Behind the teak door carved with a relief of an open book, there was a room where the souls that Libretto had snared were kept. Each soul was held inside a box made of copper from Bingham Canyon and the front was inlaid with a miniature cameo of its rightful owner in black sapphire. The boxes rested on shelves made of black marble with veins of gold and silver running through them. Down the middle of the room, there were waist high islands of the same color marble with three bowls per island. The bowls were graduated in size from small to large and were made of smooth crystal with gold edging. All souls differed in size depending on the age of the person when they had been taken. A copper canister next to the bowls was filled with flakes of crushed carbon mixed with alexandrite and it’s serving spoon hanged from its curved handle. To see the souls in their entirety, Libretto always placed them in the correct bowl and added one spoonful of the carbon alexandrite mixture. He then swirled the bowl seven times clockwise and four times counter-clockwise. When swirled correctly a cloud formed above the bowl and everything inside played out like a video recording. When the last moment had played, the cloud then exploded into raindrops that fell back into the bowl. He poured the water that glistened red, blue, purple and green like an oil slick back into the copper box and it always transformed into a dense mist. Depending on the innocence of the soul at its capture, the mist could be as white as freshly fallen snow or as dark tarnished gold. The newest addition to the shelves was pure white. It had belonged to a sweet baby girl with fat ginger curls, dimples, blue-green eyes, freckles across the bridge of her nose, skin the color of cream laced coffee and a very sunny disposition. Libretto had been collecting an elderly man’s soul in the house next door, when he’d spied her through a large bay window and her smile had entranced him. He couldn’t leave without her so he slipped in and offered her a teddy bear made of lace and bubbles. By accepting his gift, she gave away her soul and he quickly took it before anyone could interrupt. Back in his room of souls, he poured the mist into the small bowl and swirled it so he could see her again. Her smile was the first thing that struck him and as he stared, his mouth formed a name, Tomia.
© Esther Moreira