Scarlett held her breath as the cold London air blew in her face. Her hands shook vigorously, and she was pretty sure it wasn’t from the cold. The heavy wind blew up against her trousers, sending chills straight down to her toes. She wrapped her arms around herself and tied her hood up to stop her red hair flying from side to side. Her heart began racing as she opened the door.
The salesman stared at her as she walked in, looking up from his newspaper. He was a tall thin man with scraggly facial hair and spectacles; he actually looked rather friendly. “Can I help you with something?”
She froze. “No. That’s fine.”
He pointed at his watch. “Well hurry up, I can’t have school kids in here at this hour.”
Scarlett took her hood off and shook her hair from her eyes. Clenching her fists, she walked down some of the aisles, pretending to study them. She was startled when she heard footsteps approaching quickly. The smell of stale coffee and cigarette breath made her feel nauseated as she turned to the shopkeeper. He frowned. “Sure there isn’t anything I can help you with, young lady?”
Scarlett’s heart began bouncing in her chest. “Do you…have anything for treating insomnia?”
He crossed his eyes. “You got trouble sleeping?”
She rubbed her eyes and pretended to yawn. “Yeah, got lots of stress with exams coming up.”
She began batting her eyelashes and put on a smile. “Yeah, I kinda wanna be a doctor too. That’s what you studied, right?”
The shopkeeper laughed. “Yep, and I ended up in here.”
Scarlett crossed her arms and leant against the aisle, picking up whatever she could find. “Will this work?”
The shopkeeper took the packet from her hand and studied it. “Caffeine pills? Depends on what kind of solution you’re looking for, kid.”
Her nerves began to calm as she took short breaths. She giggled and took it back. “Yeah, silly me. I need something to help me sleep. Something strong.”
“If you want something strong, I’ll need to see a doctor’s note. You have one of those, I presume?”
Her heart suddenly began racing again as her palms went sweaty. “Uh, yeah. Think I left it in my car though.”
The shopkeeper sighed. “Well, I can’t give you anything over the counter without a prescription, sweetheart. You best be on your way.” He pointed to the door as he walked back to his desk.
Scarlett’s eyes darted around as a lump settled in her throat.. “I actually have it here, sorry. I must have forgot it was in my bag.” She produced a prescription from her bag.
The shopkeeper raised his brow. “Okay, what are you looking for? I’m guessing something like Temazepam or similar?”
Scarlett blinked rapidly. “Yeah, that’ll do.”
“Grab whatever else you want from the shelf, I’ll get it in a bottle for you.”
As he walked back behind the desk, Scarlett wiped her brow and quickly examined any packet she could find. She discretely grabbed something from the aisle and made her way towards the drinks counter, keeping the packet hidden behind her back. As she looked around for something to purchase, she was delighted to find she had picked up some tablets with drowsiness as a side effect.
Grinning to herself, she quickly opened the packet and stuck the carton in her sleeves. She tossed the ripped box into a nearby rubbish bin, landing with perfect accuracy. She covered it up with some of the various other pieces of trash before grabbing an energy drink from the counter. Discretely, she opened another and left it lying on the side, knowing it would spill.
With a spring in her step, she walked towards the shopkeeper, handing over her drink. A bottle of the pills was waiting on the counter. She stared at them with ease, she would have to be quick. The keeper was startled by the sound of a crash by the counter. He sighed heavily. “I’ve told them to fix that for ages. Wait here a minute.” he said, grabbing a mop.
“No worries.” Scarlett said, looking at the bottle in front of her. In a flash, she shoved the pills from the bottle into her shirt pocket and covered it with her hoodie. With ease, she ripped open the packet she’d taken and threw the rest of the pills in. The shape was roughly the same, so she begged he wouldn’t notice.
As he came back, he adjusted his glasses and looked over at her. “Is this for someone else?”
Scarlett’s heart jumped. “What?”
“The prescription. Unless your name is Shane Hazelwood, is this for someone else?”
She sighed with relief. “Oh no, that’s my dad. He asked me to pick them up. Sorry, my mind’s frazzled, but thank you so much.” she said, grabbing the bottle.
“Sorry, I’ve had too many kids try that one on me. If your dad needs them, he’ll have to come collect them himself.”
Scarlett sulked, handing the bottle back over. “Okay, can I get this though?” she asked, placing down the energy drink.
The shopkeeper smiled. “These things will kill you, you know?”
Scarlett grinned back. “Not if exams don’t kill me first.”
The beeping sound of the check in was heard, and she immediately took a five-pound note out of her pocket and grabbed the drink. “Keep the change.”
He beamed at her. “Thank you, that’s very kind.”
She waved goodbye and walked out of the store, putting her hood back up. Grabbing her phone from her bag, she dialled Alistair’s number.
After a few beeps, the Irish accent was heard. “Scarlett, it’s half seven in the bloody morning, what do you want?”
“Forget about the morning, sleeping beauty, it’s the night you should be focused on. Meet me in the chat room at school, tonight you’re giving Aiden a taste of his own medicine.”