Short Story #5 – The Candy Shop

This weeks prompt was “Your character is in a store full of candy machines that all seem normal, except for one. What is odd about it? Do they dare put a quarter in?” I tried to do more fantasy/dystopian this time. Not sure it 100% went that way…but enjoy!

“Ding” went the door as we entered Marvin’s Treats and More. The bright colors assaulted our vision, and the smell confronted our nose – sugary sweet, with a little sour and then subtle shift to cocoa – everything you could hope for and love about candy. We’d heard stories about this candy shop, but had never been in ourselves. It was out of the way, on the edge of the neighborhood, isolated by itself. Candy was not something that I’d had a lot of, it was a necessity in the midst of a war but there it was, still in business after all these years. I had only recently learned why it was a pillar of our community.

A plump, brunette woman came through the door from the rear of the store. She wore a kerchief over her curls and tucked one behind her ear as she said, “Hello!” cheery, but a hint of hesitation. You could never be too careful these days. She hadn’t yet seen the patch on my jacket that marked me. “How can I help?”

Terrance and I exchanged a look, I spoke up. “I, ummm, we, wanted to, ummm buy the…” How could I say it? I had only overheard the instructions while I was at work the other day. Two women whispering in the bathroom.

“The taffy, ahhh, the purple taffy machine.”

SPIT IT OUT JEANINE, I chided myself in my head “Can we see the machine that makes the purple taffy?”

The woman smiled and her eyes scanned my coat. She saw the mark. “Yes, right this way.”

I reached in my pocket and my thumb traced the edge of the note. The women in the bathroom said if you wanted to get out you were to include our names, ages, occupations and address on a notecard and to folded it in half. At Marvin’s Treats there was a Taffy Machine where you could slip the note in a slot to appear as if you were purchasing taffy, while in fact you were leaving your plea. You wouldn’t know when they would come, but it was a glimpse of hope. We had to take the risk. We had to get out. Terrance reached out and squeezed my elbow. I stepped forward to follow the woman to the machine.

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