Madeline saw the wooden box in the window of the junk shop and was drawn to it immediately.
She opened the door and jumped slightly as the old fashioned bell tinkled above her head.
“Hello dear!” said the tiny, old lady who appeared from behind the ancient lace curtain hanging between the shop and the sitting room behind.
“Hello” replied Madeline, envying the old lady her roaring fire which looked very cosy on this cold wet day in November. “I really like that wooden box in the window, how much is it?”
“Well, it’s not really for sale my dear,” said the old lady. “It’s more like it’s waiting for the right person to come along”.
“Oh!” exclaimed Madeline, feeling disappointed and a bit embarrassed.
She turned to go but the old lady, moving surprisingly fast grabbed her wrist with warm bony fingers.
“Shall we see if it’s you, dear?” she said, lifting the box carefully from it’s carved plinth in the window.
The box felt strangely warm as she put it in Madeline’s hand and as she tilted it she felt something roll across the otherwise empty inside.
A spicy smell rose up, food from hot lands and perfume, subtle but strong, as Madeline started to open the box….