Sunshine flooded her face. It tasted like honey and coriander. She put a hand to her head and opened her eyes. Seonid lay in a large field of wildflowers, mountains looming all around, and the air was crisp and fresh. She blinked and sat up.
Well. This had never happened before. Usually she found herself in a stranger’s bed, and very occasionally, in her own.
Heart’s Desire, he had called it. His sister had called it Need. Not quite the same thing, Seonid knew. They served it in tiny silver cups no bigger than the tip of her thumb. She had been surprised to see something so illicit in the back room of one of the most respectable establishments in town. It was something special, reserved for the best customers only, they said. She had heard of it, of course, but never thought to taste it herself. Her mouth still sparkled from the wine she had been drinking earlier.
She took a cup. “It smells of… What is it?” she had asked.
“What is the scent of your heart’s desire? What flavor need?” he had countered, handing a second cup to his sister.
“None for yourself?” She was surprised.
He shook his head. “I already had mine. It led us to you, after all,” he added, with the barest hint of a leer. He poured himself a glass of wine instead.
It was barely a mouthful, but the effect was almost immediate. She felt her spirit lift up as her body relaxed against the divan. He had caught her, of course, lowered her gently into the cushions. A wash of warmth, golden and apple-sweet like the liqueur itself. Through the falling curtain she heard voices.
“Will she do?”
“I think so. But if not…” He paused. “Well, it will still be a pleasant evening, in that case.”
A clink of metal on wood as his sister set the cup down. She leaned in close. “When you wake,” she had breathed, “come find us. Ask for the Sable Mark.” The woman’s voice had been indistinct, and Seonid wasn’t certain she understood.
She stood now among the wildflowers and saw the barest trace of a path. In the distance, a narrow plume of smoke rose in a straight line. She set off to see where her need had brought her.
This post was made in response to this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt at Write On Edge:
Four hundred words or less, fiction or creative non-fiction, linked up on Friday morning’s post, based on one of the following definitions:
flavor |ˈflāvər| ( Brit. flavour)
- the distinctive quality of a particular food or drink as perceived by the taste buds and the sense of smell : the chips come in pizza and barbecue flavors.
- the general quality of taste in a food : no other cracker adds so much flavor to cheese or peanut butter.
- a substance used to alter or enhance the taste of food or drink; a flavoring : we use vanilla and almond flavors.
- [in sing.] figurative an indefinable distinctive quality of something : this year’s seminars have a European flavor.
- [in sing.] figurative an indication of the essential character of something : the extracts give a flavor of the content and tone of the conversation.
8 thoughts on “Need”
I love this… magic and fantasy and elixirs in thimbles. So glad you’re playing along with us!
oh my goodness what does it mean.. “Will she do?!”
This is so intriguing… I love the light and airy feeling mixed with just a hint of sinister.
I like the intriguing aspect of it as well as the fairytale feel, although this seems a little darker! 🙂
Ooooh! Intriguing and sensual… Has me wondering what she needs, and for what she might ‘do’! (Did she? ‘Do’?…) Sunshine that tastes of honey and coriander, a faint path leading to a plume of smoke… Lovely images 🙂
Many thanks! I haven’t written much short fiction at all, so these prompts are a challenge.
Loved this. There’s an escape and a hint of danger in the forbidden. Well played.