It all started a few months back when a friend of a friend got a pocket-watch from some backstreet store and wound up dead, no pun intended.
There have been rumours about this place and the goods they sell for years. I always thought it was some urban legend, something that gets told at the end of drunken nights.
Stories about how a friend of a friend of a friend found this place and came out with a pistol that didn't need bullets, a mirror that shows you other peoples reflections and yes a watch that counts down to your death.
Its taken me weeks to find the place, no one will openly talk about it, especially those who are rumoured to have had dealings with it but here I am.
It is as non-descript as I have been lead to believe you could walk past it a hundred times and never notice it was there.
With a trembling hand I grip the door handle and walk in. An old fashioned bell rings to announce my presence. Not that its needed, the only thing inside is a desk, behind it sits an old man. If you told me he had been sat there all his life I wouldn't be surprised.
For what must be only a few seconds but feels like an eternity we stare at each other across the expanse of the empty shop.
He is the first to break the silence, his voice is as smooth as silk and has a relaxing, soothing air to it.
"Aaah miss Hopkins, I have been expecting you, please, do have a seat"
I walk across the forest like carpet in a trance and sit opposite him, he offers a warm smile and gestures at me to speak.
"How did you know my name? That I was coming?"
"I know everything Catherine, may I call you Catherine?
This really knocks the wind out of me and all I can offer in return is a feeble "yeah that’s fine"
Before I can ask him his name he says.
"You can call me Viktor, my name was Viktor MacGuffin but the few people who deal with me call me the distributor"
I go to pull then notebook out of my bag, make sure I get this all down, as my brain can't keep up with what's going on.
"You won't need to make notes Catherine the rules are very simple. People who are missing something in their lives find us, our job is to.... redistribute the … special items we keep"
"What do you mean our job?" I ask
"Catherine, I have worked here for as long as I can remember, my time has come to its end. Each person who enters this store gets a gift but all things come at a cost.
Your gift is the store, the cost is you can't ever leave until the next owner finds you.
And they will find you, its how these things work."