Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Entry #153

Terroir
by Eric Heidle


Professors Harpole and Drake stared at the single shimmering glass they’d poured from the only unbroken bottle in the tomb, their boots scraping in stony silence. Both had been children when the last wine had been made, before the virus burned through the vineyards of Europe, the Americas, everywhere. Now each in his seventies, they stared at the fruits of their chance discovery, surely the only drinkable glass of wine left anywhere on earth. Crimson refractions played on the sarcophagus lid, an altar for this final sacrament. Neither man had ever tasted a drop, and now before them lay the summation of five thousand summers of sun falling on green leaves and curling vines. The whole of history distilled in this remnant—blood tinting Greek speartips, sanguine jets from Caesar’s wounds, a scarlet tear trickling from Christ’s brow. How many such glasses had been raised in victory, squandered in revelry, plied the lips of lovers, tainted parchment, stained the soil in desperate libation?

Their gazes rose and met above the glass. There was enough for only one to have a taste, a final sip, to savor the last draught of humanity. They drew their knives, circling the goblet’s fateful cargo. Harpole’s blade found its mark, but in slitting his colleague’s throat the blow struck the glass from the stone to shatter on the floor. He watched the earth stain red, then slowly knelt to lap it from the dust.

19 comments:

laughingwolf said...

great tale, powerfully told...

Mona said...

wow! so that is how they are going to fight over the last remnants!

Laurel said...

Holy mackerel! An alcoholic post apocolypse. Cool!

Aerin said...

Holy cow....er, mackerel..oh, some sort of thing you eat or exclaim over -

The writing in this piece is amazing. There's not a hint of a word out of place, there's a fantastic backstory, there's a whole essay on the nature of humanity.

Definitely hit my top five - I wanted to go back and read it again and again.

JR's Thumbprints said...

As this contest winds down I find this line very very appropriate:

How many such glasses had been raised in victory, squandered in revelry, plied the lips of lovers, tainted parchment, stained the soil in desperate libation?

Its a summation of all the excellent entries for Clarity of Night--including this one.

Deb S said...

Cool story! Well done. The judging/voting for this contest is going to be tough.

Terri said...

This is a stunning piece of writing (as witnessed by my utter lack of appropriate words).

quin browne said...

whoa.

The Preacherman said...

I like my booze - a little too much perhaps. Would I kill for the last sip?

You bet I would!!!

Great story telling old bean.


Four Dinners

Catvibe said...

Nice one! The first paragraph was brilliant, and the second was just plain dark. I loved that it spilled and he lapped it up off the floor. Great visual there.

Precie said...

Brutal. And wonderful.

September said...

This was powerful. Excellent. Very well done.

BernardL said...

Rough go of it.

Leah said...

I like this a lot for two main reasons: I can see it so clearly which, to me, is a matter of skill in...sort of transferring a vision via words from the author's mind to the reader. Also it captures well a thread of human history (through wine) that I find very interesting and here we have the end point.

Tessa said...

Powerful, compelling and exceptionally well written. This is definitely a top contender.

Aniket said...

Great words JR.

And we must all save some for Preacherman. Just in case, you know. :D

Loved the concept of this piece and very strong writing too. Great work.

Chris Eldin said...

Awesome, awesome writing! Left me wanting more. I love the details you chose.

JaneyV said...

What a perfect depiction of humanity - from all the historical references right up to the struggle for dominance and ultimate stupidity of our characters.

Nice job.

jason evans said...

Taking it from the dust really showed the depth of the want. The colleague didn't matter at all.

High marks for pacing and technical elements.