There are twelve of us sat around table which dominates the small wood-panelled room. It is covered in a thick red velvet cloth. Heavy curtains block the watery twilight. At the centre, a huge crystal bowl holds our belongings – a watch, a wedding band, a pendant …
Why is it always jewellery?
I clasp the strangers hands next to me. One a huge, sweating palm, the other a thin, liver-spotted claw, like dried out paper.
I concentrate hard on the military medal I have offered, wishing with all my bones that he will speak to me.
I have really missed taking part in the Friday Fictioneers the past few weeks but life got in the way. It’s good to be back.
Old Mrs Bergman’s roses were the envy of the village. The bushes bloomed in a congregation of scarlet and coral, sun-flare yellow and delicious tangerine. They spilled over the walls and lit up the pavement with their scattered petals, like delicate wishes skipping along the breeze, destination unknown.
Mrs Bergman plucked and preened, watered and fed. She whispered sweet nothings. She told the roses all that she would have told him if he were here. And they bloomed.
At night she would take the fading telegram from the drawer: Missing in action.
‘Yeh, but why is it on your list? Rubbish as art? It’s weird.’
‘Forgotten things can become special in the right hands.’
‘You don’t need a tower of junk to tell you you’re special. Is that what this trip is about?’
Layla sighed. The car was too warm. She hadn’t achieved half of what she wanted to, and now she was rotting away from the inside. Cells mutated. Tom was going to take it bad. She hoped he could find some beauty in the world when she was gone.
The Cathedral of Junk is in the backyard of Vince Hannemann in Austin, Texas. He built it because he liked it and it has become a tourist attraction. Find out more about the Cathedral of Junk here.