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I had initially written this story in 2015, wanting it to be some form of commentary on the dullness of the short stories I was reading at uni. But I wanted to use it for a submission, so I shaved its edges off before they were fully formed. I have rewritten this now in 2022 and added all of that spice and edginess back in. I hope you like it. Please drop a comment if you do or have something to say, I'm trying to blow the dust off this wattpad account.


It was early-afternoon and already some cars were leaving, dredging deep troughs in the muddy field which children used as canyons as they played. The midday sun had started its slow descent, and rusted football goals framed indecipherable graffiti about someone's sex life on a far concrete wall.

A little old lady pottered about between the remaining cars, gravitating to that corner of the field which contained those few sellers who had arrived early and who would be leaving late. These people were serious about making money, but sometimes one or two just wanted to get rid of something that they didn't quite understand. The old lady had gotten many treasures by seeking these people out. They were often entire families or recent divorcees, nothing in between. Both groups had piles of treasure to get rid of and little patience for trying to keep up a high profit. They were the perfect people to target for a deal.

The little old lady shuffled her way between two tables and introduced herself to a young mother, picking up a child's toy and watching the reaction of the child behind the table. They had no attachment to it, so the old lady was happy to continue browsing. But there was nothing worth having, nothing she liked.

She moved to a man's table and pawed through his old electronics and record collection. The name of an ex-girlfriend from two decades ago was barely scribbled out on one Ultravox record, and here and there a David Bowie had his hair coloured in with what looked like a highlighter. The old lady shook her head subtly, mourning the lost value.

Finally she encountered a young woman with a reptilian grin and unsoothing eyes. The woman smirked and welcomed the old lady, pointing her toward rare porcelain dolls and old vases on the table. The little old lady checked over each vase individually.

"Lovely pattern."

"Isn't it just?"

"And the gilding is very well done, considering."

"Considering what?" the young woman asked.

"Well," the old lady said cunningly, "The enamel is a bit off, here, you see. Down the edge it seems to have been bashed about a bit."

"Well shit happens," the young woman said.

"Excuse me?"

"Stuff happens, bad stuff, to vases."

The old lady agreed by mumbling something incomprehensible. She then turned her attention to a pile of Star Wars, Dr Who, and Star Trek toys contained within an old sports holdall.

"Do you have any of the spaceships?"

"No, my little brother kept them when he moved out."

"Oh," the old lady said. She turned instead to the dolls, but quickly lost interest in the ones on the table as something in the car boot caught her attention instead.

"You've not put them all out," the old lady said.

"Yes I have."

"There's one there in the boot."

"No there isn't."

"There. I can see it's leg and a shoe."

The young woman had changed her tone now. She lifted a vase off the table and got in the way of the little old lady.

"It's not for sale," she said forcefully.

"It's a kid isn't it?" the old lady asked. Her voice was tinted with indifference.

"Why would you say that?"

"Because I've been to enough sinister car boot sales to know. Why would you put a dead kid in your boot then go to a car boot sale, that's what I have never understood. But year in, year out, some idiot brings their murdered demon nephew along with them."

"What are you saying?" the young woman demanded. She was crying now, and had almost dropped the vase in shock from what the little old lady was saying.

"What I am saying dear is that if you had purchased an ancient amulet from a car boot sale, and that amulet had then created a psychic clone of your nephew that had tried to drink your blood as you babysat him, then the first thing you would do would be to scratch out any future car boot sales from your diary. Why murder the creature and then come back to the very place its reign of terror began?"

The old lady said this with such confidence, such precision, that the young woman could only presume she had watched this exact situation play out countless times before, until the horrifying and the paranormal had become routine.

"He... it... was levitating in the living room. It was burying the silverware in the garden."

"And you bashed it with the vase. I know."

"How do you know?"

"I've read enough short story collections," the old lady said. "Whenever there's a nice normal event like a car boot sale, the writer feels compelled to make it as weird as they can imagine, which is usually not very weird at all. And then all their friends sit around in a circle and applaud them."

"It doesn't make sense!" the young woman yelped. The people in the other cars turned to look at her now, but after a moment's silence they lost interest and got back to their sales pitches.

"It makes perfect sense," the little old lady said, looking at the sticking-out leg of the dead-demon-clone-child-amulet-goblin-thing. "I started writing short stories about car boot sales, and one day I came across a little scene in a bottle. I looked closer and realised that I was inside the little scene, and I dropped the bottle in shock, and a witch came out and put me in this story."

"And how can you get out, will I die?" the young woman asked. She looked back at the leg of the demon child.

"I have no idea," the old lady admitted. "I was only distracting you so the undercover police officer could jump in slow motion over your car and arrest you."

"What the fuck is going on in this story?" the young woman asked.

"It really wants to win a prize," the fish said. There was also a fish now for some reason, and it talked and held outdated views on marriage, so most people wished the fish couldn't talk. It was a hilarious metaphor or something. Can I have a prize now?

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