Monday, August 10, 2015

New Short Story: Sleeping Potion
Rita didn’t understand why anyone bothered to wear hooded cloaks to hide their appearance. In the middle of a perfectly nice day like this, having your hood up pretty much shouted “I am up to something nefarious!”

She refrained from actually saying any of this, however, as the customer slipped into the shop and threw back the hood of her cloak. Once the young woman made eye contact, she practically raced to the counter. “I need a sleeping potion. I’ll pay anything!”

Rita gave the woman an evaluating look. “I take it you’re not talking about an insomnia cure.”

“That’s not enough.” The young woman laid her hands flat on the counter as she leaned forward, desperation in her eyes. “Anything less than six months won’t be enough. I’ll take a year if you have it.”

“I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place.” Rita kept her voice even as she reached under the counter, wrapping her hand around the wand she kept on hand for emergencies. The young woman looked harmless, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. “I sell healing potions, stuff to help you around the house. You’ll want to go to a licensed Evil Witch for the potion you’re looking for.”

The customer’s eyes filled with tears. “I can’t trust them! And if I go home….” She pressed a hand against her mouth, fighting back tears. “I won’t survive.”

Rita hesitated. She wasn’t interested in breaking the law, but if the girl was using it in self-defense…. “Your father? Or your husband?”

She waved a hand. “Oh, he’ll be fine. He just loves her, and thinks it’s all a big misunderstanding.” She wiped her eyes. “Of course, he’ll be horrified that I was arrested for homicide, but I’m sure she’ll keep him busy telling him how right she’s been this whole time….”

Now Rita was lost. “Wait.” She held up her other hand to stop the ramble. “Who are you talking about?”

The young woman clunked her forehead on the counter. “My mother-in-law. Her house got destroyed in an ogre attack and she’s moving in with us.”

Rita turned the startled chuckle into a cough. “And you think dosing her will keep her out of your hair for awhile?”

The young woman’s head shot up. “No!” she said, horrified. “That would be rude.”

Rita let go of her wand. “Then who were you planning on using it on?”

The young woman’s shoulders sagged, and she dropped her head into her hands. “Me.”

This time, Rita couldn’t stop the chuckle. “I’ll see what I can do.”

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