Sandy McDonague was giggling as she left the clothes store with her mates on a sunny Saturday morning. She was a care-free girl, just turned fourteen as of last week.
Adorned with long, dyed-blonde hair (she was a natural brunette, but she’d be loathe to let anyone know it), small, but developing breasts and a petite, alluring figure she was popular with the boys and she knew it. Accompanied by her two friends Kirsty and Ashley, they made quite the trio of head-turners as the walked down the highstreet to the next shop.
Some of the less popular people at school might have describe Sandy, Kirsty and Ashley as a group of vapid, mindless little debutantes and they wouldn’t be far off. They hadn’t a care in the world except what clothes they were wearing, who was going out with who and what colour lipgloss they’d put on for the next big party. They were spoiled brats but they neither knew nor cared. For them, life was good.
“That’s like, so totally gross Ashley! I can’t believe you tried on that skirt in that broken changing room!”
“Hey, it was the only one left, and besides the changing room guy was kinda cute.”
“I bet he totally sneaked a peek!”
And they broke down into giggles again.
As they talked about their boyfriends or lack thereof and what they were going to wear they passed an alley leading off of the highstreet. At the end of the alley stood a delapidated looking old shop, a faint neon sign flickering the words “SALE” next to it’s door.
The girls did a double-take and looked down the alley at the shop.
“That shop looks freaky, wanna go check it out?” Sandy grinned, her pink plastic bangles jangling on her wrists as she gestured to the shop.
“Ewww, no. It’s looks totally old and gross.”
“Aww come on, don’t tell me you’re scared. Come on, it has a sale on, maybe we can pickup a bargain or two.” Kirsty said, the chance of a bargain always managed to get her attention.
“Fine.” Ashley relented “Let’s go gang.”
They linked arms and headed down the alley towards the shop. The windows were lined with dust and there seemed to be no indication of the shops name anywhere. Sandy pushed open the door and a little bell chimed their entrance into the shop.
Inside, the shop was full of bags, leather bags hungs from hooks on the ceiling and walls, shelves formed parallel lines alog the centre of the shop upon which where a multitude of other bags or all kinds of fabrics and colours some of which none of them had ever seen before. At the back of the store was a counter, no-one seemed to behind it.
“Coming!” a voice croaked from the storeroom behind the counter as an elderly woman hobbled into view and leaned her elbows on the counter.
“Hello girls, how wonderful to see you. I haven’t had such young, pretty customers as you in quite a while!”
“Creepy much” Ashley whispered in Sandy’s ear.
Sandy just smiled awkwardly and turned and gave the others a look. Okaaay, craaazy lady….
They browsed around the shop for a little bit, afraid to leave right away in case the old lady did something weird but after a few minutes of half-hearted browsing they began to head to the exit. Ashley and Kirsty made a quick exit but as Sandy was about to leave, one of the bags caught her eye. It was tucked underneath a tattered brown satchell just by the doorway. The bag was simple, black handbag, slightly on the large side. It had a glittery, silver clasp on the top and even though it was black, colours seemed to swirl mysteriously on it’s surface like oil. She had to have it.
Sandy walked up to the counter. “How much for this?”
The old lady never even looked at the bag, she just looked at Sandy for a short while as if appraising her and then smiled slightly.
“For you dear, you can have it for free.”
“What really? That’s really nice of you!”
“Well dear, the store will be closing up soon, I’m getting old as I’m sure you’ve noticed and you’re the first customer I’ve had in quite a while. Go on, take it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.”
Sandy smiled up at the old lady, said her thankyous and ran out of the shop to catch up with her friends.
After that, the day went fairly quickly and Sandy never thought anything of the nice old lady or the strange shop at the end of the alley. When she got home, she put all her belonging from her old bag into the nice new one and went to sleep with it sat besides her on the bedside table.
Sandy winced as she rose from sleep and blinked at the blurry form of her alarm clock. The numbers slowly came into focus.
What the hell was she doing awake now? Pulling the covers up over her head, Sandy willed herself back to sleep but as oblivion crept up on her she suddenly realised something. Wait, I put my new bag infront of the alarm clock, where has it gone?
Sandy sat up and looked around the foot of the bed but found nothing. Now that she was up, she decided to get a glass of water and so went to the bathroom. While she was on the landing she heard a noise from the kitchen.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” She whispered, but no answer was forth coming form the darkness. She decided to ignore it.
In the bathroom she filled her glass with water. The sound of the running tap made her need the toilet so she sat down on the loo, sipping her glass of water when suddenly the sound of a cat shrieking. She finished up and headed down stairs to investigate.
“Winston, is that you? What’s the matter you silly cat?” She whispered.
As she approached the kitchen she heard a crunching, slurping sound followed by silence. Her glass held high, ready to smack any intruder that might be there, Sandy stepped into the room and turned on the light. There on the kitchen floor stood her bag, lightly covered in cat hairs.
“Winston! You naughty cat! You better not have crapped in my bag like you did with my shoes that time! Where are you?”
She got no answer. That silly cat, he must have dragged my bag all the way down here. She looked around and noticed the cat flap was slowly swinging. He must have run off. I’ll tell him off later. No more treats for you Winston!
Picking up the bag, she felt a sudden chill but put it down to the catflap and headed back to her room. She placed the bag on the bedside table again and slipped into bed.
As she was slipping off back to sleep, she was sure she could hear something whispering.