The Ring of Baal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mark was in need of a wedding ring, looking for one he finds a jewelry store like no other. The man who owns it has many different kinds of rare items, each one with a story, the twist is, who's story.

Submitted: July 01, 2008

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Submitted: July 01, 2008

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The Ring of Baal
A short story by Josh Fraga
 
 
“Goldstone Jewelry” the large wooden sign read, it hung, swinging above the entranceway, the letters colored in silver. Mark made his way up the three steps that lead to the door. From the outside looking in, the jewelry store looked very modest, nothing out of the ordinary. He put his hand on the door and pulled, but it wouldn’t budge. He shaded the sides of his eyes to try and see if there was anyone inside, but the darkness of the tint made it hard to see. There were no hours of operation posted anywhere on the door or sign, and with the tint, Mark couldn’t even tell if the lights were on. He turned to walk back to his car when he heard the door make a long buzzing noise. Mark recognized it as someone was unlocking the door from within electronically. Quickly he opened the door and stepped in. It made a “click-clack” locking noise as the door closed behind him.
Mark was in awe, from the outside he never would have guessed the treasures that lay within. Apparently Goldstone Jewelry was very well off. There were all assortments of gold and silver jewelry, all of which incrusted with jewels that Mark somehow knew were not fake. The jewelry was all sat neatly in what looked like glass cases, all but one glass pillar that stood up by the cash register. He slowly walked to it, his jaw wide open at the beauties that lay before him. The rings and necklaces in this case were nothing short of breath-taking. This is when Mark felt a little in-over-his-head in this place, he wanted to buy a wedding ring for his lovely Fiancée Carol, but he certainly was not a rich man.
He paused a moment from looking to find a clerk, but no one was around. Yet, someone had to be there, after all, how did he get in then? “Hello?” he said in a timid way, “Is anyone here?” No answer. So Mark decided to look around a little bit more.
He had just begun to peer back into the glass pillar when he heard a voice, “Can I help you sir?” The voice had an accent, although Mark could pin-point from where. The man who stood before him on the opposite side of the counter was a fairly young-looking gentlemen wearing a blue three piece suit with no tie, but a gold chain in place of a necktie. He looked very refined with his slick black hair and well trimmed goatee.
“Uh,” said Mark, unsure if he could truly answer his question, “I guess so. I was looking for a nice wedding ring.”
“Well we have plenty of those here, what were you looking for?” replied the man in his accent.
He began looking in his cases and saw a few rings he thought would be just perfect, when something shined from the pillar case. He walked slowly over as he began to stare as if hypnotized by the glistening of the ring. It was gold with a large diamond in the middle, surrounded by a circle of the reddest rubies he had ever seen. The man behind the counter smiled. “I have owned this place for many years, but every time someone comes in, they are entranced by that ring.”
“What is it?” Mark asked, eyes still glued to the stunning ring.
“This is our replica case.” He answered.
“Replica? As in fake?”
“No, not fake, just not the original. All the stones are 100 percent real.” He said smiling, very proud of himself.
“So, what is the ring I’m looking at a replica of?” asked Mark, eyes still fixed upon the ring.
“That good sir, is a replica of the ring John Smith gave to Pocahontas when she came back with him to England.”
“Really?”
“Oh yes,” the man said assuredly, “the real one is in a museum in France.”
“It’s a beautiful ring, but probably out of my price-range.” Mark said sadly.
“That may be true, but you get something more than just a ring, you get story behind it. Each replica in this case has a story that goes along with each one.” He paused a moment and directed his attention to three gold rings in the same velvet case, all of then had a small engraving of a ship as it’s crest. “These for example, are replicas of the three rings Christopher Columbus gave the three captains of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.”
“Amazing.” Mark said looking at the three rings, “You sure know a lot about jewelry.”
“Thank you sir.” The man replied politely.
“My name’s Mark, Mark Feeger.”
“Goldstone. Reemus Goldstone, owner and proprietor.” as Mark held out his right hand in effort to shake. This is when he noticed Goldstone’s right hand was missing, replaced with a prosthetic, which was wearing a very large gold ring with a stone that looked like amber embedded in the center. Although it seemed so simple, there was something extravagant about it. Mark changed his mind from shaking hands, to asking questions.
“What is that big ring?” he said staring into the amber stone.
“Oh, this?” he said smiling as he held it up on the prosthetic hand, “Just another replica, my favorite actually.”
“What is it a replica of?” asked Mark in an almost excited tone.
“The Ring of Baal.” He replied in a low voice.
“The what?” Mark asked again, not understanding Goldstone.
“The Ring of Baal, and don’t misunderstand, it isn’t my favorite because of the looks, but because of the story.” He smiled again.
“Could you tell me?” Mark asked hopefully as if he were four years old asking his father for a bedtime story.
“I suppose, just because it is my favorite story to tell…”
 
“Long ago, many people worshiped the pagan god Baal. It was said that the pagans had a mighty warlord, one who wanted to conquer the world. It was said that he made a pact with Baal, in exchange for taking over the world and spreading the pagan religion, Baal would give him a ring, a ring that gave the wearer eternal youth and life. Baal had one last thing to tell the warlord, ‘to unlock the true power of the ring, you must sacrifice a part of yourself.’ So he took the ring and put it on, then he began keeping up his end of the bargain. He tore through parts of Asia and Africa, ripping them to pieces. He was becoming all he ever wanted, but the pride was too much for him. One night, a stable-boy snuck into his master’s chambers after he had too much to drink. His master was passed out, so the young lad stole the ring and ran.
“You see, he had no idea what the ring was, that is, except for gold. This young stable-boy knew what he had done was wrong, but he didn’t care, he would just hide it until he could sell it. He was sure his master would be furious when he awoke, but he wasn’t. He didn’t even wake. The thing the warlord did not know about the Ring of Baal, once you put it on, you cannot die, but once it leaves your finger, you pass away. So no one knew of the magic, and the ring stayed hidden for 1 year.
“Now it is also told that Baal returned, to find his ring, but he could not. He told the other warlords of the ring, and they began to covet it. Soon there was anarchy, the warlord scattered, looking for the ring that gives life.
“The stable-boy was a thief, and through the year he had his master’s ring, he had stolen much more. It wouldn’t be long till he was found out, so he decided to run. He threw on a long hooded robe, and put on every piece of jewelry he stole, the Ring of Baal on his right hand. Quickly he took off into the night by horseback, but it wasn’t long before he was spotted. They took him as an ordinary criminal, trying to flee. They began to chase behind him, shooting arrows that whizzed past his head. It wasn’t until they began to catch up when the boy felt something sharp hit him in the back, then again in the neck. He fell off the horse like a rag doll, and there he lay motionless, but only for a moment. To the boy’s surprise he felt no pain, he knew what had happened, but still he stood up with two arrows in his back, he crudely pulled them out when he heard one of the warlords say, ‘It’s him, he has the amber ring! Get it from him or we cannot kill him!’ and they began to charge him. The boy jumped back on his horse as if nothing had happened, and rode toward the cliffs. He hopped off the horse to make his last stand. Pulling a sharp blade from his sheath, he stood to face off against the three warlords quickly approaching.
“They all hopped off their horses, swords drawn, advancing on the boy who was backing up into the cliff. He heard one of them say, ‘All we have to do it get the ring off, then we can kill him.’ Now the next thing the boy did, it is still unknown if he did it for courage or greed,” he lowered his voice, “I think it was greed,” He smiled again “but it would loose the ring forever. He said that if he couldn’t have the ring, no one would, and he chopped his arm off at the forearm, took his severed limb and threw it off the cliff, into the ocean. The warlords were so enraged, they took the boy and threw him off the cliff into the jagged rocks. And that was last anyone ever saw the Ring of Baal.”
Mark was awe-stricken, “I can see why that is you favorite replica, that is one hell of a story.”
“Thank you sir.” He replied politely in his unknown accent.
“I think a lot of your stuff is a little out of my price-range.” He said turning away.
Reemus stopped him, “A lot of it is, yes, but I have something right here I think you might like.” And he reached under the glass pulled out a velvet case and put it on the counter. Mark turned back around to see in the case. As Goldstone opened it up he said quietly, “These are the ones I like to sell.” The box was full of diamond rings, each one as different as the last. “All these are my private collection, been doing it for years.” He said gesturing to the other cases. “All these cases are bullet proof glass, I never even open them.” He looked at Mark who was looking at each wedding ring in the velvet box. “How much do you have to spend?”
“I dunno.” He said looking in his wallet, “About a hundred bucks.”
“I’ll tell you what, for 100 dollars I’ll let you pick any ring in this velvet box, just make sure you get the right one for your special lady.”
Mark looked for a moment when he saw it, the perfect ring for Carol, a diamond in the center of a small gold flower. He picked it up to look at it, and the shop-keep nodded in agreement. “Now you can make your own history with that ring.” And he smiled as he closed the box with his prosthetic hand wearing the replica of the Ring of Baal. One question still had Mark wondering.
“Mr. Goldstone, if no one in recorded history had every seen the Ring of Baal, how can you make a replica, no one knows what it looks like exactly…right?” Mark asked suspiciously.
“That’s a story for another time. Have a nice day sir, your fiancée will be very pleased.” He smiled one more time at Mark before the electric locks closed behind him.
All of the sudden the expression on Reemus Goldstone’s face changed from light to dark. He turned around and when to his office in the back. He sat in his easy-chair and rolled it to the safe under his desk. He fiddled in the combination a slowly opened the safe door. He paused for a moment and locked the door to his office. He sat down in front of the open safe and pulled out a metal box with a key lock. He unlocked it and slowly opened it. He smiled as he saw the contents. It was his forearm and hand, and on his wore a large gold ring with an amber stone. Although it was detached from his body, it appeared fresh, no smell, or rot. It was in pristine condition. Mark wanted to know how Reemus knew what the ring looked like, the answer was simple, the stable-boy’s name was Reemus, is Reemus. It was by accident that he figured out what Baal meant about a sacrifice. After he cut off his arm and was thrown into the rocks, left for dead. He didn’t die, he wasn’t even hurt, he dove into the ocean a reached the bottom and retrieved his arm, hand and ring, after all he could not drown, he had everlasting life. When he cut off his arm, he knew what Baal meant. When the ring is removed from the finger the magic is broken, but even if he cut his arm from his body, his hand still wore the ring. That was the secret about the ring, if it stayed on you hand, no matter what, you will live forever, the trick was not hiding the ring, but hiding the hand.


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