The antique shop had only been open a few days and from my office window it had seemed busy. There had been a continuous flow of all kinds of people going in and out. Sometimes they carried paper bags but most of the time they came out with nothing. A few people in the office had been and they whispered about the things they had seen behind their hands.
I had no interest in anything the shop was selling. The front window display looked like a posh jumble sell just without the clothes. There were a few tables, bookcases and chairs filled with a variety of items; old books, lamps, dolls, teddy bears, ornaments, vintage toys, clocks etc. Far too much to look at.
Getting into my car after finishing work for the week, the engine wouldn’t start. It was pouring with rain and a snap of winter freeze was in the air. I called my breakdown service and the waiting time was an hour. I looked miserably back at the office building. I could go in and do some more work…or…I glanced across at the antique shop.
With a shrug, I got out of my car and hurried across to the door which was lit up like a lighthouse. Going in, a bell ring over my head and nice warm air hugged me like an old friend. Stepping through, I saw the shop was more packed then the window display! There were tables, bookcases, cabinets, shelves holding all kinds of things that everything blurred into one.
In the center was a square counter and till area. Three old women were stood there helping customers. There was a hushed chatter as if secrets were being spoken. No one looked at me, so I just began moving around. I noticed a staircase to my left with a sign above it saying more things up here. At the back of then room three doors led off but one was marked staff only.
I drifted around, looking but not looking, wondering and frowning. The air smelt of old attic and dried flowers. Sort of comforting but also chocking. Then through the mass of things, I began noticing items that shouldn’t be here and had been prohibited by the New Age Government. Banned books, items related to cigarettes and alcohol, banned music, statues and sketches of nudes, ‘too’ modern art, fantasy and mythology items. I looked at a model of a red and yellow dragon rising out of flames then I quickly moved on.
That would explain why this shop had seemed so popular! People were looking and buying prohibited items! I hurried into one of the back rooms and found a dark corner. My head was tumbling. If I got caught here that’d be the end of me! The end of everyone in this shop! Having prohibited items meant jail time leading to death unless someone bailed you out.
I shut my eyes and tried to calm down, but I was sweating badly. I took in deep breaths and told myself, I just needed to walk out of here and not come back. I should go and wait in my car for the breakdown man to come. Then when I got home I should report the shop as was my duty. But I couldn’t move.
‘Hey! What you doing!’ a gnarled voice demanded.
I opened my eyes, not sure if I was being addressed or not. There was an old man before me, the light was dim but I could still make him out. He had red cheeks, an angry face and was wearing a tweed suit. He was also carrying a lit lantern.
‘Nothing…I got lost…’ I trailed.
‘You buying something or what?’ he snapped.
‘Oh, erm…This…’ I uttered, without looking I picked up the first thing my right hand touched and showed it him.
He snorted and waved at me to move. I did so and he followed me to the counter. I had closed my hand around the smooth, light object. I kept my eyes up as I placed it down on the glass top and paid for it. Then on receiving a small paper bag, I rushed outside. The rain and freezing cold hit me in the face, whipping the warmth of the shop from me, but I didn’t care.
I got into my car and sit there huddled and shaking. The paper bag clutched my hands like a bomb. A knocking at my window made me jump and I shoved the bag onto the floor and opened the door. It was only the breakdown man, who kindly took me home.
To Be Continued…
(Inspired from; https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/writing-prompts-for-monday-october-23-2017/ with thanks).