Friday January 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the alchemist.

Max usually spends Wednesday and Friday afternoons with Kat's parents. He loves it up there and never wants to come home. Usually when I open the front door to welcome him home and to thank Kat's dad for bringing him back, Max refuses to come inside and tries to walk away.

Not today though. He actually came home an hour early. Because he missed us? Hah.

Kat had told him after lunch that she was going to be making (gluten and dairy-free) chocolate chip cookies while he was out. Apparently he decided around 4 o'clock that the cookies were probably done, so he needed to come home to eat one.

His arrival kind of screwed over my late afternoon plans but it was funny enough that I didn't really mind.


I never liked going into my father's laboratory. It's not that it was dark or scary or even unclean. The smell that always lingered in there, permanently attached to all the equipment and benches and the walls... I just couldn't stand it.

It would be many years after his death before I finally realized that what had bothered me was the stench of failure.


Greg said...

I like Max's way of thinking, though I can tell that you're less enamoured of it :) And his priorities... based on a recent post of yours where I commented on priorities, I think he takes after you in that regard!
I'm in Malta now, mostly settled in to the company flat and I've had a wander around to sort out how to get to the office (10 minute walk) and where things are (there's not a lot of things...). I'm in Gzira, which is not far from Valletta, but probably a short bus ride rather than a walk. I'm right on the edge of Gzira by Ta'Xbiex, and the office is in Ta'Xbiex, so it all fits fairly well together. The weather... well, let's say that I didn't bother to bring any jumpers and the oranges are ripe on the trees here.
Hmm, that last line was a little surprise today, and changes the mood of the piece considerably. I'm impressed.

The alchemist
"Old-fashioned alchemy may have led to the invention of chemistry," said the young man with bright, eager eyes and a freshly-framed Ph.D. certificate on the wall behind him, "but it was unreliable, dangerous, and never made good on its promise to turn lead into gold. Whereas nuclear alchemy has achieved that and much more." His audience were quiet and attentive, not least because they'd already noticed that in the relative gloom of the lecture hall he glowed faintly. "The other thing it is good at," he added as an afterthought, "is turning humans into corpses."

Anonymous said...

I tried to tell myself over and over the same words my father taught me to keep the tears at bay; that I was in control of my emotions and could silence them at will. But when I saw all his blood and bruised flesh, all because the guards had attempted to take me back to Dominique Evrard, the only words that passed through my mind were what if he had died?

So I let the gold tears roll down my face, uncaring if Syn saw them.

“It’s you,” I heard him whisper, “By god, you are the Alchemic Maiden!”

Marc said...

Greg - I remember the buses in Malta being very colorful and full of touches unique to each driver. I hope that hasn't changed!

I'm glad you're getting settled in, and I expect your new surroundings to be influencing your writing in no time. The oranges, by the way, well... damn you :P

I... don't think I'd want to be in that lecture hall. Or anywhere near the lecturer, for that matter.

Ivy - ah, another intriguing twist to your tale. I like how you manage to incorporate the various prompts into your world!