0009 Try before you buy

“Oh, it’s just on the tip of my tongue!” She looked at him with big eyes, her mind high on the feeling of being just out of reach of… something.

He grinned at her. “If you think that was good, try this one.” He took the small vial marked T.O.T.T. from her and grabbed a similarly shaped bottle from a shelf to his left. There were many such flasks crowding the cabinets in this spacious shop. He plucked the cap from the bottle and took a small whiff before handing it to her. “Be careful though,” he warned her, a sardonic smile on his face.

She cleaned the small pipette that was handed to her by the shop owner when they had entered and took a small drop from the new vial which she released under her tongue. Her eyes started watering as soon as the liquid touched her mucous membrane – not of any physical pain, but because of an overwhelming recollection of a memory she didn’t possess. She threw him an angry look and pushed him away from her. “You, you…!” She laughed a bit through her tears. “Had I known this…” He grinned at her. “I warned you!”

She walked over to a shelf near the back of the store and began browsing the shelves until her eyes rested on a miniscule vial marked only with a crossed-out name, hidden in the last row of flasks. “That certainly is an informative label,” she said to him with a playful look in his eyes. He looked around warily, but the shop owner was nowhere in sight, he had probably gone to the storage room just now. When he turned to watch her, she was already taking a drop of purple liquid out of the flask. He wanted to say “Wait a sec, let me have a look –” but by then she had already dripped the essence in her mouth.

She threw her head back, dropped to her knees and began clawing at her own throat and chest. She reached for the skies and her eyes rolled back as soon as she did so. The sound emanating from her throat evoked the feeling in him that he was listening back through the ages, to something primordial. When her movement halted, his stasis ended and he caught her just before the ground did. She was unmoving in his embrace. The last thing he recalled clearly before frantically calling the emergency services was the look in her eyes. He had never seen her like this before; it was as if she was doing her utmost best to look straight through him, oblivious to this world.