Not so cheap.
A handful of dress jewellery brought at the Portabella market.
I liked the look of the brooch, faux pearls around the edge and a faux sapphire in the centre. Ten pounds the lot, a bargain, I thought.
I decided to pay quickly and take a closer look when I got home.
The toothless smile from the vendor sent shivers down my back, the look in his eyes none too pleasant. As I hurried away from the stall, I had the feeling something was following me. I turned a few times but nothing untoward could be seen. I would rather there had been, the unseen worries me more.
Always had a vivid imagination, my mother often said. As a writer, I need a good imagination, so I didn’t knock it. This feeling often brings on a new story.
I jumped on the 49 bus, half an hour and I would be home. I sat opposite a very old woman wearing shabby clothes. She was staring at my bag.
I thought I heard her say, nice brooch.
Again my mind skipped off on some speed dial imagination. It so often runs like water. Not all can be held in mind. It’s a case of catch what you can, write it down or lose it.
I must have dropped the strange feeling on my doorstep for I felt better once inside my cosy flat. Thomas, my ginger cat, welcomed me home. I scratched behind his ear and went to make coffee. I checked my purchase to find that the brooch had a small nine carat gold mark on the back. Jesus! I had found a treasure…
That night I placed it on my bedside table after writing down all I could remember about my day.
I hoped to sleep like a baby but awoke in a cold sweat. The old lady from the bus had stepped into my dream. She told me that the brooch belonged to her mother and that she wanted it back. It was the same voice I heard on the bus. How could she have known the contents of my bag?
How could I give the brooch back to her mother, I’m sure she must be dead, judging the old woman to be about eighty years old.
It was my half-day. I decided to take the brooch back to the vendor, hoping he could tell me more about it but not looking forward to the toothless smile. I walked up and down but couldn’t find his stall. Maybe it was his day off.
I asked around, no one seemed to know who I was speaking about.
One chap said, ‘we have never had anyone like that working here and I’ve been here for over ten years. I’m sure I would remember the person you describe.’
Now it seems I am stuck with the brooch. Maybe I should throw it into the river, like some ancient votive gift to a God, hoping he or she could spare me from a ghostly visitor trying to retrieve her brooch.
Maybe I shouldn’t worry. Ghosts cannot hurt you, can they?
It is gold after all…