“Sorry, who is this?” Jameson asked, removing his pipe from his lips.
“Oh, this is Mr. Scratch from the Museum of Oddities and Artefacts. Perhaps you’ve heard of us?”
“No?” Jameson said, puzzled. “I can’t say that I have.”
“I saw your listing on Facebook; that’s quite the intriguing trinket you have in your possession.”
Jameson glanced over at the dining table from his easy chair; the amphora had probably once been a shining black/gold but had been sun-bleached over the centuries. The remaining handle was chipped and brittle to the touch and the images and symbols that had once adorned the exterior was faded.
“May as I ask where you acquired it?”
“Well…” Jameson sighed. “That’s a…long story…”
“Let me be frank, Mr. Wolfe. My museum is very eager to display this piece, and we’re willing to offer you fair compensation for it.”
Jameson stared at the amphora, sweat dripping down his brow, reliving the blinding, burning light that had burst from the vase upon first removing its lid. Grace, Roberts, Donald…all burnt to charred, smouldering skeletons, with only him left standing.
I shall give you life! the demonic smoke-demon had cooed, swirling around his head, drifting up his nostrils. Life…and health…their lives for yours…
A wisp of mist wafted from the cracks in the amphora and Jameson gulped back a shaking breath. “I…I’m sorry…it’s….it’s not for sale…”
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