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Elouise walked through the door with the picture in her hand and Ruby opened her eyes as she came closer, she handed Ruby the photo. The ring stopped its vibration and the color returned again to normal. She handed the picture to Ruby while looking at Gert. Did it happen again? the glowing and vibrating thing? Gert looked at Elouise in confusion. Elouise looked up at Gerts hair and saw it wasn’t grey any longer but almost platinum blonde, the color she was when she was a teenaged girl. Her wrinkles had begun to smooth out too. She looked at Ruby who turned and walked back to sit behind the desk. Holding the picture in her hands, she turned it over and then flipped it back again. Her eyes looking intently at each face before locking in on the center woman.
Where did you get this again? she looked intently at Gert who only turned and looked at Elouise. Elouise sat down in the other chair beside Gert.
The churchy thrift store down on the island, don’t know what the name is but it’s not on the main drag but one of the streets behind it, Miami or something, or maybe it was the next one over from that. I don’t go there often and I found the picture, but I let Gert have it for helping me out of a situation. She got the ring there too.
Gert piped up suddenly, and the freak show girl who works there told me they came in together in a box just today. She didn’t say where it came from but they wasn’t there long. Got the ring for 10$ too and the picture for 5$, gonna take the picture and jazz up the frame, and those kids in that picture, kind of creepy but it was like they was meant to come home with me. She smiled at Ruby who merely kept staring at the picture. Do you know who they are Miss Ruby? Ruby finally looked up at the two of them.
When I was a little girl, back when my Mama was teaching me about my skills, she told me once about some family traveling with the circus who had a lot of kids. Now my gift as I like to call it, it was passed down I like to think. My Mama had it, my Gram had it and I was told I too carried the gift. She told me about the family that moved around with the circus. The children never aged. In all the years my Mama saw them, they never got any older. They were gypsies from somewhere in Europe, Romania or something like that. But the kids weren’t their kids. They collected them over there, ones who had a special gift. They were fortune tellers and magicians, worked at odd jobs around the circus, and the father would go back overseas and would bring more and more back to their home. I have a feeling they were homeless and he just took them in like a big flock. But they never got older.
The mother wore something like that ring. My mama saw it once when she went to work the circus one year and ran in to the mother during the show and asked if she could see the ring. She was magic too, that one but dark magic and she saw something in Mama that scared her. Like my Mama knew it was the dark magic and not meant for good. The family disappeared right after and never came back again after mamas encounter but she told me about that ring, the diamonds and saphire, and the way it changed while she spoke to the woman. She never spoke of it again after they disappeared and I had forgotten about it till now. Seeing this picture and knowing at some point they lived around these parts is stirring up the ghosts for me. I look into their eyes and know somethings dark there. That ring is not good, it holds darkness. What you think may be light, is really darkness. What’s else has been happening since you wore it?
Elouise told her how Gerts cane was no longer necessary, nor her glasses, how her age spots had disappeared and now the hair color change and everything else she could remember. Then she spoke about the elephants in the meadow that were there and then gone, to which Gert just looked at her and laughed.
They was clouds Elouise, not real. What are you talking about elephants in the meadow. We was cloud watching, that’s all.
So Elouise, you’re not wearing the ring but things are changing for you just by being in the presence of it? You’re seeing things that aren’t there? How are you feeling? Elouise glared at Gert and then Ruby.
I’m not here ‘cause of me, I’m here ‘cause Gert here is the one changing. I’m tired, that’s all, confused about all these changes and I don’t like it. I hoped you could help is all and I’m afraid of what’s gonna happen to my friend. Tears began falling from her eyes and Ruby handed her a tissue. Elouise blew her nose loudly in it and sighed tiredly. I don’t know is all, I just don’t know.
Ruby looked at Gert sadly. I know how much you’ve taken a shine to that ring Gert but like I said, it’s not good. It’s got a lot of bad energy in it, I sense that from the moment you two walked in and unless you get rid of it, I’m afraid there’s no telling what may or may not happen. My Mama never ever steered me wrong and it’s her voice within me telling me the story of those kids, that family and I tell you, it’s not good. Mama’s never wrong.
Now I don’t know what you want to do, that’s your decision to make, but if I were you, I’d take a boat out to the middle of the gulf and drop it in, pray it never surfaces again. The picture is just a picture, no bad mojo there but they are connected, but I don’t even want to touch that ring, I can feel the evilness from here. Now I’m not gonna charge you ladies for today, think I’m doing the world a favor by enlightening you to that vileness there, and I will leave it up to you as it’s your ring. But for a ten dollar loss, you’d be richer for being rid of it. Ruby stood up and smiled at the ladies. Now if you will excuse me, I need a few minutes before my next appointment.
Elouise and Gert stood up and followed Ruby to the front of the shop. Ruby looked over at a young woman in a beautiful golden turban who was sitting at a chair by the window. She had and aura about her of a lightness with her buttery smooth dark skin and her deep blue eyes gazed up warily as they entered the room. Alia, welcome, I will be right with you. Ladies, it was a pleasure meeting you and I trust you will choose wisely. Ruby turned as Alia rose and as the exotic woman walked past Elouise and Gert, her eyes opened wide and she backed away from the two, creating a wide space. Her eyes looked down at the ring on Gerts hand, and she caught her breath with a gasp and stopped. Ruby took her gently by the elbow and ushered her towards the back. Come Alia, we need to go and they turned and went down the hall towards the back. Alia glanced back once, a look of both wonder and fear etched across her face and then she was gone.
to be continued……