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Fantasy Fiction Mystery

Igor looked like a hideous old toad. His creased motley face, wiry thinning hair and permanent grimace complimented his unpleasant personality. He owned ‘Igor’s Antique Shop’, but in truth, it sold all manner of second-hand goods and junk. Igor did deceased estate clearances and paid a pittance for the treasured belongings of the deceased. He made his living taking advantage of grieving people. 

Igor disliked me because I often browsed his cluttered store for hours without buying anything and when I did buy, I insisted on haggling. I despised buying things from him, and dealing with his irritability, however, I was obsessed with finding treasures.        

On that day, a new delivery had just arrived. Igor was distracted, wading through boxes and trying to get stuff on display as quickly as possible. He shuffled over and placed a large wooden jewelry box in the dusty glass display case. When he moved on I approached the display case. I was no expert in antiques or jewelry but I knew what I loved. The box was pretty but not of any real value. Inside it was brimming with costume jewelry. Whoever owned it must have loved bright colors. It was a myriad of pinks, bright greens, piercing blues and orange beads and trinkets. 

Digging through the collection I felt something metallic and solid at the bottom of the box. I unearthed a beautiful pendant. It was dirty and tarnished, but I thought it might be silver. On the face was a raised motif of a tree set within a circle of Celtic work.

Yippee! A treasure! I had to have it.

'How much for this Igor?'

'Can’t you see how busy I am? I can’t haggle now.' Under his breath, he added, 'Nuisance shopper!'

'Igor! How much?'

'$20 if you go away.' 

'Done.' I tossed him the money, grabbed the pendant and was off.

Score! I thought to myself.


The sun was out and shining. I grabbed a latte at ‘Corner Café’ and headed for the park. There were lots of boats out on the harbor and the park was busy. I walked towards a shady spot.

'Caro!' 

I turned around and saw Jack sitting with his back leaning against a massive tree. 

Oh no! This is going to be awkward.

'Jack!' 

'How are you?' 

I had forgotten how handsome he was. Six foot six, blonde and fit.

'I’m great. You?'

'Good, busy with Uni but on holiday now. Have you stuck it out?'

'Yeah, I'll finish at the end of next year.'

There was an awkward pause.

'Wanna join me?'

'Sure,' I said, but I was hesitant.

'What’s that you have there?' 

'A pendant I just found at the antique shop.'

'Let's see.'

Jack examined the pendant. 

'My professional opinion as a History Major is that the design is Celtic.'

'No shit, Sherlock!'

'It isn’t an ancient artefact, but it does look pretty old. Perhaps you should get it valued.'

'Maybe.'

'Do you reckon it could be a locket with something inside?' 

'Dunno.'

Jack handed it back to me and tilted his head.

'It’s been a while.'

Oh my god, he is so attractive.

'Yeah, I haven’t seen you since we slept together and you never called me back.' I still harbored the humiliation. 

'Ew, temper, temper. You've always been a cranky pants.'

I gave him the finger.

Despite my embarrassment, I said, 'I thought we had a connection.'

'Hey, I’m sorry. Shit went down.' He looked at me sheepishly with his amazing green eyes.

'Yeah, what?'

'My brother got arrested that night for driving under the influence. It was a big drama.'

'Okay.'

'Would you be willing to try again? Maybe go for a drink?'

I felt a rush of conflicting emotions, the humiliation, attraction and fear he was playing me again.

‘If we do have a connection, you won’t know unless you try.'

'Okay. When?'

'Have you got the same number?'

'Yep.' 

Oh no. I’m blushing. I could see he noticed because he gave me a cheeky smile.

'I’ll call you.'


When I got home my thoughts jumped back and forth from Jack to the pendant. I pulled my bedroom curtains open and curled up on my tatty red armchair. I turned the pendant over and over in the fading sunlight. I Googled how to remove tarnish, made a paste with baking soda and water and polished the pendant. It was tediously slow, but working. I was pretty sure now it was silver. 

I Googled ways to open a locket. I was supposed to put my fingernail in the crack between the face and back and it would pop open, but I couldn’t get my nail in the seam. I tried to slide the face sideways, and that didn’t work either. My frustration was interrupted by my phone ringing. 

'Hey Caro, it’s Jack.'

'Hi.'

'How about going for a drink tonight?'

'Um, okay.' 

Jack chortled triumphantly. 

I debated over what to wear. I didn’t want to look too eager, but I did want to look alluring. I settled on a funky black pantsuit, but something was missing. The pendant had a small ring at the top to thread a chain through. I found a silver chain in my flat mate Jane’s jewelry drawer. She wouldn’t mind.

We met at the cozy bar ‘Om Shanti’. It was dimly lit and Indie music played softly. 

'You look ravishing!'

'Thanks, Jack.' 

Bloody hell, I’m blushing again.

'The locket looks good too.'

'Ta.'

The evening went well. The conversation flowed easily and kept returning to the pendant.

'I looked up the symbol on the locket,' Jack said. 

'Pendant.'

'I think it's a locket. The symbol is from Norse mythology. The tree is called Yggdrasil, or something like that.'

'Really?'

'Yeah, it was a giant tree that connected the nine realms of existence.'

'Wow. But why do you think it’s a locket?'

'The seam and the weight.'

'But a pendant could have been made in two parts.'

'Sure. But, if it is a locket it would usually contain a strand of hair or a photo. This feels curiously heavier.'

'When I was putting it on the chain, I noticed a tiny raised dot at the top of the face.'

'Show me.'

Jack played with the dot but it didn’t open. 

We ended the night with a quick kiss. I felt my entire body respond. I almost felt annoyed that Jack had such an effect on me. 


Late into the night, I thought about the nine realms. Maybe I was overlooking something. The pendant was still tarnished especially in the elaborate knotting and design. I spent more time polishing it using cotton swabs to get into difficult areas. I put it under my reading lamp and inspected it again. 

Maybe the top dot is for the tree. Then there could possibly be 9 dots for each realm. If you divide a circle by nine, where would the points be on the circumference? It won’t be symmetrical. Hmm.

Then I saw it. 9 tiny raised dots in the Celtic knotting.

10 dots with the top dot. What’s the relevance of 10?

I pressed each dot in a clockwise fashion, but it didn’t work. 

Ten dots, ten fingers!

It took me forever to work out how to position my hands to reach a dot with each digit. When I pressed down there was a click. I dropped the pendant.

Jesus! That hurt!

I looked at my hands. Each finger and thumb had a pin prick with a drop of blood. 

What the hell?

I realized the fallen locket was open.

Eureka! I’ve done it! It is a locket.

The face opened horizontally revealing a mirror. I could see my wide-eyed face in a strange golden light.


The morning arose with a perfect sunrise. I had not been able to sleep. I couldn’t wait to tell Jack about the locket. It was too early to call him but I could hear Jane pottering in the kitchenette. 

'Jane! Check this out.'

'Hey, were you in my room yesterday?'

'Yeah, I needed to borrow a necklace. I went out on a date with Jack.' 

'Well, it’d be nice to let me know before you go into my private space.' 

'I’m sorry. You weren’t home. I thought you wouldn’t mind.'

'Well, I do!' Jane shook her head of wild chocolate curls. 'Shit! I’m sorry Caro. I’ve got a raging hangover.'

She reached out with her skinny arms and we hugged.

'I really am sorry.' I was reeling from Jane’s attack, it was not like her.

'What’s this about Jack?'

'I ran into him yesterday and we went out.' 

'Is that a good idea?'

'It went really well. But look, I found this at Igor’s.'

I held out the locket.

'I thought it was just a pendant, but it's a locket. Watch this.' I was hesitant to get pricked again but as soon as I put a finger on the top dot it opened. I explained to Jane how it had opened the first time and showed her my fingers.

'But now I only need the top dot.'

'Wow, that’s a lot of trouble for a small mirror!'

I looked into the mirror. 

'Now that’s odd. Last night it had an amber sort of glow. Now it’s greyish.'

'It's probably because of the cloud cover.'

Weird! It was sunny only minutes ago.

'Are we good? I’ve got to get presentable for work.'

'Of course.'


At 10.15 am I called Jack. He didn’t answer.

 'Here we go again! More fool me. At least I didn’t sleep with him!' I said out loud to myself.

'Ha ha,' Jane called out. 'Good news you didn’t sleep with him but this talking to yourself is concerning!'

At 10.30 am I called Jack again despite the risk of looking desperate. No answer.

Screw him.

I decided to visit Igor to find out where the locket came from. The weather was getting worse. It felt like it was mirroring my darkening mood. 

First Jane, then Jack not answering and now I would have to deal with Igor’s bullshit.

As I entered his shop the bells on the door alerted him. He looked up from his work at me.

'Here we go. The waster!'

'Hi, Igor. I was wondering where the last delivery came from. I’m interested in who owned the locket I bought.'

Igor furrowed his eyebrows.

'Do you think I have time for this?'

'It would only take a second.'

'Shoo! Shoo!' His hand gestured towards the door as if shooing a fly.

'Wow, you are so rude! What is your problem?'

'Bugger off!'

I left the shop fuming.

Maybe I should burn his shop down! Nah that’s too much. There must be a way.

The wind had picked up and was icy. It made me feel crankier. I took some deep breaths and went back into the shop. Igor glared at me.

'If I buy something, will you tell me?'

'That’s more like it,' the hunchbacked creep said. 'Make it something over $50.'

I really couldn’t afford that at the moment, but I wanted the information. I bought a beautiful throw rug for my tatty red armchair.


I tried to call Jack again. No answer.

Why am I putting myself through this again?

I pulled out the locket.

What are you all about?

The mirror looked different once again. It emanated a blackish light now. I went out on the veranda, wrapped myself in my new throw rug and watched the storm roll in.

Screw Igor, Jack and Jane!

My phone rang.

'Hey, it’s me. Sorry I missed your calls, I was at work.'

'You work?'

'Yes, I do! For my dad.'

'You won’t believe it, I opened it!'

'The locket?'

'Yes!' I recounted how I opened it and how only the top dot was needed to open it now.

'It cut you?'

'Yes! Guess what’s in it.'

'I really don’t know.'

'A mirror!'

'Seriously?'

'Yeah but there is something weird with it, it changes colors.'

'I don’t understand.'

'Last night it sort of glowed an amber light, then when the cloud cover came in this morning it glowed greyish and when the storm started to roll in it was like charcoal. Hang on, I'll open it now.' I opened the locket. 'The mirror’s greyish again.'

I looked out at the sky. The storm had suddenly started to disperse.

'Weird. How about lunch tomorrow?'

'Sounds good.'

He has it all over me. I can’t say no to him. Am I a fool? Is he playing me again? Should I be doing this?

However, I went. 

'I’ve got a surprise for you,' he said with a smile to die for. 

We ended up on a ferry tour of the harbor. Jack set us up on the bow with a picnic basket full of Champagne, fresh crusty bread and a gamut of goodies. I felt so spoiled. I looked up and the clouds were parting, exposing a magnificent azure sky.

Jack went to the bathroom and I checked the locket. The grey glow was turning into a serene blue.

On Jack’s return, I said, 'I think the locket reflects the weather.'

'How? Why?'

'I don’t know.'

It was a perfect date. Later we went back to my place. The temperature was unusually balmy. The night sky was clear and starry. We took Champagne and my new throw rug and were intimate on the soft backyard grass. Jack drifted off and when I checked the locket I was smiling and the glow resembled a light shining through a ruby. 

The chill of dawn awoke me. I was alone on the grass. I was confused. Where was Jack? I went to my bedroom but didn’t sleep. There were voices in the house. I listened intently. 

No way! That’s Jack’s voice!

I heard the front door close and peered out the window. The sky was a weird purplish blue-grey. I looked at the locket. It was glowing purple. 

What the heck does this all mean? And what the hell is going on?

Then I saw Jack walking down the driveway. 

'Jack!' Jane called out, chasing after him.

He turned and Jane handed him the picnic basket. Then he kissed her on the lips.

RAGE 

I turned to get my phone but I must have left it outside.

RAGE

A sound like an approaching train erupted. Huge hailstones violently battered anything within their path. Jack and Jane scrambled around in circles trying to find cover. I moved away from the window.

RAGE 

I looked at the locket. It was pitch black and my face was contorted with fury. I didn’t recognize myself.

RAGE 


Did I pass out? When I came around, multiple sirens were screaming. I stumbled from my room. Jane was crying in the kitchenette. The room was littered with broken glass and blood.

'What’s wrong?' I asked, trying to submerge my wrath.

On television, the news was reporting extensive damage from the hail storm. People were injured and houses were damaged. It was being tagged as a national disaster.

'Jack’s been taken to Emergency,' Jane stuttered between sobs.

'What?'

'He got hit on the head. Badly.'

I got the first aid kit. 

'Where are you bleeding?'

Jane pointed out the lacerations from the hail and I patched her up.

'What hospital did they take him to?' 

'I don’t know.'

I couldn’t be near Jane right now. I walked up to the local shops to see the damage. The entire suburb looked like a war zone. It was still raining heavily and large hailstones were still scattered everywhere slowly melting. Branches were all over the road. Cars had smashed windows and pock marks all over their bodywork. People were walking around dazed, talking to strangers and sharing their stories.

‘Corner Café’ had minor window damage but Igor’s front windows were completely shattered. The hailstones had pummeled and penetrated his roof. You could see all his stock was wet, covered in glass and roof debris.

The waiter from the ‘Corner Café’ approached me.

'You ok, Caro?'

'Yeah, thanks, Paul. I was inside. What was that?'

'Freak weather. Poor old grumpy Igor is going to have trouble getting up and running again.'

'Yeah.'

My head was spinning. Too much had happened in too short a time. The skies were gloomy but the locket was amber. Suddenly, I realized the locket was not reflecting the weather. It was reflecting me. 

I felt terror. 

I felt power.

I felt guilty. 

In some evil way, I felt vindicated that Igor, Jack and Jane had been punished for their behavior towards me. But, what about all the other people affected? 

Am I crazy?


At home, I retrieved the details for the previous owner that Igor had given me and called.

'Hello?' An elderly man’s voice said.

'Hello, I was trying to get onto Alfred Loveridge.'

'Speaking.'

'I know this is a bad time, but I really need to talk to you about an item you sold to ‘Igor’s Antique Shop’.'

An uncomfortable silence ensued before he cleared his throat and said tentatively, 'You have the locket, don’t you?'

'Yes. What is it?'

'You opened it, didn’t you?'

'Yes.'

Alfred sighed.

'It was my mother’s. She was the weather-keeper. Now you are.'

'What do you mean?' 

'Until you die every emotion you feel will reflect in the skies. God knows what triggered such a hail storm but it is now your responsibility to protect people from your dark side.'

'You’re joking.'

'No, I’m not.'

“I don’t understand.’ I stiffened with panic.

‘You’ll learn quickly enough.’

‘Please, help me understand.’

'Be careful with your thoughts and good luck.'

The phone went dead.

Sheer terror coursed through my body, mixed with pure anger. 

Why me? Am I cursed?

Shakily I looked at the locket. It was jet black. It was so dark I could not see my reflection. Then I heard a deafening roar and hail began to bombard the city once again.







November 24, 2023 07:48

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