Year of Ideas: August, Lost and Found

Vicky managed the lost and found at the community hall. It should have been a simple thing, and when she volunteered it had seemed so, but the box in the back was strange.

For one, items were deposited when there was no one around to open the doors and let someone in. Vicky knew that, because she did inventory every morning to see if anything was missing. Nothing ever was. The only things that left the box were items that had been properly claimed. But new items kept appearing, and after a while she’d checked the security cameras to see who was doing it. There were multiple occasions where an item that had not been there when she left the night before was nevertheless there when she showed up the next morning and no one had entered the building in between.

It had to be a prank, she was certain. Something done to tease a new volunteer, or something silly like that. Though she really didn’t think the community board were the sort of people who would play such jokes. But she couldn’t figure out anything else. It was too strange, too sudden, and too inexplicable.

Stranger still, the items kept being claimed. People would come to check the box, saying they were certain they’d lost it somewhere else, but they wanted to make sure they checked everywhere. They were always so relieved, even if they were baffled, and Vicky had to admit that made her happy. It was nice to be able to return things to people who thought they were lost forever.

After a while, she stopped worrying about how the items got there. It was enough that they were there and people were reunited with their things. Sure, it was strange, and sure, she couldn’t explain it, but she decided she didn’t need to. That maybe explaining it might mean it stopped, and she didn’t want that to happen. No, better to just let the items come in however they got there and leave it be.

That choice appeared to be the right one, at least it seemed so, the day she lost her locket. She did not lose it at the community hall. She did not lose it anywhere near the hall. There was no doubt about that, because she had a selfie taken before they went to watch the parade downtown. Her locket was clearly in place. Before they took the train home, however, it was gone. Vicky had been inconsolable, having lost the pictures inside, the ones her mother had put there to remember her by. There was no chance they’d find it on the street, not with the number of people who had churned up slush and snow while watching or marching in the parade.

But the next day, as she opened up the community hall, she felt hope like a lump in her throat. Her hands had been shaking when she opened the lost and found box to take inventory. The locked was sitting at the very top, waiting.

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by | Aug 4, 2022