Page 9 - EGO Magazine December 2019
P. 9

local // lleol

 The Amber Necklace

 A Short Story By

 Jeremy Baynton

 e hadn’t planned to   on the way back to the car. Maybe it was   ‘Particularly good Baltic amber, you
 buy it of course, bit   going to be too expensive. It looked like   can tell with all the lovely fish scales in it,
 of an impulse. They’d   quality.  giving that slight sparkle’
 agreed on a quiet   ‘All done, have a rinse round’.  Yes yes, he thought, I know that.
 Christmas as the kids   He went down, paid, booked a check   ‘But I expect you already know all
 Hweren’t coming this   up and left the surgery. Retracing his   about that’ said the old man ‘It’s the
 year. Just bought each other a new pair of  steps back to the car, he had a moment   clasp that’s always fascinated me.’
 slippers and wrapped them up.   of panic. The little shop didn’t seem to   ‘Oh really?’ He laid the necklace on the
 It had caught him by surprise, the   be in the place he remembered, thought   flat of his hands.
 shop and everything. He couldn’t   he must have gone past it, but no, there   ‘Oh yes, unusual. Two serpents of
 remember having seen it before and he’d   it was a bit further up the side street.   some description, beautifully detailed.
 been living in the area for forty years.    Opening the wooden door and entering,   They sort of twist and interlock. It won’t
 It was on the way to the dentists. He’d   it was like going into someone’s old   come undone again unless the wearer
 parked up and was walking to the surgery  fashioned front room. The smell was   twists gently and separates them. Very
 when he passed it. More like a terraced   a curious mixture of polish, dust and   safe’.
 house than a shop. Antiques, curios and   boiled vegetables and the place seemed   He studied them more closely. They   buy the necklace before he got back.   inspected him again. ‘It has a matching   had already gone through to the back. He
 a bit of old jewellery in a display case in   a bit gloomier than it should have been   really were probably more beautiful than   Offer the old boy more money.  design pressed into it.’  moves fast for an old bloke he thought
 the bay window and there it was. Not   in the middle of the day with a bay   the rest of the necklace, enchanting,   He waited a couple of paces behind   ‘Matching?’  as he crossed the threshold back into the
 showy, understated and pretty. Silver and  window letting the watery winter light in.  mesmerising almost. Very detailed   the woman at the machine, while she   ‘Yes the two silver serpents. They’re   daylight.
 amber well balanced and long enough,   Walking over to the display case, he leant  work. This was going to be more than he   seemed to take her time. His impatience   here on the box too. D’you see?’  He felt a childish sense of excitement
 with what looked like plenty of fish   forward and peered in.   expected.  growing along with the damp and cold   The old man handed him the box,   in those last few weeks before Christmas.
 scales set in the amber making it glitter a   ‘You like the necklace I see’.   ‘I could probably let you have it for   that gripped him while he wasn’t moving.  slowly, reverently.  He often felt compelled to check it
 little. No visible price tag.   He started at the slightly cracked voice  seventy-five pounds, if you want it.’  He was overtaken by a sudden desire   ‘Oh yes, yes. Just as beautifully   was still in the drawer in the spare
 Heading on for the dentists, he wanted  that came from behind him, there had   What? That was cheap. It was a done   to push her aside. His hands twitched.   detailed too.’  room tucked under one of the kids´
 to think about it and maybe pop in on   been no sound of anyone else coming   deal in his mind. He couldn’t be accused   Thankfully at that moment she took her   ‘Isn’t it just.’  old jumpers. Sometimes he felt like the
 the way back to the car if he still felt it   into the room. He turned and took in the   of being too extravagant and he knew,   cash and left.   ‘Here, I’ve got the cash for you.’  necklace was whispering to him. He’d
 was a good idea. Lying back in the chair   small old man wearing a tweed jacket   knew, she was going to like it.  Taking the money from the slot and   ´Oh,´ the old man almost seemed   even dreamt about it one night. Those
 having a tooth filled there wouldn’t be   looking back at him. Bright beady eyes   ‘I’m afraid it would have to be cash   putting it in his wallet, he set off back   surprised by this, ‘I should find   snakes on the clasp coming alive and
 much else to do.  enlarged by the thick glasses perched   though,’ the old man smiled at him, but   towards the shop, which came up on him   something to wrap it in.’  creeping up at him across the duvet
 ‘Any change in medication since I last   on his nose, all capped off with bushy   it seemed to stop at those magnified eyes   sooner than expected this time. Could   ´Don´t worry about it. I will be   cover. He’d woken up in quite a sweat. It
 saw you?’  eyebrows and white hair.  behind the glasses.  have sworn it was further up the street.   wrapping it up anyway and the box will   was just the excitement.
 He could distract himself by thinking   ‘Yes, I do. I was wondering if I could   Old bugger´s not paying any tax then   As he walked in through the door, the   be enough to keep it safe.’
 about the necklace while the dentist was   take a closer look.’  he thinks. ‘Okay, I’ll just have to nip to a   old man came through from a room at   ´If you’re quite sure.´
 drilling, and a lovely romantic picture of   ‘Help yourself, the case has no back   cash machine. I’ll be a few minutes.´  the back.  He turned around as he opened the
 his wife opening it up and smiling in the   on it’  He hurried down to the cash point,   ‘I’ve found the original box for   door to leave and said ‘Have a good   Pick up next month’s magazine
 glow of firelight came into his head. He   Taking it out he held it up against the   feeling a totally illogical sense of urgency.   the necklace. I was so worried that   Christmas.’   to read part 2!
 knew he was going to have to check it out  light. It really was nice.  Like someone was going to turn up and   I’d mislaid it’. Those magnified eyes   There was no response. The old man

 8.        The EGO®                                                          The EGO®        9.
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