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When I was sixteen I was in a fairytale relationship with a guy named Adam, who was seventeen at the time. Our relationship was picture-perfect; we had known each other our whole lives, fallen in love and happily decided to date. Unfortunately this was not to last. A few days after Adam's seventeenth birthday he was diagnosed with a disease unknown to science that left him with a strange dark tint to his skin and a red glint in his eyes. However, apart from occasional fevers, he was physically healthy and he remained a lovely guy. After a while though, his fevers became more common and more severe until one day he was at my home and he suddenly developed a fever so dangerous that my mom called an ambulance. He was given a blood transfusion and for a while was alright, but doctors warned his symptoms could return at any moment. Terrified for his life Adam browsed the internet, spamming medical forums with descriptions of his condition and desperate pleas for help. His search bore no results until he stumbled upon a website displaying an advert for herbal medicines. Desperate now, he clicked. I don't know how but he ordered a bottle of something called Snake Oil. It seemed like a bottle of plain water - a scam, I thought. I ignored the warning signs and gave him the bottle. He took a long swig and we then headed out on our first real date. The next morning I didn't see him until I arrived at school and entered the cafeteria. I was instantly hit by an intense, pungent odour, like that of rancid alcohol rather than the usual rank-butter-and-sour-milk school cafeteria stink. No one else seemed to be noticing so I headed over to Adam. The smell got stronger the closer I got to him but I still refused to believe it was him. He was surrounded by other guys, which was odd for him - Adam was normally a huge introvert. Unsettled but still feeling brave I edged up to him, only to be scooped up and have my lips crushed by an overly harsh kiss from Adam. I could no longer deny that the stench was him. It overpowered me as he squeezed me. "Adam..." I gasped. "Let me go... you're hurting me..." Adam just laughed, a harsh, cold laugh in a voice that was not his own. Suddenly his multitude of friends were all enormous, beefy dudes bulging with muscles, and the dark tint to Adam's skin was so ingrained his skin was jet black. Flames seemed to dance in his burning red eyes as he stared at me. I screamed as loudly as I could, but the teachers and other kids just turned away, looking frightened. This scared the shit out of me as a struggled and screamed, tears beginning to slide down my cheeks. "ADAM! STOP IT, YOU SICK BASTARD! LEAVE ME ALONE!" I sobbed, kicking and punching him as he lifted me to the ceiling. Once again I screamed. This time Adam's laugh was cold and cruel. "Adam... Ad-am... this vehicle... Adam... this vehicle... will do..." mused Adam, in a deep, ominous voice that did not belong to him. Suddenly he pulled something from his pocket and took a long drink. His fingers twitched as he drank and I read the label. Snake Oil. I reached out my hand, curled my fingers round a strand of his hair. His expression softened and the flames in his eyes changed to Adam, my Adam, bound in chains and struggling in a pit of fire, screaming my name. I wrapped fingers into a fist and hit the bottle.  The effect was instant. The bottle smashed on the floor and the contents smoked, filling the air with greasy fumes. The bulky 'friends' yelled as they were sucked into the oil and Adam's face suddenly contorted with pain. He screamed in agony as flames burst from his eyes and mouth, zooming into the oil as my Adam's body slowly shrank back down to its regular size and his skin returned to the colour it was before his illness. He crumpled into my arms. "You... will never... stop... me..." gasped the deep voice from the spilt oil. It sounded weak. "I just did," I said, and I picked up the remaining shards of glass and threw them at the wall. As they smashed and the Snake Oil Demon screamed, I cradled Adam.  I never heard anything from the demon or the seller of the oil after that, until a few days ago. I was browsing eBay and found someone selling a bottle. It was being sold as Amber Tonic but as I zoomed in to read the label I saw two words that filled my stomach with ice-cold fear. Snake Oil.


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