All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The woman stuck her arm into his cell, and her papery skin was at once visible in the moonlight. Her hand was macabre: in place of an index finger was nothing but skeleton- small, angular bones painted with yellow decay. A few remnants of tendons and muscle remained on the finger. Her other fingers were sheeted in wrinkles of ghoulish skin, intact by only threads.
A petrified muscle protruded from her forearm as she held out a large bottle to Liam. It was a wine bottle made of olive colored glass, embedded with glittering green gems. Inside the bottle Liam gazed at a murky liquid that was gently quivering as the woman sang the age-old ode of which rang in Liam’s ears. It rang just as the old clock tower at city hall did when it chimed, as if all of the the past was screaming its story:
“’Tis the wine grown from the sailors who have died… It is as rich as their last thoughts…. Let it entice you…. Let… it-”
Liam slammed his fist against the bars of the cell, stopping her words. The woman’s voice was grading and too slow to bear. He recoiled for a moment, exhaling a trail of hot air from what was left inside of him. He let his head fall against the iron, feeling its clammy coldness. His russet skin was coated in dew, his umber eyes heavy and hardly bared. He recited in a hoarse, helpless, and final whisper, “Let it take my soul as you keep my last breath. As you tie a string to my heart and twine the string in your hand.”
The woman hissed approvingly. Approbation swam in the wine when she gutted his hard stomach with the bottle.
“Let your soul wander, Liam,” she whispered. “You…have endured so much pain in your life…let your soul be rid of your worn vessel.”
Liam feebly nodded. He sniffed, tears welling in his eyes. Suddenly he could barely see. Everything was a gray murk but the green wine bottle was lucid and it protruded at him. He felt the woman’s deathly fingers guiding his around the neck of the bottle.
Liam’s eyes quivered, and then he fell into a trance. His lips danced an ominous waltz, leaning in to taste the wine. The woman helped him lift the bottle to his mouth. Liam’s tongue graced the curve of the tip of glass, his face surrendering to an expression of utter absence.
“Dr-ink,” she spoke. Then each of her whispers trailed off into the sound of the wine running down the neck of the bottle as Liam lifted it high against his mouth, like metal against metal, it rang. “Dr-ink…dr-ink…dr-ink…dr-ink…dr-rink…”
And then it touched. The wine plagued his mouth. His tongue burned. The wine bubbled. Each bubble sizzled and curdled into a trail of sour vapor that dried the roof of his mouth. It burned. It was burning. It hardly touched his throat, but tormented his mouth, sizzling, scorching, eating at whatever it pleased. Liam made a lurid groan, spitting at the ground, but the wine had already become a sour vapor that tasted just as the thickest of blood smelled. The vapor forced itself into every crevice of his body: he felt it warm his brain, coil down his throat, and sweep under his tissues.
Liam’s trembling hand moved up to his mouth where his own blood dribbled from his lips. He swiped at the blood and stared at it.
The blood was translucent at first. He could see the long lines in his palm through a blotted wash of melted ruby. But then the blood began to dry. It began to cram into the crevices of his hand where it bolstered his skin taught, making him timid to wriggle even a finger out of fear that the feeling-- that horrid feeling of blood crusting on the skin-- would arise.
He cried one long, weary cry that fell against the ground, barely rising upward to be heard by anybody but her- that woman standing over him, smiling in sincere and twisted sorrow. His cry collapsed into a choking groan as a surge of pain crippled him. Liam fell to the stone floor. His torso shot upward as though a hook had been anchored into his heart and was being reeled in. His muscles exploded with a strength that he did not will. His long legs were sprawled out and his tense shoulders set his forearms writhing in the air, his fingers mashed into fists.
He closed his eyes. All he could do was close them and let the pain devour him as it pleased. The pain: some creature with a distinct, vicious face that he himself could barely recognize when looking at it. He could not understand. The pain became a blur- what was once something piercing and definite was becoming a semblance of Hell, in the churning crimson fire, in smears of darkness and fiery rain. He opened his eyes and saw nothing but swirls of hellish tones. He heard nothing at all but the grisly sounds that contorted from deep inside of his throat. He smelt himself wither in the metallic blood hanging in taunting vibrations all around him.
Liam’s body slowed.
His chest dawdled as each breath became faint- his soul was seeping away.
His limbs became a sore sight, unmoving.
His eyes fell upon the woman, who had opened the gate of the cell and was kneeling at his side. Liam saw a black mask covering her eyes. But then he saw: She had no eyes. Under the mask were two gaping black holes where two single, tiny dots glowed in milky white. The structure of her face was sturdy. Her thin nose, perfectly straight, and her plump lips were the only remnants of a woman that she possessed. Scars- long, pinkish, and electric- protruded from her skin, jutting in all directions from her absent eyes beneath the black mask.
She opened her pallid lips which quivered and danced, smiling almost, jutting out at strange angles, “Your soul has been caged, dear one.” Then she leaned in to brush her lips to his forehead. Her skeletal finger brushed the contours of Liam’s face, his long nose and long jaw, his purpling eyelids. Her masked eyes rested in no place particular, but the tiny white dots enlarged for a small moment and Liam sank into their glow, closing his eyes peacefully. “I have your heart on a string. And I always will.”