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Authors: Kelly Doust

Precious Things

BOOK: Precious Things
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For Catherine


Morning and evening

Maids heard the goblins cry:

‘Come buy our orchard fruits,

Come buy, come buy . . .'

‘Goblin Market', Christina Rossetti

In your soul are infinitely

precious things

that cannot be taken from you.

Oscar Wilde


AIMÉE: Normandy, 1891

Thumb and forefinger feeling towards tiny dimpled edges, she grasped another shining glass bead, a glittering silvery grey button of mercury. Separating it from the hundreds of others nestled inside the small wooden work tray, Aimée withdrew the bead, brought it close to her face and peered at the pinprick of light. Her favourite tools lay beside her on the low table: scissors burnished to a dull sheen, a pincushion, bundles of embroidery threads dyed to soft, dusky hues. Bright crystal diamantes and sequins lay scattered across the table's rosewood surface, waiting to be studded through the dark glossy beads.

She speared a hair-fine needle directly through the bead's centre, then pulled the metallic thread through the tiny aperture in a wide, trailing arc. The bead slid and danced along the length of spun silk like a tightrope performer, bouncing to a stop as it reached the fabric base.

Aimée stopped to inspect her work, holding the collar up to the light. The coarse linen band was virtually invisible now, almost entirely covered with intricate sparkling embellishments. Searching for a space to push the needle through, she applied too much pressure and pricked her finger. The collar fell discarded onto her lap. She cursed softly under her breath, then examined her finger in the light, pressing upon the bead of red seeping out from under the edge of her fingernail. A drop of blood fell, smearing the linen in her hands.

She raised her finger to her mouth and tasted the iron tang of blood.

BOOK: Precious Things
4.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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