We arrived at the antique store, which looked very modern and minimalist for that kind of place. I went inside and only saw a young lady with red hair who seemed to be the shop assistant and a couple, who seemed interested in a sculpture from ancient Rome.

I looked around me, and the store had all kinds of old objects, sculptures, coins, paintings… endless objects that came from all over the world. An explosion of cultures within four walls.

The woman walked the couple to the door and as soon as she said goodbye to them, she turned to me.

– Good Morning. What can I do for you?

– Good Morning. I’m looking for the person who sold my grandfather an antique item, which I believe came from this store.

– Many old objects are sold in this shop. Anyway, I am the owner, so do not worry, join me as we will search the file for the history.

I followed her to the counter nervous and anxious wondering if she could help me. She opened a file and asked me:

– Well, could you give me the reference number of the item or the auction purchase papers if not?

– The truth is that I only have this card.

I handed her the card and her face changed dramatically. She glared at me with a look that really scared me.

She hurried over to the door of the establishment, put up the closed sign and turned to me.

– Join me please.

We went into an office, which had little to do with the rest of the store. It was dark, filled with objects even stranger than those she had exposed to the public. In the back, there was a beautiful old wood table and a leather seat.

– Sit down. Can I offer you a drink?

– No thanks. I’ll get straight to the point if you don’t mind, the truth is that I would like to know something about the object that my grandfather bought and who sold it to him.

The woman poured two cups of coffee and after placing one in my hands, she sat down opposite me.

– I was the one who got and gave your grandfather the “article” as you call it.

– Excuse me, I really have no idea what the hell this is.

I noticed how she looked at me from the bottom up, as if she wanted to see beyond, into my soul. Without any hint of wanting to make me feel comfortable, she stopped her gaze and stare at me.

Then, her face threw a strange little smile.

– What’s so funny?

– It’s a very valuable effect. In fact, I hope you didn’t bring it with you. Becauseyou have left it safely, right?

– Yes, don’t worry about it. Although it is a piece of leather almost decomposed.

She looked back at me, but this time her eyes locked on mine with a threatening gesture. She made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and I could swear they changed color slightly for a moment.

– Are you familiar with ancient history?

– Yes, it could be said that all my life I have been surrounded by books with that type of theme.

– Do you know the story of Maia and Mia?

– I think I heard something when I was little, but it wouldn’t hurt to remember it either.

– Well, the legend says it that many many years ago, in ancient Egypt …

“… Two beautiful, healthy, strong and intelligent twin girls were born. They were very close to each other. Their names were Maia and Mia. One day, while both sisters were playing near their village, an old woman appeared. She looked emaciated, and from the look of her, it would be tell that she had been wandering the desert for days. Her hair was silver and her wrinkled skin had a coppery color, her lips were dry as if it had been an eternity since her last sip of water, she wore a worn tunic and carried a small sack on her back and a staff in her right hand that she used as a fulcrum. Mia kept her distance and pretended she hadn’t seen her. Instead, Maia approached the old woman with curiosity.

Innocent, she stood in front of her and offered to take her home to offer her food and shelter.

The old woman was amazed and nodded.

Little Maia, grabbed her hand, and with the joy and innocence of any little girl led her to their house. She invited the old woman in, and gave her a nice piece of wheat bread and a bowl of milk.

The old woman did not know how to be grateful for such help, so she looked at both girls again and said:

– Maia, you are a very peculiar girl, do you want to come with me, travel and learn from me?

The little girl did not remember having told him her name.

– Maia: How do you know my name?

– Mia: And what can my sister learn from someone like you?

The old woman closed her eyes, pushed the already empty plate away with a slow movement and after a sigh she said:

– I know more than your name. I know that your destiny is united and what your future holds.

Then the old woman, she reached into the sack that she carried on her back.

– I know you have had nightmares in which this mask appeared.

The little girl reached out her hand to reach for the mask and suddenly began to vibrate slightly. Then the old woman blew and the mask turned into a small pile of sand. Little Maia scared and at the same time captivated by what she had just seen, was curious and wanted to know more.

– With it you will get more power than you can ever imagine, but if you want it, you have to come with me and learn things that only I can teach you.

The old woman extended her hand, offering it to her, and little Maia, who was still gaping, grabbed it, saying:

– With a condition.

– Let your sister Mia come with you, right?

The little girl turned to look at her sister, smiled at her, and nodded shyly.

– I told you that you share the same destiny, so I already had it. ”

– Years later, thanks to the knowledge acquired about the elements and the power of the mask, Maia became a tremendously powerful woman, but that is another story …

Answering your question and in short, the piece of leather, as you call it – she said, raising her eyebrow in a mocking tone – that contained the chest, is part of that mask.

For a moment I stared into space and didn’t know what to think.

– What’s wrong?

– Honestly, it didn’t seem like such an incredible story to have something like this saved the way Grandpa kept it.

– I do not know if you are misinformed – said the clerk, raising her tone and increasingly angry – or that intelligence skips a generation. In any case, I’m running late, now if you’ll excuse me, I have a party to prepare for tonight.

– You haven’t clarified anything to me, really.

– If you want to continue talking, we can do it later. Bring something elegant, see you at 8:00 p.m. and tell your friend to come with you, he looks … appetizing.

I got up reluctantly, and left with more doubts than when I entered. I had to make something out of it all, or it would end up driving me crazy.