Flash Fiction – A Potion to Sleep

A Potion to Sleep

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

“Will it work?”

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

Their eyes met, each surveying and trying to comprehend the mystery within the other.  One set of eyes was blue, gaze steady, filled with both compassion and suspicion.  The second set was brown and bloodshot, revealing nervousness as they flickered 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 eyes widened.  The subject was not open for discussion.

Gold changed hands and the coins clinked in blue-eye’s fingers.  Brown-eye’s left, but contemplation took priority over observation, and feet familiar with the street traversed the path without hesitation.

Little Glass Vial by JuditK
Little Glass Vial by JuditK

The potion weighed heavy in the sack.  Death was not desired, necessarily, but in this case it seemed the only answer.

Death was nothing to be feared when one was already lifeless; hopefully it was simply the next step into eternal life.  One had spoken of this potion, a potion which appeared to bring death to those unprepared, but now the only necessity was for the dreams to stop.

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

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The potion was not quite as heavy now.  The small bottle rested in a palm, sunlight gently gleaming on the dark liquid as feet stepped from cobblestone to grass.  The forest was 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.


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