Willem stood on the balcony of his father’s workshop. He was watching the waterwheel spin. The creaks and groans of the wooden mechanism were as familiar to him as the sound of his own breath, and nearly as abhorrent.
His father’s Decanter puttered around the workshop, tidying up after Willem’s failed attempt to improve on one of the canonical formulae. His mother’s Decanter now, he supposed. Damned corker. He hunched his shoulders and tried to ignore the other man.
Garrett had been with the family for as long as Willem could remember, and was highly respected within the Guild. More so than Willem himself, which was part of it. He wondered what it would feel like to push Garrett in, to watch the man’s body twist and thrash under the wheel. What would Willem see in his eyes?
“Aye, you’re a beast, you are.”
Something in Garrett’s tone made Willem’s stomach clench, and he turned, but the Decanter was not looking at him. Garrett’s nose was inches from the Guildmaster’s manual, his finger tracing the neat notations. “It took your father years to refine this. I doubt you could do better. You’ve not the gift.” He spoke with the utmost casualness: a simple statement of fact.
“What would a corker know of gifts?” Willem asked. He could not manage the other man’s offhand malice, and so resorted – as usual – to insults. Among a Decanter’s lesser duties was the sealing of the potion-maker’s bottles.
Garrett did not rise to the bait. “I know you don’t have it, nor your mother. Nor I,” he added. He closed the manual with a reverence that resembled a caress.
Twisting and thrashing. Willem shuddered and fumbled in his pocket for a teaspoon’s worth of fine powder wrapped in paper. Pouring it on his tongue, he let the bright bitterness wash over him, soothing the black thoughts away.
This post was made in response to two writing prompts this week.
This week, we’d like you to take an honest look in your [writer’s] toolbox and pull out one of the tools you believe needs a little polishing. Word limit is 400.
While my biggest stumbling block is big-picture thinking and plot, this would be rather hard to address within the word limit. Instead, I decided to focus on another weakness of mine: creating a believable villain. (I’m not sure how well I succeeded, but I did create some characters I’d like to unravel further.)
With this goal in mind, I used this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt for inspiration:
You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:
beast noun \ˈbēst\
1: a) a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being
b) a lower animal as distinguished from a human being
c) an animal as distinguished from a plant
d) an animal under human control
2: a contemptible person