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  • Writer's pictureJon Huber

The Keepsake pt. 4

The wizard sits in the center of a fair-sized room with his legs crossed, his face holds a look of great despair. The room is filled with what seems like thousands of unlit candles, they are all white and appear as though they have been previously used. They are wedged side by side, all perfectly straight and spaced the same distance apart. These wax lights congest the room, only a small diamond shape is vacant of them, and our lonely wizard presides in the center of this jewel-shaped void. In front of him, his dull black staff hovers above the ground, levitating effortlessly at roughly eye level to the wizard. While the man we see still dons brown hair, it has begun to lose its pigment and slowly concedes its encounter with time. His hands rest on his knees which don a draping black robe, only two parts of the wizard’s body are not sheltered by this cloth, those being his hands and his head. The grime from the man’s staff has transferred itself and now resides on any skin the man chooses to bare. From his hairline all the way down to the tips of his scrawny fingers, he is unable to remove the thick residue, although not from lack of trying. His eyes are partially open, and he has allowed his irises to slightly roll back and hide out of sight. In front of the wizard lay three items, all carrying their own level of oddity. To his left, there is a mushroom still bearing traces of the earth in which it was plucked from. The fungus is ample in size, with a beige base and a cap of vibrant green, riddled with various sizes of white splotches. To his right, there are several differently sized jars, all containing similarly colored liquid. The contents are varying shades of a transparent yellow, and they all bear a thin, dark red skin that rests on the head of solution. Directly in front of the wizard sits a single bronze bell, which at first glance appears to be prehistoric from the amount of deterioration it carries. It is hardly larger than the man’s fist and bears markings of a language that no man has ever known.

We have yet to witness the wizard in such a state of concentration. He is completely still, refusing to allow his physical being to be of nuisance to his focus. His breaths are deep, and the faded crystal atop his staff glows profusely with the exact precision of the man’s rhythm. Dropping his gaze from the back of his skull to the room in which he presides, the wizard stares straight ahead, breaking neither posture nor tempo of breath. Slowly, he reaches down and gently lifts the mushroom from the marble stone on which it sits and raises it to his mouth. As the wizard allows the toadstool to break the threshold of his lips his demeanor changes from lackadaisical to that of urgency. He thrusts the entire mushroom into his mouth and begins to grind the fungus down immediately while simultaneously reaching down for one of the multiple jars set down before him. With ferocity, before he is able to finish his bitter mouthful, he begins to guzzle the contents of the containers. One after another he forcefully chugs the yellow solution until he reaches the midpoint of his fourth glass. Removing the jar from his lips, he becomes eerily still as his hands slowly begin to tremble. The bitter fungus has hit his stomach and immediately his insides ignite. No longer able to grip, the jar and its contents fall to the floor as the burning spreads from his torso to engulf his entire body. Our forsaken wizard sits alone, tears streaming down his face, his body frozen in position as the fires of hell rage in every molecule of his body. Once the sensation completely overwhelms the man, his ability to breathe abruptly escapes him. The wizard sits frozen in place, the only thing in the room that moves are the tears that roll down his cheeks. Without warning, the sorcerer begins to plummet onto his back, as his consciousness fades into blackness.

The moment his shoulder blades meet the ground he is instantaneously shot back to life, the only difference being, the wizard is no longer in the candle filled room, he has awoken somewhere unfamiliar. The effects that the mushroom had on his body are no longer felt, wherever the man ended up, his body is now filled with a blissful sensation, he feels no pain and his reasoning and wit are razor sharp. Sitting up in place, the wizard scans his surroundings. He is in a forest rich with vegetation, the smell of the earth nipping at his nostrils. While running his eyes upon the visible landscape that immerses him, the only thing out of place in the breath-taking scenery is a standalone, waist-high pillar of marble. Springing to his feet, the wizard continues to scan the indistinguishable horizon and foliage for any indication of where he might be. With the utmost caution, the man slowly makes his way over to the baluster. When he reaches the pillar, he finds a single item, a marvelously crafted dagger. The blade, roughly eight inches in length, leads down to an extraordinary handle. The crossguard flares out from the knife two inches on either side, before the metal spirals back onto itself, toward its butt on the left and toward the shank on the right. The handle appears to be made of sterling silver, upon which the craftsmen laid gold designs, that of beautiful patterns and garnish.

Once more, the wizard surveys the landscape, before placing his hand on the dagger and removing it from its pedestal. The moment the man removes the dagger from its seat, a familiar voice speaks from behind him. Violently, the wizard spins his body to face the direction from which the voice came. Once again, the man freezes, standing before him is his beloved professor.

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