magic-potionI can’t do without it. Those were the words echoing through Gavin’s mind. Whether those mental words referred to the potion itself or the opportunities it presented was uncertain. Nonetheless, the sealed vial accompanied Gavin to his apartment that afternoon after the startling results of his latest experiment revealed an unanticipated discovery. The manner in which he was able to understand and read the thoughts of his test subject captivated his consciousness. From a scientific perspective, it was fascinating. From a psychological perspective it was enticing, tempting, and potentially very dangerous.

Like a strong painkiller, the effects were not addictive until you began to consume it steadily, the increasing doses building your dependency on its effects. To that end, Gavin rationalized the decision to save this mixture. He would simply place it on the spice shelf in his kitchen, right next to the oregano, thyme, and basil. It was harmless so long as it remained there untouched and unused, available to him in his back pocket if needed.

Although it did remain behind a closed cabinet door, physically invisible, Gavin continued to see it in his mind. Consumed by its power, it was as if the addiction had already taken hold despite its absence from his physical system. It had already permeated Gavin’s mental intellect which was perhaps more perilous than its physical effects. It had begun to affect the quality of his daily life, both personally and professionally. His research practices had become sloppy. His personal life had become distracted. Nothing he did could be taken at face value. It had to be analyzed as it really was as well as how it could be given the use of his mind-reading concoction.

It was on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday evening that the fulcrum shifted, tipping Gavin’s psychological scales toward physical action. It began with a knock on Gavin’s apartment door. Looking through the peephole, the fisheye lens depiction of the person on the other side was familiar. It was Alessandra, the attractive brunette from next door. Unlocking the deadbolt, Gavin turned the knob and greeted his smiling neighbor. “Hi Alessa, what’s up?”

The smile on her face was an imploring one. With the incessant ruminations running through his consciousness lately, Gavin couldn’t help but wonder what she was thinking, and he knew exactly how to find out. Alessa had both hands behind her back. While being greeted, she pulled them from behind her to reveal a plastic cup in her grasp. “I didn’t make it to the grocery store today, and I really need some milk. Do you happen to have a cup I can borrow,” pleaded Alessa.

Captivated by her beauty and charm, Alessa could have asked for the keys to his car and Gavin would have obliged. “Sure, he said, come on in, I’ll get you some from the kitchen.” Alessa stepped through the doorway and waited politely just inside the apartment entrance. As Gavin strolled into the kitchen with the plastic cup, he continued a conversation with her across the span of the two rooms, “So, what have you been up to lately?” From across the space, Alessa replied, “Not much, just a lot of extra hours at work getting ready for our new release.” She was a fashion designer working on one of the most anticipated and highly sought after clothing lines of the fall season. It had demanded a tremendous amount of her time over the past several weeks.

As Gavin pulled open the refrigerator door and retrieved the half gallon of milk, he echoed back across to Alessa, “Is 2% okay?”

“Sure,” she replied, “that would be perfect.” As he began to fill the plastic cup to the halfway point, his eyes instinctively rose to the cabinet at eye level. Behind those doors lay the forbidden fruit, one bite and he may not be able to turn back. The temptation was too much for Gavin to resist. The mental addiction had commandeered his physical being as he opened the cabinet door, grabbed the vial, unplugged it, and deposited half the contents into the cup of milk. Looking over his shoulder to insure he was not being watched, he swirled the cup so as to dissolve the mixture into its carrier. There was no physical evidence that the cup of milk was anything but a cup of milk.

Carrying the elixir, innocently concealed, he handed it back to Alessa with a smile. “Here you go. If you need any more, just let me know.”

“Thanks Gavin, I appreciate it. It’s been such a crazy day. I really didn’t want to have to head back out this evening,” replied Alessa with a gracious smile. “No problem,” offered Gavin as he opened the front door of his apartment once again, “Have a good evening,” he said. “You too,” smiled Alessa.

epinephrineAs he shut the door, Gavin felt as though he had just ingested a high dose of amphetamines. His heartbeat was racing. He was dizzy with some unfamiliar feeling. Was it adrenaline? Was it guilt? Was it anticipation? Whatever it was, it left him wanting more. Gavin had transmuted his mental addiction into the physical world. There was no turning back now.

Author’s Note: This post is the sequel to a story previously posted. To read the original installment, please take a look at Discovery. The conclusion of this story will be posted next week. Thanks for reading!


13 thoughts on “Temptation

  1. Writing to Freedom September 4, 2014 / 10:51 am

    Wonderful Dave. Your story and writing are captivating. And I see you did create a series from the first post as we discussed. :). Gavin and his magic potent! 🙂

    • davecenker September 4, 2014 / 1:47 pm

      Thank you Brad, thrice over – for taking the time to read, for providing such kind comments, and for the nudge to take my original offering beyond its original limits 🙂 You have certainly inspired me to evolve both my writing style and the nature of the story offerings. Thanks again and best wishes for an inspired day!

      • Writing to Freedom September 4, 2014 / 3:18 pm

        How wonderful that a simple question did all that for you Dave! I wonder if I will ever try short stories, flash fiction or novel writing. Time will tell. 🙂

      • davecenker September 4, 2014 / 3:51 pm

        Just dip one toe in the water of fiction, and you may just find yourself wanting to jump in the deep end. I never imagined I would ever write a short story, but here I am. Take this as a gentle nudge for you to give it a try, even if you never choose to officially publish a story. It allows you to think and imagine in ways you never thought possible 😉

  2. balroop2013 September 4, 2014 / 3:18 pm

    Hi Dave,

    I had read ‘Discovery’ last week but was really at the loss of words…waiting what more is in store. What I have gathered from your stories and the one in which a cookie was kept at the table each morning, I expected something different! Temptations always go in the right direction in your stories but now I have to keep my fingers crossed! And just brace myself for the consequences of this potion. When the first temptation was snubbed, I was certain Gavin is quite sensible. Let’s see! Sometimes authors really hold the biggest surprise. Waiting eagerly!

    • davecenker September 4, 2014 / 3:47 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting Balroop. I must say that this particular story sequence is perhaps not along the same traditional path as my other short stories. Although I undoubtedly remain true to my desire to ‘inspire and be inspired’, sometimes navigation along the slippery slope for a character can shed light on a different type of inspiration. We shall see, I certainly hope I don’t disappoint with the finale 😉

      Perhaps the kindest compliment you could have paid me was in your recollection of my story ‘Cookie Crumbs’, one of my very first short stories ever published on my blog many months ago. Thank you for always taking the time to read and comment, it is very much appreciated!

  3. Marquita Herald (@marquitaherald) September 5, 2014 / 5:10 pm

    Okay, I’m officially hooked. It’s like I can hear him thinking this through – that sneaky little bugger! Look forward to the next installment because of course now I’m anxious to know what happens after she drinks that milk. Thanks for another great Dave. 🙂

    • davecenker September 7, 2014 / 11:29 am

      Thank you Marty, this is a new idea for me, breaking a story up into multiple pieces over several posts. It is a good way, for me at least, to allow things to mature in my head before the story falls out on to the page. I’m happy that you enjoyed it and look forward to publishing the final part this coming week. Thanks, as always, for reading. I appreciate it very much! Have a great weekend 😉

    • davecenker September 7, 2014 / 11:25 am

      Thanks Adriana, neither can I 😉 I always appreciate you reading my stories and providing your comments. Have a great weekend!

      • adrianapridemore September 8, 2014 / 11:48 am

        Don’t you love how sometimes the story writes itself and you discover it just like a reader does as it unfolds under your pen?

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