A tinny, tinkling chime announced me, as the door swung open on ancient hinges, disturbing the delicate waltz of the dust motes, ever-entwining, blazing in brief moments, temporary stars. Shadows stretched thin across the floor, in spite of the fluorescent, blazing sunlight streaming through the streaked windows.
The store stood empty, clean though derelict, abandoned to those twisting motes and the chimes, still playing their accompaniment. The door felt an age behind me – a sharp, barking cough played out between it and my footsteps.
I turned, sharply, quite astonished to find company where no-one had been before.
“Can I help you, child?” a gnomish man, his voice cracked and brittle as forgotten papyrus, his back bent like reeds before the storm. He coughed again, hoarse, like Death stalked the edges of his life.
“I’m sorry,” I replied, waving my hands to encompass the emptiness, “I thought you sold curios.”
He chuckled. “Not curios, but curiosity,” he whispered. I had to lean close to him to catch the edges of his words. “Curiosity. A valuable commodity in this day and age. Someone must have defaced my sign again. Can I interest you in some curiosity? Perhaps about the heavens, or the rock below your feet?”
I shook my head and turned for the door.
“I’d rather not know.” I stepped again into the street, into the wind which carried the warmth of burning books and the delicious smell of ignorance.
I’d have to report him.
Can’t have him killing any cats, now.
Written for one of this week’s BeKindReWrite prompts, Curiosity Shop.
Comments and criticism always welcome!