A short piece written for the Writer’s Block Discord server’s halloween competition.
Suraq, Tregrihi, 11th Zendor 991.
Caspar could tell from the appraiser’s expression that the necklace was worth a lot. This wasn’t easy for him to believe. He briefly doubted if it was even the same necklace he’d meant to bring.
When he’d been sold it the day before, the piece had been laid down on the counter in such a casual manner that Caspar had assumed it was a low-quality construction. He supposed it was someone’s last hope.
“That’s all that’s left of them,” the seller had said, apparently confirming Caspar’s assumptions. After all, the person in front of him was covered with a cloak so worn it might as well have been fished out of the ground. He knew a cheap clothing shop down the road, next to the laundrette, and almost made a recommendation.
A sorry feeling came over him, so he offered over as much cash as he thought he should, along with a leaflet for work placements at his company. The cloaked person took it all and left without another word.
Now the appraiser was inspecting the necklace, typing details into their lookup system. With the way it caught the light, the gem might have been any number of colours. Caspar, who hadn’t had a good look at it since buying it and shoving it into a drawer, started to think that it was moving through different shades of blue and green as he watched. He’d never heard of a piece of jewellery that could do such a thing, but he didn’t put it past the world to create one.
“It looks to me you’ve got yourself a legend, my friend,” they commented with an eager grin, showing Caspar a listing for something called the “Gemstone of Cahiyli”.
The image did resemble the necklace. The associated page explained that the Gemstone had an origin with the Thareltan people – who lived far south of here now – and was attached to a prophecy in their folklore about “a great amount of focus for a small amount of people”. The appraiser couldn’t tell him for certain if it was the same stone, but did assure him that it wasn’t a cheap replica.
After taking a few notes, Caspar thanked the appraiser and turned to leave. He’d thought there was someone standing behind him, but now he saw that he was the only one in the shop.
He deliberated about what to do next on his walk home. When he considered selling the piece, he started to feel protective of it. It was his discovery, wasn’t it? The previous owner couldn’t have known its value.
Back in his apartment, Caspar searched for a spare container to put his treasure in. It didn’t seem right to leave it on top of a chest of drawers or bedside table, and wearing it around his neck would be too dangerous. He came across a kitchen glass with an odd square shape that would do for a makeshift display case.
Satisfied, he sat and stared at it for a few minutes. It had a beauty to it, he realised, but not a beauty that everyone would appreciate.
Caspar kept an eye on the necklace whenever it was in his view. He was never able to decide whether he was right about its colour changing. The more he stared at it, the more he believed it must be true – but then, maybe it was him staring that made him see it like that in the first place.
When he gathered himself the next morning, Caspar noticed another change. The necklace had moved slightly overnight, or so he thought. He found himself checking it for motors or springs, but quickly realised the absurdity. He must have merely forgotten the way he’d left it the night before.
Still, he’d prefer to be certain. The best method he could think of was to keep it clutched in his palm while he slept so it couldn’t get away without him feeling it.
In the night, Caspar shot awake, certain he had seen something. As he struggled away from his dream, he spotted that the stone was still in his palm. He sat up, closed his eyes, and took some deep breaths. The waves crashing against his heart began to slow. He opened his eyes once more, looking out at the room.
By the side of his bed stood someone wearing a pale cloak. Caspar cried out, and in the seconds that it took him to focus, the figure had gone.
He didn’t sleep again.