The bell chimed as Adrian stepped through the door.
“I’m sorry, but we’re closed,” a voice shouted from another room. “We’re all out of tinctures.”
Adrian assumed it was the shopkeeper. “I am not here for tinctures.”
The annoyed head of a man popped up in the doorway. “Honey, unless you want some scented candles, I am afraid to tell you we are all out of everything.” He disappeared again behind the door frame. “Bye!”
But Adrian didn’t leave. “I heard you have some… toys.”
“Toys?” The disembodied voice echoed through the shop. “In a healer’s shop? Don’t be silly.”
Adrian swallowed. “Greg sent me.”
There was a moment of silence, before the shopkeeper appeared and moved to the counter. He towered over Adrian and investigated him before speaking. “Greg? Was he this tall, short spiky hair, green eyes, worn leather jacket and a dragon tattoo around his neck?”
The shopkeeper stared Adrian down as if looking for something deep behind his eyes.
Adrian’s mouth went dry. “I do not remember a dragon tattoo.”
Two tense seconds passed, before the shopkeeper’s eyes lit up. “Perfect! Friends of Greg are friends of mine! Follow me.”
He led Adrian through the backroom to another one. While the first room looked like a storage for a healer’s shop with jars and bowls sitting in shelves, this new room looked more like a… laboratory? Except less modern. The room was lit with candles and rather than containers being neatly arranged in shelves, various vials and flasks were scattered around on counters, tables and every other surface available, seemingly unorganized. Next to a wall was a large black structure, about waist-high that reminded Adrian of a cauldron, except it was covered in ornaments and spikes without a visible opening.
“You are a warlock, right?” Adrian asked as he was taking in the room.
The shopkeeper put his hands to his chest, faking pain. “Warlock is such a terrible word. It means oathbreaker.” He put on a grin. “I always honor my oaths.”
It also means deceiver, Adrian thought to himself. “What would you prefer to be called then?”
The shopkeeper thought for a moment. “You can call me Urun.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means…” Urun trailed off. “It’s an old name. You haven’t told me yours yet.”
“I am Adrian.”
Another grin formed on Urun’s face. “Good.” He turned around, almost cheerfully. “Anyway, you are here for toys you said?”
Adrian looked around. “Yeah.”
Urun cast Adrian a sideway glance. “Did Greg tell you what kind of toys I stock?”
“Oh.” Urun put a bent finger into the air as if disrupted from a thought. “That is strange. Greg should have told you when he sent you my way.” Urun was staring down Adrian again, the cheer vanished.
“We… didn’t have a lot of time,” Adrian brought out. “We got disrupted.”
“Oh, that is quite all right, my dear.” Urun hitched his hands together in exaggerated joy. “After all, I simply love this part.” He moved over to the black cauldron-looking thing, seemingly gliding over the floor. “You see, I fulfill desires. Not wishes. Desires.” Urun flashed a grin full of teeth before striding through the room. “Everyone wants something, right? But nobody wants to work for it.” He turned to face Adrian. “That’s where I come in. I will grant them their hearts’ desires, for only a small fee. Symbolic, really.”
Adrian was still standing in the entrance. “What kind of fee?”
“Oh, it depends, really.” Urun shrugged as he continued his walk through the room. “It depends on the request. It depends on the person.” He placed a hand on his chest and put on an innocent face. “Of course I never ask for anything outrageous.” He ran his fingers along the edge of the counter on the wall as he walked. “But even so, some people are unwilling to pay my due. And when that happens I have to set an example.” He turned to Adrian. “Come here.”
Adrian hesitated for a moment but approached Urun.
The shopkeeper stood in front of a wall cabinet, his hands on the hinges. “That’s where the toys come in.” He threw the wings open and Adrian saw a number of sextoys in the cabinet, everything from fleshlights to dildos and buttplugs. “Everyone who does not pay me will serve as payment themselves,” Urun explained.
Adrian stared at the assortment of sextoys, thinking about the fact that everyone of these is a human being.
“Don’t worry. They are guaranteed people,” Urun chuckled. “You can hear their pleas when you hold them.” He grabbed a buttplug and handed it to Adrian while eyeing the cabinet angrily. “Except for the fleshlights, those never shut up.”
As Adrian was holding the buttplug, he could hear the voice of a man in his head. “Shit man, you gotta get me out of here. This guy is crazy. Please, I don’t want to be a buttplug. I promise I can pay you. Just get me out of here.” Adrian could not stand the despair in the man’s voice and put it down on the counter.
“Oh, not a fan?” Urun commented. “Not a problem. We’ll find the right one for you. Mmh, how about this one then?” He grabbed a fleshlight and popped off the lid, holding the disembodied mouth towards Adrian.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” the mouth on the fleshlight sputtered. “Turn me back, please! I promise I’ll get what you want. I learned my lesson, really.” The fleshlight’s voice began to quiver as it was beginning to talk to itself. “I just wanted to pass my exam. I didn’t have the—”
Urun cut the man off by putting on the lid. “Urgh, this one is always so needy.” He presented the closed fleshlight to Adrian and smirked. “He’s a good sucker though.”
Adrian avoided eye contact by looking at the cabinet. “I think I’ll go for something else.”
“Well,” Urun put the fleshlight and buttplug back. “Pick what you like. I hope you find one among those poor, unfortunate souls.”
Adrian couldn’t help but flinch internally.
“Don’t worry, I won’t break into song.” Urun put the back of his hand next to his mouth, faking a whisper. “That costs extra.”
Urun slid away to a nearby shelf, taking stock or sorting his vials.
Adrian, left to his own devices, looked through the toys in the cabinet and took some in his hand, quickly putting them back again, his face grimacing each time.
After a while he turned to Urun. “Do you have others? All of these are so…” He blinked. “Desperate.”
“Oh?” Urun put on a surprised face. “Not much into dominating?” He quickly moved over and put an arm around Adrian. “Oh well, nobody’s perfect.”
He led Adrian over to another cabinet, one less showy. “I do in fact have some more. But I must warn you. They are what I call…” Urun’s face was distorted with disgust. “Rejects.”
“I want to see them.”
“Then so it shall be!” Urun removed his arm from Adrian’s shoulders and opened the cabinet. “Only a happy customer is a good customer!” As he returned, he stopped for a moment as he moved past Adrian. “I hope you find what you are looking for,” Urun said with a gravity that sent shivers down Adrian’s spine, before returning to his cheery persona. “Good luck!”
Adrian took stock of the toys in the cabinet and a dildo made of red rubber immediately caught his eyes. Nevertheless he touched several others to listen in on their thoughts, before taking the red dildo in his hand. Some of the transformed men even expressed excitement in being nothing but sextoys. The implication of the fact that this would qualify them as rejects made Adrian sick.
“I want this one,” Adrian said.
Urun turned to Adrian and saw the red dildo. “That one has not talked to anyone yet. What did he say?”
Adrian took longer than he wanted to answer. “Not much.”
“If you wanted a silent one, why not order it online?”
“I want to own someone,” Adrian replied. “Not listen to their babble.”
The corners of Urun’s mouth moved ever so slightly upwards, in a way that told Adrian that Urun knew he was lying. They were both playing a game of bluff with all the cards on the table. “Well then, let’s talk payment, shall we?”
“Oh, no.” Urun flicked his hand. “I don’t want money. Just a small token of gratitude.”
Adrian’s grip on the dildo tightened. “Like what?”
Urun leaned in closer. “A promise,” he half whispered.
Adrian furrowed his brows. “A promise of what?”
“Oh, I don’t know yet.” Urun faked a pondering expression. “I will let you know when I do. Could be anything.”
Adrian didn’t say a word.
“The important bit is,” Urun gestured to the shelf, “If you fail to pay me, you are mine.”
Adrian looked away.
“So what do you say?” Urun eyed the dildo in Adrian’s hands. “Do we have a deal?”
Adrian followed Urun’s eyes as he was listening in on the dildo’s thoughts, trying to hide a pained expression from making the choice. “Yes, we do.”
“Perfect!” Urun cheered, and walked over to his shelf. “And just so you know…” He spoke with gravity again while arranging vials. “Names have power, Adrian.”
Adrian understood the implied threat and walked out of the room without a further word, clutching the dildo in his hand and ignoring the cheery “See you again!” behind him.
Once he was out of the shop, his pace quickened. He wanted to get away as fast as possible.
As he walked, he looked down on the dildo. “Don’t worry. I’ll change you back.”
“Do you think he knew?” he heard the voice from the dildo in his mind.
“Without a shadow of doubt,” Adrian grimaced. “I bet he knew as soon as I mentioned Greg.”
There was a short silence before the dildo spoke up again. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”