Emma Greene’s mother gave the girl her first fancy bottle, an old perfume container, with a diamond pattern engraved into the base. This began her bottle collection, but Emma’s mother had so many bottles it would take Emma years to catch up, if ever she could. Emma’s mom used her collection for the good of the neighborhood since Emma’s mom, Cassandra, was the local Wiccan, an expert in holistic medicine.
Tom Waite was a crippled man suffering from a horrific auto accident, which left him a broken bag of bones in a wheelchair. Cassandra opened a fat bottle tapering to a slender neck, allowed him to take a whiff of the gas trapped inside, and Tom Waite raised up from his wheel chair a whole and strong man.
The wrinkled Mrs. Kaplan, swallowed the potion from a triangular shaped bottle, offered by Cassandra, and her skin tightened until she appeared to be her true age of twenty-five. Soon afterward she relaunched her modeling career.
After Emma entered her teens, Cassandra offered to tutor Emma in what magic the bottles contained but Emma wasn’t interested, since she was only attracted to the oddity of their shapes and the beauty of their glass. She would bring home weird bottles of little value, while ignoring the truly potent bottles with magnificent potions and enchanted airs sealed inside.
“Stupid girl,” her mother scolded, “there is such wondrous magic sealed in these bottles, but they must be used wisely or else they will turn on you. Let me instruct you.” But Emma was a lazy child and could not be bothered with her mother’s lessons.
Upon Cassandra’s passing, the loving mother left her entire bottle collection to Emma who, to her credit, had an entire room of her house dedicated to the bottle assortment.
As Emma was combining her mother’s collection with her own she came across an unusual translucent blue bottle; with a long, skinny-neck and a globular base; and recognized it as a late 18th century Iranian bottle with a sealed stopper. She placed it between her green spherical Bocksbeutel bottle, a wine bottle with flattened sides; and a Codd-necked bottle with a marble stopper in inside, a rare bottle because most young boys broke the bottle in order to retrieve the marble for their games. As other uncommon bottles came to her, the Iranian bottle soon became lost in her growing collection and the thing writhing uncomfortably inside, never came to Emma’s attention.
Years passed and Emma grew older without marrying. No one came to her for her for her potions or advice because, unlike her mother, Emma had no interest in her neighbors.
Then, one glorious summer morning, Emma was awakened by a muffled cry coming from her cluster of bottles. She found the Iranian bottle that she had not seen for many years and studied it more carefully than she had ever done before. There was something inside, a lizard perhaps. She had never noticed the creature before, besides, who would stick a lizard in a bottle and how had it lived this long? The cap was sealed. Using a kitchen butter knife, with a partially serrated edge, she broke the seal and uncapped the bottle.
First there was a puff of foul smelling smoke and then there was the imp clinging to the neck of the bottle, as tiny as a hamster. It took Emma a few minutes to accept the imp in her room, especially when it spoke in a high-pitched, squeaky voice promising her wishes.
“How many?” she asked.
“As many as you want, however, they must all be asked by midnight because then I will be gone.”
Since she was into her late eighties, yes, she would ask for youth, and she did. Unfortunately, she did not specify how young she wished to be and ended up as a newborn. Unable to do more than cry, there would be no more wishes for wealth or beauty or power and the imp only had to wait until just before midnight to grant Emma her last wish. He gave her warm milk-- in a lovely bottle.