• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 07
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The Pottery Shop

Growing up, I was in love with Mr Kirsche’s pottery shop. Nobody understood why; Mr Kirsche wasn’t very good at what he did. But every day on the way home from school I dropped in and said hello to the friendly old man in his dusty, dark establishment, and I closely inspected his wealth of odd offerings.

The oddness of his wares was subtle and individual to each piece, only revealed upon close inspection. A teapot without a spout or a teacup with several handles, for example. Needless to say, he didn’t make many sales.

The enduring rumour that the shop was haunted probably didn’t help either. People also said Mr Kirsche was haunted too, and the big round mirror hanging on the wall in the centre of the shop definitely was. I conceded that the shop was peculiar, but I didn’t think it was haunted.

Despite his presumably meagre profits, Mr Kirsche gave me an after-school job at the age of 15. Naturally, my friends—taken in by the local rumours—made fun of me. Sadly, I was at an age where I was easily influenced, and they planted a seed in my mind. The wonder I once felt about the whole establishment was replaced with a sceptical scorn. How pathetic it was that Mr Kirsche wasted his life selling things that nobody liked.

I asked him once if he minded that he didn’t get much custom.

“Ah, it’s not about that,” he said, he said with a smile. He didn’t elaborate further.

The more my peers made fun of me, the less enthusiasm I felt for the job, even though I had once loved the place so much. I was an idiot to be so easily influenced. Then, my idiocy came to a head.


The Pottery Shop

One night I closed up early to meet up a friend, carelessly leaving all the electrics on and, without noticing, knocking over a very old lamp on my way out. Upon returning home, I found My Kirsche’s shop engulfed in flames. It was eventually extinguished, but the damage was done. All that was salvaged were a few pots and the mirror.

Despite everything, he continued as he always did, setting up a makeshift shop outside the burned husk of a building, with a small shelving unit holding the rescued pots and the mirror. He sat next to it in a cosy armchair, a contented look on his face.

Every day I passed him by, and every day I apologised profusely. He always smiled in response and shook his head, not saying a word. One day, after finishing up my routine of repentance, I saw something in the mirror and was struck frozen.

It wasn’t my reflection that stared back, but a perfect replica of the shop that once stood there; the dark and dusty room with shelves upon shelves of strange pottery, and in the centre of the room, old Mr Kirsche staring right at me, smiling widely.