Note: Don't take everything too literally! The narrator's not to be trusted ;) Also, ever read Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"?
The Little Pink Bottle
I have always wanted a superpower to call my own.
I bought myself a little pink bottle of one the other day; the salesman was so enthusiastic about it that I simply could not resist! "This," he said, in a low, mysterious tone, "will give you the ability to read people's minds." He went on to list all the attributes of the potion, as salesmen are wont to do, but I wasn't listening by then. I was already calculating how much the purchase would set back my finances for the month!
I was so taken with the little pink bottle that I didn't pay much attention to the instructions, I'm afraid. Luckily, the salesman wrote them down on a piece of paper for me. Good, kind soul! It's hard to come by such compassionate, helpful men these days… I must send him a thank-you card at Christmas. Now, as for the instructions…
Dear me, his handwriting is such an ugly scrawl; it's positively hard to read––
Yes, I think I've got it. Unseal the cover, leave to set at room temperature for 20 minutes, before consuming in one sitting. Well! It appears that superpowers don't come by easy, after all. There's still the dreaded period of waiting involved. I set the alarm clock to ring twenty minutes from now – I'm bad at deciphering this sort of thing – and opened the cover.
The little pink bottle looked forlornly up at me.
I spent quite some time deciding where to place the cover – isn't it just the most tedious thing to do! If I place the cover too far away, it feels like I'm deliberately separating it from the bottle. But if I place it too close to the bottle, they just seem to struggle to get away from each other! In the end, I painstakingly measured the required distance and placed them exactly one inch from one another. I know it's exact, because I used ten rulers, and they all told me the same thing.
I feel much better already.
Oh – isn't that the alarm? Already! Time flies by so quickly these days, you never know what you might miss if you pause for a little shuteye. The alarm's loud shrill is bothering me; I simply must get a new one. One with more discipline, I trust. After taking care of the unruly alarm clock – I took out the batteries; how devious! – I turned my attention back to the little pink bottle.
The little pink bottle smiled up at me.
"Yes, I'll drink you now."
The liquid within was clear, but oh! I have never tasted anything nastier! It was all bitter and spicy and sour at the same time, quite so much that my tongue didn't know which flavor to focus on! I drank it all in one gulp, though. It is important to follow instructions to the letter.
I gagged, swallowed, and put the little pink bottle down. It was still pink. I suppose the magic in the potion has turned the glass pink permanently, because who would make pink glass these days? You can't use pink glass for anything – if you look through it, it makes the world look all pinkish and nauseating.
The little pink bottle looked a little lonely now that it was empty. I screwed the cover back on as a sort of consolation.
The doorbell chimed, and I started guiltily. I had forgotten, with all the excitement of the little pink bottle. There was a reason I'd chosen this night to drink the potion. It's because Joseph is coming for dinner.
Don't tell anyone, but I believe he wants to propose! I put on my little red dress just f or this occasion. He once said it makes me look sexy, and I need to look my sexiest tonight.
I dithered for a while before opening the door – you know it's always good to make boys wait a little! They get impatient and it keeps things fresh. And there he was, with a bouquet of roses in one hand. He leaned forward to kiss me lightly on the cheek. "Hi, darling."
"Hi!" I beamed, and then I swear, the weirdest thing happened.
There's a knife in the bouquet.
"What?" I pulled back a little, instinctively.
"What?" He echoed, looking confused.
"I could've sworn…" I began to say, when it happened again.
A knife among the roses for you, my dear.
There it was – that voice – again! Could he not hear it? It was so loud; it made my head spin.
And then I remembered the little pink bottle.
Of course! How could I have forgotten? This must be the mind-reading ability that nice salesman had been talking about! There's only Joseph and me here, and I couldn't be reading my own mind, could I? – Gosh, how silly. But that means that little voice I heard was from Joseph's mind…
A knife? Why would he need a knife to propose?
"Are those for me?" I asked as naturally as possible, looking at the bouquet of roses. I'd never realized, until now, how much the red of roses reminded me of more sinister things…
"Who else could they be for?" He teased, smiling, handing the bouquet over.
I grasped at it and peered in, half-expecting a knife to fly out from between the stalks. But of course not. There was no way Joseph could've mastered telekinesis, could he? As long as the bouquet was in my hands, I was safe.
"Are you alright?"
"Of course! I'll get a vase to put these in." If I could get the roses out, I could see if there was a knife hidden within – how devious!
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" He was still smiling, that little smile that seemed to mock me with the thought that he knew something I didn't. But what that smile didn't know was that I had my little pink bottle! I knew its secret.
"Oh, dear," I said, because thoughts of roses and knives had kept me from behaving like a good hostess. I stepped aside to let him in. It's not polite to keep your guests out on the doorstep. "Please, come on in."
I shut the door.
"There's no need to shut the door," he began–– Silly boy, did he really think we would be going out for dinner? What a spectacle he would make of himself, then! Proposals are best done in private. I do hate it when people make spectacles of themselves in public.
"Oh, I have a surprise for you," I said. I know a secret you don't know.
I led him to the dining room, where the candles were burning. I'd lighted them just before answering the door, so that they wouldn't need to wait for too long. What a terrible thing it was, this waiting! I can hardly stand to wait for anything, myself.
I turned to look at Joseph, and was met by the sight of candlelight casting shadows in the hollows of his face. I was suddenly struck with the thought that perhaps this wasn't the best idea! I had forgotten how shadows creep me out so. They were creeping everywhere, over the furniture, on the ceiling, around the room!
I could not eat in peace like that. But it was too late. Joseph had taken me by the hand and led me to one of the two seats on either ends of the small square table. The candles in the candleholder flickered warningly. Haven't you forgotten something?
And so I had! The bouquet was back in Joseph's hands now – he must have taken them from me while I had been observing the creeping shadows! Such a devious, devious man. How could I ever have trusted him?
He was still holding onto the bouquet when he lowered himself into the seat opposite of me, so I snatched at them! I couldn't quite reach them, though, and he was so startled that he let go. The long-stemmed roses fell down to ground.
There was no knife there. I glanced at the remaining wrapping paper in his hand, and it was also empty. How puzzling!
It's in his pocket.
Of course! He must have switched it out of the bouquet and into his pocket while I'd been distracted! This mind-reading ability sure was proving itself to be useful.
I looked up, and saw him looking at the roses with an odd look on his face. Such devious roses, to have been the accomplices to his little plan! And such a devious man, to have tarnished the reputation of the flower of passion!
"I guess you must've liked the flowers too much to part with them, even for a little while!" He said jokingly, but there was a little tension in his tone. Oh dear – had he caught on about the little pink bottle? This would not do!
"What's in your pocket?" I asked, because a pre-emptive strike is always the best! It muddles your enemy and gives you a heightened sense of advantage. I'd caught him!
"How did you––" He shook his head warily. "Never mind, I was going to do it tonight, anyway." He started to reach into his pocket.
I knew it, I knew it! He would be whipping out the knife any second now! I reached under my chair, practically shivering with anticipation.
He drew his hand out of his pocket and presented it to me. But he didn't get the chance to use it – oh, no! Because I'd already acted first!
The little black velvet box in his hand fell to the ground. I didn't know they still put knives in boxes these days! Silly, silly man! The table shook with the impact of Joseph's body. Well, there would be no dinner now!
Oh – but what have you done, my dear?
I bent down and put the smoking gun amidst the fallen roses. How beautiful! This was where they belonged, after all. They looked far better with a gun than a knife! What a perfect scene of art! I'd outdone Joseph, by far!
Oh – how devious of me!
A/N. Ahh, I haven't written anything outside of academic essays and research papers since uni started, so when insomnia struck me tonight (or this morning, depending on how you look at it - it's 5 am) I just had to write it. Ack. Sorry for any grammatical errors or parts that don't seem to flow (though some of it was on purpose), I wrote this in the middle of the night after all; my brain isn't quite working. Thanks for reading and please review :) I've never written anything like that before, so comments would be appreciated!