It was Walpurgis Night. The Angelus bells at St. Gabriel’s tolled, reminding the villagers that the Moment of Truth had at last arrived.
“You understand the tradition, Braithwaite,” Lilith bluntly reminded her nephew. “The hundred years are up. Drink one.”
Each century, on this date, the oldest unmarried Earnshaw man is required to decide which, among these glasses, he will drink from.
“Remember, Old Boy,” she continued. “One will render you a madman. One will merely result in the death of someone you don’t know. The remaining glass is quite harmless and does nothing.”
Braithwaite had spent many long, sleepless nights pondering the consequences of his inevitable decision. There was one detail he simply couldn’t understand: Why was each liquid, in each glass, tilted at such an odd diagonal angle?
“It’s quite funny,” he thought, “How one minor detail~or was it minor?~can be so distracting.” All the while he sat motionless, quite mesmerized, wondering what Uncle Basil might have done when his turn arrived. He reached out , at the decisive instant, for a glass.
“All is lost no matter what,” he thought. “I shall see you soon, Uncle Basil,” as he took an inevitable sip.