Mixing Milk Thistle Tea

Rae Cowie

Peat-smoke drifts from the fire, as she crushes tiny milk thistle seeds with a pestle.

He groans in the bunk; a sheet bunched by his pale feet. His complexion that of cream gone sour. No longer fit to roar that the neighbours call her a witch.

She adds boiled water and sets the cup to his lips. ‘For your liver,’ she says.

He gulps. A dribble trickles across his cheek. She wipes his greying stubble with a cloth.

‘Tastes foul,’ he manages, before slumping against the mattress.

Elderberries gleam, like beads of black jet scattered across the table.

She waits.


This story won First Prize in the Sept 21 Monthly Micro competition.

About the author: Rae Cowie’s flash fiction has been shortlisted in Flash 500 and the Scottish Association of Writers’ competitions, as well as being longlisted for the Bath and Cranked Anvil awards, and published by Retreat West, Romance Matters and Potluck Zine. Her short stories have been longlisted by Fish Publishing and published in the Scottish Book Trust ‘Rebel’ anthology, The Scottish Field Magazine and Northwords Now. She writes in rural Aberdeenshire, creating a debut anthology, one flash at a time.