Brian gets home to find his mother waiting for news of how his visit went. He tells her how good a time he had and she explains why Jordan’s family moved.
“She’s not crazy, Mom. She’s had some weird things happen. That’s all.”
Brian paused, wondering how much he should tell her. So far, he’d kept it to himself, but he knew that he wasn’t the only one experiencing these strange things. She might understand. Then again, she might lock him in his room until he was thirty. Taking a chance, he forged ahead. His mother had never condemned him before. He trusted she wouldn’t start now.
“She’s not the only one who’s had weird things happen. I have too. The other night, when I came in so dirty, it was because I fell in a puddle. But it wasn’t because I wasn’t paying attention.” He leaned forward, taking his mother’s hands. “There’s something in the swamps, Mom. Something that tried to get me and Jordan. I can’t explain it—hell, I barely believe it. But there’s kids all over the place telling similar stories.”
He told her everything that had happened to him. He went so far as to talk to her about Jordan’s experiences too. He even mentioned, in less detail, the things that Andre and the others had told him.
“Oh, Brian! That’s unbelievable!”
“But you do, don’t you Mom? You don’t think I’m totally whack?”
“I believe you, Brian. Strange things are happening all over. The evangelists would have you believe it’s because the end of the world is coming. I don’t believe that the world is going to end in December, but I certainly feel that change is on the way. Maybe these incidents are part it.”
She paused so long, Brian thought she was done talking. He stood, ready to clear his spot, but she stopped him.
“I want you to be very careful when you go out. Don’t go alone unless you have to. Take rides when they are offered. And one other thing. Go up to my room and bring my jewelry box.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He set his dirty dishes in the sink and took the stairs two and a time to fetch her jewelry box.
Brian set the lovely, delicate box on the table in front of his mother. The jewelry box was oval shaped with a slightly domed lid. It was made of some honey colored wood inlaid with other woods and mother of pearl. The pattern had always looked kind of random to Brian. This time, when he looked at it, the negative space between the inlaid pieces stood out. He saw his mother’s name, Maribelle. She ran her hands over the smooth surface, her eyes misting.
“Your daddy gave this to me our first Christmas together. He said he wished he could fill it with diamonds and gold. I told him I’d rather fill it with memories.” She blinked hard. Silent tears fell from her eyes. Wiping them away, she opened the box.
Maribelle felt the contents carefully, selecting a little package wrapped in tissue paper. She lifted it from the box, laying it in front of her as she continued to search. Her fingers closed over a chain. She lifted this from the box as well, placing it beside the package. Before closing the box, she touched each item. Satisfied, she put the lid down and turned her attention to the paper wrapped package.
“Open this. Then use the chain and put it on. I can’t see to do it, but it’s better if you do it for yourself anyway.”
Brian’s fingers shook when he opened the paper. He knew something special lay inside, he could feel it. The hairs on his arms rose and his skin tingled as if whatever was in that package radiated some kind of energy.
He opened the paper, gasping. Inside, lay a ring of metal, too large to fit a finger and too small for a bracelet. It was divided into sections, rather like a compass. In the center, suspended in a lattice work of fine wire, was a clear crystal. At top, bottom and both sides, were four black stones, each slightly different. In between were other stones, eight total, all different. He spotted amethyst, apache’s tear, hematite, onyx and citrine. The rest weren’t familiar to him.
“This is beautiful, Mom! Where did it come from?”
“Look at it carefully. What do you see?”
“It’s a circle—like a ring. Looks like iron. In the middle is a crystal that’s caged in another metal—maybe bronze or brass.”
“It’s iron and brass. Go on.”
He named off the stones he knew. Nodding, his mother took the ring from him, holding it with the onyx at the top. She felt down the right side, naming the stones.
“Onyx, lapis lazuli, amethyst, obsidian, amber, citrine, lodestone, azurite, opal, hematite, blue topaz and aqua aura. In the center is a clear quartz crystal. Now, the chain.”
Brian lifted it up. It was beautiful. “What’s this?”
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
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