Today’s writing prompt comes from WritersDigest.com.
A mad scientist approaches you with an offer: He has a secret potion that will help you get the thing you want most in this world—be it a person, a thing, an ability, etc. What you don’t know (and won’t reveal until the end of your story) is that there is one dire consequence (not death) from drinking the potion.
I was a good kid. I learned not to talk to strangers and all that. Hell, I only give money to the homeless guys on the city streets if they look appropriately slovenly. Or play an instrument. A good saxophone echoing through the subway station can even get me tossing out a few dollar bills.
Anyway, I was on a subway train early in the morning, or late at night, depends on your perspective, I guess. It was somewhere around two in the morning and I was making my way back to my apartment after a night at the bar with a friend of mine who just flew in from the coast.
I don’t know when it was, exactly, but at some point during that trip, the car I was trying to keep from vomiting in became totally devoid of any other passengers. Not even one sleazy heckler trying to sell his newest album on a blank CD, the title written on it in Sharpie. So, I was sitting there, not more than three stops from my area of the city when all the sudden, this guy just busts on in from the neighboring car.
I swear, I had to make a mental check to convince myself that I hadn’t somehow missed Halloween. This guy was nothing short of the mad scientist get-up: wild, graying hair; coke bottle glasses that made his eyes three times too large; a lab coat, pristine save for the various strains at the hems of the sleeves; and a legitimate decanter, filled with a bubbling azure liquid.
“You!” he said to me as he scampered over and sat down in the seat directly next to mine. I had some mixed drinks at the bar, I didn’t drop acid. So, I knew, however weird this was, that I wasn’t hallucinating.
“Uh, hey buddy,” I said.
“This is all that’s left,” he said, dangling the decanter in front of my face.
“Oh god, listen. I don’t need anything else to drink, man.”
“Ah, but this promises more than a headache and some nausea in the morning,” he claimed.
“I can’t tell if that’s a good thing,” I said, confused.
“This will grant you what you want most in the world,” he said, now caressing the decanter. My stop was coming up. I needed to get out of here.
“Man, look. How about I just take that thing off your hands and let you know about it tomorrow? Sound good?”
“No! You must drink it now! It’s now or never at all! It’s power won’t last much longer!” I really just needed this to end, I think that’s what I wanted most in the world at that moment.
“Fine, give it to me,” I said. I swiped the bottle from his hands, put it to my lips, poured the liquid down my gullet and -