1. Closing Time
Two black, painted hands ticked across an ivory face to strike five o'clock. The ringing chimes, which were echoing through "Carr's Toy Shop", were a boisterous cacophony of noise. But the grandfather clock stood strong with its varnished wood and weighted brass pendulum.
Nearby, next to a shelf a mouse brown haired girl straightened the cream ribbon, tied in a bow, in her baby pink dress. Her hair was straggly and knotted like a bundle of muddy straw, and she grinned, a toothy grin, like a Cheshire cat who'd got the cream. The child gazed upwards, her hair tilted back, towards the high shelves holding shiny plastic packaging. She reached out a hand, grasping it into the air.
A woman in a black shirt and blue skirt stood over the child, tapping her foot repeatedly on the floor. She loosened her tight grip on the girl's hand, letting her slip out of the firm hold. The woman wiped her hand down her skirt and continued to saunter aimlessly round the shop.
Around the shop, the cracked paint shrouded the shop in pale outdated colours; a washed out red, pastel blue and shabby mustard yellow.
In a darkened dim lighted corner, spinning tops, china dolls and Jack in the boxes sat under a thin layer of dust. The carved oak spinning top was a mild, mouldy green. The tip of the toy of was worn down to bare wood. Nearby the top, the antique china doll wore a chintzy, outdated dress. Her face was painted and fragile like an oil painting in a gallery. On the shelf above, the Jack in the box was turned and coiled like a tiger waiting to pounce upon its clown like face onto its unsuspecting prey.
Meanwhile, an elderly lady sat behind the counter, with a hunched back like an eagle on its perch, at the back of the shop. Her mane of grey matted hair was bound in a low pony tail down her back. She also wore a navy tabard over a Satsuma t-shit and her face was wrinkled and saggy like a piece of creased parchment. The woman tapped two fingers on the desk in time to the whining carnival music that circulated through the shop.
On the counter next to her withered hand sat a glass jar of sweets. There were Muray mints, sherbet lemons and candy canes, all smelling sickly sweet.
On the opposite side of the shop, a stack of soft toys were crammed in a corner. The smell of the musty cotton stuffing, which was poking out through burst seems, hung in the air like mist over a mountain. The texture of the textiles was stiff and dry on the Dalmatian toy and the lion was one eye short.
Meanwhile, outside the black coals of cobble stone had soft outlines of obsidian shadows. High above, the grey cotton like clouds covered the town in a blanket of darkness. And the cardboard sign, which hung from a rusted nail read "closed."