Original Short Story 1 – “Tempt”

There she was. A young girl wandering about the streets. The air was cold and the buildings creaked, the dead of night wrapped her up and made her lungs tighten. She had been daydreaming of her fellow. He wasn’t very nice to her at all but she liked him anyway. When she came out of her reverie she realized that she had come to a halt before a crooked little wooden shop. It baffled her to see the shop, for it had never been there before and it looked as though it had been constructed overnight. Indeed that’s what had happened. The shifty makeshift shingled shop seemed to whisper her name, so she entered because she was a little bit delirious and didn’t know how she’d gotten there. She was cold. The shop radiated a warm glow and sucked her inside its mouth like a lemon drop. She quite liked the feeling of being a lemon drop.

 The shop was strange, it was much larger on the inside than the outside, and the walls were lined with shelves that went from the floor to the ceiling, the ceiling to the floor and the feiling to the cloor. The shelves were filled with boxes that had papers spilling out of them. Some blank, some burnt, some drawn on. Directly ahead was a very small desk with a chair that faced the opposite wall. She was not scared so she didn’t blink. The girl cleared her tight throat, and shook away the night. The chair spun round to reveal an old man sitting behind the desk. She was not surprised.

He had the silveriest facial hair she’d ever seen, even more silvery than her fellow’s. He was writing. The girl wasn’t curious but the silence became unbearable so she began to inquire about what he was writing. The old man suddenly turned solemn and furrowed his brow. “If you do not know my business,” he began, “then why do you come seeking my services, child?” The girl was embarrassed suddenly and turned around to leave but the man called after her and told her please sit down. She didn’t turn around right away. After thinking for a while in the warm shop the girl was confused, as there were no chairs in the room, but when she turned around again, there was indeed, a magnificent velvet chair where there was once empty space. She was not scared so she didn’t blink. She sat down and the old man looked her dead in the eye. His eyes were the colour of the night. She shivered. It was warm but she shivered still. 

 “Do you wish to know of your future?” he asked The girl laughed for the first time in her whole life because that’s what she thought she should do. what? did she? She asked him, “what will this cost me?” Cocking a silvery eyebrow, the man put his hand to his chin and stroked his magnificent moustache once. twice. thrice. frice. “I suppose it will cost you your life,” he decided. The girl shrugged her little shoulders. Her fellow had his life taken and was still as lively as ever. Still a bit curious, she asked him next what all the papers on the walls were for. He glared at her with a silvery eye and a silvery frown, and said, “Don’t change the subject and please don’t waste my time. Would you like to see your future, or not? She sat silently and wondered for a little bit. She could just feel a sliver of cold air trying to latch itself onto her. She hissed at the cold and shooed it away so that she could concentrate. Could this really be true? Perhaps without her life she could be nice with her fellow again, like old times. She sighed. How lovely it would be. In all her 12 years she had yet to receive such a delicious offer. “Yes, i would like to see my future,” she said. She was not scared so she didn’t blink. the old man cried a little bit. He told her not to worry. Perhaps he just had allergies. 

He got out a marvellous quill pen and a bottle of ink. It was spiffing and the girl wanted to steal the quill but she remembered her fellow. When he stole he was hanged and he died she remembered. “My dear child, I haven’t yet told you of my specific services,” he whispered. The girl was irritated, as it was late and she was a little bit tired and maybe drunk. After all she was only a small child and she needed to get home to her fellow. “I am going home,” she reminded herself. “I will be with my fellow.” The old man stood up from his chair. The girl nodded her head and said, “Tell me what you do please.” The girl remarked that he was very short. Indeed more short than her fellow. Her fellow was a tall fellow, yes. He cleared his throat and began to speak.  Melodic was his voice all of a sudden. As if he’d recited this over and over. “My duty is a very arduous one. you see, people come from far and wide to utilize my service. I possess the power to see into the future, and I draw images of what people will look like when they die, so their age, health and so forth. I set up shop only once in a while, when I can sense that someone will be tempted to wander in.” the girl was intrigued just a little bit by the little man. how very badly she wanted to know her future! When would she die? In a few months? Years? Centuries?

A clock struck midnight outside. She counted the tolling bells on her fingers and gasped and nearly ran from the shop. Midnight was her curfew, how her fellow would be mad! But alas, her temptation was far too strong, and so she stayed in the velvet chair, awaiting her future to be shown to her. The old man took his seat again behind the desk and looked at the girl once more. “Give my your hand, child” he whispered so softly she wouldn’t have heard if she weren’t sitting so close. She placed her hands on the table. She was not scared. She did not blink. The old man, not once breaking his stare, took her smooth hands in his aged, wrinkled ones. He then closed his eyes and started humming a familiar tune; God Save the King. The girl was scared now. Her fellow sang this exact song while just before he hanged. He never got to finish. She blinked a little bit. She stayed where she was and silently said her prayers. May my fellow come back she said. May he come back and stop hurting me. That wouldn’t take too long, she knew her fellow would return again more kindly than he had before. She was so very anxious to see a glimpse into her future life. She watched the old man closely, his wrinkles were fading, his silvery hair dulling, but the light from her own eyes was draining. “May he defend our laws, and ever give us cause, to sing with heart and voice, God save the king…”

“Our father prince and friend, God save the -“ the man immediately stopped humming then, and his eyes opened with a jolt. He released the girl’s hand forcefully. Funny, that was where her fellow had stopped singing too! He smoothed out the paper on the desk, but then reached in the drawer instead. the girl assumed he was getting a different kind of paper or a fresh pot of ink, but he pulled out a large rectangular object that looked quite heavy, wrapped in brown paper. He looked the girl dead in the eye as he unwrapped the paper and said “if only you hadn’t given into temptation, my dearest one.” the paper peeled back to reveal a glimmering surface. An exquisite mirror! The old man held it up and the girl was faced with her own reflection. It took her a moment, but she soon understood. She began to sing. “God save our gracious king, long live our noble king.” The door behind her slammed open and a gust of wind swept through the shop. She couldn’t bear to look behind her so she focused straight ahead. She saw her dead fellow, hurtling toward her with a knife in hand. She was not scared so she didn’t blink. She smiled as her fellow brought her warmth, plunging the knife into her chest. The last thing she saw was a portrait of herself, glowing with temptation and regret.


I thought I would try something new this week, I hope it’s interesting to you. This story was quite out of my comfort zone, I tried a brand new voice but I really like how it turned out. I’m thinking that adding an original story once every few weeks like this one will help to bridge the gap between book reviews. Speaking of book reviews, I apologize for the sparsity of those. I’ve been quite busy with school but there is one coming up. Thank you very much for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

-Mackenzie