Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Enchanted Jewels

She had always wondered what was in the box.

Well, technically, it wasn't a box, she thought, peering into the crack of light that slipped past the door of her grandmother's room. It was a jewelery case, almost like a miniature dresser or wardrobe.

Isla had spent many hours staring at the case, running her fingers over the delicate golden wire that scrolled along the top, entwined with roses and tiny jewels that shimmered in the soft glow of the lamp from the nightstand. She had brushed against the three drawers and the two large doors in the front, but had never opened them. She was too afraid to even dare.

The rumors were that the box was enchanted. Some argued that the jewels hidden in the box were enchanted, not the box itself. But it didn't matter. No one except her grandmother touched the box. After all, she was Fiona, the rumored duchess of a land forgotten by everyone except the elderly. While others bowed at her in the grocery store or stopped in their tracks at the post office, Isla treated her like any other adult. After all, she was her grandmother.

But the box, the box was something different. The exterior shone with an ebony glaze and was etched with swirls and painted roses. In the middle of each flower shone a different jewel, accented by the sheen of the golden lion's feet that propped it up on her grandmother's dresser. Many would have noticed the paint peeling in the left corner or the brassy look of the scroll across the top. But Isla never did. To her, it was perfect. It was so perfect she couldn't even dare to open it for fear that she would ruin the mystery. What if the box contained hearing aids or earrings? Or worse--pantyhose and dentures! No, no, Isla thought, I can't open it. So she just stared at it longingly from afar, always wondering what lay inside.


But on her thirteenth birthday, everything changed.

Not only did Isla suddenly become gawky, with her elbows and knees flailing at every step and knocking into every corner. Not only did her curly hair turn into a ball of frizz and her baby teeth into a crooked jangle that required the attention of braces.

But she was given a key.

As was customary on her birthday, Isla headed to her grandmother's after school instead of her house. She always enjoyed these special birthday visits without her mother and three younger sisters. It was the only good thing about being the oldest and only non-multiple in the house. As much as she loved her younger sisters, living with triplets was exhausting. Clomping her way up the sidewalk, Isla jabbed her finger into the doorbell. She tapped her toes across the cement porch as she waited.

The door creaked open. Her grandmother's lean and elegant form was visible in the dim light of the hallway.

"Isla, my dear," she cooed in her soft, low voice. "Happy birthday."

"Thanks, Grandma Fiona." Isla flashed a mouth full of metal. Her grandmother escorted her inside, taking off her coat and steering her away from the display of crystal dishes. Another thing Isla had lost at thirteen was her balance and grace.

"So how has your birthday been going?" her grandmother asked, gesturing to the kitchen table. It was covered with a lace tablecloth and small plate of cookies. Isla poured herself a glass of milk and plopped into the wooden chair. Her grandmother winced as the chair creaked loudly.

"It's all right, I guess," Isla sighed, spewing crumbs all over the lace tablecloth. Her cheeks flooded with red and she pawed at the crumbs. All she did was smear chocolate into the delicate lace. Leaning back and holding her hands in her lap, she stuffed another cookie into her mouth. "I mean, I got some cool stuff and everything. But, I just, I don't know."

She stole a look at her grandmother and grabbed another cookie. Her grandmother said nothing, holding her tea cup in one hand and a uneaten cookie in another.

"Grandma," Isla ventured, looking down at the chocolate smears on the tablecloth. "Are you a duchess?"

Instead of laughing, her grandmother stayed silent. Isla glanced up. Her grandmother's face was smooth and cool. "Where did you hear that?"

"Just...around," Isla murmured, biting her lip. "The ladies at church and Mrs. Pembrooke..."

"Mrs. Pembrooke has always been too nosy for her own good," her grandmother muttered. "Why do you ask, dear?"

Isla took a deep breath and wrapped her fingers nervously around the arm of the chair. The words poured out in a rush. "Because if you're a duchess then that means that the jewelery box in your room must really be magic and everyone says that the jewels are enchanted and if they're enchanted then imagine what they could do and imagine the stories..."

Her grandmother began to giggle. Isla's mouth dropped open. Her grandmother was regal, polite and even rigid at times. She never giggled.

"I'm sorry dear," Grandmother Fiona said, snorting as she laughed. "It's just--you remind me so much of someone I knew..." Her shoulders still shaking with repressed mirth, she stood and walked into the kitchen. Isla heard silverware jingling and drawers opening and shutting. Her grandmother returned and handed her a small velvet box. Isla ran her fingers over the soft velvet and looked up.

"Go on," her grandmother said. "Open it."

Biting her lip, Isla cracked open the box slowly. A tiny golden key lay on a bed of bright blue velvet. Isla gasped as her grandmother nodded.

"I always believed that one should find out the answers themselves," she said, a wicked smile playing at the corners of her lips. "So go on, my dear. Consider this my birthday gift to you."

Isla looked at the key lying on the velvet. As her heart began to beat faster, she picked it up and turned toward the door of her grandmother's room. She could see the jewelery box waiting on the dresser...

She had always wondered what was in the box.


To be continued...


11 comments:

Prudy said...

Another flawlessy written fun read. I really want to know when you do writing, when you started writing, and how much time you spend on editing. YOur reads are always perfect. How do you crank them out so quickly and so flawlessly?

Katherine Aucoin said...

Ok, you've got me wanting more! I've enjoyed visiting your blog and reading your stories. Prudy is right, your writing is flawless. You have a wonderful blog. Thanks for visiting mine! :-)

Maria said...

I love reading your posts! And look at those calzones and cupcakes! YUM!

Marjie said...

I've always wondered what was in that box, too! And I have an aunt named Ilse, so at first I thought your heroine's name was a misprint!

noble pig said...

Oh now I want to know too! Can't wait to find out.

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Interesting...

jenjen said...

Another story that I will be thinking about! I don't know how you can think them up and write them so fast! You are amazing!

About the glasses... Yes, you can order prescription lenses. It is the best site! If you wear glasses you should try it out. XOXOOXO

Marie said...

Ohh you are the queen of the cliff hanger Duckie! I loved this, as always. You have left us wanting more.

Jackie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. :-)
I adore Chihuahuas!!!
I will definitely be back to check out your blog and read more of your entries.

XOXO

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Now I'm wondering what's in the box! There's a little something for you on my blog, it's not jewelery though...

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,酒店,