This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Symon Rudhale peered at the flames that fluttered in the stale air and pondered the best method of escape.
“Ten months I have waited for this concoction, Mr. Rudhale.”
Symon tore his gaze from the candles on his desk and turned to the weathered man in front of him. He brandished a smile. “I am aware.”
“Ten months I have paid for your efforts.” The elder man’s voice reached a falsetto as his fury surmounted. “I am very tempted to call an Inspector, Mr. Rudhale.”
Symon’s smile strained. “That will be unnecessary.” He nabbed the glass of wine that sat on his desk, then reclined in the plush wingback. “Have yourself a drink. You must have very low spirits indeed.”
The ancient man’s face flushed a shade of burgundy Symon hadn’t witnessed before. “How insulting! You’re just trying to intoxicate me so I can lower my defenses.” He lowered his voice, eyes widening behind his spectacles. “So you can use your magic on me.”
Symon’s mouth tugged up into at a corner a sly smile, eyes still focused on the maroon contents of his glass. “That’s what I’m doing, Mr. Woodsworth?” He asked with a grin.. “Manipulating you?”
Mr. Woodsworth slammed his hands on the desktop so harshly that the candles shook. “You are stalling, Mr. Rudhale. Where is my potion?”
Despite the outburst, Symon’s smirk did not falter. Taking a long sip of his wine, he kept his gaze steady on the seething man before him. .” Symon took in the raggedness of the man’s breath and watched his fingers clutch at the tabletop. “Anger is quite an unsightly emotion on you.”
The elder jerked up, a gnarled finger pointed at the young man in accusation. “Ah-hah!” he exclaimed, his eyes alighting as if he had just discovered a trove of secrets. “You haven’t started on it at all, have you? That’s it!”
For a few moments silence crept into the parlor. Symon interrupted it with a chuckle. “Mr. Woodsworth, don’t you have any faith in me?” He rose to his feet and set down the glass of wine with care. Symon crossed over to the left side of the room, which was covered in shelves, and searched the many vials and flasks for just one in particular. Upon finding it, he held up the bottle and gave it a tap, causing the plum-colored liquid to shudder.. “Laedra No. 3. Aged four months.” He handed the vial carefully to Mr. Woodsworth, who snatched it up like an overzealous child.
Mr. Woodsworth shifted uncomfortably, a mixture of wonder and contempt plastered on his face. “Are you sure this is it?” he inquired after a few moments. He gave the flask a quick shake, scrutinizing the fluid inside. “Looks rather...bland.”
Symon smirked. “That ‘bland’ potion is the cure to all of your problems, Mr. Woodsworth.”
Mr. Woodsworth’s face contorted into an expression of confusion. “Every last one?”
Symon nodded, smile spreading. “Well, everything except your anger.”
Mr. Woodsworth’s wiry eyebrows framed the cruel look in his eyes. “My anger? Are you suggesting that I’m a sour old man?”
Symon offered nothing more than a small shrug. “Nothing of the sort.”
Mr. Woodworth scowled, his embedded wrinkles shifting. “Let’s give my bitterness a test then, hm?”
After a few moments of struggling, Mr. Woodworth popped the cork off the vial. He squinted at the bottle and huffed. “Still as bland as before.” He glanced to the other man, who had moved back to the desk chair, his eyes transfixed on the candle before him. “I’m surprised there’s no flourish, Mr. Rudhale. Is this a joke?” He paused at the lack of response from Symon. “Lousy magician,” he muttered under his breath. “Hopefully a dying breed.”
“What about that test, Mr. Woodsworth?” came Symon’s voice. He propped his chin atop tented fingers. “Do you not want to put my name to shame?” His humorous tone, as always, leaked through. “Is that potion you’re holding truly as bland as it appears?”
Mr. Woodsworth blinked at the man, then cast a disgusted glance to the bottle. “Let’s hope your potion is worth the money I shelled out to you.” In a matter of moments, he had lifted the bottle to his lips and downed the contents. He was still for a few seconds, gauging the potion as it slid down his throat. He paused. Nothing happened. “I waited ten months for this lousy spell?” He cast the bottle to the floor, where it shattered on the carpet.
Symon didn’t flinch. He watched the man hurry to the door and throw it open. “Don’t be shocked when you see an Inspector at your doorstep, Mr. Rudhale. In fact, I will make certain that he will arrive tomorrow. Before the morning light even breaks across the sky—”
The man paused as his words became garbled. Alarm flashed across his face as his body sagged forward. He toppled to the floor, body sprawling out across the doorway. A clear line of blood, deep crimson, dripped from his mouth.
Symon hardly glanced up from his desk or the candle that imprinted his shadow against the wall. Mr. Woodsworth’s death was no surprise, for the potion was not an elixir.It was poison.
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to the author of ''Equinox: Into the Clouds'' for originality in character development as well as scene execution and in addition plot development, A truly original story if I do say so myself, though the spelling in and of itself could use a little work, but other than that a truly orig...
reikij: I really enjoyed this book. It was very hard to put it down. The change between the different times wasdone nicely. There was no difficulty in keeping aware of which century I was in. That's a very good talent and not easy for many writers. This was smooth. The characters were interesting...
Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...
summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...
Jade Jez: What a wonderful, immersive book from Eliott McKay. It starts with an air of mystery, introducing main character Michaela, the clumsy teenager. From there, it whisks you off your feet and dumps you into a beautifully written world where you can almost smell and hear everything happening. I go...
Lauren Suzmeyan-Raine: I'm so glad you found a place to post your stories. I was horrified when I saw yours had been taken down, they are definitely the best 'reading' stories I've ever read. And I've made it my business to read every one I can. Well done.Lauren
Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."