Project Reverse

Elementor #441

Twenty-five miles from Creave, located between a town and a city, was a vibrant night stop for tourists, hipsters, and partygoers. The skies of the main streets boasted crowded neon signboards and gold-red lanterns reminiscent of faraway places. Restaurants, dance clubs, and pubs took up most of the business spots, growing exponentially from abundant sales. The surrounding shops benefited from the prime location as well.  

Along one of the narrower backstreets, a young lady stood, staring up at an unusual shop that loomed above her. The merry sounds of the street were muffled. The only thing she heard was her own heart racing against possibilities.

She had been staring at the sign hanging at eye level for the past ten minutes. 

The Heart Shop 

Trade hearts for your desires.

She hesitated for a moment longer before opening the door. 

“Welcome. Please come this way,” a male voice said from behind the counter. Cordial. With a hint of a smile. The words rolled off the tip of his tongue so naturally it was as though they were part of it. 

She swallowed, her nervous pulse visible against her neck. 

The door swung shut behind her.

She approached the counter.

“Good evening, esteemed client. Are you here to trade hearts?”

A trickle of sweat ran down her temple. “Y-Yes.”

A piece of paper and a pen slid towards her from the other side. “Please fill in your information and state what you would like to trade for. The Heart Shop would like to inform you that all transactions are non-refundable. Please read the fair-trade policies down at the bottom of the page before you sign.”

The young lady reached for the pen. The next moments of silence were broken by the tip of the pen scratching paper. 

She reached the bottom.

It is hereby agreed that:

  1. The Heart Shop will decide the value of each Desire and redeem appropriate payment from the client.
  2. Once the Desire is granted, the Trade is deemed successful and the Client shall pay the price of the Trade as agreed in the clause above.
  3. The Client shall be solely responsible for the effect of the Trade. The Heart Shop shall bear no responsibility for any losses or liabilities as a result of the Trade.
  4. All transactions are non-refundable.

Her hand paused over the signature line. She opened her mouth to ask a question. The words were stuck at the back of her throat. She could barely see the person behind the counter.

“Do you require any assistance, esteemed client?” 

Her voice shook a little. “Am I allowed to trade for anything?”

“Yes, of course. The Heart Shop strives to fulfil every client’s wish. Please bear in mind, however, each Desire is of different weight and value based on its relative importance in the esteemed client’s heart.”

The young lady signed the paper and handed it over. 

“Thank you. Please wait a moment.”

There was silence as he read the form.

The young lady swallowed. “Will my wish be granted?”

In a voice as soft as a flickering candle, he asked in return, “What are you willing to trade?”

Another trickle of sweat. “Everything.”

Behind the counter, the ends of his lips lifted slowly. He smiled like a child who had been presented with his favorite candy. “Would you like to see for yourself?” 

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