The old iron bell jangles as I step into the familiar shop. I wave to the owner, a kindly old gentleman, who smiles at me as he always does and says hello. He seems to appreciate my visits, even though I don't often buy anything.
I make my way through a maze of old bookshelves and chairs, paintings, vases and other miscellaneous objects. I know almost all of it by memory and can tell whenever the store has sold something.
I finally reach the back corner of the store. It is a cozy little space with a blue velvet chair and a small wooden box on the table next to it. I always go there when I have time to spare. I sit down in the chair and hoist up the box. It is made of sandalwood and has carvings of trees, clouds and a mountain on the top. There is a pattern snaking across the sides of dots and triangles.
The smell of the box always claims me, a combination of spices and must, sparking stories in my mind. I open it. I find the usual treasures: a few old coins, small jewelry, pins and buttons of long-lost campaigns and causes. But there is something new today. It is a rather large, green pendant strung through a piece of brown string. When I pick it up, the greent grows brighter, it seems to glow. It seems to get warm in my palm. I feel something inside me, I look up and realize ...
(Click SPROUT to continue...)