I push through the frosty wind and stride up to the convenience store. Even though the sign says CLOSED, I know the door isn’t locked.

“Closing up?”

Robert spins around to see who spoke.

 

“Jesus, Bob, you scared the fried chicken out of me.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to.”


Robert and I go way back. Back when he didn’t have the teeth to eat fried chicken. Friendships like these aren’t easy to find these days.

 

“So, what brings you here at this hour?” 

“Well, the weather’s terrible, so I came to see if you need a ride. You always close up the shop so late too.”

 

Robert runs an antique store. A family tradition, so the building itself could be called an antique.

 

“Yeah, that’d be great. You’re always such a nice person Bob… hey, have I shown you this?”

 

Robert reaches under the counter. He pulls out a mini statue shaped  like… the letter U?? 

 

“This horseshoe trinket is said to have been made back in 1592! A true beauty.”

 

Click. Clack.

CLANK!

 

Robert jerks his head in the direction of the sound, and so do I.

“Hm, what was that? I’m gonna go check on things downstairs. Wait for me here.”

 

He places the horseshoe on the counter’s edge and strolls down to the basement.

 

I stand alone, slightly shivering from the wind howling outside. I turn around to look outside —

CRASH!
–just in time to see a FOR SALE sign get smacked into the door by the strong winds.

 

I muttered under my breath. 

“I better get that inside before it breaks something.”

I push the door open against the wind and reach for the sign still stuck to the door.

 

FWOOSH! CRASH!

 

The wind hollers through the door crack and a second crash is heard, this time from inside the shop. It reverberates around the store, and my eyes widen at the sight of a shattered horseshoe.

 

“Bob, what was that?”

“It’s, uh, nothing.” I push the door with all my might and snatch the sign.

“Didn’t sound like nothing to me. Anyways, I’m almost done with this wire, I just need to

——”

BOOM.


The Daily Gazebo

Man Survives Electrical Fire, One Dead

The fire occurred at an antique store on Ant Rd. and Tick Street. It appears that the fire happened due to faulty wiring, though the exact cause is unknown. There were, however, unusually strong winds that night, which could have further contributed to this disaster. Firefighters say that the damage is severe, with over 70% of the products and furniture destroyed or damaged. But there could be a revival of the store with community help and care… 


One year later…

 

I never thought I’d be doing this, but here I am. 

Long story short, plenty of people were willing to donate money, as well as their own antiques, to save the store. I took over as the owner after I got better, because Robert was my good friend and I wanted to continue his legacy. And because my name is technically “Robert” too. 

I had hired a new employee since my legs still don’t function well. Her name’s Sharon. Business is slow today, so I’m writing my story on my favorite antique chair, in the back room.

 

Click. Clack. 

CLANK!

 

My ears are suddenly alert, and Sharon pops her head in the back room.

“There aren’t any customers in the store right now, so I’ll be back in a bit. I’m gonna go check on things downstairs. Wait for me here.”

 

Before I can say anything, she’s heading downstairs. There’s a sick feeling in my stomach. I take out the only piece of the horseshoe that was salvaged from that fateful night. 

 

CRACK. 

 

I crash onto the floor, rubbing my sore waist. So much for antique chairs. 

 

“Bob, what was that?” 

“It’s not… ”

 

Suddenly, a massive wave of deja vu washed over me. I caught myself. I can’t say that. I know it’s improbable, but there’s a chance… I need to divert her attention.

 

“… not a small deal at all! A customer broke our most precious antique! You’ve got to come up!”
“Make sure he stays there! Anyways, I’m almost done with this pipe, I just need to ——”

 

BANG.