A bowl filled with liquid; it had always been so.
The bowl looked as if it was heavy needing a substantial stand and yet it was suspended just feet above the foliage that caressed its underside.
It filled from an unknown spring, but how? My deductions and observations failed me.
I watched as creatures bounded to the bowl leaving refreshed and apparently younger.
A colorless butterfly dipped and as it rose it appeared as if the sun had painted each color filled line to perfection. It dripped feathery gold drops as it fluttered away.
The bowl filled instantly again with cool refreshing water.
A sweet voice would call to me.
“Drink”, it said. “Go ahead just one sip.”
Day after day as I took copious research notes, I heard it.
It was like a Siren beckoning me closer to the rocks of the unknown harbor.
I wore ear plugs that worked at first but slowly failed.
Loud music was drowned out by the sweet, melodic voice “DRINK.”
Then one day a promise carried over the hush.
A fawn dragged her lifeless, bloodied leg. She was almost spent. She left healed.
The flora clapped as the fawn departed.
“You will be more. Just ask one thing. It must give it to you.”
This bowl of unquenchable water was the fountain of youth, it was the healing pool of Bethesda, it dripped the gold and silver of Midas’ valued touch.
“I’m a scientist.” I growled. “I ‘m here for observation only.”
I heard a low laugh that withered with the night.
And then one day it happened, I fell. As I picked myself up, I noticed a thorn in my leg. Absentmindedly I removed the thorn. It was nothing.
Later that day, my leg began throbbing. I set down my notepad. My leg was three-times its normal size.
“Now you must use the waters.”
The once sweet voice was cruel.
“I cannot!” I struggled to project resolve.
“Then you will die.”
Stubbornly, I dragged my leg about.
I don’t know how many days I did this.
I held my head that was growing fuzzy in hands I could not feel.
I knew I would never get out alive.
“What must I do?” I wailed.
I hobbled closer to the bowl than I had ever dared.
A hush covered the forest. It was as if nature waited.
I looked about it and then I looked in the waters.
A face stared back at me.
It was death loosely hanging over bones that once resembled a face.
“Is that me?” I trembled at the thought.
I dipped my head into the bowl.
“Heal me from this poisonous death,” I begged
I looked at the bowl as it refilled.
Moisture dripped from my face.
I put out my hand to catch the drops.
It was blood – my blood.
“I now have what I have needed for eons.”
“Human blood – fool!”
It ran freely. I could not stop my life dripping from my pores.
“Now you see what you can do with this curse.” The once sweet voice had a different tone. Strong, more than human and then it was gone.
I felt cold and alone.
I could no longer feel my legs or my arms. I felt so heavy.
I looked up into a concave reality.
I had become the bowl.
Cursed to quench but never have my thirst quenched.
To heal and never be healed unless it was at the sake of another poor fool.
~ Leslie Moon
© Copyright 2014 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved.
40 thoughts on “The Bowl”
what sinister thing lives in the bowl?
A great contrast of living and death, hope and despair.
Thanks for your visit. yes hope in this twisted.
Wonderful write…enjoyed reading this much.
thanks my friend for your on-going support. Not sure I’d still be blogging had it not been for you!
Great story, Leslie! In my head, it conjured a diabolical mix of the fountain of youth and, for some reason, the mirror from Snow White. Your scientist character succumbs not to curiosity but ultimately necessity. Loved the twist at the end!
I liked the contrast of hope with the inevitability of a curse. Fountain of youth meets the wicked witch – I like it
Absolutely wonderful. That was an ending I didn’t see coming. All along, I was wishing there was a bowl like that near me. Glad that wish wasn’t fulfilled.
you play you pay – always.
that’s a harsh prison.
note to self “don’t peer into the looking glass”
yes a rather long sentance
I think I’ll pass the fountain of youth…
may be wise…
you paint an interesting picture of “life.” It may be beautiful to the on-looker yet the ” life” is a blood sucking curse.
You paint such a lovely scene. The ending stunned me. I cursed
stunning an cursed …
A wonderful story, my friend! To be a nurturer and healer and then be allowed to do for oneself after so long must be a wonderful feeling. Not so much for our scientist friend, however. He now has plenty of time for cognitive thinking, though. 🙂
screwed by research
Ah, yes. Three words and you nailed it, Leslie. 🙂
I enjoyed that very much. Now… off to find this bowl and leave it in my office for some poor fool to use 😉
A most strange and disturbing story, Leslie! I loved when the protag. regarded themselves in the bowl for the first time and saw their deathly face.
I like strange and disturbing
It sounds so philosophical ,Leslie.
yes, there is that element. thanks for visiting
wow. what a great fable styled tale. I liked it a lot.
Oh thanks I’m so glad you visited.
Nicely told. Poor scientist, he tried so hard to refuse. Inevitably trapped by his will to live. Well, now he lives forever…..
living forever looking up is not a great option
Lipid pool of dreams
Reborn on nightwings horror
Mirror of monsters
I will never drink at another water fountain again! Great horror twist at the end!
I was taught years ago to pass by the diseased water fountain. Thanks Sean
Mmmm, dark and deep. I love this story! Beautifully written and very captivating, well done! 🙂
Thanks yes “captivating” the perfect word 🙂
Fantastic story! This story made me wonder how much it would take to push even the kindest and most gentle soul to the brink of this kind of treachery and deceit.
I enjoyed this story Leslie, thank you.
hmm always up to doing research (wink)
We are the same that way, Leslie. I’m always up for some research.
Leslie! This is fantastic! Part of me almost wanted it to be the fairy tale it was seeming it might be, but you, my beautiful lady, did not disappoint! This is an incredible jaunt along the path of discovery, just not the one your character (or the reader) thought it would be. Excellent piece, Leslie! I really enjoyed it – extremely well constructed and delivered! Bravo 🙂
here’s a spoiler : this piece came from an image that originally had crystal blue water. In reversing the image, the water turned fetid green et voila the story wrote itself.
That was good. I didn’t expect that ending but somehow I did.
expect the unexpected.thanks Mari!