Late Payment

I question her once more: “Wait, what do you mean you cursed me to be loved by all.”

“Just that, from now on every human you cross paths with will adore you and kiss the ground you walk upon.” Her deep evergreen eyes glinted in the flicker of the candlelight that rested on the countertop. Her straight ginger hair fell below the palm of her hands which was rubbing her cheek as I spoke.

“Well that isn’t very sanitary now is it?” I ask sarcastically.

“Actually I was joking about that last bit, but still.”

I peer around the shop, taking in more details from the relics with price tags and the vials of various colored liquids, some even appear to be swishing around inside. The closed sign was up as the darkness took over. 

“Can you reverse it somehow?”

A blonde-haired woman, seemingly in her late 20s yet with the vocabulary of an ancient historian. “There is no cure for the curse,” she chimed in, “at least not in-store,” I lit up at that last bit, which was quieter than what she let out before. 

“Wait what did you say?”

“Nothing. Look, I am terribly sorry but you missed your payment. I meant to stick you with a Rain Day curse. You know, flat tire chased by rabid dogs, minor occurrences like that. I wasn’t looking and grabbed the wrong vial,” the ginger-haired woman behind the corner explained.

“I was late on one payment, and it was my last payment. I bought that spell from you guys nearly a year ago.”

“Margaux’s right, if you made your payment on time, you wouldn’t be stuck with Cupid’s Curse,” the blonde-haired woman added.

“Cupid’s Curse? Can you at least tell me what exactly you cursed me with and why you hushed your sister when she mentioned a cure that, ” I slowly make quotation gestures with my fingers, “is not in-store?”

“Pearah, did you activate the barrier for the front door?” Marguax shouts to her sister who retreated to the back of the store. 

“I think so, I’ll check,” Pearah shouts back.

“Come back tomorrow, with the money for your last payment and we’ll discuss this further.” 

I sigh sharply, but with no other rebuttals worthwhile I head out, rubbing my hands through my spiked hair intensely. As I walk out the two watch me closely as I start my car and then head home. On the way, my phone rings incessantly. Everyone I seem to know calls, messages, emails, and even inboxes me. Occurring so rapidly I don’t even get a chance to respond, though knowing it has something to do with this curse, I turn off my phone and then turn on the radio, attempting to drown out the swirling thoughts racing my mind.

On the local top 40 station, I hear my name, I stare at the radio for a moment, shaking my head. I turn up the volume to find I’ve gone viral, yet I haven’t posted anything in weeks. They announce today to be the official “Seymour Adoration Day”. I yell every curse word that comes to mind, slam my palm on the steering wheel, then turn off the radio. When I get home I take a brisk shower and then go to bed, taking two melatonin gummies to ease my mind enough to drift to sleep. It didn’t last long as I toss and turn all night long.

The next day I head back to the Bartholomew’s store bright and early. The parking on the street is filled so I head around to park behind the store. I pull my hood over my head and keep my head low as I make my way around to the front. Just as I bend the corner I’m spotted.

“Seymour! He’s right here!” A woman with a toddler shouts loud enough for the dwellers outside the storefront to pick up on. She pulls out her phone and then pushes it in my face as I hurriedly make my way inside the store. I’m cut off by people screaming my name and grabbing me every which way. Some offer me money, others beg for attention. I yell inside my head and then make a run for the door. Refusing to look back, yet hearing the pumping crowd behind me, I quickly shut the door and twist the look which seems to have been collecting dust for ages. 

“I’m here,” I shout, with a morning crack and annoyed croak in my voice. I’m met with Margaux, who’s clothed in the same color palette as yesterday. I set the money down on the corner, to the last cent, with an agitated thud. She stashes it away, mumbling the exact amount under her breath, though she didn’t bother to count it. 

“Now what questions do you have?” She takes a seat behind the corner while fidgeting with a small glowing orb. 

“I pretty much figured it out for myself, no thanks to the Bartholomew sisters!” 

She chuckles loudly, her entire body heaving.

“My phone won’t stop ringing, the city gave me a holiday in my honor and I was nearly trampled on the way inside.” My tone is sharp and my words shoot out quickly. 

“Calm down now child. I’ll tell you where you can find the antidote.” Margaux heads to the back for a quick moment, then after a shuffling noise and a quick comment to Pearah, she returns with a journal of sorts. She breaths on its spine gently then lets out a quick enchantment. With that, a click resounds from the relic. She flips a few pages, quickly reading the title of each. 

“I found it Pearah, I nearly forgot!” She pulls a chunk of hair behind her ear as she takes in the contents of the page.

“That’s right. In order to make the antidote and reverse Cupid’s Curse, you must sacrifice something you adore.” My head drops low, a part of me expected a fairytale response like that. I pushed down the first thought that came to my mind and then asked Margaux about another option. 

Pearah rounds the corner: “Well there is an escape clause, but you would have to carry it out yourself.”

I implore her to go on.

“Cupid’s Curse will reverse itself, if you will after you’ve done something so agonizing, so crudely vile, everyone will be forced to hate you.” After Pearah reveals the escape clause Margaux lights up as if she genuinely forgot that part of the curse, I didn’t question it as I was eager to get this all over with.

“That’s it?” I ask.

They both look at each other and seemingly share a quick remake or two with their eyes. They then nod their head in unison. 

“I’d rather be hated and left alone than gawked at constantly, consider it done.” The two look at each other, then at me, confused. 

“You guys ever heard of cancel culture?” I pull out my phone then head to Twitter and begin typing away.

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