I thought I'd inject a little magic into this grey March afternoon. What's your take on alchemy?
He rubbed his eyes and ran his hand through his greasy hair. The blue and orange glow from the small bowl of fire lit the room, already dark from the night. The bowl stood on a metal stand and stood under a large glass orb with a slender tube crooked at the end. Paton stared at the blue liquid condensing at the bottom of the tube.
Glimmer of Gold
The coals in the fireplace gave a little, patient warmth by his feet but no light.
He heard rather than saw a drip from the heated glass into its sister beaker, almost as large. Without looking, he reached for and grabbed a small, open bottle. There was just enough light for him to see the rim of the beaker. He forced opened his bleary eyes and poured a drop of tincture of nitre.
No puff of smoke. No sweet aroma or heady taste of smoky oak in back of the throat.
Paton tapped the bottle on the marble table. He was tired. His body ached from sunlit hours slouched over a cobbler's block. For the first time all day his thoughts turned to the room at the end of six small stairs. The faint glow of a candle peeked under the closed door at the top of the stairs and he heard a quiet knock.
"Paton? Are you there? It's time for bed." His wife's voice was the same, worried and kind.
With a short sigh, he poured in the entire contents of the bottle into the beaker. It didn't matter because he knew it wouldn't work. He walked the few short steps to the door and opened it. Even in the lamplight she was beautiful. She opened her mouth to speak but he kissed her. He touched her face.
"Sence." He put his hand behind her neck. "Sence. There is so much that I cannot give you. You deserve a beautiful home in the country. A barn, a couple of cows. Sheep."
"Sheep, Paton." She smiled.
"And chickens, Sence. Fresh eggs, every day. And we could sell them."
"It's a lovely dream. Someday."
Paton nodded. He pulled away and turned to pull the knob behind him. He thought he saw a glimmer of gold in the beaker. He drew a deep breath and shut the door.
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