Dark Solution 

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The phone vibrates on the desk, illuminating a screen resplendent with messages. From behind a pile of books, Karin lurches over to cycle through the conversation her friends are having.

I can’t do this anymore.

How much have you studied so far?

I’m going to fail for sure.

Fml, I’m going to bed.

Through blearing eyes Karin begins to type.

I need a break, going to make coffee and prepare for an all-nighter.

Signing the message with a sad-face emoji, she seals her fate.

Reaching into the far corner of a press in the kitchen, Karin unearths an old cafetière. It had been her grandmother’s, a classic piece with a dramatically cinched-in waist juxtaposing the harsh chrome exterior now dulled with age and discolouration. Its handle, jiggling loosely from the screws, had been repaired so many times that it had lost all aesthetic value but this was immaterial. “It’s a special instrument,” her grandmother used to say. “A magical converter crafted by faerie folk to grant those suffering from all sorts of soporific maladies a sweet reprieve.” Karin giggles, remembering how strange she thought this description, peppered with words that would mean nothing to a child but everything now.

Spooning three heaped portions of ground coffee into the filter, Karin fills the base with water before securing the device. Placing it on her stove, she turns the knob, clicking a gentle blue flame into life. The whirring of activity is almost instantaneous, a mystical alchemy that would produce the heavenly elixir she has come to thrive on. Heady aromas begin to fill the small space, wisps of happiness floating through the air, enticing with every breath.

Her mug, the only one she’s ever really owned, flaunts a symmetrical image of pandas on both sides and a precarious chip that always necessitated rather uniform drinking. Her parents had bought it for her on a visit to a wildlife park when she was younger and from that moment she’d demanded that all of her drinks should be served in it. “PANDA CUP!” she would yell if she ever spotted a foreign vessel on the dinner table. It always brought a smile to her face, a more inconspicuous safety blanket that she was able to bring into adulthood with her.

Bringing the pot off the burner, Karin decants the dark solution into the mug, steam rising in a quick plume as the hot, amber-framed liquid hits the chilled porcelain. A drop of milk and one sugar, a distasteful habit that her grandmother would most certainly have disapproved of, finishes the concoction.

Setting the mug down on her desk, she pushes loose papers and aging textbooks to the side. Raising the mug to her lips, she takes a generous sip, letting the bittersweet nectar run through her body. It is instantly warming and reinvigorating, jerking her mind back to action; she is granted a new lease of life in this final hour. “Okay Grams,” she sighs, “let’s make magic.”

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David is a copywriter from Dublin City, Ireland. He has a Masters in American Literature and Film and loves all things pop culture. In his spare time he enjoys writing blog posts for The Huffington Post, primarily about Hilary Duff.

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