Here's my entry for the first topic at brigits_flame, the prompt for which is the word "heavy."
The air of the cramped workroom is almost tangibly thick with smoke and the tingle of old magic—magic, perhaps, that should never have been disturbed. Thick candles ooze beads of wax, their fat cylinders huddled in conspiratorial clusters on every available surface. Trails of smoke wind their way to the ceiling, dancing around their brethren, twining and twirling to the rhythm of the hiss of the guttering flames. Beneath it all runs the quiet sizzle of a spell waiting to ignite.
Slender white spider’s-leg fingers light on jars and vials, cracked nails scraping softly over fading labels with curling corners, and pale eyes flicker over letters that coil like nautilus shells, lines in the language of scholars long since dead and dust. The fingers begin to tremble, which they have been wont to do of late. The boy clenches them tightly, gritting his teeth, until the shaking stops, and then he waves a wisp of candle smoke from his face and plucks an ostensibly unremarkable bottle from the shelf.
Bloated books crumbling even here give perches to candles that cast their fragile orange interest over the boy’s ivory hands. As he mixes, modulates, combines, and distills, his mouth gives shape to words that shouldn’t have the luxury of form, and under his reedy voice there rumbles something old, something dark, something altogether unnatural. Something that stirs the shadows to whispering.
The air weighs on the boy’s shoulders, hot and arid, heavy like the burden of truth—heavy like the pressure of a secret behind sealed lips, heavy like the thinly-stretched silence of the thirteenth hour.
But not as heavy as the guilt.