[Please read Part 1 first.]
As soon as Belinda stepped back into the woods, Simon hurried over to the bag she’d left under the lantern. He picked it up and peeked inside. Ah, yes! The ancient objects gleamed in the faint moonlight. A ruby winked up at him and seemed to emanate a deeper, darker hue as he gazed, transfixed. He touched it, shocked at its heat, as if it had just been released from a kiln. Shaking himself out of the trance, Simon stuffed the bag in his backpack and went after Belinda.
Her steps were lighter and faster than before, and it took him several minutes to catch up. He didn’t want her to end up on the main road and be seen by a passing car. Simon got close enough to shoot her in the neck with a dart a few yards before the tree cover ended. She cried out in pain and surprise.
Simon watched her put her hand to her neck and stumble. “Hello, Belinda,” he said.
“You!” she gasped. “I thought you were in prison.”
He smiled. “Not anymore. I’ve come back to claim what’s mine.”
“You’ll never win.” Belinda swayed and grabbed onto a tree. “You and your evil… evil… gran…”
Simon watched her fall. He felt for a pulse and then picked her up. Though he was strong from all his workouts, it was still a struggle to carry her body to the river and dump her in. As she floated away, he turned back to where he’d parked, sweaty and out of breath.
But by the time he pulled into the long, curving drive of Gloomhaven, he was calm and breathing normally. The mission had been a complete success! Simon hummed as he leapt up the stairs, banged open the door, and flung the bag of treasure on the sofa next to Grandmama.
“I did it!” Simon grinned, wondering why she didn’t seem more alert and excited. “Grandmama… the ancient relics. Look! Now our we can restore our home to its rightful splendor. Repair the ruin. We will rule once more!”
“You touched them,” the old woman said weakly. “I warned you.”
“Well, I…” Simon had known he wasn’t to touch any of the cursed jewels. “Just for a second. The ruby. It was burning up.”
She nodded. “Gabriella’s stone. You broke my spell.”
“What do you mean?” Simon watched in horror as her beloved face turned ashy and her eyes fluttered closed.
“It’s time… nothing to be done.” She sighed and sunk deeper into the pillows. “I’ve had an extra hundred years. Give or take. No reversing the curse…”
“Grandmama! No!” Simon watched her shrivel and fade. She’d been the last of her line, and the only one who had cared about him. Now, he was alone.
Though he still had the bag of stones…
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See?
©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon
Image from Pixabay.