We passed miniature suits of armor, as we entered a medieval room filled with books.
“The wisdom of my ancestors,” Neebir explained.
“Have you read all of these?”
He took me into a backroom, where there was a dentist’s chair, with multiple drills.
“Do you get cavities?” I asked.
“No—that’s for my brain download.”
“Yes—I converted my library into a digital brain bank.”
“So, you’re tech savvy?”
“You could say that.”
In the adjoining room, we entered a vault with mountains of gold, diamonds, rubes, sapphires, and crowns from civilizations past. I put some coins and jewels into my pockets. The walls sparkled with wealth, like an ocean of colorful light.
As we descended, we entered a throne room, where leprechauns sat like stone. They looked to be shrunken-in like mummified kings of ancient lore. This room was adjoining an enormous cavern, where stalactites grew into empty space like spears. Darkness threatened to eat us up, as we walked, towards the light.
In the corner, was a fountain, gushing red, and a silver chalice on the mantlepiece.
“This is where I take my leave of you,” Neebir said.
“What?” I asked.
“The magic is already in you,” Neebir explained. “You are the next leprechaun.”
“But I’m human.”
“Of course, you are—we all were.” Neebir pointed to the shrunken leprechauns on their thrones. “One by one, we passed our magic down through the millennia.”
“Are there lady leprechauns?” I asked.
“No. My paintings belong to my imagination.”
“Well—how do I make the transformation?”
“Drink my blood. Each throne, is outfitted with a kind of I-V drip. I’ve been drinking Charles for over 1000 years. I’m pretty sick of him, to be honest. Don’t worry—my blood is magical and better than coca cola. It’s a fine wine that’s been maturing for over a millennium. It’ll keep you young, forever.”
Neebir walked over to his throne and started to hook-up the wires. He looked like a convict strapping himself to an electric chair.
“Wait! What do I do when I turn into a leprechaun?” I asked.
“Well, it took me 200 years to read all of the books written in Gaelic, but my digital download should only take you 15 minutes. Magic is a kind of freedom most people never know. What you do with it, is up to you. I’m going now.”
He pressed the button on his chair, squirting blood into the fountain. I felt foolish, for pocketing the gold, now that I had all the time in the world. Neebir became weaker and weaker, until it was difficult for him to keep his green eyes open. Then he shut them for good and expired. It was lonely in the cavern, without his company.
I went to dip the silver chalice into the purple punch, when I stopped.
Time, had changed everything.
Did I want to live forever?
All the magic in the world would not take away the loneliness of the centuries. Maybe it was best, to let the leprechauns rest, for good.
My pockets were filled with enough coins and jewels for three retirements. I could do whatever I wanted to for the rest of my life. That was better, than 1000 years.
Leprechauns get bored and trick people for amusement. Did I want to be like that?
I walked into the brain room, and thought about the knowledge of the centuries. It would only increase my pain and take away the mystery of living. I didn’t want that and I didn’t want to paint leprechaun women because there was nobody to love.
I kept walking to the entrance of the well, where the rope was hanging from the stars above. It was impossible to lift my body-weight because my pockets were filled with gold and jewels. A leprechaun is lighter than a human. Their hands can grip a rope like a vice. I dropped my jewels and coins onto the floor and hoisted myself to freedom.
When I got into the open air, I realized I had spent the last two hours in a tomb. I almost became an undead creature, tempted by my greed and lust for power. As I walked home, my fingers fumbled in my pockets and found two gold coins.
Fred could live comfortably with these stowaways, I thought.
The next day I found him, feeding the birds.
“Here you go, old man. Some gold to see you through.”
“Thank you,” Fred said.
I felt sorry for him—he was so alone.
I walked into the sunrise, rather than the darkness. As I got closer to my apartment, I saw the old man walking up the hill.
“I’m sure he’s just stretching his legs,” I said. “Old people like to go on walks.”