The Locket Adventures

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story that begins with someone's popsicle melting.... view prompt


Romance Fantasy

This story has themes of Lesbian Romance, Magical Realism, and the Pandemic.


Alecia kept screaming at her mother over and over, “Op’icle! Op’icle!”

“Fine! You need to eat it on the back patio. Don’t come in until I get you. Understand?”

Danice went back to her laptop. Working at home had been tough, but there was no way around it, with COVID-19 being a factor.

A few minutes passed. She glanced at her daughter, sitting on the back porch. The slush on a stick which had been a noticeable popsicle was quickly melting to a red gooey syrup, due to the unforgiving Arizona summer sun. Splotched all over her hands and hair, the child resembled a scene from a horror movie. The baby was preoccupied, and that was all that mattered.

Sigh of relief.

The peaceful moment was short-lived, though. The sliding glass door flew open, and little legs came running inside at lightning speed.

Danice groaned when the three-year-old gleefully, wrapped her arms around the dog, who was now equally sticky with red goo. Coffee, their chocolate lab began to lick Alecia’s face, as the child giggled with delight.

Danice felt as if she were going to explode from ‘what-next’ syndrome.

She retrieved a dish-towel, wet it, then began the arduous task of playing ‘clean-the-moving-target’ with her child and dog.

She attempted to return to her work, when her ten-year-old son, Bodie, came bounding down the stairs.

“Mom, I need help with this question.”

“Okay. Thirty minutes and I’ll help you out.”

“Mom, it’s timed. I don’t have thirty minutes.”

“Son…” Danice sighed with mounting frustration.

Having Bodie in homeschool, and Alecia and Coffee getting into mischief every ten minutes… At this rate, she may or may not get her paperwork done by midnight.

“Fine, bring your laptop here.”


Danice was alerted to Fara’s car pulling into the garage when Coffee began to do his ‘near-peeing-with-joy’ dance.

Fara disrobed from her work clothes in the garage, and with a towel wrapped around herself, dashed to the shower. She worked as a nurse in a small clinic, and to be on the safe side, they felt sanitizing her clothes each day, and showering right away would be the safest protocol until science figured this pandemic out properly.

“Oh, babe, you’re still working?” Fara said as she sat down in the dining room.

Danice felt her eyes burning with the threat of tears. “It’s been nonstop with them today. I don’t know if I can do this much longer.”

Fara stood and began to rub her wife’s shoulders. “I’m sorry, babe. I wish I could be the stay-at-home parent.”

“It’s okay. I don’t mind. It’s just been a lot of hard days lately.”

“I wish you hadn’t had to work today, of all days.”

Danice paused. What was today? Suddenly it dawned on her. “I forgot it’s my damn birthday.”

“Well, I didn’t,” Fara beamed. She placed a small box on the table. “Happy birthday.”

Danice eyed the small velvet box, opened it, and her breath caught. Inside was a beautiful antique silver locket with filigree scrollwork. It looked old. Fara knew her wife had a major weakness for antique jewelry.

“Fara, we can’t afford this,” she protested only half-heartedly.

“It’s all good. I found it at the antique store in town months ago.” Fara stood up and slipped the long chain over Danice’s head. The locket was an oval half-dollar sized ornament.

Danice fingered the cool metal against her skin. Her eyes filled with tears. She looked up at Fara lovingly. “Thank you.”

“I also picked up a pizza, and Bodie’s going to babysit Alecia. He’s agreed to watch Barbie movies and do a tea party in exchange for Minecraft mods.” Fara laughed. “Whatever that is.”

Danice stood and wrapped her arms around her wife’s neck. “You are amazing. I love you so much.”


The next day, while Alecia was taking her afternoon nap with Coffee, snuggled at the foot of her bed, and Bodie kept busy playing Minecraft, Denice savored a rare moment alone.

She sat down at her vanity and opened the locket.

She’d resized a picture of the four of them from two years ago. It was Alecia’s first Christmas. They’d gone to Long Beach and visited Fara’s mother. They had a wonderful day, and Fara’s mom had snapped a pic of them on the beach just after sunset.

Danice lovingly touched the picture as she reminisced. She eyeballed the size, cut it into an oval, and pressed it into the locket.

She slipped the chain around her neck and stood. However, a wash of dizziness overtook her. She blinked her eyes, and when she opened them, her senses were assaulted by salt air, seagulls crying, and the gleeful sounds of her family nearby.

She staggered backward, realizing she was no longer in the upstairs bedroom of her home. She was now on the same beach in Southern Cal, where the picture had been taken.

Fara touched her shoulder lightly, “Hey, are you okay?”

Danice’s eyes went wide with shock. She opened her mouth to reply but couldn’t find words.

“Babe?” Fara became alarmed.

Danice stuttered, “I — I’m okay. Just maybe need to eat.”

“You ate only forty-five minutes ago,” Fara said, giving her a strange look. “Let me grab you a protein bar from the car.”

Danice shook her head in agreement and lowered herself to sit in the sand. Fara’s mother was with Alecia and Bodie building a sandcastle, the same as two years ago.

How was this possible? As an automatic response to her surging anxiety, she placed a hand on her chest, willing her heartbeat to slow. Her hand rested on the locket. Was any of this real? Was she really reliving a past memory?

She needed to know she wasn’t dreaming. Maybe she’d fallen and hit her head? Or was having a lucid dream?

As she relaxed into the experience, remarkably, things progressed in the same way she remembered from her memory two years ago. The sun began to set, they took their picture and loaded up the children into their car.

Just before Fara turned the engine over, she looked over at Danice and tenderly touched her cheek, “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I forgot about this little moment with Fara, but I remember now.

“Hey, what’s that?” Fara asked as she touched the locket around Danice’s neck.

“Oh, you—” She stopped short. Fara hasn’t given me this yet. “Uh, you don’t remember?” She stalled, thinking of a viable explanation.

“No…” Fara said slowly.

“I uh— found it at that thrift store a few weeks back.”

“Huh. Looks really old. You haven’t worn it until now.” Fara said, leaning in to get a closer look.

Without thought, Danice took the locket off so Fara could inspect it.

The second she did this, she blinked once, and found herself back in her room.

She felt disoriented, then panic set in, “Oh my god, the children! I’ve been gone for hours!”

She went to Bodie’s room, who was still at his desk. She crossed to the baby’s room, and Alecia was still fast asleep with a lump formed by the dog, hidden under a blanket at the foot of her bed.

She panted heavily, trying to calm herself. Everything is fine…

She pawed at her pocket for her phone and realized the time was just as she remembered it before she’d been whisked away.

She was about to leave when something caught her eye. She thought she saw the dog’s tail sticking out from the blanket, but it couldn’t be. It wasn’t brown.

Her hand trembled as she reached for the blanket and drew it back. Instead of a brown Lab, a spotted Dalmatian lifted his head and stared up at her.

Danice staggered backward in disbelief. The dog jumped off the bed, padded over to her, and nuzzled her hand. Something Coffee often did.

Her hand shook violently as she reached for his tag. It no longer read Coffee. It now said, Pepper.


Over the next week, Danice couldn’t even begin to think of how to start a conversation with Fara about why their dog Coffee was not a part of their family, but this other dog was.

She mulled it over quite a bit and could only fathom that the locket had somehow managed to transport her back in time, and when she came back, it had altered her personal timeline ever so slightly.

This kind of thing simply didn’t happen in reality. She would have brushed it off as a dream. Yet, every day she woke up, there was this dog, who acted exactly like their ole’ faithful pal, Coffee, but was now a Dalmatian named Pepper.

She had not worn the locket since, fearful of what might happen again if she did. However, as the next few weeks drudged on, the monotony of life wore her thin. She began to think of escaping her reality, even for just a moment.

After another harrowing day, she sat down at her vanity and cried tears of frustration. As the pandemic got worse, Fara had to work longer hours. She felt she was going crazy.

The locket was in her jewelry box. She felt a thrumming, as if it was calling to her? No, that seemed ridiculous, and yet…

She took the locket out and removed the picture of their family of the beach vacation. She felt immense guilt for even wanting to use the locket’s power again. Yet, if it only changed inconsequential things in her present existence, what could it hurt to travel back in time to a better memory?

She pressed a new picture into the locket and hesitated.

Maybe it wouldn’t even work again.

Even as she began to lift the chain to place it around her neck, she could feel a strange vibration thrumming through her fingertips. She knew it would work.

She paused only a moment, then impulsively dropped the chain over her neck. The moment the locket fell onto her chest, she was on the cruise ship.


 When Denice returned from the replay of her ten-day honeymoon, she was delighted to discover her new existence included not living in Phoenix anymore. She now lived in a swanky upscale apartment in New York City. She’d always wanted to live there!

It was a little nerve-wracking that Fara was no longer a nurse, but rather a doctor in the ER. However, her wife was a pro at handling stress, and she didn’t think it would be a problem. They continued with their careful safety practices. Everything would be fine.

Their dog was now a Corgi named Thor - whom the family lovingly nicknamed, Thorgi. Danice was relieved that the relationship between Alecia and her beloved dog had not changed one bit.

Danice didn’t use the locket often, but she couldn’t help herself on occasion. Every time she left and returned, the changes seemed to be favorable or neutral.

Strangely, the breed of their dog always changed. However, he remained male, and consistently retained the same ole’ personality of the dog - Coffee - she’d known and loved before the locket adventures.

When she had to return, it was always difficult, so the anticipation of seeing what kind of dog Coffee was going to be next helped pull her back to the present.


Danice should have realized that it needed to stop when she returned one day, and there was no version of Coffee at all. As she sifted through their old family photos, and a journal she wrote in often, they’d had a black Lab named Duke until about a six months ago. He’d been a door-dasher. He ran into the street, got hit by a car, and had to be put down.

Alecia was no longer the boisterous toddler she’d once been. She was more subdued, and Danice found herself missing her daughter's demeanor, even if her high energy was often challenging to manage.

She tucked the locket away and vowed not to use it again.

For months she held to her promise until one night, tensions were running particularly high between her and Fara. They’d gotten into a bad argument, and Fara stormed off to her office to sleep on her couch.

Danice felt that old humming noise emanating from her jewelry box, calling her to use the locket and forget reality for a while.

She was always so tired. She needed an escape. She didn’t stop to think further about the potential consequences. She slipped it on and blissfully settled into the old memory.

She spent four days away camping amongst the redwood trees of Northern California with Fara. She’d been able to rejuvenate. When she returned, she went straight to Fara’s office to apologize for her side of being petty, but Fara wasn’t there.

A sinking feeling overcame Danice. She ran to Alecia’s room. She was fast asleep - still no dog. She went to Bodie’s room. He was up late playing a video game, but she was too distraught to discipline him.

“Son, do you know where Mommy Fara is?”

Bodie turned sharply in his chair and stared at her with an expression she couldn’t decipher.

“Mommy Fara is in heaven with Grandma Alice,” he said angrily.

“What?” Danice sputtered.

Bodie suddenly looked furious and Danice startled when he screamed, “Mommy Fara died! How could you forget that?” He picked up a mug on his desk and threw it across the room. The ceramic shattered and woke Alecia. She began to cry. Bodie ran from the room in tears. Danice had a moment of panic, frantically trying to process this news and figure out what to do next.

She ran to Alecia and scooped her up then sought out Bodie. She found him curled up on the sofa in the game room. She sat down next to him.

She spoke softly, “I’m so sorry, son. Mommy had a bad dream.” She could barely utter the words, as she groped for a believable lie. “I forgot. I wake up sometimes, and I forget…”

Bodie was quiet for a moment then said, “I’m sorry, Mom. I feel so angry, and I don’t know why.”

“It’s okay. It’s how people deal with death sometimes.”

She held them. They cried together for a long time. Then she tucked them into bed and went to her journal. She began to read. She learned from doing quick cursory research through pictures, journal entries, and local articles, that Fara had gotten sick with COVID, and had passed away only four days ago. Panic was threatening to overwhelm her as she sunk into despair.

She wept more tears that whole night through, than she had in her entire life.


It was her fault. All of this was her fault. She lived through the next two weeks in a daze, unbelieving she’d brought this reality upon herself.

One night, as she sat in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace, she turned the locket over and over in her hand. She needed to destroy the infernal cursed item. Yet, she couldn’t seem to bring herself to do it. Despite the fact that it had destroyed her life, it was also the last gift given to her by Fara.

She began to reminisce about all their beautiful memories together. Their first date, their romantic wedding. The birth of their son and daughter. Then the night that Fara had given this to her for her birthday.

That night… Oh god, if she could only go back in time…

Oh god!

Danice sat bolt upright. She’d been so overcome by grief that the thought had not occurred to her before!

She scrambled to her feet and retrieved her phone. She scrolled through pictures and found the day of her birthday.

Fara had wanted to make love, and Danice felt guilty at putting off her wife’s advances. She was so exhausted. Fara laughed and said easily, “There’s always tomorrow.”

Danice kissed her wife and asked, “Selfie with me? So I can remember this wonderful birthday years later?”

Danice positioned the camera overhead and snapped one single pic.

She’d forgotten that she had even taken it until now. Yet, one pic was all she needed.

Would it work? Would it make her situation worse rather than better?

She sat for a long while, debating. Finally, she stood up and printed out the photo, cut it to size, then pressed it into the locket.

Just before slipping it over her head, she pleaded with an unknown force that perhaps wielded the power of the strange locket, “Please, please, let this work.”

She closed her eyes, slipped it on, then opened her eyes.

She looked over at Fara, who was sitting in bed next to her as they had that night eating pizza and watching a movie.

Danice sprung up and threw her arms around Fara’s neck. “Oh god, you’re alive,” she sobbed.

Fara was utterly flummoxed, taking on an expression that her wife had suddenly gone stark raving mad.

Danice then got up and flew to Alecia’s room. On the floor was the biggest dog she’d ever seen in her life - a Saint Bernard. She went to the collar and inspected the tags by the glow of the night light - Brutus.

She burst into fits of laughter. Fara was in the doorway. “Babe, are you okay? What’s wrong?

“Nothing is wrong. Everything is perfect.”

She stood, took Fara by the hand, and pulled her back into the bedroom. They made love long into the night.

The next day Danice buried the locket deep in a hole in their backyard.

Many long years later, when Fara inquired about that old antique necklace, Danice felt only slightly guilty at having to play dumb that she had no idea what had become of it.

August 06, 2020 18:09

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Brittany Gillen
23:36 Aug 10, 2020

Mary - Thank you for sharing your story. Ever since I read it, I cannot stop talking to people about the premise. Very creative and original. I love that it had a happy ending! Excellent job! Keep writing!


Mary Black Rose
21:07 Aug 11, 2020

Thank you so much Brittany! I love getting compliments like this. It makes my entire day! I'm glad you enjoyed the happy ending. Honestly I feel reality has too much chaos and sadness. I read fiction to escape, so most of my stories - (not all) - will be bitter-sweet or happy endings. Thank you again for taking the time to read! I appreciate it so much!


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05:06 Aug 08, 2020

A time traveling mom, way cool, love the ending. Reminds about the greek story where the guy pulled the silver thread and was fast forward. Then there is Click in which Adam Sandler pressed the fast forward on the remote controller.


Mary Black Rose
19:06 Aug 10, 2020

Hi Jason!!! Glad to see you're still around! Thank you so much for reading my short story. Yes, you are absolutely right about it being like Sandler's movie. I'm kinda a shameless fan of his corny work... Interestingly I didn't draw inspiration from that movie. Although, maybe it was subconsciously inspired? I've not seen it in ages. Glad to connect with you again! Take care!


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Yolanda Wu
04:38 Aug 11, 2020

This was such a beautiful and heartbreaking story, especially that ending. I love that it is a lesbian couple with a family. If you are interested in checking it out, my most recent story also involves some lesbian romance with magical elements. Can't wait to read more from you. :)


Mary Black Rose
20:05 Aug 11, 2020

Aww thank you so much! I would totally LOVE to read your story! I love this theme (Contemporary Lesbian Romance with Magical Realism elements,) but my goodness it's hard to find. I love Neil Gaiman but he writes mostly hetero and gay romance elements when he weaves them into his stories. So, ya know what they say, if you can't find anyone who produces it, go forth and write it! So that's what I've done. I have two novels that I've written in the same vein, which I'm working on, and hoping to get out there before the year is over. Do you have...


Yolanda Wu
22:13 Aug 11, 2020

It's so lovely to find another person who also enjoys these kinds of stories. I too also feel for the hetero with gay romance elements, so pretty much all my short stories and novels have gay characters in them, because the LGBT+ community needs that representation. I would be so interested to read a novel by you. The novel I have on Wattpad is more LGBT fantasy, but many of my short stories are more on the realistic end. Thank you so much for reading my storyy :)


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02:22 Aug 10, 2020

This was so entertaining. Very creative. And very relatable. “Clean the moving target game” made me laugh.


Mary Black Rose
18:28 Aug 10, 2020

Thanks! I appreciate you reading it! Thanks for the specific feedback. I always appreciate that SO much!


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