Saturday, May 24, 2008

Black Opal

She stared intently at the computer screen. She’d broken the code and figured out her father’s password. It’d been easy. The warden said her father had written her name and the word amulets in his own blood before he died.

Scanning the screen, she read:

’Legend has it that out of all the mortals on earth five women found favor with the gods:

Sophia whose face was pitted and ravaged by pox,

Pelagia who had the body of a woman and the mind of a child,

Olympia a poor widow with children to feed,

Helen, who lost four of her children to the plague and begged the gods to spare her remaining child, and

Zoe, a young queen whose village was razed and plundered and, she herself taken as a slave.

Moved, the gods created five special amulets in the form of armbands for the women to wear on their forearms.

For Sophia an amulet forged with beauty and creativity.

For Pelagia an amulet forged with knowledge.

For Olympia an amulet forged with wealth.

For Helen an amulet forged with healing and

For Zoe a golden amulet, with a black opal at its center, forged with power.’

The air conditioning in the room was cold enough to leave goose bumps but Victoria Price didn’t notice. The black leather chair creaked in protest as she leaned back, her breath leaving her lungs in a hiss.

The pain in her hands made her glance down. They were fisted so tight the moon-shaped crescents in her palms, where her nails dug in, were filling with warm red blood.

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