Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/760892-Potion-of-Beauty
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Western · #760892
A woman wants ultimate beauty, and stumbles across a strange shop.
A young woman walked into a strange shop, her spurs clattered as she walked across the wooden floor and walked towards the clerk. She wasn't a woman of beauty, her nose seemed to be too large for her face, her brown hair clung to her neck and was very dull. And If you looked deep into her plain brown eyes you could see the disgust she held for herself within their depths. She strolled towards the clerk, who had his back turned to her and he appeared to be a stout and little man.

"Excuse me?" The young woman said as she approached him.

He didn't seem to listen as he continued to stand there with his back turned to her and fumbled through many different papers.

"EXCUSE ME?" She said it louder this time and tapped the man on the shoulder. He immediately jumped up in the air as if someone had shocked him and turned towards the woman. She was quite unprepared for his spontaneous reaction and took several steps backwards as her eyes widened at the sight of him. She couldn't tell before, but he was balding quite badly and was stooped over. His nose looked like that which a rat would have and he had gnarled hands. But, the thing which caught her attention the most was his eyes, which were so big and wide that he didn't look like a man, but rather an animal. The woman was woken from her thoughts with a jolt as she heard the strange man speak for the first time.

"Well, what do you want?! I'm busy, can't you see that?" The man barked out as he studied her with narrow eyes. He spoke in a paranoid manner, as if he was a child who was going to get caught doing something his parents didn't want him to do. She merely cringed at the sound of his voice, it sounded like a whip cracking in the wind. So high pitched and unnatural, she wondered if the man truly was normal.

"I'm very sorry, sir. My name is LouAnne. I heard of a man here who sold a beauty potion, and I am in dire need of such a thing. I am tired of looking at my hideous reflection in a mirror everyday. Could you possibly help me?" LouAnne asked in a pleading voice.

"Ah, I must get my boss for you then. Stand here, and don't touch anything!"

He said with a suspicious glare as the man limped away from her and left her in the strange shop alone. LouAnne began to look around the shop, and noticed for the first time how putrid it smelled. The smell was unlike anything she could explain, and she was surprised she hadn't noticed it before.

LouAnne decided to ignore the odor and look at what was within the shop. She noted that there were shelves everywhere, which were covered with papers and strange bottles. Dust and cobwebs covered every piece of the shop. It was dimly lit, which created shadows all across the floor. LouAnne suddenly felt like she was becoming delusional when she could have sworn she saw one of the shadows on the ground move, as if it was a living being. The shadow was human, and she could almost sense it was that of a man. Her eyes traveled upwards away from the shadow and they finally laid upon a black bottle. LouAnne walked towards the bottle and slowly picked it up. She was unsure of what was going to happen to her when she did but it was like the bottle was calling to her.

"HELP ME." She heard a raspy voice say once her skin touched the glass. LouAnne threw the bottle instantaneously back at the shelf as if it had burned her.

'Oh my God, a bottle spoke to me. I am trully crazy.' LouAnne thought as she stepped several steps backwards and rubbed the hand which had touched the bottle. Before LouAnne could wonder if what had happened was really a figment of her imagination she was immediately woken from her thoughts again as she heard a cool voice speak.

"Hello ma'am. I hear that you need assistance with something. How can I help you?" A handsome man asked. As the first little man had been grotesquely ugly, this man was amazingly handsome. Tall, dark, and handsome, it seemed like she should be more comfortable around this man, but something was off. Though his words was kind, she felt much more comfortable around the little man. She couldn't quite place her finger on it, but she felt like he was just bad news.

"Ma'am?" He asked again, his voice sounding much like a flowing stream, but it didn't soothe her nerves or the feeling of uneasiness which she felt around him.

"Oh, I'm very sorry. I am in need of a beauty potion. I heard by rumors when I was riding my horse that your small shop might supply such a thing. A few woman which I have talked to have sworn that your potion works. Could you possibly help me?"

LouAnne asked as her voice pleaded as it had before. She watched as the handsome man's face broke into a wide smile with glimmering white teeth. If she had been creeped out by the man before, his smile made her heart grip with fear.

"Oh, yes. I can help you. Follow me please."
He motioned for her to follow him and LouAnne
watched as he walked with grace and self confidence. Her spurs clanked against the wood eerily within the small shop as she noticed that it was very silent.
She noticed a shiver shoot up her spine as she could have sworn that the man's footsteps made no sound whatsoever, though he wore boots such as she did. They seemed to finally stop at their destination as he began to look around a shelf full of bottles and quickly plucked one from the far right corner.

"Here you are. One sip, and true beauty. If you do not believe me, then look at me.
I was once hideous, now I am the most handsome man alive."

LouAnne ignored the man's vain attitude and
cautiously took the bottle from his outstretched hand.

"What can I pay you?"

"Nothing." The man merely stated as he gave her a polite nod and left her alone again.
LouAnne clasped the bottle and quickly left the store, her nerves needed to be eased and she knew only one way which she could make them calm down, and that was riding. LouAnne stood outside the shop and felt immediately better as the clean air cleared her head. She decided to drink the bottle now and brought it up to her lips and felt the cool liquid flow inside of her mouth.

'It doesn't taste like anything.' LouAnne thought as she swallowed the strange liquid and mounted her horse. If the liquid worked, or if it didn't, she knew one thing. The young woman would never return to that strange shop again.
Several hours later LouAnne stopped at a small pond and kneeled beside the water to look down at her reflection. The young woman gasped at her image which came to her eyes. She was beautiful! Her hair was suddenly shiny and held body instead of clinging to her face, her nose was small and dainty, and everything about herself radiated beauty. But, for some reason, she didn't feel happy, but extremely scared. LouAnne watched as her brown eyes slowly seemed to turn off and she began to claw at them as she felt her life being drained along with the emotion within her eyes.

"What is happening?! Someone, make it stop!" She screamed out as her horse danced and reared up as its head was caught on the split reins which laid on the ground. A last wild scream came from LouAnne and the horse finally spooked and ran away from the hysterical woman. LouAnne was stranded but she finally seemed to calm as her now empty eyes stared ahead as she walked toward her one and only destination.
The handsome man listened as he heard someone walk into his shop.
This seemed to be almost impossible since no sound was heard within the shop except the squeak of the door opening. Without even turning from his work, he knew who had entered his shop.

"Hello LouAnne. You've come back I see. And have gotten what you have wished, you will make a wonderful addition to my little shop."
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