Dahlia had owned the pawnshop for a century. Previously she had been the manager of a haunted hotel, and a circus performer before that. She had inherited the shop from an elderly witch who wanted to retire to the countryside. The two of them still wrote, and Dahlia got sent jars of honey every year.

Mostly it was a quiet job, and Dahlia liked that. There would be two or three customers each day, selling anything from cursed jewellery to garden ornaments, and in return Dahlia gave them money, spells, or prophecies. After a hundred years she had quite a lot of items: a piano that played itself, a skeleton that talked, pottery with ever-changing images, and several dozen pink flamingos.

Then there were the curses – curses for aching feet, for baldness, for bellyache, and one curse that turned you two inches small for an hour. These are stored in jars in the back, looking like colourful swirling gas. Dahlia collected them, and often paid to have curses removed from items so she could keep it.