The alarm clock blared, and Jenna reached out blindly and smacked it silent. Then she fumbled around on her end table before she found what she was looking for – a small glass vial. She pulled out the stopper and breathed deeply to let in the contents of the vial. Instantly, she felt wide-awake. She closed the vial and put it back on the table. Its yellow label read Wakefulness.
Throwing on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, Jenna then went to the kitchen. She opened the cupboard, but found nothing but a package of stale croutons on a cereal box full of bills. The fridge contained only a brown head of lettuce, an empty jar of peanut butter, and sour milk.
Jenna pounded on the door of her mother’s room.
“Mom, we’re out of food!”
A sleepy grunt came in response.
“I got you some Full,” said her mother, now sounding fully awake—she had obviously used her own vial of Wakefulness, “It’s on the table.”
Back in the kitchen, Jenna found the vial full of a brown substance. Its label proudly proclaimed Full—hunger gone in a wiff!
With a sigh, Jenna opened the vial and took a deep breath. Instantly, her hunger vanished. She glanced down at herself. Soon she was going to need to buy jeans in a smaller size—which was what the supermodels used Full for. Jenna, who had always worried she was a little too thin, wished she could just have some real food. She sat down at the table and sighed again.
Her mother entered the kitchen, looking radiant – her hair was perfectly glossy, and her face practically shone. These distracted a little from the cheap dress she was wearing. Jenna could tell that her mother had used a vial of At Your Best.
“You look upset, dear,” she said, taking the vial of Full for herself, “Maybe you should pick up some Happiness on your way to school.”
Jenna shrugged. “Maybe I will,” she said.
“Get me a vial of Allure while you’re at it, will you, dear?”
With a frown, Jenna shrugged on her backpack. “Are you going out again tonight?” she asked her mother.
“Oh, I thought I might,” she replied, “You don’t mind, do you?”
“Of course not,” Jenna gave a fake smile and stepped out of the house. The sky was determinedly grey, and there was a chill in the air—which smelled of neglect. Jenna stepped around a pile of garbage to get to the sidewalk, where her friend Nikki waited.
“You don’t look so hot,” Nikki commented, “Something up?”
“No,” said Jenna.
“Ok, lie to your best friend, it’s cool,” Nikki said teasingly, “Come on, Jenna, what is it?”
“I don’t know.”
“It’s all those vials you’re using,” Nikki said, “You’ve got to lay off them.”
“It’s not the vials,” Jenna argued, “I’m fine. I just need some Happiness.”
Nikki rolled her blue eyes. “Yes, you need happiness—but it doesn’t come in a vial.”
“Quit your lectures. I’m not up to it today.”
“Maybe a pick-me-up will do you good. After all, you can’t talk to Brent if you’re going to be all moody.”
“What do you mean, talk to Brent?” Jenna asked, panicked. Brent was in her advanced math class, and she had been in love with him since the first day of school.
“Remember, you promised you’d talk to him today.”
“I must have been hyped up on Confidence,” Jenna said, “I’d better get some more. Come on, quick stop at the stalls.”
“I’m not going over there,” Nikki said stoutly, “But I’ll wait for you in the café on 29th.”
The two girls parted ways, and Jenna slipped down a side-alley. There were the stalls, full of bright, happy, energetic people calling out their wares.
Jenna went straight to the stall that sold various stages of Attraction.
“I need some Allure,” she said to the man who worked there.
“Girl like you? I should say you need some major Seductiveness. Come on, make them crazy about you.” He leered.
For a moment, Jenna thought of Brent—what if she could get something to make him really fall for her? But the vials could only make her more attractive to him—they couldn’t really create love. And they wore off pretty fast. Besides, a bottle of Seductiveness was way out of her price range, and the Allure was for her mother.
“No, thanks. Just one vial of Allure.”
The deal was quickly made. Jenna turned her attention to the other stalls. Happiness, Joy, Anger, Charisma, Sleepiness, Wakefulness, Remembering, Forgetting, Courage. She only had enough for one small vial. Would Courage or Charisma help her more? Or was her mother right, and what she really needed was Happiness? She wandered, looking at each one—knowing she would be late for school, but still uncertain what she should buy.
It was then that she noticed a small tent set up in a back corner. The flap was open, and purple light was flooding out of it.
Jenna stepped closer, and as she did so a voice said softly: “That’s right. Come here.” Though now frightened, Jenna kept moving towards the tent. Soon she was inside it. Seated at a low coffee table was a woman wearing a colorful shawl. Her face seemed timeless—one moment she looked ancient, the next almost childlike. Her eyes were heavily painted, and they looked at Jenna knowingly.
“I have what you seek.” she said softly, and held up a single vial. It looked like many of the others—with a simple cork stopper, and made of clear glass to show its contents, which were shockingly pink. But it bore no label.
“What is it?” Jenna asked, suspicious but unable to curb her curiosity.
“It is what you seek,” the woman smiled, “For what does any woman want… but Love?”
Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: "Take the title of any song by The Beatles and write an urban fantasy story based solely on the title." courtesy of Jason M. Tucker's Monsters, Magic, and the Muse.