Taking a deep breath, she put the old-fashioned key in the lock and turned it. She’d half expected it to stick, given the age of both, but the mechanism moved with ease and the of the shop door swung open before her.
What on earth was she supposed to do with the place?
The shop smelled stale and musty and slightly unclean – a bit like its previous owner, her late great-uncle. It had been over twenty years since she had last visited “The Society For The Protection Of Unwanted Objects.” She’d been shocked to learn that she had inherited the place when her uncle had passed away three months beforehand. Growing up, she’d been passed around the family after the death of her parents, spending most of her childhood with her aunt. The shop had always been a bit of a sanctuary for her, seeing herself as the “unwanted object” in the family. As a child, she’d imagined the shop as a “real life” episode of Bagpuss; as an adult, she was at a loss as to what to make of it.
What did she know about running a shop?
Glancing round, all she could see before her was clutter and junk. A thick layer of dust covered everything in sight. Most of the items on the shelves and in the display cabinets looked as though they’d been there since her last visit.
Leaving the door open, she ventured further inside. A letter addressed to her, in her uncle’s shaking writing, lay amongst the dust bunnies on the glass counter. Leaving it unopened for now, she explored the rest of the shop. Both storerooms were piled high with yet more junk. The small kitchen cum sitting room right at the back of the building looked completely unchanged from her childhood and was desperately in need of a good clean.
“Oh, why, Uncle Samuel?” she sighed as she walked back through to the main shop.
A cough from the doorway startled her.
“Hi. Are you the new owner?” asked a tall guy with long dark hair, pulled back into a ponytail, his bare arms covered in tattoos. “I’m Sam. I’m your neighbour. I own the art gallery next door.”
A ray of sunlight broke through the clouds at that moment. With a cloud of dust motes creating an aura around him, he smiled.
Maybe he was the reason she was here….