Tuesday, April 16, 2019

WEP - The Jewel Box of Mystery

Any container can hold surprises, and jewels or keepsakes can be cursed. Beautiful and detailed or worn and dusty, it's a risk not knowing where the box and its contents came from. . .




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THE JEWEL BOX

Working in her study one morning, Madeleine heard a knock on the front door. Putting her book aside, she went to see who would call at this early hour. 

She opened her door cautiously, keeping the chain link attached between the door and the wall. No one was there. After removing the chain, she looked side to side but saw no one. About to close the door, she looked down and saw the wrapped parcel. It had her name and address on the front. She felt a shiver run up her spine. 

"What the . . . ?" 

She hesitated, remembering Pandora's box. That box would have been better left closed. Suppressing her curiosity, she picked it up and brought it inside. Setting the parcel gently on the dining table, she carefully opened the mailing box and unwrapped the object it contained. Inside was a jewel box made of a translucent ivory material that seemed to shimmer, with delicately carved symbols she didn't recognize.

She could feel the jewel box calling to her, open. . . open. . .open. . . So she did. A gasp escaped her lips as she two items in the box and a small bit of writing on a yellowed scrap of paper. Secured with a pearl hatpin, she saw an elegant sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds, and a triple strand of pearls of a choker-style necklace. They sparkled as if new, not hundreds of years old.

The jewel box belonged to someone named Gudruun, or so it was written on a strange type of paper inside, dated 1475. So, how had it survived so many years? And more to the point, how did it get to her door? Was this charmed or cursed? Hidden under the choker she found another piece of rag paper with a warning.

A beautiful chest contains the power, which attaches to the person who receives these objects, but know that the ring will give but the choker will take away. 

As she read these words, Madeliene felt a strange warmth infuse her body with a sense of contentment. Her mind was pushing her worries into a small corner and changing her resistance to put the ring on her finger. She felt no need to worry. . .

"Why not?" she said as picked up the ring. It was a perfect fit.

WC story 386

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Would you be tempted to open the box? If not, why not? If there was no warning, would you wear the jewelry, or arrange to have it destroyed?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond. Thanks for reading my entry to this month's challenge.

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WEP Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge
Prompt: Jewel Box

It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim and L.G. Keltner adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise for being the host.



Click on the link for WEP  to see the list of participants and read their stories. Joining the WEP-ISWG challenges is easy. See information on the WEP website for details, if you're interested!




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45 comments:

  1. This is an intriguing snippet. Curiosity is one of my defining characteristics so I almost certainly would open the box. Reading the note I am not at all certain I would ever wear the jewellery. Cryptic messages are rarely what the first reading suggests.
    Thank you so much for a piece that will leave me pondering.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I would be a bit spooked by the way the parcel arrived, but my curiosity would be like yours.

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  2. I wonder... What power would the ring give her? Even of more importance - what would the choker take, if she ever put it on? This piece raises more questions than it gives answers.

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    1. Good question, Olga. The ring interprets her desires and has the power to make them real. The choker has the power to take away from others whatever the owner wishes. It would not harm the holder. That is, unless the holder of the choker wished for it to.

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  3. Oh my--it's probably all best left alone, but where's the fun in that? It would be tempting to put on the ring, but I have a suspicion it's a contrary sucker and would end up behaving like The Monkey's Paw.

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    1. Well there can be different interpretations of that warning, so you could be right.

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  4. Hi DG - the post certainly opens a few questions up .. I see a fairy story being developed. One thing the warnings would need to be clearly left in case something happened and the box got into someone else's hands.

    It's certainly left me debating what could happen! It'll stick with me for a while ... but fairy story is what I'm think about.

    Clever - and a delight to read ... cheers Hilary

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    1. There's definitely some magic (some good, some evil) in this story. May have to revisit this and develop it more.

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  5. I'd probably give the jewels and box to someone else. I'm not much for hanging onto things. And I'm not really a jewelry guy.

    But I'm betting there's some magic in these. Fun read!

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    1. There is magic in the box, and the jewels. I tend to hold onto things I like, unless they bring bad memories.

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  6. Hi,
    An engaging story that touches on our innate desire to jump into temptations that tempt us. It would be a hard choice for me because I would like to have both.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Didn't Oscar Wilde say something like 'resist everything except temptation.' I am always interested in artifacts and intrigued to know the back history.

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  7. Nicely done! I don't think I could resist opening the box - too intriguing. Not sure I could put on the jewelry though - I'd be doing an online search first! :)

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    1. Even Google might fail on that, unless paranormals are updating magic websites. . .I would be more likely to wear the ring. That necklace may be called a choker for a reason. . .

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  8. This is really interesting. I also had a "should I open it" moment in my story. I can see why she opened it - it seemed like the ring may have already been working on her. I wonder what happens next!
    It's a great read!

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    1. You are right, the ring began working on the finder as soon as she brought in into the house.

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  9. I would open the box, but as for wearing the jewelry inside...with that warning, I'm not sure I'd risk it. If there were no warning, I'd probably at least try it on. I wonder what would happen next.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If there was no warning, you would have to follow your 'gut instinct'. A former constable who gave a course on self defense for women said: if your gut tells you it's not safe, you should heed it.

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  10. Ah-Hah! But *what* will it give?? Mwah-hah-hah-hah.

    Loved it :)

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    1. On point, Jemima! What it gives may be following its own (the object's) agenda. Then there's the 'what will it take?'

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  11. Intriguing piece. I got a sense of foreboding from the ending. These things rarely end well. I'm very curious by nature so I would have definitely opened the box. I probably would have worn the jewellery if it weren't for the note, but the warning would put me off.

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    1. And why the note? Is it a true warning or something to entice the finder? It pays to be cautious at times, (thinking of Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant).

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  12. After seeing what happened to Gollum and Bilbo, I'm not sure I would put that ring on my finger. I'd be curious to find out what happens to this character.

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    1. That's right, the ring takes over the wearer. I may continue this tale at anaother time.

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  13. Yeah, I'd probably open the box, too curious not to...but I would be very suspicious of sapphires and diamonds turning up out of the blue on my doorstep, so probably not put anything on...Very intriguing flash, what will the ring bring her? what will the choker take away, and does that depend on possession alone or actually wearing it? I have a bad feeling about this box... :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's likely intuition you're feeling. You've asked some interesting questions. The connection between the wearer and the box is important.

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  14. If the box had my name on it, I would definitely open it! Not sure if I would wear that ring though.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Temptation might wear you down if you kept the box.

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  15. I'd probably end up wearing it out of morbid curiosity. What a delightful read! This could be a snippet of a much larger story. Well written!

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    1. This story may well come back or continue in another prompt.

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  16. Hi D. G.,
    To answer your question. I'm not superstitious. Black cats, ladders and mirrors, oh my. I'd wear the ring and avoid the choker. but only because I don't like chokers.

    Well written.
    Nancy

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    1. I don't like anything too snug around my neck either. I am respectful of other realms which might exist if we considered string theory or parallel universes.

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  17. Mysteries and riddles turned like the curve of a ring that could be charmed or curse. If I was willing to take the risk, I'd lock the choker away in a safe. Ultimately, I'd probably just depart with both and not take any chances. What a fun mystery.

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    1. Perhaps separating the box and the jewels could change things too. So many decisions she will have to make.

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  18. Hi D.G. I think I would be just like Madeliene and open it. Human curiosity. I'm glad nothing tragic happened to her. A great flash for the prompt!

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    1. Not tragic yet, but if I expanded the tale, who knows? Good intentions can change with the right incentive.

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  19. Intriguing piece which feels like the beginning of a good and twisty suspense story, with great potential for you to explore further.

    Pandora's box... with a give-and-take agenda which, I think, is dependent on the wearer's motives? Would make for an interesting tale, D.G.

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I thought it needed more length to fully explore the possibilities. And the jewel box has abilities too.

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  20. I must be part cat or part Pandora, for my curiosity would have had me opening the box. Life had me posting my all too personal entry late: https://rolandyeomans.blogspot.com/2019/04/weprif.html

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    1. You are probably part of each, since a writer needs a sense of curiosity. I had a curious feeling about that post you did. It seems Life likes to blindside us.

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  21. Two-edged message? Provenance is everything, but I'd open the box first - then delve deeper. Ask questions - especially about Gudruun. Rings and chokers can both be cursed.

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    1. Yes, it is, Roland. What may appear to be a positive may result in a negative outcome. Gudruun may have had a twisted sense of humour.

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  22. I like how this snuck in history of the last wife of Attila the Hun. Good use of the prompt.

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    1. I was actually thinking of the Gudrun to whom Siegfried was married, whose mother was a witch or sorceress.

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  23. I'd worry about ancient magic in those jewels. She better watch out!

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