Kruesel presses the old tie clasp into my palm.
“Take it,” he whispers, “but with caution. You cannot return this to me.”
Outside, I hold it up against the sunlight. A pyramid of shadow agate cradled in copper hangs from the golden chain. This will wreck it when paired with vintage Hermes. I sneeze and drop it onto the street. I bend to pick it up but the clasp rattles into right into a street gutter.
At the same time, in a far-out galaxy deep inside the unknowable vastness of space, I skid, facefirst, to a stop in front of a curb. The most beautiful tie clasp appears in front of my face. A pyramid of shadow agate dangling from a golden chain.
I set it on my dresser when I get home. My girlfriend and I admire it, then retire. After feeling her fall asleep, I turn my phone’s flashlight onto the object. And stare.
The next morning, Renaux’s back is in my face. It’s marked up with dozens and dozens of tiny impressions. The tie chain is in my hand. She is asleep. I rip off the sheets. Her legs are marked, too. I yank up one of her feet. Its sole is covered in marks. I look back up at her face. It is awake. It is angry.
I don’t tell her about the marks.
I wear the clasp out that night. I’m upstairs by the jukebox with my girlfriend and Tim Nela. I tell them both how I think it is haunted. It keeps disappearing and reappearing. I refer to the marks all over Renaux’s body that morning. They think I’m drunk. We go to the next bar.
Renaux rails against the DJ for not playing any Kendrick. I stagger up to him and try to make clear that he sucks at choosing music. I listen to Tim’s plans for the week. I rub a thumb over one of the clasp’s smooth edges. I set my glass down on the table and it flings itself into Tim’s lap.
I escape into the bathroom. Alone, at last. I sway in the mirror, gaze on the tie clasp. I hold it. A chill surrounds the room and the toilet seat in the empty stall behind me slams down. The man in the stall next to it yells in fear.
Startled, I yank the clasp and rip through my tie. It tumbles into the sink.
At that same instant, back on our Earth, I am washing my hands. I turn the faucet off. When I take my hands away from the basin, there is my tie clasp, resting at the bottom.