The Opal Ring

| January 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

By: Lindsay Kutac

  Kate was gone. The mall was obviously more important than homework. For once, Mary was glad her sister had disappeared on a rainy Saturday. After all, now was her chance. Then she, too, would be gone. After today, Mary would have the riches to buy a jacket, some proper tennis shoes, and book a train ticket to get out of there. Wherever she wanted to go, she could. Once she arrived, she would dye her hair before dissolving into the crowds of a busy city, never to be found again.

    Mary crept into her sister’s incredibly pink room. It smelled of overripe cherries and smashed honeysuckle – the sickly sweetness so powerful it seemed rotten. Fluffy, polyester headbands and bright, puffy pillows were strewn across the floor since Kate had a sleepover the night before. Mary flipped over cushions, peeled back comforters – she even lifted the mattress! The ring, however was nowhere to be seen.
She lifted the lid of Kate’s jewelry box and took out the top tray. No ring. She rummaged through all the drawers and went through all the pockets of Kate’s jeans, but the prized accessory had yet to show. Finally, Mary turned to her sister’s nail polish set and saw it. The beautiful ring was resting in plain sight upon the mannikin hand used to display fake nails. The silver band encircled the thumb finger with it’s gem facing the white walls. Frantic that Kate would show up any minute to see Mary trashing her room, she wheeled the plastic hand around.

    It was there. The sparkling black opal was safely fastened in it’s holster by sterling silver claws, diamonds clouding it outsizing the band. When Kate had sold her car to buy it, she had been so worried that the settings would dig into the jewel. Mary smirked. She remembered when her mom had strictly forbidden Kate to sell her new car to buy the ‘stunningly gorgeous’ ring she had viewed in the high end jewelry shop downtown, but their dad had told her to do it if she wanted to. “She’ll learn later,” he’d said. It was later, and she hadn’t yet, but Mary was oh so glad she didn’t.

    As quickly as she could, she shoved the cosmic gemstone into her jeans pocket and rocketed down to her own room. A hat, a journal, an extra pair of pants, and a camera were stuffed into her Swiss Army backpack. One fleeting last look at her room was the only other thing she took with her as she left the house. Her poor, broken down, and drafty home she had come to love. Second thoughts seeped into her mind like a slowly leaking faucet. Should she go?

    Mary frowned. “Maybe I shouldn’t go,” she thought. “Maybe I need to stay.”

    The time ticked by for a moment or two before she shook her bright red head. “No. I’m going. Now.”



    Hartman and Co. jewelry shop had cameras. The police wouldn’t be searching for a girl with layered black hair, though. They would be searching for Mary Corsico. They would be searching for a tiny thirteen-year-old with even, bright red hair. In a matter of hours, Mary Corsico would be gone.

    “Hello,” Mary greeted the jeweler. An middle-aged man smiled at her and set aside a few trays of precious stones he had been inspecting when she came in. The closer she got to the glass display counter, the more she wanted to sneeze with all the dust that had collected on the velvet cases. Whether she sneezed or not, though, she was going to head out of here with a wad of paper in her hollowed out camera lens.

    “Hello,” the man replied. “What do you have for me today?”

    The way he looked at Mary was wary. I suppose when teenagers walk into the store, it’s to exchange something they stole. The freckle-faced girl gave a smile that didn’t reach her eyes as she reached into her pocket.

    The ring seemed to let out a piercing chime as it settled onto the glass, the sound resonating throughout the shop. It’s galactic colors shimmered in the clouded white light coming in from the storefront windows. The diamonds surrounding it made the jewel look as if shining with a celestial aura. Whom she supposed was Mr. Hartman nearly had a heart attack.

    “Where did you get this?” he demanded, picking it up as if it were to vanish at any moment. Mary let him look at the gemstone in awe before answering.

    “It was a birthday present. My parents said I could have the ring or the car, and so I’ve changed my mind. I wish to sell it to you. If you need their signatures, I have them here,” she assured him. Mary had copied them off of a school paper they had signed and traced over it with ink so it looked new.
Mr. Hartman gaped at her and said, “Let me look over it to authenticate it and then we can discuss a price.”

    Mary nodded with a faux sweetness. “Of course.”

She took a seat in a foldable chair on the right side of the room, waiting. She knew it would check out, she just needed it to check out quick. In about an hour, her parents would get home from work. Kate was probably already home by now, and if not she would be any minute. Kate needed to get to a cab fast and board a train before they could grab the camera feed from the train station to shut down the platform. Time was of the essence.

    Mr. Hartman returned sooner than she had expected. He looked bewildered, but excited. This kind of jewel on retail could get him anywhere in the world of jeweling. He looked over to where she sat and asked, “How much do you want?”




“Train 12 to New York boarding now. Train 12 boarding now,” the intercom droned. Mary rose from her stiff seat in the station. The precious black opal had sold for over 37,000 dollars, and she was on her way to anywhere. She had bought a ticket, and once she got to the Big Apple, she would get on with her life. Doing something, finding a job somewhere. Somehow it would work out. And Mary knew it, too. She dashed outside, her backpack pounding against her spine as she reached the train’s boardingway. As cliché as it could be, she turned around one last time, second thought suffusing her brain once again. The damp breeze blew her hair into her face, so she turned around into the warm cavern of the train car.

    There was no going back.

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Category: Features, Short Story

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