Inside, the store smelt a little…fusty. As if it wasn’t cleaned often enough, but it was probably just an old things smell. To one side was a full set of saxophones, all ready for a quartet – a starving jazz musician, no doubt. In fact, there were remarkable numbers of musical instruments. Behind the counter was a gray-haired man, ordinary in his appearance.
“Excuse me?” I found my voice, although somehow the weight of the place threatened to rest hard on it.
“Yes, young lady?”
“The drinking horn. How much?”
I blinked, stepped backed towards the window and looked. The space where the horn had been was empty. When you’re already not sure about the stability of your mind, thinking you’re hallucinating? That’ll get to you. I found myself running from the store, and I didn’t stop until I’d gone several blocks towards the Metro and Ford’s theater. I had money for Metro fare. I was going to go somewhere I knew would relax me, calm me down.
But I knew the horn had been there, and it had called to me, and there was still a sense of that. Of something looking for me. I’d had it before, but I’d always put it down to…well.
I questioned my own sanity, I questioned it regularly, and I knew I should be worrying about boys and my grades, but that was what I worried about. My grades could take care of themselves, and I had the lingering feeling they weren’t that important.
Down into the Metro station, the press of people forming around me. Saturday afternoon. The less workaholic parts of Washington were already on the streets, heading for some place to cool off or enjoy the sun, depending. I was usually in the cool off group, the air conditioning in the station, as bad as it was, washing over me.
I could still see the horn in my mind’s eye. I could still feel the pull of it, a soft, gentle electricity, but it hadn’t been real. It hadn’t been real.
I was going crazy. That was the only answer to it.