Manaly Talukdar | Human Recharger

Caramel Charms opened its doors once a year, on All Hallows’ Eve. Rather than trick-or-treating, Luna set strict business hours that stretched from dusk to the minute before sunrise. A magenta-shawled woman clattered toward the counter. Her skin had a peculiar glow, though her eyes were scarred with dark circles. Her hair, raven-black, streaked with silver-locks.

“Welcome! How may I assist you?” Luna melodiously offered.

“Are you the … uh … owner?” The lady cast a skeptical scan at the shopkeeper from head to toe.

“The one and only at your service!”

“I expected someone older.” She grimaced at the young retailer clad in ripped jeans as she wiped her sticky fingers on her lumpy potato-sack-of-a-sweater after munching on a tangy licorice.

An awkward silence blanketed them.

“I heard that you revamp discarded antiques into charms?”

The customer always had a suspicion that the store was a hoax. “… Charms stamped with a reasonable price, I believe?”

“Let me show you.” Luna led through a dimmed passageway, toward the section of her prized collection. She introduced a gold-plated chalice. “This chalice will keep your wine to its brim even after you’ve chugged down the amount of a whole bottle.”

The client perceived the item as a tacky cup. “I never cheapen out on my poison.” They proceeded.

“This 300-year-old clock has a unique alarm.”

“Unique?” The woman arched an eyebrow.

“It’ll sing your predictions at the crack of dawn.” The enchantress gleamed with confidence.

“Sure you want to risk selling that to me? One wrong prediction and I’ll return it.” Her bluntness plucked at Luna’s cordial demeanor.

A few steps ahead, an enlarged empty frame clung on the wall, chipped off its plaster, “This picture frame might interest you … It will diffuse any photo into an enhanced, movie-like recap of that special memory.”

“People have video cameras now-a-days, you know.” The client bore a condescending sneer. Luna’s goodwill evaporated, and she quickened her pace until she stubbed her foot on a chest and unashamedly grunted and cussed.

A silver-varnished box cradled a pristine white pillow. “Looks ordinary, doesn’t it?” Luna’s voice was ice-cold.

“It better not work as a magical hair product.” The potential purchaser flaunted her glossy hair.

“It absorbs every ounce of your exhaustion even after a 5-minute nap.” Luna air-quoted. ‘The Human Recharger,’ if you’re looking for a sophisticated technical term.” Luna flashed a menacing grin, which the woman failed to notice.

“I’ll take it.”

As the young enchantress glanced at the woman waltz out of her store through her dirt-stained window, not a hint of guilt scratched her for not disclosing the entire truth. The human recharger is a boon for the rare humbled hearts, but a curse for the pompous arrogant.

“Her neck pain will last a lifetime.” Luna muttered as she went back to quench her sweet tooth.

Manaly Talukdar is a new writer from Assam, India who pens her stories when her memories haunt her … even in her sleep! She was chosen as a finalist for her short fiction “Where is Grandpa?” in “The League of POETS” Weekly Contest (Week 1). She has been featured in BlazeVOX Journal, Academy of the Heart and Mind and soon to be published in Corvus Review. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @manalytalukdar.

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