BY MARY CUDNEY
Copyright is held by the author.
THE OLD scarred wooden knob twisted in her hand but refused her entrance to the shop. She pulled away, drawing a sliver into her little finger. Using her teeth, she extracted it leaving a drop of blood behind which she smeared on her other palm. She licked the spot the sliver had left behind. It hurt.
The wound that hurt more though was not being able to enter The Store. Abigail knew it had been on this spot for hundreds of years. Its wooden roots clinging and growing capturing any life that lived below it. Using that energy to survive.
Her daughter Sarah had texted her that she was going into the quaintest shop she had ever seen. To look for something unusual to use in her new art project. Abigail hadn’t had a chance to read her texts so it was an hour later when her heart stopped as she read the name of the place Sarah had found.
Abigail didn’t care if anyone saw her disappear. She transported herself from the market place to the corner across from the entity her daughter had entered, hoping she was in time to save her.
The Store had never allowed Abigail entrance trying to protect itself. But she would never have harmed it. Live and let live was her motto. Until now. She was going to have to use every ounce of magic she could draw into her body from the surrounding vegetation. The trees on the corners and the flowers in the median all began to shrivel and turn from alluring bright colours to grey ash.
Still it wasn’t enough. Frantically she looked around and saw a young man walking with a smile lighting his face carrying a huge bouquet of cut flowers. Closing her eyes, she drew just enough magic from the flowers in his hands to open the door. She was relieved she did not have to draw any life from the young man himself. Relieved she didn’t have to make that decision. She wrenched the knob around in a clockwise motion and heard the opening click.
Entering through the doorway her sight was constricted by a dark mist that spread in and around everything displayed on the shelves and stacked on tables. She swept the smoke away with a wave of her hand. A simple spell. The walls were old red oak and the floors covered with large stone slabs. Desiccated bodies stood everywhere, dried out and old looking no matter what age they entered the shop.
The only body that looked like it might still be alive stood against a wall far in the back of the shop. A hand reaching toward an object that could not be distinguished as anything. Abigail drew in a huge sigh. And her heart started palpitating, a feeling of dread squeezing it tight.
“Sarah,” she cried.
She ran to her daughter elated that she still breathed and was warm to the touch. But there was no response from Sarah. No connection to the world around her.
“Take me,” she said. “Take me, instead,” she cried in agony.
The shop seemed to tremble as the floor shook. The walls seemed to be expanding and contracting. The Store was laughing.
“I have you both, now. Why would I let either of you go?” floated through Abigail’s mind.
Abigail was enraged and motherly instincts took over what magic she had left. She started to expand, growing taller and taller. Her body looked like it was ready to explode but instead it was The Store that started to crumble. The wooden wall’s split apart as if an axe was attacking them. The stone floor cracked and the rocks were uplifted and thrown around as if in a tornado. Still Abigail grew in size, lifting her daughter up and protecting her with her gigantic arms.
The Store was screaming in her mind. “Stop, stop, and I’ll let you go!”
“Both of us,” said Abigail. She knew the store was a smart and willy entity.
“Yes, yes! Both of you! Just stop!”
Abigail found herself lifted and thrown out through the old wooden door of The Store. Lying beside her was Sarah. Curled up into a fetal position. As Abigail drew her up and hugged her tight, Sarah’s eyes opened. Abigail could see Sarah’s intelligence; her soul had returned to her.
“What are you doing here, Mom? And why I am lying out on the road.” said Sarah.
“I decided to see what the store was like that you were so excited about in your text. I think there must have been some sort of earthquake and you were thrown out. The Store has disappeared, swallowed up.” said Abigail. I’m so glad you’re safe.”
Abigail didn’t care where the store had taken itself after her illusion spell had fooled it. She was just glad it had worked and Sarah was safe.
Someone else would have to deal with The Antique Shop wherever it landed.