Pearls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


What does Jenny gain?

Submitted: July 14, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 14, 2018

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A A A


In the corner an Old English grandfather clock sat idle, collecting dust. The mechanics ticked, but the hands on the face sat suspended in time. Her gloved fingertip left a thin line as she traced the glass covering the pendulum, and for a moment she paused at the glimpse of her wispy reflection. The cotton fabric of her mask pulled tight against her sunken cheeks like a cocktail dress on a young model, revealing every curve and crevice.

Jenny never cared much for appearance anyway. She swiped away the image and continued her search.

Above, a chandelier’s hinges moaned in discontent. Small glints from the midnight moon reflected rainbow colors through the crystal ornaments onto the wall behind her and she marveled at the ceiling as she carried on up the stairwell. How could they afford such a piece?

Five rooms lined the upstairs hallway, each with a door cracked open just enough for Jenny to slip her thin frame through. From a mahogany jewelry box, she plucked a golden neck chain with a tinted jewel lodged in the middle of a charm—a ruby? A Sapphire? She couldn’t tell in such dim light. She snatched two more silver chains and a ring of pearls. Through the dresser drawers and closets she ravaged, tossing sweaters, dresses, suit jackets and undergarments across the floor until she finally saw it. Perspiration dripped down her temples as she caressed the blue-grey box.

Her eyes widened at the stone of the engagement ring. She twirled it against the moonlight, threw her left glove across the room, and slipped the stone onto her ring finger.

Giddy familiarity filled her heart. Blood raced to the tips of her fingers and ears, burning reminders through her veins, and her cheekbones felt hot as if she’d been drowned in compliments by an invisible lover. But an immeasurable ache paralyzed her soul; this ring was supposed to be hers!

Bedside, a photo of Ryan and the new woman mocked her. She sneered. On the brink of tears Jenny pried open the window and tossed out the photo. Something incredibly satisfying lifted her spirits; quiet thumps traced the frame as it tumbled down into the bushes below. This is what they deserved for taking off on that cruise she’d always wanted to take.

Downstairs a click shocked her from her hatred. Her ringed hand reached for the nine millimeter in the holster on her sock, and with it she slipped back through the door crack and into the hallway abyss. Her heart clogged her ears but her breath remained shallow and stealthy like the hiss of a snake. She slithered step by step down the stairs where she was met by a rush of cold night air, the front door ajar.

In the den stood a scrawny male with a skateboard against his leg and a backpack on his back. He slipped into the kitchen and flicked on the light. By the time he turned on his heels, Jenny stood with the weapon raised between his eyes.

He frowned. “You definitely don’t live here.”

Jenny shifted her weight from her left leg to her right, then pulled her cotton mask up to her forehead, just enough to breathe. The boy had the blue gaze of the “other” woman, but golden hair and sharp facial features of another man. At his short height she guessed his age around sixteen. His eyes settled more clearly on the weapon.

“Cool. That real?” He reached for it and she pulled back.

“W-who are you?”

“Who are you? You robbing the house? Cool.”

“Let me get what I want and I won’t hurt you.”

He gestured her past him. With the gun aimed at the boy’s head, she stepped sideways, eyeing his distance from the phone on the wall. She would have to be quicker than she wanted.

He leaned against the door frame of one of the downstairs rooms as she rummaged through the cardboard boxes. Where was the watch of hers Ryan kept? Where were all of her clothes, her books, her photos? Her hands shook and the lump in her throat hindered her breathing.

“How long have you been robbing people?”

She ignored the boy, but his voice echoed like a distant memory.

“Those pearls aren’t worth very much, they’re fake.”

Frantic, she yanked them from her wrist and tossed them across the floor along with the other chains she’d retrieved. The boy hit the light switch and Jenny shielded her eyes for a moment. Cardboard boxes lined the walls around them, some with labels of “fragile”, others untouched and uncared for; at the sheer volume of them, she staggered backwards.

“What you lookin’ for?”

“My stuff, my stuff, where’s my stuff?” She launched full boxes across the carpet.

“What kind of stuff? New stuff, old stuff; rough stuff, smooth stuff; ugly stuff, pretty stuff?”

She launched a box for the boy’s face, but it fell short.

“Dangerous stuff, maybe?” He inched forward. “Knives, guns, bombs?”

Jenny twirled with her gun on the boy once more. “Get. Out.”

Backwards he stepped with a thin smile Jenny wished she could shoot from his face.

In the back of the room lay a metal safe, but she didn’t care for Ryan’s money or his girlfriend’s money. She didn’t care for their love. She didn’t care for their home, their vacation, or their future. She cared for her things and her revenge. The thought of them stepping across the threshold to a house in shambles gave her just enough energy to continue.

Onto the next room she jogged, the boy on her heels. A mangled bed frame leaned against the south wall next to a stained mattress torn and leaking springs.

“That mattress is a real steal.” The boy leaned forward and whispered, “I’d take it if I were you.”

Car headlights played with shadows across the wall. They both hunched down, gazes scanning the ray of trespassing moonlight down the hall.

“You have very pretty eyes. Cute birthmark under your left ear. Easy to remember,” he piped.

The heat of her face made her scalp sweat underneath the mask. She glanced down at the ring upon her trembling finger, then at the boy who leaned back against the wall with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans, his left foot crossed in front of his right.

She rushed past him, down the hall, and onto the freedom of the lawn. Crisp nighttime froze sweat on the back of her neck and the rumble of another car forced her into a bush next to the house; her right foot cracked more of the glass of the picture frame she’d launched. She plopped down between the branches and ripped their printed faces with her teeth. Her sobs folded over themselves like the underside of a wave and crashed upon the shore of her consciousness, breaking apart the memories of their first date and the night Ryan proposed.

Footsteps soft as a doe’s passed swiftly. The boy hummed along, skateboard clutched in his grip, pink pearls dangling from the smallest pocket of his backpack.


© Copyright 2018 A.D. Ware. All rights reserved.

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