Saturday, March 26, 2016

Story Cubes 15: The Crystal (fiction)

It was the day I hoped to propose to her, but I was waiting for the right moment. Monique and I crossed the bridge over the brook and walked towards the woods. But it wasn't the right moment, because something odd caught our attention. Some kids -- or so I thought -- had erected a teepee at the edge of the tree line.

We looked inside, but there was nobody home.

Someone had been there recently, though. There was a half-eaten apple resting on the floor of pine needles, along with some dice and some recently picked flowers. There was also a small wooden box with a padlock on it. The lock was open, so we removed it and looked inside. We found an alarm clock, a tiny set of scales, and a pyramid-shaped crystal.

"What do you suppose these are for?" I whispered.

"Why are we whispering?" Monique whispered.

"I don't know. Something odd was happening here, though. And whoever was here will probably be back soon. Why else wouldn't they have locked the box?"

"Maybe because there's nothing actually valuable in it," Monique said, rolling her eyes.

"I don't know. This might be valuable," I said, holding up the crystal.

The alarm clock started to ring.

"Ought oh," I said. "I bet whoever put up this teepee is coming back."

There was a crash outside, like someone dropping an armload of sticks onto the ground.

An ugly old man with long gray hair, filthy jeans, and a denim jacket opened the teepee's flap and stuck his head in. "What are you doing here?" he rasped.

"Just being, being curious" I stuttered.

He held out his hand. "Hand it over!" he demanded.

"Hand what over?" I said.

"The crystal."

"What's it for?" I asked.

"Just give it to him," Monique said.

I handed the crystal to him. He smiled and motioned for us to sit down.

"We'd rather not," Monique said.

"Please," he said.

Since he looked frail and unthreatening, I decided we might as well sit. "What the hell," I said sitting cross-legged. Monique gave me a dirty look but then sat down too.

"Scales," the man said as he sat down facing us.

I handed him the scales. He emptied all of his pockets and placed a few coins and pebbles on the scales, until each side was perfectly balanced.

"Nice, but what's the point?" I asked.

He grinned and said "ten bucks." Then he held up the crystal over the scales and began to turn it slightly. It caught some sunlight that was filtering through the hole in the top of the teepee. It seemed to glow. I couldn't stop staring at it and began to feel dizzy, like the teepee was spinning. I closed my eyes. Then the alarm clock went off again.

I hoped it was all a dream, that I would open my eyes and find myself in bed with Monique. But no. Monique and I broke up later that day. And all I ended up with is a stupid pyramid-shaped crystal paperweight.


(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

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