The Shining Vase
by Cath Barton
I’d picked up the vase in a junk shop in that little town over the Black Hill. It shone at me from the depths of a dusty room on a dank day. I ran my fingers over the surface and it felt like the smoothest skin that ever was. It’s a funny thing to say but it seemed alive. It was only when I got home that I realised I hadn’t paid for it. I went back the next Saturday, but the shop was shut up and empty. No sign, no nothing. So what could I do?
I do a lot of flower arranging, it’s what I love. And the vase was wonderful. It seemed to physically meld with whatever flowers I put into it, enhance their colours and their scents. The more I used it, the better my arrangements.
But one day an annoying thing happened. I had flowers all over the table and the front door bell rang, really loudly. It startled me and I knocked the vase over. All for nothing because it was some stranger asking for Shaylee.
When I’d got rid of the man, told him there was no Shaylee at this address, never had been, I went back into the kitchen and I could hear weeping. The walls are thin and I thought that it must be the kid next door. I put both my hands on the vase to set it upright again and the noise stopped. But something was different. My flower arrangement just wouldn’t come right and I felt as if I was in some kind of battle with nature. Flower stems snapped, petals fell off, the greenery wilted and the vase looked sullen.
“Well, so would you be upset if someone had pushed you over.” I whirled round. There was a shining girl standing in the doorway.
“I’m Shaylee,” she said. “I used to live in the fields here. It’s time for us to go on a journey together.”
Shaylee’s taken my place, and now that I’m on the other side, she arranges flowers in me.