They burst from the cold outside into the shop, causing the bell above the door to jangle loudly. Little Harry scampered off to the shelves immediately, traipsing snow all over the floor. His mother shook her head and mouthed an apology to the shopkeeper, who waved his hand dismissively. She knocked the snow from her boots onto the mat outside, pushed the door to, and walked into the shop after her son.
She found him in the confectionary aisle, of course. He was rummaging through bags of mint humbugs, then stopped and glanced upwards in awe at a set of shelves above his head. She followed his gaze, and laughed in surprise at the bags of cookies that were packed tightly out of his reach. They had very unusual flavours, she saw. Here was a bag of cream, vanilla and lady’s smock. There, arrowroot with raspberries and Christmas bell. Sage and dark telqua, lavender with chanterelle and seaweed. Salted mint, beetroot and filbert.
The shopkeeper came to stand next to her. He was very old, crinkled skin around deep-set eyes that watched the child’s antics suspiciously. She could hear the effort it took for him to draw oxygen into his lungs, as if his nose was too small and lungs were lined with dust. He advised not buying the cookies. They were for… a different sort of clientele.
Under her coat, her tail was flicking. Her son’s ears were beginning to glow blue.
“We’ll take some.”