Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Necklace

The weight of the necklace cut a thin braided line into her neck. She rubbed at the raw line, but it only stung at her touch.Closing her eyes in response to the new pain, she took a deep breath and sat up straight, the necklace pulling at a new angle, but undeniably still around her neck.

"How are you Julia dear?" She looked up, surprised that anyone would know her in this area. Beng looked down at her, an understanding smile tugging the edges of his lips up. 

"Beng." she said. There was no warmth in her voice. No accusation either. His name was a statement, a matter of fact. She stared at him, her eyes reflecting an ancient resistance.

"It's been a great number of years, Julia. I thought you would be happy to see me." His voice was soft, alluring. Julia continued to look at him, but said nothing. "The skin around your neck looks tender and sore." Beng shifted his weight while he paused to give her time to respond. Still she sat silently, her stare not altering.

Beng reached for her, stroking one of the deep lines. At his touch, her skin cooled, the pain disappearing. "I could help you, Julia. I could keep the weight of the world from pulling down on you." His hand touched one of the large gemstones and trailed down to the next one until it stopped on the last one, just above her breasts.

Her eyes never wavered, always on his eyes when he looked at her, otherwise steadfast on his face. He looked deep into her eyes, his hand still resting on the necklace. Delicately, she took his hand and removed it from the necklace. 

"Yes. It has been a great many years." Julia spoke as if the words he'd spoken between stating the passing time and then had not existed. "A lot has happened in that time."

"I trust you have learned a lot, that your passion to protect has worn a bit thinner, like the skin around your neck." Beng spoke with a gentleness reserved for lovers.

"It has been a learning experience like no other, I grant you that." Still she kept her eyes on him, her face impassive.

Beng smiled. "Then you are ready to release the weight of this world." His confidence smothered the thin air in the small space. He moved around Julia with care, placing his hands on the clasp of the necklace. 

Julia stared forward, her eyes removed from his face for the first time. She straightened her back and held her head a bit higher. The small gesture was startling, powerful. Beng's hands paused. "I have seen unspeakable crimes committed by mankind. Death, decay, hatred deeper than ever I have experienced before. Once ignited, it spreads like a wild fire. Intensely hot, swift, and extremely dangerous."

Beng smiled. "So you see why this world is not worth saving. Why it would be better served in my care. Yes. I thought given enough time you would come to understand what so many of us do." 

He took a breath, as if to continue. Julia's words snuck into the small space. "I have witnessed the most tender of loves as well. The innocent love of a mother and her newborn child. The passionate love of the youth. Old love shared by elderly soul mates. The kindness and compassion of strangers. The joy of friendship and so much more. They are brilliant in the light that they shed. Small suns in a generous universe. Those fires made of hatred are dim in comparison. Short lived like the light of a firefly. These suns continue to shine, never ceasing to burn. They consume those small fires and always will. No Beng. I am not ready to release the weight of this world. For every ounce of heaviness, I find several pounds of lightness. It is a happy sacrifice that I carry the petty sins with me, embodied in this necklace. No Beng. You shall not have this necklace."

She could feel his hands burning. His anger surged through his veins like small fires. Slowly turning to face him, she saw the red fury of his eyes. She reached to touch him, but his hot hand jerked away from her cool touch. "You will regret this Julia!" The words spat and hissed, the fire inside him consuming them. "It will be many hundreds of years before I offer to take your sacrifice. The necklace will only grow heavier and will bite into you neck deeper than you can imagine. Next time I see you, you will be lying on the floor begging me for mercy, the weight too much for you to bear."

Julia stood. The necklace flashed in the lights. She looked hard into his eyes. Her mouth set in a firm line while her eyes issued an unmistakable challenge. "Go then. Do you worst." She turned from him and walked down the narrow passage never looking back.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Love the intensity and emotions and... all of it. Wonderfully done :)