Write about now

June 29, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge – The Random Song Title Jamboree

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: , — Eva Therese @ 11:41 am

This weeks Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig was to take a random song and use the title as inspiration for a story. I hit random on my iTunes collection and got Dusty Springfield: Just a little lovin’. This is what I did with it.

The bell over the door rang as Laura was placing the small bottles with hangover-remedies on the counter for easy access. Saturdays always saw a lot of trade in those.

The man entering the shop had a nervous, haggard look with stubble and dark circles under the eyes. As he came closer, a whiff of bodily odour reached her, even through the smells of herbs and flowers, and told her that it had been a while since he had last showered. He was wearing a long, bulky winter coat, despite the mild weather.

“How can I help you?” Laura asked.

“I need … I need a love potion.” His voice was hoarse.

Laura nodded and turned to the shelf behind her, taking down a small bottle containing a purplish liquid. “Now this,” she began, what she liked to think of as her disclaimer speech, “will not make anyone fall head over heels in love with you, but it will make them positively minded towards you. What you do after …”

He interrupted her. “Not good enough. I need a real love potion, not some placebo.”

Laura’s smile disappeared. The effect of the potion was very real. Sure, she mixed in purple food colouring and rosemary for the scent, but that was simply what people expected. “There is no potion that can make a stranger fall head over heels in love with you,” she explained, a bit stiffly. “Anyone who has told you that is a charlatan.”

“Not a stranger. My girlfriend. My … ex-girlfriend. I want her back. I need her back. I can’t live without her.”

“Why did she break up with you?” asked Laura.

“I … I wasn’t a good boyfriend. I took her for granted.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll make it up to her. I’ll be the best boyfriend she could ever want. But she won’t believe that I’ve changed. I just need a chance. Please help me. Please!”

Laura gathered up as much sympathy for the man as she could muster, which admittedly wasn’t much. She knew people like that; treated their girlfriends or boyfriends like crap and then, when they finally got kicked out, they came crawling back, promising the sun and the moon. “I can’t help you,” she said. “Maybe your ex will come around on her own, but if not, she’s not the only woman on the planet.”

“She’s the only one for me! And I’m the one for her! I just need your help to make her realise it!”

Laura snapped. “I already said no! As did she, apparently, and you need to learn to take that for an answer. What you want is tantamount to mind control and even if I could help you, I wouldn’t. Now, good day, Sir.” She pointed at the door.

“I was afraid you might say that.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun. “Give me a love potion or I’ll kill you. And make it something real or I’ll be back and kill you.”

Laura looked up from the gun, looking the man straight in the face. “There isn’t a love potion, which can do what you want.” She lifted her hand to cut him off before he could say anything or threaten her again. “However, I can give you something else.”

She turned to the shelf and took down another small bottle, opaque with a dark liquid inside.

The man licked his lips. “What does it do?”

“It contains fear.”

“Fear? I don’t need that. I could make her fear me myself, if I thought it would do any good, but I can’t scare her into being with me.”

He said can’t, thought Laura, not won’t. “It won’t make her afraid of you, just the opposite. It will make her afraid of losing you.”

“Afraid … of losing me?” He stared at the bottle almost in awe. “But will that work?”

Laura shrugged. “Depends on how you define ‘work’. It won’t make her love you, not even like you. But she will be afraid of being without you. You won’t even have to change. You can do as you’ve always done and she might end up hating you with every fibre of her being, but she won’t dare to leave.”

“But she won’t love me?” whispered the man and Laura could see the struggle in him painted clearly in his expression.

She shrugged again. “What is love if not fear? Fear of hurting the other, but mostly fear of being hurt, fear of leaving and being left. When you get right down to it, love,” she emphasised the words, “is terror.”

“I …” The man tore his gaze from the bottle and looked at her. And he finally looked her straight in the eyes. He backed away.

“I don’t want … I’m sorry … I’ll …” He kept on walking backwards, tried to pocket the gun, but dropped it instead, made a half-hearted grasp for it, the changed his mind. He backed into the door, turned around and slammed it open, sending the bells into a frenzy of jangling and ran outside.

Laura waited about half a minute before going over, closing the door and locking it before hanging up the ‘Closed’ sign. The hung over people would have to just go without a remedy today. A little suffering was good for the soul.

On her way back to the counter she stooped and picked up the gun with two fingers and a look of distaste. She carried it into the back-room to where a shoebox was sitting on a shelf. She pulled out the box and opened it with one hand, put the gun down with the small assortment of other weapons, then closed it and put it back. Then she wiped her hands on her pants legs and started thinking about what she would do with the day. Maybe make some more potions for memory and concentration; after all, the exam period would start soon.


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