Tallia anxiously glanced at Teegan who was asleep on her waiting area couch. She was sure Teegan would be angry at her for drugging his coffee, but Tallia didn’t feel she had a choice. Something was off about Teegan and the darkness surrounding him and Tallia didn’t want to make his potion rashly; there could be dire consequences.
She had found one ingredient which was odd, scrawled off to the side of the ingredients and directions for the potion for Teegan in her Aunt Willow’s tome. Apparently, the potion required a giant gold fish. Tallia wasn’t sure why Teegan’s potion would require the gold fish, but it was something she would have to leave the store to buy.
Teegan had told her if he drank his potion the darkness surrounding him, the shadow that caused a sensitive magically inclined person such as Tallia to hurt and feel pain, would leave for a long time. How long was a long time? And how old was Teegan really? To her he looked about thirty-five.
If he was as old as she thought he might be, she knew he might understand the sleeping drought in his coffee, knowing Tallia as a magic shop owner, had to be wary if Teegan’s potion involved dark magic. Tallia had no way of knowing how long he would be asleep from the drought. She had tried calling Jude, the owner of The Black Coven magic store numerous times on his cell.
Jude must be having a brisk business at his store because he or his assistant, never picked-up the store phone either. Jude was about eighty-years-old as best as she could guess. But his family magic shop dated back to the Middle Ages. He had to know something about Teegan and the potion.
Tallia checked on Teegan one more time, she hoped he’d be out another two hours at least. She needed to leave the store buy the giant goldfish as well as visit Jude. Something inside her told Tallia it was vital she gathered as much information she could get on Teegan and his potion before she set about making it.
She drove her Vespa to The Black Coven first. It was located in an ancient, rundown part of town dating back to the 1400’s. But those who needed to visit Jude’s magic shop, knew how to find it. As Tallia’s own magic shop had been with Aunt Willow, Jude’s place was also a hole in the wall.
The streets were narrow here and Tallia knew her Vespa would be more inconspicuous, as well as, she would be able to travel down narrow streets she couldn’t maneuver with her car. There was a bit of parking lot a block down from The Black Coven. Tallia parked, leaving her Vespa in a parking space.
She walked down to the ancient magic shop, opening the creaky old wooden door and removed her side-bag. She had placed her Aunt’s great tome in her bag. She turned the book to the correct page, listing ingredients and directions to make Teegan’s potion in the script Tallia did not recognize.
Then she called out, “Hello Jude, are you there? It’s Tallia, Willow’s niece. I’m sure you felt me coming. Was there a reason you didn’t pick up the phone? Or have you guys been extremely busy today?”
Tallia received no answer. She gazed around the dusty store, it appeared empty.”Um, Jude’s assistant, Aspen, are you here? We’ve never meant, but last time I talked to Jude, he’d said he hired you to take over from him?”
Again Tallia received no reply. She walked around the magic shop. The Black Coven was a mishmash of magical items all stored on old stone and wooden shelves in no particular order or thought to design.
Powerful and dangerous items were among those items which were standard, and pretty harmless magical items. She saw crystal balls, different statues, and a wall with ingredients for potions and spells kept in jars.
She was shocked to see certain items used only for dark sorcery. These items frightened Tallia. She could sense there blackness in her mind. They were much worse than the darkness which followed Teegan — at least she thought so.
Jude had always been grandfatherly to Tallia. She had meant him many times as grew-up. He often had coffee with her Great-Aunt and Aunt. She wondered why he wasn’t answering her. Tallia walked up to the counter where a 1950’s cash register sat in dust. There was a bell and Tallia dinged it a few times.
Eventually, a man about the same age as Teegan came out. He looked Tallia over and before she could say anything he held up his hand.
“We knew you were coming Tallia. It’s alright. Jude hasn’t been well lately and he’s in the hospital. For his age, he has done well until now. It’s why he hired me to handle things. I’m one of his great-grandsons, I’m. . .”
“You’re Aspen. I know, Jude told me about you last time I saw him a few months ago. He attended my shop’s re-opening. I run Fairy Dust.”
“Yes, Jude told me about you. You rang his cell, but he has trouble talking right now my Aunt told me. He had a stroke. I’m sorry I was busy when you called out in here. From what I can glean from you, you’re dealing with some sort of darkness from a client and you need some advice,” Aspen said.
Tallia nodded, “Poor Jude, that’s awful. I’m sorry for your family.” She put the tome in front of Aspen and waited as he read and reread the potion procedure and ingredients.
“These seem to be pretty normal ingredients, except for the large goldfish. But maybe the potion requires it’s life force? I’m not sure what to tell you Tallia. What’s Teegan like?”
Tallia couldn’t help but blush thinking about Teegan.”He’s demanding but seems to be understanding enough. I thought he was about your age, when he first came to my shop. I could feel the shadow emanating from him. It made me sick, especially when he came back the second time.”
“The second time?”
“Well I pretended I was sick the first day, even though he did give me a headache. I went home for the afternoon and I hoped he’d go somewhere else. But the next day he was back. He told me he was old. My Aunt and Great Aunt made him his potion before. He was able to stop me from feeling ill, from hurting me, by chanting a few words,” Tallia said.
“I’m not sure what I’m dealing with, will the potion truly make Teegan well? Will it make such evil leave him?”
Aspen was paying attention to Tallia’s words carefully. She noticed he was concentrating. He wasn’t bad looking himself. He had auburn hair and bright green eyes. He was tall but not as tall as Teegan. He was attractive but more in a nice guy way. Teegan was definitively what women would call a bad boy.
“Well,” Aspen said,”I think your Teegan is cursed. That’s why he needs the potion, quite badly I’m afraid. You really should hurry back and make it for him. We’ve an extra goldfish around here somewhere, we must.”
“Cursed, cursed by what or whom?”
“It’s hard to say Tallia. Jude would know more I think. Even so I believe Teegan is much older than Jude by hundreds of years. I’ve heard whispers of Teegan. He must have done something terrible in the past would be my guess. Something awful enough to warrant being cursed to live so long and to require a potion.”
Tallia sighed, letting out her breath.
“I have a feeling if he doesn’t get this tonic, he’ll be a resistant foe to deal with Tallia. There’s a reason he takes it. I doubt he wants to be who he is when he’s dark. He wants to be normal and this potion allows him to be.”
“You know all this?” Tallia questioned. “How did you know?”
Aspen smiled mysteriously, “There’s things I’ve heard Tallia. Also, I can read through you, what you felt around Teegan. I can feel his presence too, so could Jude; he’s a powerful guy. Go back and make his potion quickly. He’ll be awake soon.”
“But . . .”
“Tallia, such as you and many other magically inclined people, I have a sixth-sense. That’s how I know these things.You have one too, although less developed. It’s telling you to go back to Fairy Dust and hurry.”
Her blue eyes became huge and Tallia nodded mutely. Aspen handed Tallia a bag with the giant goldfish.”On the house,” he said with a grin. She wondered how they had this giant goldfish just lying around. It wasn’t a typical magical ingredient.
Tallia called back to Aspen lightly,”Stop by come check-out my store some time; have coffee.” He walked her to the door and Tallia stuffed the tome back in her side bag.
“I’d like that,” Aspen said grinning. He winked at Tallia as she left. She was deep in thought and was surprised to find herself getting onto her Vespa, placing the fish on the back of it.
She told herself to payattention and hurriedly drove back to Fairy Dust. Tallia too felt she needed to make Teegan his potion and fast. She prayed he wouldn’t be angry with her or worse. With such darkness within him, she didn’t want to be an object of Teegan’s wrath.
Nina counted to ten in her head before telling Talise what she had already told her about John before; he wasn’t the same person he used to be.
” Talise,” Nina said, “people change. John is repentant for his past. He doesn’t use woman anymore. He has only dated women who want to date him and he likes, in the past few years.Some relationships aren’t meant to be. He loved and lost his first girlfriend when he was twenty-five. John said the wrong words, as he sometimes does. He lost Tia forever and she disappeared. But he has paid for his mistakes with Tia everyday of his life.” Nina smiled meaningfully at Talise. “John and I make each other happy Talise. Every person deserves to be happy at least some of their life. All humans make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Better to enjoy life while we are able.”
Talise laughed darkly.” You think you and John are meant to be? Malcolm tells me you’ve only known each other not even a week at best.”
” I’m taking my relationship with John day by day. Our relationship has blossomed quickly. It’s none of your business actually. I’ve told you way more then I should have, but I feel bad for you because your stuck at a place in your life which was obviously a difficult time for you. But I believe it would be best for you to move on.” Nina cautioned Talise.
“I feel something life changing with John. I have never felt like this for any guy I’ve dated before, even when the relationship lasted a year or more. John feels the same as I do for him, for me.”
Talise flushed in anger. She was frustrated with Nina and upset Nina was ignoring her heartfelt advice.” Just leave,” Talise shouted at Nina. The people around Nina looked at Talise curiously when she shouted. Talise’s eyes were a stormy green and she looked murderous.
Nina glanced at the large door of the warehouse which remained open when the weather wasn’t too cold at the market. She smelled the distinctive scent of rain before it began to drop outside. It was noisy and harsh against the warehouse made from metal sheeting.
Nina moved away from Talise and closer to the entrance to see outside. The sky was taking on a blackish- purple hue. The wind was blowing against the building with bursts of intense noise and outside a storm awoke. Hard pebbles of hail clanged against the warehouse of the market. A few men struggled to close the metal doors to keep out the wind, hail, and rain.
Nina searched for John amidst the dismayed crowd. She spotted John and he was yelling at Talise. ” Tia is that you?” he asked with surprise and distress. “After all these years? You’ve finally come back to see me? To ruin my life more!” John loathed Tia for what she had done to him. Living a life where everyday something dreadful or sad happened was harsh.
John was a meter away from Nina in the crowded market but she could see he was transfixed by Talise. He was staring at Talise with a mixture of emotions on his face, his hands gripping his hair. She could see the expressions on John’s face as he went through the emotions of regret, pain, anger, and abborance.
Talise sauntered around her table of scarves to John and whispered something in John’s ear. Her actions were flirtatious and she touched John as a lover who knew him well. Nina felt the first stings of jealousy beginning to threaten but John’s manner towards Tia was stone cold. John wasn’t about to forgive Tia for all the suffering he, his family, and old girlfriends had endured. John backed up from Tia with revulsion and he looked for Nina fearful for her safety. When he saw Nina he realized she had observed his reunion with Tia, short for Talise.
“Stay away from that woman Nina,” John said rushing to Nina and sternly gripping her upper arms.”She’s a witch, a sea witch. I can’t believe it. After all this time . . .Tia is back, and you’re wearing one of her scarves!” John’s words were incensed and loud. He had to be loud to be heard over the storm battering the warehouse. John’s temper was making it difficult for him not to be irritated with Nina. The words flew out of Nina’s mouth as she tried to explain to John she was on his side.
” I didn’t know Talise was Tia. I meant her at the fundraiser yesterday. Talise told me she’s dating Malcolm, an editor at Mergers. It’s her friends scarves and she’s only filling in. I hope the vendor of the scarves booth is actually a friend. I hope Tia didn’t hurt the woman so she could be here to tell me to stop seeing you.” Nina said fervently.
“Tia keeps warning me away from you John. She told me bits about her relationship with you. She said you threw her away. I didn’t understand why I saw her at the fundraiser and here today, but I do now. If Talise is Tia, she hates you John. Time has only made her deteste you more.”Nina was talking so fast she had hardly breathed.
“You saw her at the fundraiser?” John said horrified. ” I knew she was there. But whenever I tried to get a look at her she turned away. She’s trying to reach me through you. Please don’t speak or be with her again alone Nina. Never, she’s cunning and desperate.” John warned.
“She hates you John. But at the same time, I think she wants you back. She is jealous of me, I can tell.”
“Of course Tia is jealous,” John raged. “She only wants for me to suffer. To live without another woman’s love until I die. I’m not going to do that. You and I, we have something together. Leave Talise or Tia to her schemes.” John was passionate as he spoke. Nina glanced behind her to see the beautiful Talise waving at Nina with a smirk on her face. Talise was probably gloating because Nina hadn’t figured out she was John’s first love Tia. Nina had even told Talise about Talise’s own past. Tia disappeared eerily into the crowd.
“What did Tia say to you John, when she was whispering. I saw her talking to you?” John grimaced and looked at his feet. He started to talk but couldn’t complete his words. He tried again with a look of frustration and sorrow in his bright blue eyes:
“She says my heart or yours, Nina. I don’t know what she means yet, but I think Tia has a violent streak. She wants revenge and she wants me back. Errrr….last night I had a nightmare. Tia was in it and she said to me the same phrase she whispered to me a few moments ago.” Nina gasped.
“Why is she still so angry at you John. You’ve suffered so much. How can she be so malevolent? Does she literally want my heart out of my chest?”
John nodded grimacing. He held Nina in his arms and stood behind her. He kissed the crown of her head. “I won’t let her hurt you,” John murmured over and over again, soothing Nina and himself. The storm raged on outside.
Without warning, the roof of the aluminum warehouse started to lift with a powerful gust of wind. The wind was blowing produce, goods, booths, and tables around the inside of the warehouse. The people at the market were left to huddle low to the ground and attempt to avoid debris the wind had picked-up. Many people sported cuts, bruises, and even broken bones. Nina glanced at John as smaller objects streamed around them. John had been gripping a couple of their bags full of produce in his hands, his knuckles white with anger as they crouched on the floor.
Abruptly, the table of scarves blew over. Scarves fluttered everywhere like displaced butterflies and the table was caught in another giant gust of wind. Everyone caught in the warehouse crouched low, their hands shielding their faces. Nina dove with her bags to the ground with John, when they were almost hit by a former fruit booth.
Nina looked around her hoping the worst was over. With fear in her pale blue eyes, she observed the table from the scarves making a pathway right for her before she could think to move. The table bashed Nina in the side of her head and landed on the cement floor. Nina was stunned and felt blood oozing from an open wound. She felt a searing pain as she lay on the floor miserably, her hand trying to stop the bleeding in her blond hair.
The storm passed away as fast as it had arrived. The roof sat awkwardly half-back in place on walls of the warehouse. Nina lay on the floor beneath her bags including John’s apple pie. She tried not to cry and held her head as she sat up feeling nauseous and sick. She felt dizzy as she attempted to locate John. This time, he hadn’t been able to protect her. But Nina had a feeling this event was more a product of Tia’s rage and not a product of John’s curse. Nina hurt everywhere and her eyes kept closing without her being able to stop them. Nina felt herself sliding back to the floor. She faded into unconsciousness.