<<Previous  | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>

 A Prophecy of Shadows


Chapter 2

Cam sat at the table in his parents’ kitchen, sunshine spilling across its surface, his mom hovering close by as she set the worn jewelry box in front of him. She smiled with maternal pride at the sound he made as he opened the lid to reveal the treasure within. Pulling out the chair beside him, she sat down as he picked up the delicate ring. The center stone was emerald cut; on each side there were seven round diamonds making up the arms holding the center stone, with a small pear shaped diamond at the base of those.

"This was your Great-Grandma Abigail’s engagement ring," Wendy said with a smile as Cam carefully examined the elegant design, the sunlight reflecting off the antique diamonds. "Her husband George had it made specifically for her when he decided she was the one. George made sure the jeweler crafted it with flawless, colorless diamonds. He said he wanted the ring to be as perfect as the woman he was destined to spend his life with." Wendy laughed. "Of course, Grandma Abigail couldn’t imagine something so beautiful ending up being buried with her when she passed on, so she made sure everyone knew it was to be a family heirloom, handed down to the oldest child of the following generations, or a younger sibling if for some reason the oldest didn’t want it." She placed a hand on her son’s shoulder. "That ring represents the enduring love that’s been passed down through our family. It’s yours to give, if you want it. If not, it’ll go to your brother."

Cam touched the stones gingerly with his fingertips. "It’s beautiful." He looked at it for a few seconds longer before turning to his Mom. "You don’t think Frankie would be upset, it not going to him?"

Wendy shook her head. "It’s always been understood that it goes to the eldest, and that’s you. If Frankie ever gets to the point of getting engaged, there are a couple of other choices as far as family jewelry, but more than likely he’ll want to get something of his own." She smiled at her son. "Your great-grandfather had it made for Great-Grandma Abigail; it was passed on to their son, Captain Mitchell, who gave it to your grandma. She then passed it down to your father, and he gave it to me. Now, it’s yours, to give to the woman you’ve chosen to be your wife." There was a definite twinkle in her eye. "And, one day you’ll pass it down to your son, or daughter, and you’ll continue the tradition."

Cam let out the breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding. It was a strange feeling, that a small piece of jewelry could represent so much. Placing the ring back inside the box, he reverently closed the lid before turning to his mom and giving her a hug.

"So, when do we get to meet Jessie?"

Cam chuckled. "Soon. I’ve got to get her to say yes first!"

"Well, she’d be a fool not to." Wendy reached out and cupped her son’s cheek. "You’ve grown into a fine man, Cameron. Your Dad and I couldn’t be more proud of you."

Cam hugged her once more before giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom."

"Have you thought about how you’re going to ask her?" At his look, she continued. "It’s a female thing—we remember the little details!"

Laughing, he shook his head. "I won’t mess it up, Mom. There’s something I’m having made to go with this; it has a special significance for us."

Wendy beamed at her son before ruffling his hair. "Smart man. Make it special…don’t ask her while you’re taking out the garbage or something!"

Laughter filled the small kitchen as the Mitchell family heirloom was once again passed down from one generation to the next.




Moonlight spilled through the smudged panes of the window, a tree outside casting shifting shadows throughout the room as the wind blew. It barely illuminated the small, hunched-over figure sitting within a circle created by a braided cotton rope, four candles having been placed equidistant around the perimeter. The flame from one glinted off the blade of a small dagger, a miniature crystal bowl beside it holding a dark substance. She was almost finished…the old quill made an odd scratching sound as she wrote the last words on the page, the sharpened tip of the makeshift pen dipped into the bowl between strokes. Slowly straightening her body, she rolled her shoulders, loosening the muscles from their cramped position. Her muttered words were too low to be intelligible, but her purpose was clear as she blew out the candles, then walked counterclockwise around the circle twice, before finally untying and gathering the rope on her third time around.

Placing the rope on its shelf, she went back and carefully picked up the leather bound journal, carrying it over to the altar and laying it in the right hand corner. Reaching for a crystal cruet, reminiscent of those used in the rite of Holy Communion, she poured a small amount of oil contained within into the palm of her hand. The silence was broken once again as she resumed murmuring beneath her breath. She picked up a candle, her nimble fingers glistening with oil as she anointed the coal black wax. Once it was completely coated, she placed it in the center well of an old brass candleholder, the four arms emanating from it already holding smaller candles of differing colors. Lighting a taper from the wall sconce by the altar, she then touched the flame to each of the candles.

As the dark blue one flared to life, she whispered, "Hopelessness."

The brown one followed. "Uncertainty."

Next came the gray. "Sadness."

The dark purple one slowly began to glow. "Betrayal."

She saved the black one for last. "Chaos."

The five flames flickered, reflecting a dull lifelessness in her obsidian eyes. Choosing a small pair of brass tongs, she used them to grasp a picture she had taken of her nemesis only a few days earlier. Her eyes narrowed as she gazed upon the face of the young woman, whose happiness was obvious at the time the photo was captured. Mumbling to herself, she passed the picture slowly through the flames of the outer candles, repeating her mantra of hatred. She then held the picture to the flame of the black candle, her lips curling into a sardonic grin as she envisioned negativity surrounding the woman, the shadows enveloping her completely as the fire licked at the paper, caressing the outer edges before igniting, the image consumed in the flames as it was destroyed. She watched briefly as a small amount of ash fluttered to the altar’s surface. Glancing at the clock on the wall, she took note of the time, mentally ticking off how long she needed to leave the candles burning.

Picking up the crystal bowl and dagger, she stepped into the adjoining bathroom. She proceeded to wash her hands of any remaining oil. Glancing into the mirror, the corners of her mouth turned up into what might have passed for a smile, but in reality was more of a sneer. "Soon," she murmured, "very soon." Taking the crystal bowl, she held it beneath the faucet, the water running red as it disappeared down the drain.

<<Previous  | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>

SciFi Topsites