Freyja sat at her dresser, staring at the rose still lying on its silk wrapping. It was carved out of amber; every petal a perfect replica of the real thing; lifelike veins lined the length of its stem, flecked by sharp thorns, the mere thought of their sting making Freyja’s eyes water.
The maid came in, started the fire and left; Freyja hardly glanced up. The fire was now a dying smolder and Freyja was still far from grasping the meaning of the gift.
It wasn’t like Bianca to forgive, but that is what the note said. Freyja shook her head in disbelief. True, it wasn’t her fault that the King exiled Bianca; it wasn’t Freyja’s fault that she was with child within a month of the wedding; and that her first born happened to be male. And yet, Freyja couldn’t suppress the memory of Bianca being dragged out of court, shedding her dignity with each hollered curse directed at Freyja.
Freyja sighed, but her breath caught in her throat. She squinted at the rose. It must have been a trick of the flickering light. The rose was fashioned with great skill, but as lifeless as the silver comb on the dresser. Yet, the petals were swaying, as if caught in a breeze that wasn’t there.
Freyja picked up the rose, fear making her tremble, clumsy. Her finger grazed a warm thorn. Freyja hardly felt it, but it was enough to draw blood.
And the rose drank it.
An instant alchemy transformed the rose. It sucked the blood out of Freyja’s wound, seeping into the stem, turning it red; amber became ruby.
Revulsion consumed Freyja. She threw the rose into the fire, shattering it.
As the shards simmered, a flush rose within Freyja. Her skin burned, her breath seared her lungs. Freyja screamed and thrashed in pain. She drowned her hands in the water basin and they let out steam, the water evaporated as did Freyja’s scream as she slowly turned to ash.
Today, Trifecta have asked us all to concoct a story using the noun ‘Alchemy’: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting.
I am ashamed to say that I had never heard or read the word used in this form before. The word ‘Alchemy’ has always brought different images to my mind; like Nicolas Flamel in his overalls, puffing and sweating over the Philosopher’s Stone; even in that my imagination was fictional. I only found out that Mr Flamel was a real person, years after reading Harry Potter. But I am thankful to Trifecta; each week they force me to enrich my vocabulary!
And please, dear readers, criticise at your heart’s content.