.