I knew from the second I did it, that I shouldn’t have wished for the ingredients to make a love elixir. I had just become so desperate that I didn't know what else to do. I was losing my last chance to be with the woman I love, a love that was unrequited and incomparable to any other. Well at least, it would be, if I could have a chance to talk to her for more than a few minutes.
I had gone to the market one morning to grab the ingredients for my mother’s famous potato soup that she was preparing for dinner that evening. It was a rainy morning where most of the village had decided against going outside; but decided to stare from behind their curtains at the people who had ventured out. I did my best to avoid the unwanted glares, I was just a man going to pick up ingredients after all.
Going to all the usual booths, I picked up potatoes, carrots, and other miscellaneous vegetables. I wanted to leave as quickly as possible to make my way back to the warm fire I knew would be crackling in the fireplace at home by now. Yet, as I was about to leave, a booth caught my eye, and I was instantly drawn towards it.
“What can I help you with today, young man?” An icy voice said from behind a velvet hood. Something inside of me itched to continue moving on, the booth was probably a black magic artist travelling between realms.
“I --- I was just gathering ingredients for my mother.”
“And would you perhaps like to bring a few more things home? I’m sure there’s something you must desire in your heart.”
His voice resonated as though he was reading my mind. My thoughts had wandered to my dear Mikayla, and how I would do anything to have her. The objects on the table seemed to be glowing with the energy they provided, but it was clearly a sort of evil magic. A trick meant to drain your pocketbooks until all your hopes were fulfilled.
“No, no thankyou. I really should be going.”
“But what would your dear Mikayla think? If you were to give her an elixir, that would change all her thoughts of you?”
“How do you know about that?” I spat angrily. This sorcerer had clearly gotten into my head.
“Sorcerer no, mind reader yes. I simply look into the mind, and find your deepest desires.”
“This is blasphemy! Vile magic!
“And yet, you’re interested.”
“No,” I stared at the darkness where a face should be. But the more I tried to tell myself I didn't want an elixir, the more I realized it may be my only chance. The one way to have Mikayla notice me, instead of wandering off with some other person she fancied. This was going to be how I got my happily ever after.
“Yes, my friend, this is the way. You simply have to wish it aloud.”
“For everyone to hear?”
“You must say that you wish for the means to concoct an elixir which will bring your dear Mikayla to you. The stones will do the rest,” His hand gestured to the glowing rocks.
“Well of course I wish for the means to concoct an elixir that will bring Mikayla to me.”
His voice mimicked daggers piercing through me as the rocks became bright enough to make the sun envious. I covered my eyes in hopes of avoiding blindness as something boomed in front of me, throwing me backwards. I opened my eyes slowly, and saw that everyone around me was looking as though I was being dramatic. As though nothing on the table had exploded, leaving behind only a small bag.
I crouched forward. A small note read, Mix together in the pits of fire, and leave overnight on Mikayla’s doorstep. I didn't dare allow for anyone to be able to take away what I had managed to receive without paying for. The bag was small and soft, but I could tell it was going to give me all I had wished for.
As I raced home, rain spattered into my eyes and hair, causing me to be drenched by the time I had made it home. Sure enough, mother had lit a fire, and was preparing the other ingredients for the soup. Hanging up my cloak, I brought all the goods towards her.
“What’s that small bag you’ve got there, Jonathen?” She nodded towards the bag without looking away from her chopping.
“Oh, it’s just a wellness elixir that a salesman offered me free of charge.”
“Free of charge? He wasn’t one of those black magic ones, was he?”
“No, mother, you’ve well warned me to stay away from those,” I sighed as she took off her apron.
“Well, you’re a smart lad, and I trust you. I’m going to go lay down for a bit, watch the soup?”
I nodded as she kissed my cheek, and went over to where her bed lay behind the wall. Our house wasn’t big by any means, but it was still coveted enough for me to brew the elixir away from prying eyes. Within a few minutes, mother’s snores filled the space, and I knew it was safe for me to do as I pleased. I pulled the small bag out of my pocket, and threw its contents into the fire. They began to burn and sizzle, but then turned into a small vial of red liquid that smelled sweet. Almost as though it was holding the scent of freshly picked flowers, laced with the ripest of fruits. It was enough to attract my own attention.
Once the flames had spat the vial out of the fireplace, it skittered over the jagged cobblestones to me. Steam came off the small vial that looked similar to the stones at the marketplace. Whatever this elixir was however, I had been promised it would work. Come nightfall, I would leave it at Mikayla’s doorstep.
As the afternoon passed, my mother woke up from her nap, and we worked on preparing the soup. We laughed and joked as we threw ingredients together that would make a feast for the two of us. Ever since my father had passed, it was always just my mother and I; so we made the best out of every situation. For now, my mother was all I had, but I loved her with all my heart. Her wish for me was to get married and create a family of my own.
When nightfall approached, and we had eaten our soup, my mother retired to her bed once more. I gathered the vial and my traveling cloak, while quietly closed the door behind me. The night air was cold but the rain had left behind a crispness with the smell of petrichor. Leaves squashed underfoot as I approached Mikayla’s house. Her house was dark, but as I went to leave the vial, I heard somebody gasp behind me.
“Jonathen?” Mikayla asked, taking her hood down. “What are you doing here so late?”
“I just came to give you this,” I said holding out the vial.
“A vial? What is it?”
“It’s a perfume,” I lied quickly, so as to not seem nervous. “I just came to leave it at your doorstep, so you’d find it in the morning.”
“That’s so sweet of you, I didn't realize you were so romantic.”
“I just figured you might like it.”
“Well, thank you.”
“I should get going, I hope you like it.”
“Goodnight Jonathen,” She smiled at me taking a whiff of the vial’s contents. Instantly her eyes glossed over and her face lit up. “I love you.”
“I, I love you too,” I smirked back at her. The elixir had clearly worked.
After our new found confessions, I began walking back to my house feeling lighter than I had in years. Everything that I had ever wished for was coming true, this woman was finally going to be mine. I fell asleep with my heart on my sleeve, and the world ahead of me.
The next morning, I woke up to a scream. Instantly alert, I jumped out of bed and ran to see where the scream was coming from. My mother held the door open, and there was a woman bleeding onto the doorstep.
“Mother, what’s going on?” I shouted as I stopped in my tracks, and realized that the woman was Mikayla. Mother was bending down to try and help stop the bleeding, but nothing was helping. I grabbed a pile of rags from the fireplace, and knelt down next to mother, applying as much as possible.
“Please, please make it stop,” Mikayla moaned as blood pooled out from under her.
“What happened, honey? Talk to me,” I shouted in fear. As Mikayla let out a shriek, I looked up to try and figure out another cure; but instead of seeing a cure, I saw the man from the market with his hand up towards Mikayla. I didn't know how, but he was doing this. He was opening wounds in Mikayla, and slowly bleeding her to death.
“Stop!” I yelled at him, running towards him, and lunging at him. He managed to dodge my lunge, forcing me to foolishly fall into a pile of leaves. I scrambled back to my feet. “What are you doing?!”
“I’ve brought her to your doorstep,” His eerie voice echoed around us. The wind was picking up, leaves were twisting in columns around me. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it?”
“I ---,” I stammered. Of course it was what I wanted but this sorcerer had twisted my words, and brought Mikayla to my doorstep, while never being able to take any more steps. I had wanted to live my life with Mikayla, not watch her die.
“Then you should have been more specific with your wish!” He laughed maniacally.
I ran back to Mikayla in an effort to keep her alive. I could fix this. Magic could always be reversed surely, I wasn’t going to lose everything I had ever wanted.
“There’s nothing you can do, there’s no way to fix this,” His voice said for the last time before disappearing. Mikayla was looking up into my eyes, her eyes still glassy.
“I love you,” I sobbed as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. She was gone. My mother sat backwards into the house as she began breaking down in tears. I clung onto Mikayla’s body all the while nature began to settle around us. What did I do to deserve this? How could this all be because I made a foolish wish at a black magic stand? Setting Mikayla down gently on the doorstep, I ran back to where the salesman had been, yelling at the sky.
“COME BACK YOU COWARD, SHOW YOURSELF. EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DID TO ME. WHY DID YOU DO THIS?”
A voice hissed as though acid rain was falling from the sky. Be careful what you wish for.