Sun Dust

Sorry for the minor interruption in posts here for a while, when moving my website to a new host, I inadvertently dropped it. All is fit and mended now though, so I’m back with a new story for you, inspired by Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Flash prompt featuring Sun Dust:

Image shows a bottle Labeled “Sun Dust”

Anyone can join in with mid-week flash, you can find the general guidelines here if you’re feeling inspired by the prompt image.

Sun Dust

It isn’t my fault really. Except it is, I guess. Can’t resist a market, that’s my trouble. So when we stumbled on a cute little indoor emporium on holiday, I had to go in. I told my husband it would be nice and cool inside, built into the cliff as it was, so it would give us a chance to get out of the summer sun. He begrudgingly agreed, and, knowing how I am at these places, found himself a little alcove and settled down for a drink and a long wait while I had a poke around.

It was a gorgeous little place, set over three floors, with a mixture of second hand junk and little postcards painted by local artists and sticks of rock and the like. I spent ages poking around porcelain dolls with cracked faces and antique cameras and dusty local history books, stacked alongside little packets of incense and gaudy plastic keyrings.

I don’t like to spend so much time in a place without also spending a little money, it feels rude. But everything in the emporium was so expensive. Then I saw it. It was just a little glass bottle, full of a fine, goldish powder that was probably sand and glitter. There was a label designed to look like old parchment that said “Sun Dust.” A little gimmick to get tourists spending money on nothing, but it was only a couple of quid, and, like I said, I didn’t want to leave empty handed.

I grabbed it and paid up, slightly feeling sorry for the girl at the tills by the exit who apparently had to stay in character.

“Ooh, do be careful to use this sparingly!” she said, “It’s really potent magic!”

“I’ll keep that in mind” I told her, and went and found my snoozing husband.

The Sun Dust got chucked in a suitcase, and put on a shelf when we got home, and a few years later when I had a rearrange of the furniture and fancied a more minimalist look, I put it in a box with my other travel trinkets and stuck it in the loft.

I forgot all about it to be honest with you. I mean, it’s been about a decade. But we have just moved house, and that meant clearing out all the boxes. The minimalism thing never really worked for me, so I was glad to rediscover the nick nack boxes during the move. Obviously I wasn’t going to bother unpacking all those boxes just to pack them back into other boxes. If you’re honest with yourself, you wouldn’t have either. I did what anyone would do and took the boxes straight from the loft to the removal van.

I don’t know if maybe something leaked in transit and made the boxes damp, or if they had become damp over the years anyway and just managed to hold their structural integrity enough to get into the van, but just as I stepped over our new threshold with it, the bottom of the box containing the Sun Dust gave out.

The Sun Dust bottle was the only thing to break, even the snowglobes survived. But when I say it broke, I mean it shattered. The air was instantly filled with golden smoke, burning my nose and eyes. The removal guys helped me fan it out into the street with large sheets of cardboard, but golden glitter lingered in the air, rasping skin like sandpaper. We set up an electric fan and kept the front door open, blowing as much of it into the street as we could.

It hasn’t rained since.

She did warn me, but I just thought it was a sales technique. If I had known she was being serious, I’d have bubble wrapped it and double bagged it. I didn’t realise.

But I’m really sorry, for the heatwave.

If you enjoyed this short story, you may also like the Strange Stories series by Victoria Pearson.

Inspired to write your own short story? You may like My Strange Notebook (with free pen).

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Author: Victoria Pearson

Victoria Pearson lives behind a keyboard somewhere in rural Bedfordshire, with her husband, her four children and her dog. She writes very strange stories.

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