An excerpt from The Apothecary, a romantic horror novelette. It might seem familiar, ’cause I based it off a drabble I’ve previously posted.
I’m jerked out of my daydream by the sound of his voice. I’ve been staring.
“Are you all right?” the apothecary asks. The firelight plays over his mask in blacks and oranges. It’s always so dim here in his home, the windows shuttered tight against the sun, leaving only the hearth fire and the candlelight to illuminate the jars of liquids and powders and plants.
But I always study his mask.
“Yes!” I say, too forcefully. “I’m fine.”
“Then, here is the poultice for midwife Bera.” He holds the tiny paper packet out to me. Though his hands are gloved, I still shiver when my fingers brush his.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asks. His mask roils and wavers as if insects crawl under it. “Your face is flushed. I can fix you something, whatever’s the matter.”
I clutch the packet to my chest as if that can slow my heart. “It’s nothing. I just… ran all the way here. Well, goodbye. Ms. Bera’s waiting.”
I dart out the door before he can say anything else. I run down the path all the way to the road before I stop to collect myself.
Stupid, I tell myself. Stupid. Stupid. How can you love a man that won’t show you his face?