‘No silly, I’m not going to hurt you. You just need a restorative tincture or maybe something a little stronger, hang on.’ Agnes swooped over to a small cupboard in the corner of the room and began to root around in it.
Joe took a sip of his tea to calm his nerves. Things were getting way out of hand.
‘Yes, got it!’ shouted Agnes, spinning on her heels, a small bottle full of a green substance raised in the air.
‘It’s Dead Man Walking.’
Joe gulped loudly.
‘Don’t worry,’ said the witch darting over to where Joe sat.
But he was worried.
Especially when he caught sight of the silver skull stopper jammed into the neck of the bottle.
‘Do I really have to take that? I’m sure I’ll be fine,’ said Joe, recoiling.
There was a loud pop as Agne’s pulled the stopped out with her teeth. She spat the stopper onto the floor. It bounced several times then rolled off under a cupboard never to be seen again.
‘It’s okay Joe,’ she said, gripping his shoulder with her free hand whilst simultaneously tipping the contents of the bottle into Joe’s tea. It hissed as it touched the hot tea and then disappeared. ‘Why be “just fine”? We’re going to be facing some really REALLY bad shit, Joe, why not be prepared?’
‘I haven’t actually agreed…’ but his voice drifted off as Agnes began to talk over him.
‘Really, really, REALLY bad shit actually. And that’s before we even enter the Valley of the Dead. I need my heart back Joe and I have a good feeling that you’re the man to do it.’ She absentmindedly patted him on the shoulder as she looked off into the distance. ‘There’ll be all manner of nasties before we reach the Woodcutter -‘
‘The Woodcutter? Who’s that?’
Agnes sighed. ‘The man who stole my heart obviously. Do keep up Joe.’
‘How did he…you know…’
‘How do you think?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘He cut it out with his blade,’ said Hel.
Hades began to cry.
‘Nevermind,’ said Agnes, ‘Joe’ll get it back for me, won’t you Joe?’
‘Well, I am kind of busy. You know with my own quest. Remember?’
‘What?’ asked Agnes.
‘Retrieving Death’s scythe.’
‘Oh that? Yes, yes. Easy peasy. As soon as I get my heart back, I’ll help you find the scythe. Deal?’
Joe sighed and looked at his tea. It was becoming gungy around the edges like when milk goes off. His stomach roiled in disgust.
‘Do I have to drink this?’
He sighed loudly. He hadn’t really got a choice, had he? ‘Deal.’
‘Now drink up.’
‘Do I have to?’
‘It’ll make you feel so much better.’
He looked at it, took a deep breath, and prepared himself.
‘Come on, down the hatch.’
He opened his mouth and took a big gulp. It tasted like mud and sweaty armpits and…eugh…he couldn’t. He couldn’t do it. It was only when he tried to take the cup away from his lips that he realised it was being held firmly in place by Agnes.
‘There’s a boy,’ she said, ‘drink up.’