Enchanted Wine, Part 1 — New Short Story



Enchanted Wine

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she said.

“I’m sure,” he replied.

“There’s no going back after this,” she said. “Once you know the truth, you know it. You can’t undo it.”

He looked at her in the dim light. Her face was partially obscured by a gauzy veil, and a cloth covered her hair completely. He wasn’t sure he would recognize her if he saw her again.

“I don’t know your name,” he said.

“You don’t need to know it.”

“It would make me feel more comfortable,” he said. “My name is—”

She held up a hand quickly. “No. No names. The less we know about each other, the better this will work.”

He fell silent.

She was silent also, and after a moment, he hazarded to speak.

“So how does this work?”

She waved a hand. “You see three cups before you. Into them I will pour three wines—very rare vintages. You will ask a question over the wine. Then you will drink. Each drink will give you a piece of the truth you seek.”

She paused. “You have to decide if you really want to know. Maybe it’s better not to.”

“I need to know,” he said. “I’m ready. Pour out the wine.”

She gazed at him for a moment. Then she nodded. She stood and turned to three gold ewers that rested nearby. They were small and likely only held one serving of wine.

She poured each one into a cup, and he could see that they were different colors. The first was very pale, the second was a deep red, and the third one was so dark that it was almost black.

She sat back down. “Ask your question and drink.”

“There was an accident,” he said uncertainly to the wine. “A boulder came crashing down from above. It very nearly hit me. As it was, my right arm was badly scratched by a chunk of the boulder that stuck out. I had thought—as I said—that it was an accident. But then a friend told me he had seen my brother up on the ridge that the boulder came from. My question is—did my brother push that boulder over?”

She looked at him. “Now you may drink.”

He drank the pale wine, and immediately the scene in front of him disappeared. He saw instead a bright, sunny day and a high ridge of white rock. He saw his brother walking along the ridge and looking down to the dirt path far below. The scene shifted, and he saw his brother walking along the ridge again—apparently on a different day. The scene shifted several more times, and on each occasion it showed his brother walking along the ridge at different times of the day and in different weather. The last time it showed his brother looking down at a figure that he recognized as himself. His brother was looking at him sadly.

“That’s me,” he whispered.

The vision faded, and he could see the three cups again.

“Interesting,” she said. “You may drink the next.”

He lifted the cup of deep red wine and found it to be sweet and very spicy.

The room faded away, and he saw into a different room.

He saw his fiancée standing by a window. Her dark hair was pulled back in a loose knot, and there was something pensive in her expression. She appeared to be waiting for someone.

In the next moment, his brother rushed into the room, and he hurried over to the fiancée.

He took her in his arms.

It looked as though the brother might kiss the fiancée, but she shook her head and stepped back. Instead, the two of them stood side by side and looked out the window.

The vision faded, and he felt his blood boiling.

He looked over at her, and he thought he could see sympathy in her eyes.

“You may drink the last,” she said.

He lifted the cup of dark wine and drank it. He’d expected it to be bitter, but instead it was mild and pleasant.

The scene in front of him changed, and he could see a dimly lit room. A lone figure slept on a bed. Time passed, but the figure didn’t move. Eventually, the figure rolled over, and he could see the face. It was his brother.

The vision faded.

“So that’s it,” he seethed. “My brother tries to do away with me because he wants my fiancée, and then afterwards, he sleeps like a baby. He feels no remorse for pushing a boulder down and nearly crushing me.”

“I don’t know that that’s what it is,” she said.

“I do,” he said. He stood up abruptly. “Thank you for showing me the truth.”

She looked up at him, and he was arrested by the sight of her dark eyes. There was something in them he couldn’t quite name. Sympathy—yes—but something else too. He had a sense that she understood exactly what he was going through.

“I can’t counsel you on what to do next,” she said. “But if you have any questions about what you have seen, you may come back and see me.”

He nodded once and left the room.

(Part 2 is in the next blog post. Click here to read.)


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