I walked down Wiggly Wort Lane, in that dusky half-light between unconscience-ness and waking, and I saw a little antique shoppe that looked as if it hadn’t changed in decades. Although it was dark and murky as I looked through the window, I decided to go in.
A bell on the door rang as I walked through, and a rude shout came from the back of the shoppe: ‘What do you want?!?’
I hesitated, then answered, ‘I’ll just have a look round, if you don’t mind,’ and I started to wander in and out of the items stacked here and there - dusty books, elaborate furniture, old-fashioned grooming kits with brushes and combs. There were several scale-model buildings - some were houses and others looked to be offices or mercantiles. One was a hotel that included a small green board resembling a golf course. I walked deeper into the shoppe, nearer to the door at the back. There was a shelf with a row of trophies lined up. These had been dusted and polished, gold glinting in the tiny ray of light from a window at the back. I looked closer and saw that they were all shaped like women, dolls really, in decorous poses with affected smiles.
Then an old man came through from the back of the shoppe, ducking a low beam although he was actually quite small. His hair glowed in the back-light of the window, and I noticed he looked a bit jaundiced. His eyes had a strange gleam that would flit from one eye to the other and back again. I wondered if he was entirely well and if I should, perhaps, leave the shoppe and not disturb him, when he suddenly boomed, ‘I have the best antiques! You’ll never find other antiques better than mine. Mine are the best. Everyone says so. I will sell you the best antiques, the best! Mine are the best!’
He had walked quite close to me by this time, and I started to feel uncomfortable. His breath smelled of mint and something rather rank, and he loomed towards me and gestured extravagantly, his voice rising in volume as he repeated his litany of boasts. I became more and more fearful while he continued talking and coming closer to me, manoeuvring me into a corner. Suddenly there was yelling as someone burst through the front door, the bell clanging loudly, the man turning and bellowing, ‘Get ’im out!!! Get ’im out!!!’
The person who had entered was also shouting, trying to drown out the strange little man, crying at me to ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ as the din got louder and louder.
Paralysed, I struggled to move, shaking my head from side to side and trying to wake myself up. My eyes would not obey me as I tried to force them open, tried to find daylight to end this nightmare.
Eventually, the shoppe began to dissolve around me, the noises stopped and I moved my hands. My arms stretched out as I opened my eyes and broke through the miasma into full consciousness.
And yet, the nightmare lingers.