Monday, August 09 2010 @ 12:00 AM EDT
The antique store smelled like old leather and furniture polish. Dahlia wandered between the chairs and desks to the back wall, where knickknacks rested on dusty shelves. She picked up a duck carved out of dark blue stone. The duck was cool and heavy, and it made her fingers tingle.
Serena, Dahlia's partner, leaned into the store and shouted at her. "Have you found your magic thing yet?"
Dahlia glared, but nodded. "I'll be out in a minute." She carried the duck to the cash register and rang the bell. She waited for someone to emerge from the back room to take her money.
She rang the bell again. "Hello?" The duck didn't have a price tag, or else she'd just leave cash on the counter. She stalked to the back corner and pushed through the dark brocade curtain. "I'd like to buy this duck."
A teenage kid started awake at the break table. A carrot clung to his cheek. "Wha?"
Dahlia held up her duck. "I want to buy this."
The kid squinted at her. "It's not for sale."
"What?" Dahlia's fingers closed around the duck.
He shrugged and laid his head back down. "Not for sale." His voice was muffled.
Dahlia pulled two hundred dollars out of her wallet and laid it on the table. "I'm taking this duck."
The kid shrugged and didn't look up. "Whatever."
Dahlia stormed out. When the sunlight touched the blue stone, the duck came to life. It was still cold stone, but it struggled in Dahlia's hand.
It quacked and flapped frantically. Dahlia let it go, and it lunged into the air.
Serena smirked at the fleeing duck. "What exactly did that accomplish?"
Dahlia watched the duck fly away and felt an improbable wave of happiness. "Any day I add a little wonder to the world is a good day."