This story is by Jessie McClymont and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I knocked on the door and waited. The walk up the road had been excruciatingly slow. The ground still tipped and swayed as l leaned against the wall. Waiting. What was taking so long? Something twitched in the pit of my stomach. Trembling faintly I rehearsed what I would say when the door opened.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured, “I lost it.”
Gran wasn’t one to hold onto things but this locket was special. It carried the last proper picture of grandad. He gave it to her when he had left for war. He didn’t come back. They say I look a lot like him but I’m not so sure. It was a beautiful locket. It was one of those big old fashioned ones, almond-shaped and overgrown with tiny sliver flowers and leaves. It had hung around Gran’s neck for so long that she looked… wrong when she had to take it off. The clasp had broken but Mum was out and Dad was at work so I offered to take it. The repair shop was only five minutes away. She decided to give it to me.
“Be careful not to lose it” she had said.
I had been careful. I kept in my pocket all the way there. I even held onto it inside my pocket so it wouldn’t fall out. It was early evening and the street was full of people marching home from work. The trip was short; the store was just up the road. It was empty except for the musty old man behind the counter. He was short and grey, with boney fingers that wandered across the little silver garden, which adorned the locket. He said he could fix it easily. Five minutes. So I wandered around the room for five minutes. There were many strange, forgotten oddities lying around collecting dust. In one corner there was a mirror that had been tinted golden by time. When I looked into it it seemed as if I was in one of those yellowing photographs in Gran’s locket. I tilted my head up and frowned. I suppose looking like that, I could see the ghost of Grandads face on mine.
The man returned with the fixed locket. He handed it to me and shuffled back to his perch.I put it on. It was a silly idea but I didn’t see any harm in it. I put it on and turned back to the mirror. It looked nice. I thought I could wear it home and surprise Gran. After all it was fixed now, it was not like it could fall off. So I walked out of the store with the locket hanging around my neck. It had gotten colder. The sun was beginning to set. It was dancing in and out of the clouds, creating and covering up shadows.
I barely saw him. Hood up and head down he charged at me and threw me to the ground. I heard a loud crack as my head connected with the pavement.
By the time I opened my eyes he was long gone and so was the locket. For a minute, I didn’t get up. I hardly noticed the throbbing pain in my head. I just lay on the ground, a single thought playing through my mind over and over.
“Why didn’t I just leave it in my pocket?”
Then the pain hit. I realised I had to get home. I was aware of a few people staring at me but no one approached me. Did they see what happened? I barely did… what will Gran say?
‘Would she be angry?’ I wondered as I began to drag myself home, ‘or worse sad.’
I felt so sick. The ground was spinning but eventually I stumbled through the gate. The door came too fast. As it opened I looked down and mumbled:
“I’m sorry, I lost it.”
Words tumbled out of my mouth though I don’t know if either of us understood what I was saying. Then I stopped and waited. Gran stepped forward and pulled me into a hug.
“I’m so sorry, look I’ll… I’ll try to…” but what could I do? Even if I could find a similar locket, there were no other photographs to put in it.
“But are you okay?” She said.
“Don’t worry about that thing,” she sounded almost angry “You are far more precious. Are you okay?” I
I was silent for a moment. This wasn’t what I expected. I wasn’t prepared for this. I looked up at Gran, and then down to the ground.
Then I said in a small voice, “I hit my head.”
“Okay, let me look at it.” She took me inside and the door closed behind us.