Bibere A Me
The Manor was a labyrinth of shadows, the longest belonging to a willowy woman gliding down a spiral staircase. Like the train of a burning star, her hair licked of flame trailed close behind her–but that light did not match her eyes.
Carved archways towered high above, magic and moonlight mixing amidst broken glass. Vines curled around a rusted banister clinging to the cracked foundation, and the wind blew by, chilling her to the bone.
The woman stopped in utter stillness, waiting, and then carried on.
Frayed silk shifted upon creaky floorboards as she navigated between rubble and debris. The woman trudged on as she felt her way around tapestries and cloth that concealed a hidden door.
In the blanket of her sadness, she fell to her knees and wept a bewailing jumble of tangled limbs upon a stone paved floor. She once dreamed of color and light, but now all she had was darkness.
Her sanity was unpredictable and only getting worse.
With regret in her heart, some small part of her recoiled at the thought of being so alone. She pried at the satchel she kept hidden between hushed secrets and broken tiles. Tiny droplets of salvation shimmered in the moonlight. The vial was wrapped in twine and had a small label that read “bibere a me” The woman took a steadying breath, tipped back the vial, and waited for the solvent to trickle upon her expectant lips and lull her into eternal dreaming.
She tasted the sweet liquid and swallowed, imagining the stars that dusted the night sky. As the liquid took its toll, she closed her eyes and tried to imagine the vast ceiling disappear.
Her throat dry, she opened her mouth and hummed–or tried to. It came out first as a croak, reflecting the shriveled up brokenness of her fate. She gazed at the moonlight spilling through the stained glass, her voice a breathy whisper. Each note was as melodic as the last as it escaped her lips, a lullaby, no one had sung before, one that kept her distracted though it didn’t bring her comfort.
She noticed a small child with auburn hair slip past the doorway into the shadows, she closed her eyes–humming the tune again, a little more firmly. It made her feel not so alone. When her voice finally lost all of its remaining strength, she sat in the stillness and listened to the sound of impending silence.
Her heart slowed upon the wavering time as she fell to the floor, leaving behind a remnant of a smile. She had cheated Death, if only for a moment.