THE LOVE STONE • by Essie Gilbey

“It’s a love stone,” says the stallholder to the young girl with hurt in her eyes. She’s small, no more than twelve and no Disney kid, either, just an ordinary child.

“Give it to the person you love and they will love you back.”

“Will it work on anyone?” she asks, looking across at the market at two older kids, snogging nearby.

And he thinks: uh-oh puppy love gone awry — her heart is bound to get broken, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.

And then he thinks: blimey, don’t those two ever breathe?

“Anyone,” he answers, “no matter who they love now.”

They agree a price and he doesn’t rip her off too much, feeling sorry for her and her ill-fated crush. Though not sorry enough to warn her that the spell would only last a few minutes.

After buying the love stone she walks straight past the young lovers, without seeming to see them.

“Mum, I’ve got you something…” the woman to whom she offers her gift up is attractive, in a manner that speaks of stern self-discipline.

“Oh Hannah, what a waste of money! I don’t want your useless junk,” her mother coldly chides and she throws the love stone away to where it quietly lies in the gutter, its futile spell fading as the magic quickly dies.

“Come on –and stick with me this time — we’re late, you rotten child.”

Essie Gilbey is an ex-pat Brit, living in Massachusetts. She’s had stories published on Thrillers, Killers n Chillers and on Static Movement Online. Her blog is at and she also tweets stories on Twitter at

This story was sponsored by
Lacuna: A Journal of Historical Fiction. Visit our first issue, including poetry by Lark Beltran and Jack Peachum: book reviews: classic art: a review contest: fiction by Karen L. Kobylarz, Michele Stepto, Anne Brooke, and more!

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