The flea market had a wondrous assortment of crap. Richard Davis sorted through it all with a reluctant and indicative manner. But all he could see was crap. Music boxes which played a dreary frightening tune, while atop the moldy ballerina wilted in her slow and sometimes uneven dance to the song; yellowed glass pop bottles that sported an era that had never known the simplicity of a twist top. And most of all there were doors. Hundreds of doors, all stacked together, and all musty, gross and old. Richard wrinkled his nose in disgust as his father busily siphoned through the doors like a man on a mission.
Richard had unfortunately stuck his arm through the other door, followed by a month of it being in a cast, after attempting to practice becoming an all star skateboarder in the confines of his small room. The hole in the door had become a privacy issue, as well as the door itself an eye sore from both sides. And after numerous attempts of Richards to cover it with a towel, Richard had a quick fix attitude that his father sorely detested, his father announced that it was time to replace the broken door. Although living in a rather large house that had been passed down to the Davis’s by Richard’s Mother, Richard’s father did not hold up a very well paying job and keeping a large house in order is sometimes costly. As well there was only one income as Mrs. Davis had passed away from cancer a few years back, and after that her father had cut all ties with the family. So Richard was reluctantly dragged to the flea market on the outskirts of town that supposedly specialized in doors. Doors that Richard, his father pointed out, would be unable to break through lest he have the urge to try anymore extreme sports in his bedroom.
Now Richard was in this musty old store staring at a pile of dusty junk that no one in their right mind would ever want to buy. He wondered how this place ever stayed in business, the walls were the old boarded kind and all of the junk looked like it was time stamped right up until the 1970’s. Richard groaned and looked at his dad.
“Dad when are we going to get out of here, all this dust is making me sneeze,” and he wasn’t exaggerating. He had been letting off a non stop string of sneezes since they’d entered through the front door. Even the little bell over head that rang when a new customer had arrived showered them with dust when they entered.
“Soon Richard,” his Dad grunted, “we just need to find you a new door, why don’t you take a look around, I think there’s an upstairs to this place as well.”
With that he was back to work eyeing down the old doors trying to find one that would hold up to the abuse of a teenaged boy.
Richard heeded his father’s advice, and walked towards the stairs. The dust on the floor swirled around his feet like little dirt devils. As he reached the stairs he stopped and eyed them down warily. They were the old style of spiral staircases, winding around a large wooden pole. The stairs had once been a shiny brilliant brass colour but now were faded and brown, and very unsafe looking.
Richard shot a look around the store. He was sure that if this staircase fell and cast him into uncertain doom that no one would hear about it, the dust would mask the sound and then cover him forever in an unmarked grave.
Did you hear about that boy Richard? He just up and disappeared in that flea market one day while his father was too cheap to buy a real door. Richard could hear the gossip about it as he slowly and stealthily climbed the stairs.
The stairs were none too happy about his adventure up them either, as they protested, creaking and groaning and shaking almost violently with each step he took. Richard held onto the tiny railing and wooden pole for dear life until he finally managed to make it to the top and for no reason other than fear jumped onto the wooden floor above.
He landed on his hands and knees expecting a dust cloud to completely envelop him. But instead he was looking down at a beautifully polished hardwood floor, and staring up at him was his own very light reflection. Someone had taken a lot of time to make sure this level was in pristine condition.
And as Richard looked up he realized that the floor wasn’t the only thing that had been taken care of. He was almost blinded by a brilliant flash of light against polished steel. There were swords on this floor, swords of all shapes and sizes, swords from any number of cultures and countries. All of them were polished to the utmost shine and delicately placed on racks in rows upon rows.
Richard stared open mouthed at the display, it was vast, and the room was enormous in length. Richard walked along the swords staring at each one, running his fingers along their cold steel. He wondered how many of these blades had seen battle, or had felt the white heat of human flesh and blood. They hid their stories behind a mask of shining silver.
Almost abruptly, the room ended with a large carved wooden door. The door was a regular size but a very thick looking oak, and in its plane was carved an imaginative array of castles, trees, landscapes, and a large fire-breathing dragon hovering over it all with fiercely piercing eyes and a jagged set of razor sharp teeth.
Richard felt drawn to the mouth, he reached his hand out almost day dreaming and started to run his fingers along the small wooden teeth.
“Oi, you, what are you doing up ‘ere,” a gruff voice yelled across the room.
Richard pulled his hand away catching it on something sharp on the door and cutting it slightly.
“Ow,” he cried out.
“Oh beautiful, now you’ve gone and hurt yourself, I suppose you’re going to want to sue now hrm? Well come on over ‘ere and lets take a look,” an old, short man groaned from the stair way.
Richard put his finger in his mouth and sucked the blood out slowly. He shot a glance at the door wondering what he had caught his finger on, and seeing nothing started walking towards the old man.
“Now, now then son, this is supposed to be closed off, to stop younger folk-like you hurting yourself on these swords. They’re all very sharp and dangerous you know,” he grabbed a hold of Richard’s hand and squinted closely at the small cut.
“Well than, it don’t look like too much, just watch yourself there son, you don’t want to be the next victim to one of these blades,” the old man said giggling.
He was joking, but something in the way he said it chilled Richard a little, the idea that these swords had killed before made them all the more menacing.
A clonking sound suddenly filled the room and seconds later Richard’s father appeared at the top of the stairs. He surveyed the scene and then gave Richard an exasperated look.
“I am sorry sir, Richard here likes to get into trouble from time to time, I’ll have him wait in the car if you like,” his Father said astutely.
“Knout, knout the boy here ‘asn’t done no ‘arm. He’s just curious aren’t you?” the old man laughed ruffling Richards hair.
“Nonetheless I will take him down stairs at least and keep him out of your way, he really should...” Richard’s father drifted off in mid sentence, his eye caught by something.
He was looking past Richard and the old man down at the end of the room. The glinting swords were out of his line of vision now as he stared at the door. He walked towards it like a man in a dream and Richard and the only man could only look after him in wonder.
“My God, this is absolutely brilliant,” Richard’s father cooed.
He reached the door and ran his hands along the soft wood and carvings, over the teeth of the dragon as Richard had, and he breathed in its rich oak scent.
“This door must be hundreds of years old, how did you ever come across it?” his dad said, spinning around to face the old man.
Richard looked at the man and almost fell back. The look on his face distinguishably had changed from, cheery and boisterous, to angry and frightened. There was no doubt about it, this man was scared to death.
“Now look ‘ere, I can’t have you two mucking about up ‘ere with all these swords. As you’re boy ‘as found out they’re quite dangerous, and the last thing I need is you cutting yourself badly. I need you to go back downstairs,” he angrily grunted.
Richard’s father came forward with an astonished look on his face.
“But sir this IS a flea market and that door is for sale is it not?” he reasoned.
The old man furrowed his brow and squinted at Mr. Davis. He eyed him down like an alpha dog trying to assert its position in a group, but Richard’s father held his stare calmly. The old man broke the gaze by shooting a glance over at the old door. Richard once again saw a very frightened look cross his eyes, just for a few seconds than back to anger once more.
“No, not for sale, I said go, I want you both out, out of my store now,” he yelled, pointing at the stairs with a shaking hand.
“Look please be reasonable, I am sorry that my son came up here and caused you a bit of trouble but I want to pay you for that door, its perfect, I’ll pay you whatever the price,” Richard’s dad pleaded.
“Dad,” Richard began, but his father held up a finger.
“Quiet Richard,” he snapped, not looking at him.
The old man was still point at the stairs but staring at Mr. Davis again, hard, almost trying to figure him out as though he had some ulterior motive to wanting this door. Finally he took his hand away.
“It s a very ‘eavy door and I’m not able to carry it, I wouldn’t want to see you two hurt yourselves or have it fall on you,” he said.
“Sir I promise you Richard and I are quite capable to carry it, we’ll be careful.”
The old man was quiet again now just staring at the door, that look of fear once again drifting across his face.
“Fifty is what I paid and fifty is what I’ll charge ya,” he said, quietly.
“I’ll pay seventy for your troubles,” Richard’s dad offered, pleased.
“Fifty is the price sir,” the old man repeated.
With that he pushed slowly past Richard and made his way down the creaky old stairs.
Richard looked back over at his dad who shrugged his shoulders before motioning for Richard to come help him with the door.
As they closed the back of the station wagon with the door now snuggly inside, Richard went to the passenger side and looked over at the front door where the old man was standing watching them warily.
Mr. Davis walked over and handed him the money, the old man snatched it up before shooting Richard a look and then quickly shuffling into his store. Richard could hear the door bolt slip into place and the ‘open’ sign was roughly switched to ‘closed’.
“What a strange old man,” Richard thought aloud.
His father shot him a look.
“He was only acting that way because you were messing around in his store Richard, you really need to be more considerate of other peoples things,” and with that he walked around to the drivers side and Richard got into the car.