A sweets shop’s bells jingle as the young girl enters. The front counter has jars filled with bullseyes and boiled mints. The wall has candy bars and gum.
The young girl looks outside the window. It is beginning to get dark outside, with only several rays of sunlight remaining. Several children run by outside, anxious to make it home before suppertime. The girl stands there, envious of the others for having people who worry about them. Nobody was coming to look for her, let alone worry about her.
A voice distracts her from her longing, calling her to the back of the shop. She enters, greeting a tall and bearded man.
“You’ve arrived in time, it’s ready for you,” he whispers.
A smile crosses her face.
The man grabs a small piece of candy from behind him. Its shape is peculiar and crystal white. Its smell emanating contains notes similar to spices found during winter holiday time.
She doesn’t waste any time in gobbling it up.
The sweets shop disappears before her eyes. She is hurling through this new territory. Thousands of portals becoming visible within the darkness. Hisses and a wailing chorus echo around each new portal she goes through. As she braces for her arrival, she reminisces of what lead her here.
Scavenging for scraps in the alley, she didn’t notice when the man came. He began offering her money and shelter for her services. Despite an inner desire to decline, she knew that nobody else would care for her. Her red eyes and twisted leg are not very “becoming” or “respectable” for a young girl. She hears this from everyone so many times, becoming as common as a “good morning.”
She made her choice.
She began gathering ingredients. These included:
2. The tooth of a squirrel
3. The fresh blood of a fox
4. A plum stuffed with a goat’s eye
5. The juices of several fruits mixed with a strangled blue tit’s feathers
6. The tail of a crocodile painted with the vomit of a terrier dog.
Doing these things did not phase her. The man’s rewards would be so great.
Her mind returns to her journey through the portal as it reaches the end. A portal descends towards her. Tears fill her eyes as it envelopes her body.
The next morning arrives. The sweets shop has vanished, replaced by an abandoned building. A woman walks her dog on the sidewalk next to it. The dog turns away with its tail between its legs, yanking his owner towards the street. She passes the window, looks down, and screams.
Within minutes police and paramedics arrive, as do dozens of bystanders. A white sheet covers a small body as it rolls out of the building. It suddenly falls over, revealing to the horrified audience what remains.
The young girl has her arms now attached to her head. Her eyes were carved out with a knife you would use for buttering toast. Strange symbols are covering her body. Her head is open, spilling blood. Her skull is the victim of a smashing, leaving the left part of her face deflated. Adders come out of the alley and coil around her torso, biting into her lifeless flesh. Police do their best to chase them away, and most are either bitten or spooked by the time they are leaving.
The adders distract the police and bystanders from three peculiar observations. One being that the young girl was smiling, the kind of person would wear when they have ice cream for the first time. The other being that she smelled like candy, mouthwatering candy. The third is of a raven nearby who watches the scene.
. . .
The sweets shop stands in the village, waiting for someone to notice it. A young girl walks in, looking at the bullseyes, boiled sweets, and lemon drops near the counter. Someone’s voice calls out to her from the back, and she goes towards it. The tall and bearded man greets her and hands her a candy with the scent of unearthly sweetness.
She grabs it and lunges for the man’s neck, making him hiss. The young girl forces him to eat the candy. He screams and flails. Snakes escape from his mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and buttocks.
His body disintegrates into grey dust, then disappears. The young girl nods and exits the now abandoned building. She smiles at the sky, then sprouts beautiful black wings on her back. Then turns into a raven and flies towards the setting sun.
Photo By Pexels from Pixabay