Don't Drink The Poison

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story using the title as a prompt.

Don’t Drink The Poison

He opened the door to me, took my jacket and hung it up neatly. “Go on through,” he said, pushing a door open and ushering me forwards. “I’ll join you in just a few minutes.”

I’d expected the table to be laid out with cutlery, maybe even candles, although as we’d only just met that was more of a romantic, fanciful notion. I had definitely not expected the table to be completely bare.

It didn’t seem right to just take a seat, so I walked across to the window and looked out. There was a small garden out there, not especially well-tended but not entirely neglected either. I jumped when I heard the door open. It was like I’d been caught peeping somewhere that I shouldn’t have been -- a naughty child caught in the act.

I spun round quickly to find him carrying a tray in to place on the table. On the tray were four glasses which from a distance appeared to be identical.

He pulled out a chair. “Come. Sit down,” he said. It was not an invitation but more of an order.

I walked over to the chair and, feeling very self-conscious, sat on the chair that he’d indicated. The four glasses were indeed identical, each containing the same amount of some clear liquid. Water? It could be, but why four glasses.

He stood behind my chair. Strangely I had not seen him move at all. “Are you not going to sit down with me?” I asked. This was turning out to be the most bizarre of dates.

Not yet,” he said. “First, we’re going to play a game. Or should I say, you are. On this tray are four glasses. One contains water, nothing more. One contains something that will take you on some kind of Alice trip; you know, growing big, shrinking small. Eventually the effects will work off.”

Hey, now hang on,” I said, trying to push myself backwards. “I really don’t think I want to play your game. I think, if it’s all the same to you I’ll just head off home.”

There’s a click by my ear, cold metal held against my temple. “Don’t interrupt.” Another order, clearly not to be disobeyed. “The third glass holds something that will make you very sick. Worse than the worst hangover you will feel as though you are vomiting out your insides, but again, this will pass.”

Why? Why are you doing this?”

Sssh, my lovely, for the fourth is the best, the most potent of poison. Pick that and you will die for sure. Agonizing for a few seconds but it will be over very quickly. Take your time in making your choice; I’ll give you five minutes from now.”

Look, just let me go. Please. I’ll forget I ever saw you, forget the house, forget everything. Just let me...”

No! You are wasting time.” The barrel of the gun was prodded a bit harder in to my head, in case I’d forgotten its presence.

Shakily I reached out a hand to lift one glass and then another up to my nose to sniff. Water would have no scent, but the problem was that none of them seemed to give off even the slightest of aromas.

There was no trace of residue on the side of any of the glasses, no bits of powder left undissolved in the bottoms. I’d even muddled up their original order during my inspections. There was no way of knowing, not one single clue.

Time’s up,” he said. “Pick one and drink it down in one gulp.” The barrel pressed even harder.

Which one? My shaking hand went from one to the other then finally I grasped a glass, lifted it to my lips and swallowed the contents down in one mouthful. It did not taste of anything so maybe I had chosen the water.

He moved round the table, sat down opposite me, the gun still firmly aimed in my direction. “And now,” he said, “we wait!”

Submitted: April 09, 2019

© Copyright 2020 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Not great odds! What do you think the motive of the guy might be, he of the supernatural movements?

Tue, April 9th, 2019 8:28pm


Insanity? Or perhaps he just likes the gamble when his own life is not at stake. Can't see him ever being able to let her go though -- unless it all was a cruel hoax.

Tue, April 9th, 2019 1:42pm

Mike S.

An excellent tale of drinking under pressure, Hull!

Tue, April 9th, 2019 9:07pm


Maybe they were all just water; then again, maybe none of them were. Thanks, Mike.

Tue, April 9th, 2019 2:22pm

Dave Oney

Well done. Ominous from the beginning and tense through the end. I wonder if the sadist even knew which glass was which. I agree with your comment, I doubt he planned on letting the narrator go, in the end. However, the story is past tense, therefore, didn’t the person have to live to narrate the story?

Tue, April 9th, 2019 9:53pm


Yeah, I guess you have a point there, Dave. Anyway, I'm glad that you enjoyed the read.

Wed, April 10th, 2019 4:41am

Bert Broomberg

Thrilling story. Good open end.

Tue, April 9th, 2019 9:55pm


Thanks so much for that, Bert.

Wed, April 10th, 2019 4:41am

Serge Wlodarski

I hate it when that happens. Good story.

Tue, April 9th, 2019 10:00pm


Thanks so much for giving this a read, Serge!

Wed, April 10th, 2019 4:42am

Joe Stuart

Aww! The suspense in this story is all in the way it ended. You know what? I think all of the glasses contained water. After she drinks, he pulls the trigger on the gun, a little flag with the word 'Bang' on it pops out of the barrel and he yells 'April fool' or something. No? Oh, well. May she rest in peace.

Tue, April 9th, 2019 10:11pm


You could well be right there, Joe. On the other hand, they could have all contained poison too! Thanks so much for giving this a read, and for that entertaining comment!

Wed, April 10th, 2019 4:45am

Rehmat Tanzila

I love such stories full of thriller and suspense! That's why I love Dan Brown too! Beautiful story Hull, indeed.

Wed, April 10th, 2019 3:39pm


Thanks so much for reading, Rehmat. Glad you enjoyed it.

Wed, April 10th, 2019 12:11pm

Jeff Bezaire

A compelling story that keeps me wondering. So many outcomes, so many possibilities to the scenario. The food for thought adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the story. The ending is marvelous! A great way to close it.
I would've thrown one of the drinks in his face - worth the risk of being shot. If she survives and it's not a joke, I can't see her living much longer anyways.

Wed, April 10th, 2019 7:16pm


Yeah, she could have done that! Thanks, Jeff.

Wed, April 10th, 2019 12:19pm

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