Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wakernesh & Sephrina - Short Story


I thought I'd share a short story I wrote. Wakernesh & Sephrina. Enjoy. I hope you like it.

Wakernesh stood over the small kettle hanging from the iron rod across the open flame.  Instantly, heat combined with sumptuous odors rushed past his face to escape through the stone chimney above.  He sniffed; his stomach growled in response.

"You old fool.  Get away from that pot!"

Wakernesh shuffled himself around, careful not to trip on the ragged, singed rug in front of the fire.  "Sephrina! Away with you, you old hag."  He waved his hand and flicked his arthritic wrist.  His joints cracked as they attempted to obey their master.

Sephrina, pulling wooden bowls from an nearly empty cupboard, flinched. 

A small spark jumped from the fire and sputtered onto the rug.  It popped and snapped, breaking out into a small flame that threatened to spread across the dusty, twisted rags on the floor. 

Relief passed quickly over Sephrina's rheumy eyes.  "Bah! Old man." She shuffled across the floor and stomped out the small flame.  "Old, good for nothing, lousy broken down . . . "  She mumbled under her breath as she carelessly ladled a portion of hot stew into a misshapen wooden bowl.

Wakernesh carefully lowered himself onto a rickety three-legged stool.  "Watch it old witch," he said with quiet even tones.  "I've warned you before."

"You don't scare me, Wakernesh."  Not anymore, she added to herself.  Sephrina slammed the bowl in front of him.  Spatters of hot stew speckled the front of his torn, threadbare tunic.  "You are no longer the powerful wizard you once were."  She dished more stew into another bowl and sat opposite the old man.  "We have been mortal now for over a hundred years.  We both have suffered because of it."  She ran stiff, bony fingers through her lifeless white hair.  "Just look at me! I can't even conjure a simple beauty illusion."

"Sephrina."  Wakernesh covered her hand with his own liver-spotted, wrinkled one.  "You'll always be beautiful to me."

"Bah! Old man.  What do you know?"  She threw off his hand and turned away.  Hot dry tears wetting her eyes.  "It would take a miracle to make me young again."

#

Wakernesh stayed awake that night thinking about Sephrina's claim.  She longed to be beautiful again.  A miracle she wanted? A miracle she would get.  He worked through the hours of darkness pouring over dusty tomes and toiling over his mortar and pestle.  As dawn broke, exhausted muscles aching, he was ready.

"Sephrina!"  Wakernesh called with all the excitement he could muster.

"Old man, this better be good."  Sephrina stumbled out of their bed and to their small living space.

"I've done it.  I've created a miracle for us!"

"What are you babbling about, old fool?"  Sephrina peered at him through the early morning light breaking through the small dirty window.  "Have you lost your mind, too?"

"Not at all." Wakernesh carried a small vial to the table and sat down.  "Here, look at this." He pushed the vial toward his wife.

"What is it?" She touched it with a tentative finger, uncertain of its power.

"Our youth, Sephrina! Our youth!"  Wakernesh grabbed her hand with surprising strength.  "Look at me, Sephrina."  He pulled her toward him.  "This is my last spell.  Our last chance at youth.  I've only enough for both of us to regenerate 150 years.  I'm not as strong as I used to be.  That's all I could do.  We'll go back past the 100 years of being mortal and have fifty years as wizards before mortality once more."

Sephrina gasped.

"Think of it, Sephrina.  We can be young again!"

Her eyes held his for a moment then slid greedily to the vial.  "Are you sure it will work?"

"Yes, yes.  Half for you, and half for me."  Wakernesh touched a tender finger to her wrinkled, paper-thin skin along a high cheekbone.  "Are you ready?"

“My darling husband, you’re exhausted.  Why don’t you take a nap and we’ll take the potion after you rest.”

“You might be right.  Maybe just a small nap.”

#

Sephrina watched her husband shuffle to the small bed in the corner and sigh as he lay down.  She touched the vial.  Did it contain the powers her foolish husband said it did? She listened to his soft snores.

Without a second thought she uncorked the vial and swallowed the contents.  “The old man didn't deserve immortality.  He owed me for living in this squalor for a hundred years.  I will be beautiful forever!”

#

Wakernesh awoke as the sun settled behind the hills.  He felt a strange emptiness surround him.  Tears sprang to his old eyes.

He found the empty vial on the table.  "Sephrina?"  He whispered.  He searched under the table and behind the vegetable bin.  He crawled on his knees to look under the bed.  He peered behind the pile of wood next to the fireplace.

"Hissss-sstt!"

"Sephrina!"  Overjoyed, the old wizard reached out to pull her toward him.  He pulled his hand back and yelped with pain to find several straight thin red lines crossing the brown patches on his wrinkly hand.

"Now, now, Sephrina."  He gently coaxed her out from behind the pile of wood.  "Come here, little dear."

With her nose in the air, Sephrina left her hiding spot.

"That's a good girl."  Wakernesh lifted Sephrina from her feet and sat her on his lap.  He ran his hands over her thick, silky hair.

Sephrina stared at him with beautiful oval green eyes that seemed to wonder why he wasn't mad at her for taking the whole vial for herself.  She tensed her body, preparing to bolt at the first sign of trouble.

"Oh, Sephrina.  My darling."  Wakernesh fumbled in his pocket and removed another vial of sparkling green liquid.  "If you hadn't been so greedy, we would both be young wizards again."

Sephrina, wide-eyed, stared back, her eyes on the small vial.

Wakernesh plucked the vial’s cork and tipped the liquid toward his mouth.  His eyes twinkled as he met hers.  "Now, we'll just be wizard and wizard's familiar, my darling!"  With a chuckle he swallowed the contents as the kitten in his lap yowled.



8 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

I loved your short story! Awesome! I just stopped by from SITS to say hello and I'm so glad I did. Hope you return the visit!

The Dose of Reality said...

Such an amazing story...I was on the edge of my seat when she decided to drink the whole vial for himself!-Ashley

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Hi Eva and Ashley, thanks for stopping by and reading my short story. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Eva Gallant said...

Hey! I'm taking offense at the comment you made about my favorite pinterest jeans! I may live in a trailer park, but I'm not skanky!

Carla Bruns said...

Love your story! My daughter lives fantasy, I'll have to send her the link.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Oh Eva, you're too funny! Carla, thanks for passing on the post to your daughter.

Winter Redd said...

What a fun story! I enjoyed the quiet few minutes as I read it this morning! Stopping by the SITS Girls!

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Thanks for stopping by WInter, I'm glad you enjoyed Wakernesh & Sephrina.