This week, Chuck gave us a list of 10 one word titles to choose from. I saw this one, and just started writing...
enjoy the ride!
It beckoned to me from under that glass counter at the gem shop.
The Tourmaline pendant was meant to be mine.
Looking up, I asked for it politely, but inside my mind was swirling and screaming for it to be near me.
I was in love with a gorgeous, peacock blue stone set with silver wrapping around it, a loop at the top and a chain strung through the loop.
It cost me plenty.
But I didn’t care.
I wore it home and strange things began to happen.
I didn’t have bus fare, so got a free ride home... which I thought was nice of the driver. When I arrived home, I found it was my turn to clean the house, but my house mates offered to do it instead and said for me to get in and have a shower and put my feet up.
Why they offered I wasn’t sure... but okay, I did that.
As time went on, more and more things happened around me where I either got out working for things or what I normally found difficult, happened for me very easily. People were friendly, happy and really nice to me – some of them almost sickly sweet – and it didn’t occur to me that something was going on until the last minute... not until it was too late.
I was out at the markets some Saturdays looking for another Tourmaline just like mine – but I never found it. So, I returned to the store where I had found mine, but it had shut down completely.
Everything was gone from the windows.
The whole place was empty.
It was as though it had never existed at all.
A neighbouring shopkeeper came outside, “Can I help you?”
I pulled out the business card I had been given when I bought the necklace, “I’m looking for this place. I was here last week, but now the place is gone.”
She looked at the card, “Last week? That’s impossible. This place has been gone for over a year.”
I wondered exactly how that could be as she gave the card back to me and walked away. Looking back at the store, I noticed an alleyway running down the side of it. Without another thought, I walked towards it, taking it as the city sounds vanished into a void behind me; and I emerged into a private garden of used boxes, rubbish and bins around the back of stores.
A man was having a smoke out the back, sitting on a crate, when he noticed me, “Hey you can’t be here.”
“I was looking for a back way into this store.” I said showing him the business card, “I want to find another Tourmaline for my friend.”
He looked at my pendant, to the card and then handed it back, “I shouldn’t tell you this, but go up those fire exit stairs to the third floor and you’ll find what you’re looking for.”
“How can I trust you?”
“I’m telling you where the owner is; and where she has been for over a year.” He answered before standing on his half-smoked cigarette and going back inside, “You know? I don’t know why I told you where she was... I felt as though I needed to.”
The third floor was one big empty space. I thought it would have been full of hallways and apartments; but it was a loft filled with boxes, a bed and it looked as though somebody had lived there for not just one year, but years.
“Hello?” I called, hearing my voice echo slightly.
“Who’s that!” demanded an old-sounding voice, “Who dares comes into my home?”
“A man told me where to find you.” I walked toward the voice to find a very old woman sitting in an equally old recliner in front of a fireplace. She turned and saw me and her look changed, “Ooh... it’s you. Enjoying your good luck?”
“Not really. Things are coming too easily to me; life isn’t a challenge.” I said, “But I was looking for another one like this but without the doo-hicky spell on it.”
Smirking, she blew the steam off her tea, “Goodie for you, you figured out that’s it’s got a spell on it.”
I looked around, found a chair nearby and sat, “Bad for me is that if I take it off, bad luck will hit me three-fold – I will most probably die or end up in prison.”
Putting her cup down, her eyes moved over to me nodded, “You’re smart. But you’re not talking like you’re under its spell.”
I pulled out of my pocket a little leather bag which stunk like dead eggs, “I have a bag of sulphur with me. I didn’t realise until I was at my university course and handled the sulphur that it was cursed. So, I made the bag up and have been carrying it with me since... that was three days ago.” Shoving it back into my pocket, I looked back at her, “Now, the only people who are affected by it are the people around me.”
She smiled, showing her yellowing, rotting teeth, “I’d love to give you one without a spell on it. But really, you took so long to figure out the spell. You took a year – not a week – to figure it out.”
“No. That’s not true.”
Rising from her seat, she pulled a receipt book from a desk drawer nearby, flipped through the pages, and handed it to me: “It’s there. You bought that thing a year ago. You got your scholarship. Your friends got married and moved away from you. You got into the course you wanted and you are succeeding greatly... and now you think it’s been a week?”
“How do you know how long it’s been?”
“What’s the date on the receipt?”
I read it out aloud, “29th, March, 2016.”
“Okay.” She took the book off me, “What’s today’s date?”
I looked to my watch where there’s a date marker, “2nd, April, 2016.”
“Wrong.” She said, “It’s been a year.” She turned the television on and changed the channel to the news service where they had the date in the corner. It read: “2nd, April, 2017.”
Thank the Gods I was sitting down!
“Now, who are you?”
“I am me.”
“No... look at the business card.” She said.
I pulled it out of my pocket, looked at it and saw there was a photo of an old woman on the front wearing a blue Tourmaline around her neck – one just like mine, “Hey you have one just like mine.”
“It is yours. It is mine too... they are the same Tourmaline.” She pulled from under her scarves and jackets, a blue Tourmaline. It was peacock blue stone set with silver wrapping around it, a loop at the top and a chain strung through the loop exactly like mine, “Now, if you take yours off, which one of us dies?”
“What do you mean?”
She smiled, “Do you and I die? Or does the world implode? Or both?”