Without

The little bell chimed over the charity shop door and Chloe stepped inside out of the autumnal wind. Swapping her Tesco shopping bags to her other hand, she helped the door to close then weaved her way through the clothes racks. She walked to the glass jewellery cases and looked inside as two old women behind her muttered about the half-price pair of curtains.

Before Chloe’s eyes fixed on the glass case, she glanced at the bored looking teenage girl behind the counter. She had blonde hair in short pig tails and a nose stud in her too small nose. She had on a dusting of pink eyeshadow and lip gloss that made her look a lot younger. Chloe looked back on the case and saw the perfect necklace to go with her new dress. It was a large bronze oak leaf with a small key and circle disc next to it on a brown leather thong.

She couldn’t read the price on it, so she went to the counter to ask. The girl gave her a sulky stare, but still went to the glass cabinet and got the necklace out. Chloe took it and saw the price was three pounds. The necklace felt light in her hands, but looked newish.

She brought it.

The days passed and it had actually gone two weeks before Chloe wore the necklace for the first time. Putting the leather thong around her neck, she caught a whiff of unfamiliar perfume and paused. She tied the cord then sniffed it. The perfume came to her once more, it was faint but smelt flowery.

Sitting on the bed, Chloe played with the necklace and wondered about it previous owner. Who had she been? A young woman with fancy tastes and a lot of money? Chloe shook her head slightly, nope, a woman like that could have afforded better than this. Maybe the perfume had been a gift? She took a few deep breathes with the leather thong under her nose and tried to figure out the fragrance as well as any images of the owner.

When nothing came to her, Chloe slipped the necklace off and decided against wearing to go on her date. There was just something too odd about having the scent of another woman on her and all the secrets she might have kept.