How to Save a Life | Teen Ink

How to Save a Life

March 8, 2013
By MMarco BRONZE, San Diego, California
MMarco BRONZE, San Diego, California
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16


Feeling the cold ground below hid feet, the soft crunch of the delicate herbs, William began making the potion in a desperate attempt to revive his beautiful wife, now ice cold to the touch, from the unforgiving grave. The sweet smell of frankincense flooded his nostrils as he scampered around the room running the seemingly endless list of herbs in his head trying to come up with the perfect combination to bring his limp wife back from the darkness of death.

William caressed the cold face of his love Cassandra, who had her soul stolen away by a silent killing fever that had wiped through the village only three days before. No amount of potions or poultices would heal her of her illness before it was too late. They told William to give up, begging him to let her go. No, even after death he could not give up on the love of his life.

He grabbed jars after jars of herbs and ingredients ignoring the clanking and rattling sounds they made. He dug his hand into a jar of marigold and enjoyed the refreshing cool feeling of the petals swimming around his fingers. Poppy seed, dead bees, comfrey, yarrow leaves, dill weeds, the names were buzzing in his head, pounding against the sides giving him a nauseas feeling as he crammed them into his potion bottle. Neptune’s tears, child’s fears, a goat’s ear, and butterbeer, he mixed and shook his pungent smelling concoction until it turned from a sickly green, to a glowing florescent purple color.

“This is it.” William whispered. “Time to come home my sweet Cassandra. Don’t give up on me.” As he walked over to his pale wife, the herbs around him overpowering the scent of decaying skin, now taking over Cassandra’s body that used to smell of sweet vanilla. William’s eyes started forming tears at the thought of getting his wife back.

As he got closer to her body, and his eyes welled up showing his sadness, he failed to see a loose stone on his cobblestone floor and stumbled. The glowing purple bottle of life landed with a crash on the hard ground leaving nothing but shattered remains. The purple liquid once overpowering with beauty began mixing with the calcium, sediment, and brimstone deposits in the floor, blending with the dirt sabotaging the mixture. The now sickeningly yellow potion spread across the floor towards William like a predator crawling in to kill his prey. As the potion engulfed his hand William felt a piercing pain ripple through his body from head to toe.

William’s body started to burn as his skin stretched and tightened feeling heavier with each step. His hair grew rapidly and turned grey with his coming age, his nails slowly pulling themselves out of their place as they grew. William fought his way up with his now aching hollow bones. He limped across the room trying to grab hold of anything that could give him support and relieve him of his growing pain. He hurriedly began working on an antidote for his fast aging curse as his spine began to arch and slouch. His eyes became a blur and his nose now blind from scent as his body prepared for rest. He began waddling on his great journey again back to the table on which his wife lay. He chugged down the antidote and felt his now 95-year-old body slowly shapes itself back into its 30-year-old form. His senses suddenly rushing back to him as his skin nourished and his mangy grey hair retreated back to his scalp and returned to its healthy straight brown locks. He rushed over to his loves side once more and slowly opened her mouth. Her rotting breath and yellow teeth no longer repelling as he dripped the repaired purple potion into Cassandra’s mouth. Cassandra’s frail body began to violently shake. Pale skin now tan, drenched white hair now curly and golden again.

Cassandra opened her milky white eyes as they glowed and shimmered replacing the dull color to its original soft icy blue radiant color. She opened her now full lips and leaned towards William’s crying astonished face and in a shaky croaked voice she rasped, “I knew you wouldn’t give up on me”.


The author's comments:
How to Save a Life is really just about the strength of love, and how fast time flies, and how painful they both can be. In the story, WIlliam is faced with loss, his wife, his one true love, one of the few things that brings him joy. Throughout the story, no matter what's going on around him, he is only focused on getting the thing he truly loved back. In life, we get devastated when there is a loss of something we really love, that sometimes we can get so caught up in getting it back that we forget what's happening around us. On the other hand, we can get so tangled in life that we fail to realize how much time has passed. William at first was just in emotional pain, so much he became unaware of his surroundings, and causes him to screw up. He was only 30 years of age, but before he knew it 65 years of his life flashed before his eyes. 65 years away to us sounds like an eternity, but William allowed his emotional distress to bring him down and worry those around him. But the thing he loved, his main goal in life, was what kept him going. I hope that if readers take anything from this, it would be, don't underestimate the power of love, or time. Sometimes, there is so much to do but just so little time to do it. People can tell you to stop, and it's your choice to listen to them or not, and if staying strong as William did is worth the risk. What I want viewers to ask themselves is, if William failed and died next to his wife as a 100 year old man, would he have failed? Would it not be a happy ending? Even though we may see it as a failure, did he fail even though he gave it his all? I think we can learn from William to take more risks if it mean that much to us, we may "fail", but somethings are worth giving it your all.

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This article has 49 comments.


Kirika GOLD said...
on Mar. 12 2015 at 12:43 pm
Kirika GOLD, Worcester, Massachusetts
14 articles 8 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

this scared me but wow :O good story

Wesley1 said...
on Mar. 6 2015 at 7:59 pm
Wesley1, San Diego, California
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Very emotional in a good way. I like the use of imagery and the descriptions. Also, I enjoy the fact that this has a happy ending, especially since it seems almost like it will turn into a tragedy until the last second.

on Jan. 23 2015 at 9:08 am
ISeetheStars SILVER, Minerva, Ohio
6 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The marks Humans leave are too often scars." -John Green, the Fault in our Stars.

This is so good! Keep up the good work! Check out some of my work?

on Jan. 14 2015 at 9:28 pm
kimberlyguzmanx SILVER, Holbrook, New York
5 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
The next chapter in your life, will always be more interesting than the last..

Truly Amazing imagery; story line; everything!!. (Yes amazing with a capital A)

on Oct. 18 2014 at 4:09 pm
MysticMusic ELITE, Waterloo, Other
116 articles 0 photos 120 comments

Favorite Quote:
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” -Mae West
"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." - Leonardo Da Vinci

An amazing description of a scientist (alchemist?) gone mad after his wife's death as he struggles to bring her back to life. I loved your vivid descriptions that made words come alive as the effects of the potions are shown. 

on Oct. 12 2014 at 9:31 am
my-King-breathes-stars BRONZE, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
1 article 0 photos 20 comments
How did you come up with this??? You should work on punctuation to help it flow... But you're creative!!:)

on Jul. 13 2014 at 7:15 pm
Molly,Jane SILVER, West Granby, Connecticut
7 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~Grandma Moses
A heartbreak is a blessing from god. It’s just a way of letting you realize he saved you from the wrong one. ~ Unknown

This is really well made. I like how it isn't too long and i like how you used lots of detial, but you were still able to keep the story smooth and moving. Good job!

on Mar. 19 2014 at 8:57 am
Madison.Weeks BRONZE, Shelby, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"One moment of pain means a lifetime of glory." -Coach Crousse

I just kind of got bored by the first sentence, sorry... Also work on your punctuation! :)

on Feb. 12 2014 at 6:02 pm
Speakout2you SILVER, San Marcos, California
6 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Fear is not from appearance. It is from character, whether your poor and weak, or strong and rich. It does not matter. Do not judge a book by its cover...or the cover will become you -Mine
-We have nothing to fear but fear itself-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Marco! Hi Its me, I just submitted some work please see if you can, and I think you did a great job!

Alec said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:30 pm
Great story! I really like the detail.

Jamie Walter said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:28 pm
Great Story!!

zack attack said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:26 pm
thats good continue to write

Shane said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:25 pm
This is a fine work of art. You have a nice talent.

GnarlyBoy said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:24 pm
Super great job i have never seen a better article on this website 

Maddiee111 said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:24 pm
Really great poem! your school is very proud of you!

swizzle said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:23 pm
goooooooooooooooooooooooood bro

Whoareyou? said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 3:19 pm
Dude. No. Friking. Way. you deserve to be up there with   Mark Twain and Emily Dickenson! no kidding, this is one of the best things i have seen by a student in years! 

coolkid19 said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 2:04 pm
nice story very descriptive

katariiina said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 2:02 pm
your story was very intertaining and descriptive. it had alot of emotion in it and you described the characters feeling as if i was there.

coolkid19 said...
on Apr. 3 2013 at 2:00 pm
this is a deep story and a very descriptive nice work!