An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
Here is the link to Part I.
He didn’t precisely remember when he decided to open the first bottle.
All he knew was that, as he’d been cleaning out the Crypt, one of the glass containers had fallen into one of the deep pockets of his robes. He’d immediately noticed the weight and the shape pressing against his thigh, but had pretended to ignore it.
That evening, when all the other monks had retired, he’d snuck out of the stark grey building and had made his way to the cliff at the far side of the isle.
Once he’d made sure that he was alone, he’d found a small alcove in the rock and ducking within it, had gingerly unstoppered the forbidden object.
It wasn’t a scream that had erupted from the bottle. Instead, a pink vapour poured out of the glass prison and wrapped itself around the young man, carrying him deep into the desires of one of his brothers.
He was standing in a scented garden, reaching out to touch a woman. She was barely out of reach, but he strained, desperately longing to graze her delicate nakedness with even just the tip of his fingers. The vision vanished, and he was back on the cliff, breathing heavily.
It took him weeks before he mustered up the courage to steal a second bottle. This time his nightly excursion resulted in a vision of a well-laden table, filled with simple –yet tasty- foods. He tried peaches for the first time, and warm bread and elderberry cordial. His return to the cold, windswept cliff was horrible, but not as bad as the taste of the gruel they were served every morning for breakfast. For the first time in ten years, he had to fight with his stomach so as not to be sick.
Soon he became more daring, and he would bring more than one bottle to his little rocky alcove. There he delighted in exquisite desires, simple pleasures and dark cravings. Warm silky clothes where followed by dreams of flight, a mother’s caresses and a young man’s loving smile.
Because of his transgressions, Ouon began to change.
What was initially a skinny, hollow youth now filled out, fed by his visions and the experiences from the bottles. His hair grew thicker and his skin lost its unhealthy glow. In a few short weeks he became the spitting image of a healthy lad, happy and filled with energy. The things he saw within the bottles gave him new life, new hope, and he began to only pretend to scream into the little glass containers, after the daily prayers to the Mute. However, he looked greedily at the other monks, making mental notes to recall who filled which bottle. The information might be useful later on.
These changes in him did not go unnoticed.
“Is everything all right, Ouon?” whispered Ionus, one sunny afternoon. “I’ve noticed that you appear to be…boisterous of late. Do you wish to take a moment and commune with the Mute? I wouldn’t want you to feel lost…”
The younger man shivered at the empty look in the elderly monk’s eyes. There was nothing behind those irises, only emotionless thought. No desire, no wants, no hope.
“Everything is fine, father,” he whispered back, doing his best to hide the warm timbre of his voice. “My energy is a gift from the Mute: as I let go of my desires, so do I grow lighter.”
The older monk stared at him thoughtfully for a moment, absorbing the lie.
“May he guide you to a silent end,” he croaked hoarsely.
Then he moved away, leaving Ouon nervously fingering the small vial hidden in his robe pocket.-