Colin Liebreich has been writing ever since he was a kid. He loves creating fantastical worlds and deep characters, and wishes to share them with the world. He is also a gigantic video game nerd, and hopes to work at Bungie one day. At the time of this publication, he is a student in Full Sail University's Creative Writing BFA program.
The Whimsyland SoopurMart
Val’Gruuth the Beef-Slayer, of the Dwarf clan Soopur, ran the cash register of the SoopurMart with his flowing, bark-brown beard deep between his arms, a rock-piercing snore erupting from within.
His axe and helm, war-torn, sat propped up against the glass box he slept on, full of artifacts both strange yet common in Whimsyland.
The SoopurMart had the layout of your basic corner store. It was small, with three small aisles across from the counter, all covered head to toe in Whimsyland’s best snacks, canned meals and toiletries. The walls were lined with fridges and pastry cooling shelves, with the front door sandwiched between quarter-candy machines to the left of the counter.
The Dimension Wars had long since passed, but old Val had fought in them. He won many battles, killed many humans. Nowadays, Whimsyfolk lived peacefully alongside humans and whatever other nonsense poured in from the other dimensions. People from all sides adopted customs of the other, hence the corner store Val now manned.
It was his son, Bal-Tan’s idea to start the first little shop. It was only when it became a successful, continent-spanning franchise that Val agreed to run one himself- If there was one thing a Dwarf respected, it was money. If only that money didn’t mean turning the clan name into a marketable logo, putting eyes in the “o”’s like it were some godforsaken cryptid.
Despite the SoopurMart’s success, Val preferred being on the front lines, rather than hiring some coin-desperate young Whimsyfolk to run the place. This also meant Val got to catch up with the locals, which he enjoyed. That is, except for one.
Val awoke from his nap to the crippling realization that it was a Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, that meant one thing- Bob Jones would be coming in for his break-time snack. Val didn’t hate humans. But he hated how maddeningly plain some of them could be, and Bob was the perfect example of that.
With a chime, in walked Bob with his pale bald head, his washed-out blue shirt, beige shorts and Velcro flip-flops. His cologne wafted throughout the store, smelling like singed metal and dogwood. As usual, he couldn’t help but look every female Elf, Selkie and Faerie up and down, giggling to himself. He never did any touching, though Val really wanted a use for his axe.
Bob eventually came up to the counter with his usual bag of human-made chips and a bottle of human-made soda, both of which were found next to some of Whimsyland’s most interesting items-- Haste potions, fickleberry tarts, basilisk jerky. “Ah, ain’t this new world of ours great?” He said for the hundredth time in as many Wednesdays.
“Uh-huh,” Val grunted. “Cash or credit?”
“Well, actually,” Bob said. “I found this amazing block of refined ore!” He plopped a pearl-white rectangle onto the glass counter. “It fell out of one of them portals, right onto my lawn! Certainly something so amazing would be sufficient payment?”
Val picked up the block, weighing it, scanning it up and down. Then, he took a bite, the creamy taste of white chocolate caressing his tongue.
“Wh-What?” Bob said, confused.
“Must’ve been a Candyland portal,” Val said. “Cash or credit?”
But this, as usual, didn’t dissuade Bob. He shoved his plain little hand back into his pocket, and pulled out some sort of crumpled-up gold paper. “What about this, huh?” He asked. “Pure gold! Sure, it’s a little thin, but more than enough for chips and pop! Maybe even a couple smokes?”
“That stuff’s everywhere,” Val said, “Elves plaster their houses with it to ward off spirits. …Where’d you say you got this?”
Bob, of course, didn’t answer. Instead, he reached back into his pockets. The other customers, thankfully, knew poor Val was in for the long haul, so they left payment at the edge of the counter and went on with their days.
Bob threw all sorts of vaguely shiny things onto the counter—Crystals, petrified bark, even some silver fur he thought was from a unicorn. Each time, Val pointed out how common or useless the item truly was.
Nearly an hour later, Bob had finally given up. Grumbling, he paid for his snack, left his trash on the counter, and stomped out of the store.
Once Bob drove off, Val spat the chocolate he bit off back out, wiped it down, and stuffed it and the rest of the brick under the counter. Candyland chocolate sold big in Whimsyland. Too bad Bob didn’t know that.