|The Essence, (Part two of three) (standard:mystery, 1375 words) [2/3] show all parts|
|Author: Brian Cross||Added: Dec 07 2008||Views/Reads: 1499/944||Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|a cyclist takes shelter from a snowstorm and encounters a village of strange residents who sip an even stranger potion.|
Raising my hand I stared into a dark void, my eyes slowly adjusting to what little light there was, provided mainly through cracks in the barn roof. The place was practically empty, I supposed its main purpose was as a storehouse for their stolen goods, but as I edged my way round I stumbled over a couple of objects on the floor. Tentatively, I prodded them with my foot and heard the clink of glass. Shifting them along to where light reflected directly down I saw they were the type of boxes they'd been unloading when I'd spied on them. They must have been overlooked or forgotten. Curiosity led me to lift the top of one. It contained two bottles, and even in the poor light the contents seemed identical to the stuff the locals had been drinking. I was thirsty and hadn't even had time to drink the water I'd been given – and I was curious, despite my situation. Moreover, as a keen drinker I couldn't resist taking a gulp- The screw cap came off easily enough and with the bottle to my lips, I let the green liquid ooze slowly into my mouth.It tasted a bit like grapefruit, sharp and tangy. I baulked at first, I couldn't imagine those pub locals knocking back grapefruit somehow and it didn't so much flow down my throat as trickle, but even after a couple of gulps it seemed to be taking effect. I was used to getting, if not plastered, then a little tipsy, but I hadn't vouched for the effect this concoction would have. It seemed my mind was fragmenting into several parts. I was aware of the dingy dark interior, but it seemed consciousness of it had dropped down a level and what had replaced it on the upper floor was the comprehension of the bottle against my lips, the contents spilling down my throat, not the green substance but a dark bitter brew I recognised as my favourite. But my pleasure at that began to fade as I realised the bottle had no bottom, it just kept flowing and flowing and I couldn't stop drinking from it. I felt my head spin, whirl, while revolving around in a room in my mind were the pub locals - eyes bland, unseeing, faces unsmiling, supping the liquid. I lurched against the wall, struggling for balance, unwilling to sit lest I couldn't get up, and then faint grey light filtered through the entrance and I felt the icy cold. The big guys were back, but they weren't alone. Through the opened barn doors I saw a tall gaunt man in black walk in ahead of them. My head was spinning and as wonky as a lone wheel spiralling downhill out of control, but I was aware of him snatching the half-consumed bottle from my hand and scooping an empty one from the floor. The voices seemed far away but I could still make them out – ‘You fools, you let him drink the essence?' ‘We'd hardly do that, Parson Peters – not without your say so.' The bald one swallowed, swept a hand across his nose, ‘Landlord Dobson's call caught us by surprise that's all.' ‘That's all is it?' He pivoted to me, it was getting dark, I couldn't see much but I noticed how deep set and penetrating his eyes were – ‘Except now we have an outsider in our midst, one who has tasted the essence and endangered our secret.' He snorted, standing to his full height that I reckon was six and a half feet or more. I saw his bushy brows rise as he seemed to reconsider. ‘Well perhaps it's to the good.' His eyes studied the bottles he held in his hand, ‘He's drunk enough of the essence to render him a convert to our cause, tomorrow he'll have no memory of times gone by.' I couldn't stand without the support of the wall, but somewhere in the compartment of rooms that had become my mind a lonely voice called out for Donna, now so far away. The parson grunted, ‘He'll need somewhere to stay and supervision until his conversion is complete and he can join the rest of converted souls Click here to read the rest of this story (78 more lines)
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