This story came from another prompt on Instagram, and because of the word limit I had to end this story at 500 words, but I think I may toy around with it and make it something longer one day!
The bell above the door lets out a pathetic-sounding creak instead of a jingle as I enter the shop. A thick layer of dust covers most objects near me, making it hard to decipher what they are.
Surely Gran didn’t mean to send me here. There’s no way she wants to donate her stuff to a place that looks like it invented cholera.
“Hello!” A voice near the back of the store answers immediately. “Come on in!”
Passing a stack of moldy books, I see a short, squat woman in a bubblegum pink shawl sorting through a box behind a counter. A cash register from the eighties is taking up half of the countertop space beside her.
“Hello, dear.” The woman smiles at me. “Welcome to Sublime Thrifts!”
Not a single item that I see can be described as ‘sublime’ but I smile and set Gran’s box on the few inches of countertop that are still open.
“I need to donate this,” I tell her.
“Okay, dear. Have a look around while I sort it.”
“I don’t-” I begin.
“Don’t you want a receipt?”
I hesitate. Gran would probably want a receipt. “Okay, yeah.”
Leaving the woman to her sorting, I edge my way through the shop.
It’s pretty bad. There’s mold growing on everything that isn’t covered in dust. I keep fighting the urge to sneeze.
The only thing that looks semi-new is a huge curtain that must be covering a window. I touch the deep purple velvet with interest. This is the kind of thing Gran would have in her bedroom.
The curtain twitches and I see in surprise that it’s not covering a window. There’s another room behind the curtain and I glance around for an Employees Only sign. Instead, I see a small hand-lettered sign above the curtain that reads Enter if you DARE.
Man, that’s cheesy.
I push the curtain aside and I’m surprised to find that the objects in this part of the room are brand new. There’s no dust and zero traces of mold. Everything is sparkling and shining.
The object closest to me is an old-fashioned oil lamp, covered in jewels. It’s a bit tarnished, but the jewels are sparkling. Next to the lamp is a huge ornate book whose title appears to be in Hebrew or possibly Arabic. As I take in the rest of the room, I notice the mirror hanging on the opposite wall.
The frame is beautifully carved and it’s nearly as tall as myself. Stepping in front of it, I notice that my reflection is slightly distorted. Pulling my sleeve over my hand, I reach out to rub at the glass.
As soon as my hand connects with the smooth surface, it ripples. I jerk my hand back with a gasp. It didn’t feel like glass. It felt like water.
“Oh, there you are!” The shop owner is in the doorway. She beams at me. “You’ve found the special section! Not everyone finds this, you know.”