Dust, debris and desire.
Today I’d like to talk about one of the things I’m interested in along with writing. I love antiques. Furniture or tiny pieces of bric-a-brac, I enjoy looking at them all. This interest has made an appearance in my stories too.
I am lucky in that where I presently live my local market town has several shops selling antiques and curios, and there is a large antiques centre too. This means I can browse to my heart’s content. I love the differences between the shops. Some premises are very professional, tidy, everything polished and set out to lure the eye, but there are others where each visit is a quest. I enjoy rummaging through baskets of items, trying to see through to the back of shelves stuffed with objects. The dust raised as I move objects often makes me sneeze. The lingering fragrance of old perfumes from small bottles or tiny silver vinaigrettes stirs my imagination.
Sometimes when I look at a group of items, I know there is a link between them. I can’t explain how, but I can tell. This occasionally makes me sad because these pieces are the debris of a person’s life. I think these things often come from house clearance sales. The aura of the original owner is still very strong so the pieces carry a sense of loss.
I have a tiny Victorian porcelain ring keeper and a small bud vase on my bedroom window ledge. I knew when I bought them; they had always been together, so I thought I’d keep them that way for a bit longer.
Over the years I’ve been interested in antiques, I’ve gone to auctions, car-boot sales and into shops. There have been times when I have discovered pieces I coveted and longed to own. Often those pieces are the ones I can’t really afford to purchase. One of the things I recall wanting most is a dining table made of oak. This table dated to the Elizabethan era and was so beautiful I couldn’t help but stroke the patina on the wood. Sadly, even if I could have bought it, I don’t have a home large enough for it. Another object of desire was a cast iron roll top bath from a reclamation centre. My husband refused to share my joy in this very battered item, and as he was the one who would have to fix it, I agreed, and so we didn’t buy it.
One last piece on the list of those that haunt me; this is not really a shop antique but a museum antiquity. The item belongs to the museum in Birmingham, a place I often visited as a child. In the Egyptian section is a small eye make-up case; a simple white stoneware tube with a blue and white flower forming the lid. Since I first saw this object, it has whispered to me. Each time I return to visit the museum, I go to look at this object. If it were possible to buy one of the museum items, I would buy that piece.
I suppose to write antiques into one of my stories was inevitable due to my interest, and they appear in my latest published story, Your Heart My Soul, published by Liquid Silver Books. However, I do have to say the antiques are secondary to the ghostly love story and bond between the characters.
Here is a small snippet from the story.
Gareth raced back from the café, squashing the lid on a massive take-out cup of heavily sweetened coffee for Libby. He found her right where he’d left her after she fell from the counter: on the floor, in the arc of brilliant sunlight, halfway out in the small lobby halfway in the shop. The sun highlighted her dark hair with fire-bright chestnut sparks. He struggled to accept both what appeared to have happened and that he’d called her back safe and whole. He’d never dealt with anything as forceful as the entity in this shop.
Poor, sweet angel. She looked shell-shocked, stared up to him with eyes almost all black pupils still, her face so pale, he worried she might faint.
Though the boards were dirty and uncomfortable, he knelt beside her, and offered her the cup. “Here, sip this.”
She took a tiny mouthful, swallowed, and again. “What happened?”
Her voice wavered, and his uncertainty that the words were truly her own grew.
“A brief kind of spiritual possession. For a short time, the voice of another person spoke through you.”
“Don’t panic, I’m fairly certain she’s gone now.”
Libby clutched his hand. Her nails dug deep into his flesh, and her fingers trembled. “Are you sure? Please say she can’t come and go as she wishes. She can’t, can she?”
“Relax, calm down. No, I believe she can’t. Though I have to warn you she’s very powerful, and you, well you have to be a gifted receptive to receive such a visitation.” He slid his palm over her smooth hair, stroked along, and caressed her shoulder. She needed reassurance, and to his mind, touch offered her the best he could give her at present. “I’ve not known anyone else this has happened to. All this is new to me.”
She opened her eyes so wide the whites shone all the way round. “It won’t happen again?”
He shook his head. “Not if I can help it. I’ll have to research about this kind of spiritual interaction. The power of this level of connection is unusual. Such things happen, but they are extraordinary.” Deliberate in his effort to calm her, he avoided use of the word possession again. Libby appeared terrified by the idea, and at present, he couldn’t blame her, but he must try to make her understand what was happening. “I’m afraid you will have to face the fact we might need to talk with the entity again,” he warned. “Though not today, I’m fairly certain. We’ve done enough in the shop for now, and you’re coming back to my apartment.”
This blog post first appeared on Nuthouse Scribblers 2013.