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.
” What is your great novel/novella/collection of short/flash fiction/poetry/ pulp paperback/graphic novel? Of course, you don’t have to write it, just write about it.
Weave any sort of tale; in the abstract or concrete; as you or a character of yours; being accepted for publication; editing process; book tours – remember you ‘just wanna be a paperback writer.'”
I’m still working on a novel called: How Was Last Night For You? I’m editing it in second draft. Still a lot of work to do and haven’t had the time to work on it lately. This Octelle poem illustrates the story line roughly:
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this month’s fairy Tale prompt. The prompt is: “imagine an evil force be it witch or some other dark force has cast a spell on you. What form does the spell take, are you frozen in time as in the above image? Are you cursed in a different way?”
Berjlot was a pretty girl with her father’s white-blond hair and her mother’s curls. She also had her mother’s mysterious green-eyes and delighted the entire viking village with her presence.
Asta, Berljot’s mother, had been in labour for hours the night Berjlot was born. The baby wouldn’t come out so Astab finally told her husband Bjarke that he must allow the midwife to cut her belly open and save their babe.
Bjarke felt great pain in his heart when his wife asked him to do allow the midwife to cut the baby out. But he knew he could not lose both Asta and the baby and survive himself.
Cutting the baby out (a much worse version of a c-section) was newer concept which the village midwife had suggested hesitantly. There wasn’t anything to help Asta from the pain but some whiskey. She drank all she could and screamed in pain as her baby Berjlot was born.
Asta named her child Berjlot or “Light will save,” and soft light was exactly what Asta saw as she entered Valhalla. She bled out before the midwife could attempt to stitch her up. Chances were Asta would have died from infection anyways.
Bjarke held his little girl Berjlot proudly. She was his and Asta’s last child, her four-older brother’s were nearly men. But the baby girl was a light to her father and helped him survive the loss of his wife Asta (“divine beauty”).
Bjarke whose name meant “bear” was indeed, built like a bear and so were his four sons. They helped their father fell logs. Bjarke was now considered an older man and he would need the help of his son’s to survive.
He had a been a great ship builder but was now arthritic and in pain. He spent most of his time keeping his eye on little Berjlot who spent her days enchanting those around her, a light to the entire community.
Some of the other women taught Berjlot the necessities of life as a viking woman. Berljot seemed to easily learn how to sew and cooked delicious meals. She also helped with the shearing of sheep and weaving clothe.
Berjlot’s mother Asta, had also been an accomplished artisan so Berjlot learned the craft of jewelry making from an old women in the village named Ragna (“giving advice”).
As well as crafting fine jewelry, Ragna was a medicine women and a pagan witch. Most people were afraid to be near her but Berjlot had no choice as she was the only other women who knew her mother Asta’s craft of jewelry making.
She was a talented girl and Ragna, seeing her youth, beauty, and the skill with which Berjlot seemed to accomplish every task, became seethingly jealous of the girl. Even at her young age and artisan skill level, Berljot’s jewelry was sought after.
She was only ten-summers but Ragna was envious of the girl she knew would grow up to be a beautiful woman and likely out rank her being from a powerful family.
The witch had always despised the girl’s mother Asta for her goddess-like beauty and her gift of creating beautiful jewelry of better quality than Ragna’s designs.
One day when Berjlot had a cough, Ragna, playing the kindly old woman she always played around Berjlot said to her:
“Poor dear, I will make you a potion which will rid of you of your awful cough. We can’t have it get into your lungs. Bjarke would be devastated if he lost his only daughter.”
Berjlot accepted the purplish potion Ragna wanted her to drink. It smelled awful and smoke whirled from the earthen cup but the girl drank the potion trusting Ragna as her Oma.
Suddenly, Berjlot hiccuped. She felt a strange sensation as her body changed from that of girl into a stunning light-haired wolf. She knew her father and brothers would never recognize her in this form and so did Ragna.
Berjlot cried the tears of a wolf and old Ragna laughed at her. She made it appear as if a wolf had eaten Berjlot.
“Bjarke,” Ragna cried. “A light-haired wolf ate your daughter. See? I have her bloodied and torn dress here. There was nothing I could do.” Ragna wept and made it appear as if she was broken-hearted at losing Berjlot.
Bjarke was devastated. Berjlot was the light of his life and his health failed rapidly after losing his daughter. He was soon set out down the nearby river in his funeral pier set aflame to join his wife Asta.
Bjarke’s oldest son Dag took over the boat building business with his three brothers and his best friend Asmund (“Divine Protection”). After they had spent time in mourning for their father they and the other men from their settlement, went into the woods and destroyed all the wolves they could find –even the pups. They never forgot about their little sister Berjlot who had brought such joy wherever she went.
Eight-years passed. Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were prosperous men in their viking community building ships and amassing a great amount of land and wealth. Asmund, in particular, was considered a fine catch for marriage but had not found a wife to his liking; Dag and his brothers had already married well.
Asmund was out walking in the forest one night when he saw the most striking female wolf beneath a tree in the moonlight. She had mossy green-eyes which were extremely unusual for a wild animal such as a wolf.
He was surprised when the wolf jumped on him when he wasn’t paying attention. He was set to bring his small ax down on the wolf when she lay down on top of him gently and peered at him with sad eyes. She talked as wolves did, pawing at him, trying to get Asmund to understand something through her barks. He laughed and petted the beautiful wolf as she slept on him.
The next morning Asmund awoke and the wolf was gone. He thought he’d only dreamed of her. When he went for a walk in the forest several nights later, he again saw the same beautiful wolf.
She playfully tackled him to the ground and barked at him, trying to make him understand her wolf song. When that failed, she lay her head beneath his chin, and slept on top of him as before.
The light-haired and green-eyed wolf barked and slept with Asmund every night he came out into the woods, always burying her nose under his chin.
One night, Ragna the old witch noticed Asmund asleep with the wolf she knew was Berjlot, snuggled half on top of him. The witch plotted to kill Berjlot once and for all and told Berjlot’s oldest brother Dag about the strange looking wolf she’d seen around the forest.
Dag and his younger brothers went to find and kill Berjlot the following night with Asmund. But when they found the wolf with the light-fur and moss green- eyes, Asmund begged them not to kill her.
He told Dag the light-haired wolf had become his pet and was docile. Berjlot approached her brother Dag and bowed, she did any trick her brother or his bestfriend Asmund told her to do.
When wicked Ragna saw the brothers had not killed Berjlot in wolf form (and instead, were going to adopt her as a kind of pet) she ran out to kill Berjlot with her sharpest knife. Ragna poisoned the tip of the knife so even if it nicked Berjlot the wolf, it would kill her.
Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were shocked to see the old witch after the wolf they had befriended. They caught and disarmed Ragna before she harmed the wolf. When Ragna was disarmed she turned to run back to her cottage but Berjlot jumped on her, tearing out the witches throat.
Immediately, the light-haired green-eyed wolf turned into a young woman of about eighteen. She was beautiful with her long wavy-blond hair, exotic green eyes, and white skin. Dag’s three younger brothers immediately recognized their sister from her moss green-eyes.
“Berjlot is that you?” They asked, overjoyed to see their sister alive.
“Yes it’s me,”Berjlot said crying. She hugged her brothers, including Dag. They were a bit sensitive about her being naked with Asmund around. He generously gave Berjlot his cloak to cover herself with.
“The witch Ragna pretended to be my Oma,” she told the men gathered. “Ragna was jealous that I was prettier than her, and that our mother Asta was prettier than her too. She hated that I did all my tasks well, especially jewelry making. When I had a cough, she gave me a steaming purple potion. I trusted her and drank the potion and she turned me into a wolf.”
“That’s terrible,” Dag shouted, angry for his sister. “Your death is the reason our father became ill and died. I’m sure the gods are pleased you ripped out the witch’s throat.”
Berjlot sobbed upon hearing about her father’s death. When Asmund comforted her with a hand on her shoulder, she looked up at him with adoration in her eyes.
“I was almost killed when the men from the village wiped out all the wolves but somehow I thrived, even as a wolf. I thought I would always be a wolf until I saw Asmund one night.” Berjlot blushed when she said Asmund’s name.
“Each night Asmund came out to the forest, I pounced on him and tried to tell him what happened to me, but my words only came out as barks or noises as a dog would make. But he kept coming back almost every night and I slept with my nose snuggled beneath his chin.”
“Is this true?” Dag asked his best friend whose face reddened when he gazed at Berjlot in his cloak.
“Yes, it’s true,” Asmund admitted. “I fell for Berjlot. Somehow the gods made me see how noble and beautiful she was even as a wolf. She’s an even more beautiful woman then she was a wolf.”
“I would be honored if you would allow your best friend and partner in business, to be a husband to your beloved sister,” Asmund asked. To him Berjlot was a light he could not live without in his life. He loved her as a wolf and more so as a woman.
Dag and his brother’s huddled together talking while Berjlot stared anxiously at Asmund. She came up to him and snuggled her head beneath his chin, showing her affection and gaining Asmund’s comfort.
“At last, I get to see you in my human form,” Berjlot told Asmund. Both lovers were overcome and wanted to do much more than stand not touching but for Berjlot’s hair cushioning Asmund’s chin.
Dag and his three other brother’s broke from their meeting with happiness. They agreed Asmund would be the perfect husband for their sister because he loved her and watched out for her, even when she was only a beautiful wolf. Thus, they set the betrothal date to that moment and day.
Asmund offered up sheep for wool and jewels as a dowry for Berjlot and they married in a magnificent ceremony in the village. The gods had allowed Berjlot to return from the dead and for two powerful families to be joined in marriage with days of feasting and celebration for the whole community.
Both Asmund and Berjlot lived happily ever after (as best as you could in that time and place).