When Evangeline left home, she didn’t take a cent of the money she had earned playing piano at concerts.
To make a living she learned to play guitar and sing vocals with various bands at ‘hole in the wall’ clubs in L.A. What little money she had she used for voice lessons, rent, and food. She increasingly wrote and sang her own songs.
At twenty-four, Evangeline auditioned for the popular reality TV show, “The Voice.” From the beginning, her talent blew the judges away and she eventually won first place. She called home and invited her mom to come see her final performance for the show.
When Evangeline sat down in front of the grand piano her hands shook above the piano keys. She hadn’t played a piano in three years beyond practising in private for the finale show. She surprised everyone with her skillful piano playing and successful rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.”
At the end of that night Evangeline hugged her mom. Every ounce of resentment and hate she felt for Ruth in the past had faded. She was also amused when she remembered the priceless expression on her mother’s face, hearing the lyrics to “Sexy Back.”
She was also grateful Ruth had pushed her and provided Evangeline a background as a performer. It gave her an edge as she was now able to pursue her musical talents true to her own choices.
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.
Tallia heard the chime as the door to her small magic shop opened. She was usually alerted to a customer’s presence ahead of time. She could feel them before they chose to come inside her store and browse. She could especially feel them when they came to her shop with a purpose.
She brushed back her hair, dyed a light purple-hue of grey as was fashionable. Although, she wasn’t much older than her mid-twenties, her business did well. There was always a a demand for certain products she sold. Her Aunt Willow had run this shop for years before her untimely death.
Tallia had kept the name of the shop: Fairy Dust. She had, however, remodeled the shop Aunt Willow had left her to run. She made the shop modern and inviting, but retained its sense of the mystical. She loved her Aunt, but she also loved that the shop was no longer a hole in the wall.
Tallia’s store at first glance, catered to those who were browsing for small treasures or jewelry. Knickknack items which were more magic themed souvenirs or memorabilia, than actual magic.
But hidden among the knickknacks were items which could be powerful if used correctly. The items in the restricted section in the back of the store were more powerful than the ones placed out in the open.
The magical items placed here and there upfront were for decor purposes and to let certain customers know what kind of shop Fairy Dust truly was. Only her regulars were allowed in the back with permission.They knew exactly what they were searching for and how dangerous certain magical ingredients and objects could be.
A man called out to Tallia in the shop after she let him browse around for ten-minutes; she waited to see what the man wanted. The fact she had not felt him coming alarmed her.
“Hello is anyone there?” the man asked.
Tallie smiled at the man. He had bright green eyes and dark hair. He was quite attractive, she thought. Then a shadow was caste over her mind. The man appeared harmless enough, but she knew there was some kind of darkness in him.
She held onto the cross hanging from her throat for a moment. It was a protective piece of jewelry and it also confirmed her feelings there was something odd about this man being here. The darkness followed him around and it unnerved Tallia who was starting to experience a headache.
“I’m sorry sir, I’ve had such a busy morning and I need to take a lunch break and go pick up some food. Is there anyway you could come back after lunch?” Tallia attempted to look as if she was faint from hunger.
The man sighed.”I really need your help. It’s not something that can wait.”
“I’m so sorry,” Tallia replied, coming out from behind her cash register.” I need to leave. I can’t wait for food. My blood sugar is too low,” she lied.
The man appeared exasperated. “Alright, I’ll be back in an hour and a half. He handed Tallia his business card. “You will be back right?”
“Of course, Teegan,” she said peering at his business card, “One needs to make a living, don’t they?”
Teegan Foster smiled at this and left out the front door. Tallia could feel the shadow lessening quickly as he walked away from her shop. She decided she would indeed close the store for today.
She hoped this might encourage him to visit another magic shop in the city, where they were more experienced dealing with darker magic. She didn’t want to deal with whatever Teegan Foster’s problem was, unless she had no other choice.
Tallia wrote a quick sign saying she had become ill and would be closed for the rest of the day. She wrote the number of another magic shop on the sign which was close by, for an customers needing emergency supplies. She tapped the sign on the shop’s front door.
The following day Tallia returned to work refreshed. Some of her regulars had come to the store this morning. She chatted with them as she helped them find correct items for spells and potions.
She swapped stories with them and they laughed at the happenings in each other’s lives. Many of them had known Tallia since she was as a small girl at the shop; her Aunt had raised her.
Sometime later, Tallia’s head started to throb. She clutched the cross around her neck, feeling the dark shadow around a certain someone drawing closer.
Her regulars had left long ago. She was all alone as she sat down on a stool behind the counter. A green-eyed and sharply dressed Teegan Foster came in the door and stopped abruptly in front of Tallia had the cash register. She instantly felt his darkness clouding her mind and making her dizzy.
“Are you feeling better?” Teegan asked her.
Tallia nodded.”I’m fine, I’ll be fine,” she murmured.
Teegan frowned, “I’m sorry, you don’t look well. That’s my fault, here.” She saw him whisper something and the shadow faded and her pain lessened.
“What, what can I help you with Mr. Foster?” Tallia asked, her voice unsteady.
“It’s just Teegan, Tallia. I need a particular potion. Your Aunt Willow was the only one who could make it for me, and her mother before her. I’m positive you know how to make the potion too. She must have mentioned me at sometime; I’m a long time customer.”
“You don’t look so old?”
“I’m older than I appear, much older. But you might not understand such magic yet.”
He came closer to her and stroked her cheek gently.”It’s okay Tallia. The potion I get here, it takes the darkness away for a long time. The pain you feel, the potion will ensure it doesn’t come from me again ever.”
Tallia nodded mutely. When Teegan, touched her, she felt a jolt which was beyond magic. She was attracted to him, more than she would like to admit. But she didn’t trust him.
Instead of looking at Teegan, she stepped away and brought out her Aunt’s old tome from a small room behind the front counter. It was a volume full of customers, spells, and potions from the past two centuries.
Tallia eventually found a page for Teegan, explaining everything she had to do to make his potion. It wasn’t a difficult potion to make and the ingredients seemed normal, she noticed with surprise.
She wondered why Teegan needed it so badly. She also saw the writing of the spell was neither her Aunt’s or her Great-Aunt’s writing. It was a script she had never noticed in this tome before. A woman with skilled and flowing handwriting had first written down this potions recipe.
“It will be an hour or so,” Tallia told Teegan. ” I’m sorry, you’ll be waiting so long. You could’ve called the store and I would’ve made it early this morning.”
“Um, I think you would’ve refused me. You would’ve went home again. Am I right Tallia?”
She flushed. “I wasn’t well, Teegan. Honestly.”
“Sure you weren’t,” he said. His smile was dazzling and he had dimples.
“I’ll wait here for the potion. You’ve a comfortable waiting area in the front there. I can sit and read the news on my phone.”
Tallia peered at her modern but cozy waiting are in front of the store’s large window,” Suite yourself, do you want something to drink?”
“A coffee please, with some milk,” Teegan said.
“One moment,” Tallia replied, feeling uneasy about him.
Although he seemed nice, she wondered what happened if Teegan didn’t receive his potion. What could be worse than the shadow surrounding him? She also wondered how old he really was? Was this potion what kept him from aging? She shook her head at the thought. It wasn’t possible, was it?
Magic often surprised Tallia but not trusting Teegan, she put a bit of sleeping drought and blended it with his milk and coffee. She might require more time than an hour to make this potion.
She wanted to call another magic shop she knew had been around for far longer than she wanted to know. Her Aunt’s store had been relatively a new magic shop, despite it being in the family for generations.
Tallia felt the owner of the ancient store The Black Coven, a man a much older than herself named Jude, might have records what this potion her Aunt made for Teegan actually did. Surely, someone else of his kind had used it as well.
She served Teegan his coffee and he caught her blue-eyes and held them. She felt herself flush. He drank about half the coffee and set in down. He smiled at Tallia, thanking her and meeting her eyes again.
She went to the back of the store to start gathering ingredients. When Tallia came back out front fifteen-minutes later, Teegan was fast asleep. She sighed, trying to calm the hammering of her chest. She felt a bit guilty. Ignoring her guilt, she went to call Jude, hoping he would enlighten her on Teegan’s mysterious potion.