No More Words For You – Tim Jamieson

The old man made a gesture for me to sit. I lowered my exhausted body to the chair before me and felt myself shrink. I studied him with my windswept eyes. He was old and gnarled but not frail. Deep lines were creased into his face and his skin was the texture of old leather tanned in the sun. What struck me the most were his eyes. Two ovals of pure amber that shone with a youthful passion and an ancient knowledge. He wore a beard that hugged his face like an old friend, grey and in stark contrast to the deep brown of his skin. Still he did not speak, but I waited.

In silence we sat across from each other over a dark wooden table. On its surface rested the old man’s hands knitted together. In front of him sat two plain cups made of wood, filled to the top with a clear liquid.

Finally the old man said, “You’ve come a long way.”

“Yes,” I managed to say.

“Well,” he said, “let’s not waste any more time.”

I just nodded. I couldn’t find the words.

He unknotted his fingers and laid his palms down flat on the table. He raised his left and pushed the cup slowly towards me with his fingers. He did the same with his right until both cups were within reaching distance. I leant forward in the chair and it creaked softly as I moved. He cocked his head to the side and stared deeply into my soul.

After a pause he said, “One cup will kill you. The other, will give you the eternal life you came all this way for.”

“Drink,” he added, “I have no more words for you.”

I turned my attention to the cups and back to his magnificent eyes for what felt an eternity.

Finally I said, “What would happen if I drank both?”

His eyes narrowed and caught fire.

“What did you say?” He said.

Before the old man could react I grasped both cups and raised them to my mouth pouring their contents down my throat. He leant forward with a start, his hands grasping the edge of the table. I stared at him and he stared back; his eyes wide and full of shock. I felt very strange, like I’d stood up too fast after a long time of sitting down. My vision blurred and prickled back to reality.

“What happens now?” I said.

The old man blinked and sat back in his chair.

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