Pendant "Shard of the Ancients"
Author: Praskovia Vlasova (Girhasha)
Material: fragment of ammonite substituted by pyrite, sterling silver or/and bronze frame.
Accessories: silver chain or leather lace.
Status: for sale.
The first shard
At nightfall a cold and dry wind bursts into a valley protected from all sides by mountains and jungles. Its prolonged and angry howl echoes from the mountain chain and disintegrates in wild brushwoods. Even through the thick tarpaulin, he mauls a candle flame, which scatters on the tent walls madly dancing shadows. When I fall asleep, the wind penetrates even my dreams, turning into a jerky breath of some unknown giant ancient creature.
I can not sleep since a long time. A vague idea, like not formed guess, is itching in my head. It is bothering me as an irritating abscess. Lustrous and iridescent fragments lie in front of me on the table. I rearrange them endlessly like pieces of a strange puzzle, trying to reconcile with each other. Mercury pattern spills on the fragments, entangling them as metal vines. Although, perhaps, I just imagined it because of an emotional stress and sleepless nights.
I removed these stones from the amulets which the local tribe wears. They believe that the fragments contain an inner power which protects them from the evil spirits that live under the mountain and cry every night with the voice of the wind.
In fact these stones have no power - just an intricate patterns on the smooth metal surface. But they hide the knowledge inside.
I realized that they are crushed fossils of some creature. But as far as I am struggling with this mystery, I can not understand to what ancient creature they belong. The shards remember me at the same time the print of a bone or a strange bent joint or a set of sharp teeth. It seems that when nobody can see, the shards imperceptibly change and create new molds. I have a feeling as if I am playing with the small balls of mercury. It is fascinating and drives me mad.
I know that the natives found these stones in a cave at the foot of the mountain, but so far I have not managed to get there. This place is under the strictest taboo, the locals believe that from there the wind and the evil spirits come at night, but there also the secret of the unusual shards is hidden.
I left my expedition for a ghostly clue. I've been here too long and I achieved nothing. I need more information. And it is time to get it. They guard the entrance to the cave, fearing that I would disturb the unknown and terrible power. But what these naked people, armed only with stupid superstitions and sharpened sticks, can oppose to science, logic and revolver!?
The second shard
Last night madness seized me, it came from the depths of my soul, like a black sediment raised by a monster which hides at the river bottom. I never thought that I would be able to aim a gun on a man, even on a savage one. But i can still hear two thunderous shots in my head, rolling like giant rocks. How can I find an excuse now? Was my discovery in the cave so valuable that I stained my hands in blood of those poor people?
In order to get to my goal, I killed two guards. They did not attack me, they just came out of the shadows and faced my bullets, defending the black abyss of the cave. Their blood has removed the veil from my eyes and stunned me with realizing my own actions. I hesitated, fascinated by the view of prostrated bodies in the silver moonlight. Even unceasing wind has moderated its gusts, which turned into a thin stream of cold air, like a thread stretching from under the ground.
Perhaps the paralysis which shackled me could last until the next morning, but suddenly I felt someone’s icy stare. The gun shots echoed through the woods, but thick jungles swallowed them and broke it into hundreds of quiet sighs. But as soon as the first bullet pierced the flesh of the victim, I knew that the whole tribe at the other end of the valley, at the same moment opened their eyes. I felt their gaze even through the thicket of the forest which was enlaced with vines. I howled like a hunted animal and rushed into the cave to escape an awful load of blind misty eyes.
I ran until the entrance of the cave, delineated by stars, disappeared from my sight. Trembling all over, I leaned back against a smooth wall. I was surrounded by total darkness, and the wind howled here so strong, that my breath and desperate heartbeat were lost in its cry. The stone thickness protected me from the sight of the tribe and from my own conscience. The confidence returned to me and I felt a desire to reach my goal, which price seemed to be too high.
I fumbled in my pocket for a box of matches. A tiny light dispersed a dense darkness. I looked around the cave, covering the trembling tongue of the flame with one hand. The floor, the ceiling and the walls - all surfaces were smooth and like wet pebbles. It seemed that it was the dry bed of an underground river where water pierced its way, grinding and polishing bones on the ground. Even in the dim light of matches, burning one after another, I could see shiny walls covered with metal which reminded mercury. Undoubtedly, the mysterious amulets were made of this stone, but the walls were smooth, without any cracks or dents.
I slowly moved along the wall. The tunnel gradually began to shrink and soon ended with a dead end. However exactly here I felt deep cracks that go deep into the stone and rough pockmarks left by some rude instrument. In this place the wind almost transformed into the gale which was raging in the cracks of a dead end as the fierce streams. I still had a few matches but I decided to try to light this place for a moment. The sparks flashed one after the other, but the wind blew out the flames immediately. When the last match flared and then went out, I found myself alone in the darkness and felt someone’s gaze from the depth of the cave.
At that moment the wind suddenly calmed down so I could hear from somewhere of the mountain depths a sticky gurgling sound. I felt a heavy smell of the melted tar. An instinctive fear filled all of my thoughts, forcing me to move backward. The last thing which I remembered was how the cave was illuminated with a phosphorus glow, which was seeping through the cracks in the walls. The glow raised and filled the entire space. Mercury cave walls glowed with a ghostly light which was repeatedly reflecting from them. I was drowning in a viscious slush, breathless, and invisible tentacles dragged me to the bottom.
I woke up in the village, locked in the house of the elder, where all of my belongings were moved also. I am being guarded during day and night, but I still can barely walk. I have a fever for several days. The fever gives me the strength to write these things, it allows me to live a weak hope that everything I saw that night was nothing more than a delirium.
…to be continued with the next shard.