Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SHOP (01/03/19)
TITLE: Power from Beyond
By Tracy Nunes
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I think, to the end of my days, I will instantly know what that smell is, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Flashes of past escapades press in, triggered by the pungent odor of the Demon Weed, as my grandma would call it. I chuckle. She’d use her index fingers like little horns coming out of her head to emphasize the point. I thought she was crazy, but she was right. It is Demon Weed, indeed.
As I get closer to the tents, the marijuana fades and I shake off the memories and the urges. Incense takes its place. I hear faint chimes singing softly. A slight tingle shimmies up my spine but I ignore it.
A rainbow of color confronts me. From bright, bold and screaming to soft and whispering. A sea of art mingled with t-shirts and long flowing sarongs blend with trinkets and so-called authentic indigenous artifacts. Shells ranging from tiny to titanic line tables alongside handmade jewelry.
I stop to admire a plastic encased plumeria plant in stall #15. A small, hand written placard explains that I can take it home and plant it for my own little piece of paradise. It even says, “Transport Yourself to Plumeria Heaven." I’m probably foolish but I accept the claims and hand over a too much money.
My own little paradise. I could use some of that. Life’s been no Eden lately.
I meander through white canopied stalls. Each seller has a different approach to the sweltering heat. One sits on a stool, cooling herself with a woven butterfly fan. Another one, a man, stands in front of a large industrial metal fan, swaying with it as it oscillates. Half-dressed customers meander and push their way in and out of stalls examining the goods for sale. Their only tactic against the heat is wearing as little clothing as possible.
I reach stall #25. A wrinkled, brown woman of an age or race I can’t determine sits behind the table. Is that a natural tan? I shrug my shoulders to myself. I’m not sure but it looks more like skin tone that was produced rather than born.
In front of her lay objects…all sorts of objects. All made of natural material: stone, shell, or wood of different kinds. I can’t see the relation between them all. There aren’t any multiples. Each one is unique. Some plain but many are quite beautiful.
I reach for one and just as my fingers nearly touch the smooth stone, I notice a sign that says Talisman: Power from Beyond. I pull back my fingers with a barely audible gasp. Looking up at the woman, I see that she is staring at me. Unnatural pale blue eyes bore into mine as if she’s daring me…or willing me, to pick up the stone. That tingle up my spine returns.
“Power from beyond for you, girl,” she says hoarsely. “Try it, you get everything you want with power from beyond!”
I step back, give a small wave, turn around and head to my car. The heat is oppressive, but there is something more here that is squeezing in on me. My past? The grave I escaped? I pick up my pace.
As I head toward my car, I notice a sign outside of stall #15 that I didn’t see coming from the other direction. I-Ching Master, Amulet Crafter, Palm Reader, and Aura Conductor, For Sale: Flowers blessed by the gods.
Looking down at the plumeria plant in my hand, then back to the sign, I decide. I have Paradise that awaits me on the other side with Jesus. I don’t need one here. I don’t need the wares of the pit to mask the stench of death in this temporary home.
I have freedom. I have Paradise. I have the heavenly fragrance of eternity with my Savior. I pass a trash can and dunk shot the witches wares to where it belongs.
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