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The Secondhand Store
I woke up yesterday morning to a monstrous roar of thunder and a blinding flash of lightning that lit up my dark room through the shades. Great, I thought, it’s finally Saturday, and it’s raining. As I got out of my bed, which took me far longer than it should have at my young age, my phone rang. It startled me, not expecting the sudden burst of sound, I tripped over my shoes, which were inconveniently placed right next to my bed, and stumbled to my floor. I checked the caller ID, thinking who would call me so early on a weekend; it was nearly 12:15. It was my friend, Andy. He said that he had nothing to do, and that he wanted to go to the secondhand store down the street from his house, which was only a few away from mine. I told him to pick me up in ten minutes so I could get ready first.
I put my raincoat on, grabbed my wallet, and dashed for the door when I saw Andy’s mom pull up in her oversized SUV. I was about to break free when my mom stopped me.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she said with a cross of her arms.
“Andy is taking me to the secondhand store,” I replied frantically. “His mom is driving us.”
“Well, is your room clean?”
“Of course it is mother, you know how I can’t stand a dirty room!” I was lying through my un brushed teeth, but she didn’t catch me, luckily.
“Fine, you can go. But be home by six. Your father wants to have a family dinner tonight.” She yelled as I bolted out the door.
Once Andy and I got to the store, we started to look around. You can find all sorts of things in those stores. One time, Andy found a pair of false teeth, but I’m not sure I believe him, he lies often. The shop keeper was a strange old man. He had hair as white as snow, with random grey strips stitched in. His eyebrows looked like two caterpillars laying down for a nice afternoon nap. His face was hard, and it looked like he was always frowning, Andy said that he used to be a soldier in the civil war, and he was cursed. He said that if you get him angry he sucks your soul out, that’s how he stays alive. Andy always lies, but he swears to the story; “Cross my heart” he would always say, that’s how you know he’s lying. Andy and I walked into a back room, the shopkeeper watched us from the corner of his lifeless eye as we walked through the door.
Once in the room Andy spotted a big chest buried in about a foot of dust. He bolted for it and started to brush the dust of. The room was filled with the stuff; it looked like a blizzard of dust. I started to cough while Andy tore open the antique chest, with no regard for its well being.
“Be careful!” I shouted to Andy, but he wasn’t listening to me. He was too interested in the chest.
The top of the chest creaked open; the sound sent chills down my spine like rats in a sewer. I felt a cold breeze kiss my face, which didn’t help the chills. The mountains on my skin only grew when Andy pulled out an old Japanese style fan. It looked older than the shopkeeper, and it was covered in pictures of demons attacking a beautiful girl, who was in the fetal position on the ground, covered by her long, black, silky hair. There was also a man on the fan. He was big and muscular, and was lunging at the demons, in an attempt to save the damsel.
Andy reached deeper into the box and also pulled out a faded picture of what looked like a barn. Standing in front of the barn was a man and a woman. They looked like the ones one the fan.
“Let’s leave,” I mumbled to Andy. “This place is giving me the creeps.”
I was terrified, I really was.
“Oh come on, we just got here, plus I want to know what else is in here.” He examined the picture closer and gasped.
“Connor, come here! Doesn’t this look like the shop keeper? Look! It’s dated. It’s from 1734!”
“Andy, let’s go. I don’t like it here!”
I turned to leave but I ran into something before I could make my exit. I fell to the ground with a thud, and looked up at the towering shopkeeper; his hair was so long that when he went to help me up it brushed my nose and made me sneeze. He smelled like the shop, old and musty.
“What are you boys doing with my chest? That isn’t for sale! Put down that picture! Now!”
I swear I almost peed myself; his voice was scarier than his looks.
“Oh, I’m sorry sir,” I said shakily. “We were just leaving. Come on Andy.”
“Wait Connor,” Andy turned to the shopkeeper. “Is this you? Who is this lady? Why does the picture say it’s from 1734?”
“Because it is,” the shopkeeper reluctantly whispered.
He then proceeded to tell us an amazing tale of a hero who over came amazing obstacles to save his one true love. He defeated the biggest beasts in Japan, and ran through fire, just to ask for her love. He rescued her and brought her back to his farm. She had a bad case of amnesia. He knew that if he told her who she really was, the princess of all of Japan, then she would leave, but he couldn’t not tell her. He loved her so much that he sat with her day after day and told her her life story. She left him one night; he awoke in the morning, alone. He was so heart broken that he wanted to die. The problem was, he couldn’t. No matter what happened, he couldn’t die. It was a rare case of heart break that never ended. Andy and I looked up from the picture.
“There’s no way that story is true.” Andy said.
There was no response. We looked up to find that we were alone in the room, the chest was gone. I looked down at my hands, where the fan was, and saw nothing. There was only the picture, and the bitter echo of heart break.