Friday, December 14, 2012

"The Candy Shop" by V. A. Jeffrey (Short Story)

Genre:  Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  The curious matter of a gentleman who finds a unique candy shop and falls in love with its mysterious owner.


In the historic district of the city in the very middle of Fiche Lie Vims Street sat a jewel box of a candy shop. It was made of red stone and wood with brilliantly coloured stained glass bay windows filled with images of children and candy canes. It had an oval-shaped, candy-apple red door. The proprietress of the shop was a lady named Miss Pretty-Pretty.

Miss Pretty-Pretty was not particularly tall or short. She had long, red hair crowded in glossy curls like voluminous waves of ribbon candy, pulled back with a golden comb. She had eyes the colour of toffee. Her complexion was bloodless and her smile sweeter than a serenade. Her teeth were perfectly white, hidden behind a small, round, red mouth. She wore dresses that displayed a tiny waist, a figure that was as svelte as a swan's neck except for the bustle in the back and most thought she was the epitome of what a great beauty should be. The fact that she worked in the midst of all and sundry that did absolutely nothing for a lady's waistline made her all the more attractive to me. As well as to quite a few others for she had a fair amount of suitors. Whence she came from no one new nor did I ever ascertain anything about her family and their whereabouts, if she had any. I suppose I should have troubled myself to do so before the incident but there it is. I did not. Miss Pretty-Pretty remained as enigmatic as the candies in her shop.

What I really mean to say is, after the incident there is something that still troubles my mind.

As to the shop's contents, what shall I say? Only that it boasted the most delicious treats to be found anywhere, all made by the proprietress herself. Early each morning one could smell perfumed waves of honey, molasses, caramels, butterscotch and chocolate. They permeated the air of Fiche Lie Vims Street like an invisible fog. And each morning there were to be found rows and rows of a great many jars and trays filled with confections. Chocolate truffles, of course, reigned supreme and came in many flavours: tobacco, mint, cherry, clover, rose, raisin, lavender, gooseberry, maple, blueberry, oregano and sage. There were stands filled with suckers as big as a child's head and some infused with more than just exotic flavours. There were licorice sticks, candy sticks of peppermint, spearmint, lemon, horehound, strawberry, grape, even candy sticks filled with bee pollen. There were peanut butter crisps, brittle brackle, marshmallows, gumdrops and jellybeans of flavours mundane to marvelous. One could not name them all. As the rows went on the candies became more exotic. These were housed in glass terrariums. Vanilla fingers, blinking gumball eyes, elaborate gingerbread and chocolate houses. Zebras made of licorice and white mint, even a chocolate tower of Big Ben and a ribbon candied *Roundabout.

On some days one would have thought that one had stepped into Barnum and Bailey's side-show circus, all the cast in sugary confection and bottled and packaged for one's pleasure. Fridays were those such days. On Fridays there were tours and the shop was filled with gabbling children from the neighborhood school, all wide eyed with wonder. Here was when the magic of the place could really be seen: lollipops as big as your face displaying great works of art that changed scenes of the Madonna to the Mona Lisa to Botticelli's Venus. Candy mosaics of Roman gods and goddesses displayed in red lacquered boxes, gumball planets that revolved around glowing, jawbreaker stars. There were airy cream puffs that floated in their terrariums like delicate clouds, candy dragonflies and butterflies that alighted on the hand or cheek, butterscotch fingers that played on the old, upright piano in the corner, maple Faberge-like eggs with orange or lemon cream filling. Such wonder and amazement. There were even candy foetuses!

“But Miss Pretty-Pretty,” I once cried at my astonishment at seeing the odd little things for the first time, “are those baby-shaped candies or candied babies?” Miss Pretty-Pretty smiled.

“Wouldn't you like to know.” She said in her sweet and lilting voice.

“I would, indeed.”

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