A small, dreary town is offered a medicine that, if taken by each citizen, will make life perfect for them. A short story written for an English creative writing project.
The marketplace was alive with activity. Dust was being kicked up in great clouds along the roads as crowds surged to and from stalls, sometimes accompanied with a donkey or other animal to trade or help carry purchases. The town was not a pretty one. The cobblestone streets were a variety of dull gray colors, along with being covered in a fine layer of dust and dirt that seemed to never go away. The buildings were made of a dark wood to compliment the dreary feel of the community, and all of the boards were visibly rotting. The townspeople didn’t have the time, money, or care to fix the slowly deteriorating town; everyone was too busy focusing on trying to resolve the uncomfortably high crime rate.
Hugh had his arm linked with his elderly mother’s, helping her maneuver her way through the bustling crowds and occasionally shooting malevolent glances at those who shoved their way past without a thought about civility. In the center of the marketplace was a large crimson stand with an oversized banner flying above it. In large gold letters, it proclaimed “Your remedy for troubles! Sold here!” A tall, skinny man wearing a suit and top hat stood atop some crates in front of the place, and a large crowd was converging around him. The townspeople had talked about this man’s arrival for days, which was why Hugh and his mother were here today. Women gossiped over tea that this man’s medicine would stop aging, and men would share that they heard it could make you the perfect huntsman, or that you would suddenly be stronger after drinking it. Bachelors and bachelorettes all believed that this somehow magical potion would help them find true love. Whoever you talked to, there was not a single citizen who didn’t hold this item in high esteem. The man on the crates was pulling at the ends of his mustache, gauging the size of the crowd packed around his stall before finally clearing his throat to get their attention.
“I am here today to sell you mankind’s greatest creation,” the man announced. “You may have heard things about this wonderful concoction I have with me, and I must, unfortunately, tell you that not all of it is true. What I have with me is no panacea- it does not cure any ailment you have, nor does it make you stronger or more beautiful.” At this point, the crowd was murmuring in a bitter disappointment, and some people were leaving and shaking their head. Noticing this, the salesman self-consciously began adjusting his coat. “I must ask you to hear me out. What this medicine does is not cure you of physical sickness or weakness; it will, simply, make life perfect.” There was another ripple of noise through the crowd, this time in confusion. The men and women who started to leave turned back, but the doubt in their eyes was still obvious. The salesman smiled, knowing he had their attention. “What I have with me today will make you invulnerable to the pain and suffering of the outside world. You will not have to see the anguish of others,” the man looked around, “or even trouble yourself with the sight of this town. What my product does is make you worry-free. It makes life good.”