The Drinking Game

“You a Bloodhound?” The Servitor asks.

“Cover blown.” Stace answers.

“You can see them?” The Servitor says.

Stace looks cautiously at the doors: The things guarding the exits are ugly, exquisite, dreadful, and ignored.

Drinking Game: A clear shot glass shaped like a skull filled with black liquorShe’s trapped. She knows it.

“Come with me.” The Servitor says.

Her sleuthing led her to this bar. It is the only connection between a group of missing people. She steps into a quiet room. Seven people sit at a table. She joins them. They stare curiously at Stace.

The Servitor closes the door, puts on wire glasses. “Rules: I will pour the drinks. You swallow yours at the ring of the bell. All changes to your consciousness are permanent. Bloodhound, you can leave now if you choose.”

Stace stays. The Servitor sets a skull shaped shot glass in front of each person. She fills each to the rim with clear liquid. In each glass, the liquid takes its own color. Red, orange, green, purple, yellow, blue, white. Stace’s is char black.

The Servitor shakes the bell.

Stace swallows darkness, and her mind shivers and grows. She can smell colors, hear the bitter taste on her tongue, see scents. The synethsesia impresses itself on all past memories. Red strands appear everywhere. When her sense of where returns, the other seven are gone.

The Servitor hands her a leather bound book:

A Forensic Guide to Temporal Alchemy

Red string flickers from the manual to her chest. Stace strums it and the book becomes a ratty worn paperback.

“What are these?”

The Servitor strokes the string, restoring the book.

“Time lines.” The Servitor says. “I hired you to find a missing person. You found the bar, saw the gargoyle guards at the door, and drank a potion.”

“You hired me?” Stace says.

“It’s bad for an alchemy shop to misplace patrons. Rumors get started, business declines. The job is still yours, if you want it.”

“Of course.” Stace shakes the Servitor’s hand.

Once home, Stace opens the book and starts reading.


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