The Elixir Men

Katie staggered through the shop door, fighting the urge to vomit. Harriet fished her mobile out of her pocket complaining about the lack of signal while a display case holding what seemed to be a variety of peacock feathers entranced Sean. Other display cases hosting unusual items dotted the shop: a wooden mannequin on strings, a necklace decorated with runes, extinguished candles on coffee tables placed next to sunken settees.

“What is this place?” Katie asked. Bile burnt the back of her throat. She caught a whiff of incense as she passed by a candle.

“Occult shop,” Sean answered pulling a book off a shelf and inspecting the cover. “Y’ know? Black magic and all that. Druids, Celts, Native Indians.” Katie noticed that Sean’s glasses were askew and his clothes tattered.

“Uber is on the way. It’s right around the corner,” Harriet said. Blood dripped down the scratch on her cheek as she glanced at the displays with disinterest.

Katie caught sight of her reflection in a display case. Blue mascara ran down her cheeks and her handbag dangled from her arm, half unzipped. She collapsed onto a settee, grimacing as her clothes stuck to her, like a second skin. A blue tear drop bottle rested on the table next to her. Katie shook the container and watched the sapphire liquid swirl.

“I don’t think that’s water,” Sean said.

“No, it isn’t.” A shop keeper appeared behind the counter holding a steaming tin kettle. Katie hadn’t heard him enter. “Are you three alright? Were you attacked?”

“Nah,” Harriet said, “we just had a rough night, right Kat?”

“Yeah,” Katie muttered.

“Do you want me to make you a cup of tea while you order a taxi?” the shop keeper asked. “The kettle’s just boiled.” Katie couldn’t avert her gaze from his. His eyes were mismatched, the left was brown and the right green. His eyebrows were gray, yet his hair was dyed jet black.

Katie shrugged. “How long have you been open? I haven’t been in here before.”

“Are you local?” the shopkeeper asked.

“We go to the Uni just around the corner,” Sean said, “but we don’t want to walk it in this rain.”

The shop keeper nodded and poured the contents of the kettle, green tea Katie suspected, into three china cups. “What you have there is called the Elixir of Desire. Once you have taken a draught, you will obtain whatever your heart wants the most.”

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Jack Dowd

Jack Dowd has been writing for as long as he can remember. In 2013, his play “Captured” was performed at the Chelsea Theatre to positive feedback from the audience. In 2014, he was the assistant producer in "The Minister's Secret", a half an hour radio play. In 2015, his short story Sher’s Wood was published as a winning entry in Metamorphose V1.He graduated from London South Bank University with a 2:1 in Creative Writing and regularly updates his website.

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