The Iron Writer Challenge #61
2014 Iron Writer Spring Equinox Challenge #11
A deflated beach ball
A holiday in the country you have never visited
The Razzleberry Ring-Pop left a blue circle on both their mouths.
“It’s like the Hope Diamond,” she said, holding it up. Its coat of saliva glistened in the late afternoon light. “It would be worth about a billion dollars.”
“I knew Christmas Break in Tanzania would be great,” he said and kissed her.
“You shouldn’t have done that.” She said.
“Why? Gonna to tell your boyfriend?” he asked, moving closer.
She smiled. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Lucky me,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” She took another big taste of the ring.
“Oh yeah?” He scooted closer. She smelled like coconut and roasting meat.
“The Hope Diamond is cursed you know. In Tanzania, some people turn into Were-Hyenas at sundown. All started because the Hope Diamond was hidden here for forty-seven years. Were-Hyenas look just like us, but at night, turn to maniacal flesh eaters. She licked the neon blue ring again. Crazy, huh?” She smiled.
Her teeth were straight and white and a little pointed in a couple of places.
“I’m gonna risk it.” He said, leaning over and finding her lips with his. The sun slipped behind the palms. Purple and orange flares streaked the sky.
“Be right back,” she said. “Hold this.” She gave him the ring. Long fingernails dragged across his palm. He caught his breath.
An hour passed before he gave up and walked through the party to look for her. He’d never even asked her name.
“Hey man, y’all seen a girl walking around here with a blue mustache?” he yelled to a group of guys standing by the pool. One threw a beach ball at his head.
“For real man? “One said. The ball bounced back to the laughing college boys.
“No, it was from a Ring Pop.” He said, holding up the sticky blue candy jewelry.
“Nice bro.” another one said, throwing the ball at him again. This time it stuck onto the light fixture and popped.
“You finally meet a girl and she’s in pre-school,” another said. They all laughed.
“You guys suck.” Bob said and walked around the pool. There he found a phone number written on the sliding glass door in lipstick, a crude Ring-Pop cartoon and a message. “Call me, IF you survive.”
He smiled to himself.
He scribbled down the number and tossed the Ring-Pop in the garbage.
That night, Were-Hyenas filled his dreams, clawing graves, hunting Antelope, and outrunning Gazelles. Pointed teeth bit into hind legs of exhausted animals.
The pretty Tanzanian girl was there too, wearing Zebra skin and a Santa hat. She offered him a bubbling drink from a goblet made of Rhino horn. Naked tribal men with spears sang, circled a fire. A scaffold of fraternity brother bones held a makeshift table.
“Take a sip, Harry.” She purred. The blue candy diamond shone from her hand.
“Wake up man, you’re crying in your sleep.” His roommate stood over him.
He sat up, eyes wide.
“Just a dream,” he mumbled, heart still racing.
“What are ‘Were-Hyenas’?” Bob still stood over him.
“Nothin’ man. Go back to sleep.”
I sat on the beach in Bali, tickling the sand with my toes. This was my first holiday overseas. The sun warmed my body, and the breeze cooled my brow. I hoped it would blow away the temper inside me.
How the authorities had lost my luggage, was beyond me. As I had descended from the ‘plane, I could see the luggage trolley being towed toward the main arrival lounge, and I could definitely see my distinctive suitcase in the mix.
I waited at the luggage retrieval area. And then I waited some more.
By the time everyone else had taken their luggage, I was ropeable.
I stormed over to the inquiries desk, and let rip! They were no help at all.
I left the hotel phone number with them and made various threats – but a day later, I still hadn’t got my luggage. I went out and spent my savings on a new wardrobe of clothes. Thank goodness they were cheap here!
I finally relaxed and let the sound of the waves soothe me.
A woman close by disturbed my newfound peace with a laugh so loud and awful, I thought the shore had become infested with a hyena or two. Then a crazy, noisy child came running toward me, kicking a colourful beach ball. The ball flew up in the air and I watched it as it descended and bounced in front of me. It must have hit something sharp in the sand, and before the child could reach it, it deflated.
The child began to cry, and then the parents came stomping over and began to yell at me in some foreign language.
I shrugged. They were obviously blaming me!
I was beginning to think I’d been brushed with a curse. That’s what it felt like.
I seemed to remember reading about the ‘Curse of the Hope Diamond’. Apparently anyone who held it, was supposed to experience bad luck. What would my luck have been like if I actually had the diamond!
It was becoming a holiday from hell.
I decided to leave the beach.
There was no peace to be had there.
When I got back to the hotel, I had left my key inside and was locked out. I almost screamed. Talk about bad luck on top of bad luck. The curse strikes again.
I left two days later.
The hotel staff had the audacity to smile.
“Please come again, Miss Hope.” They said cheerfully.
We hopped on the earliest air India flight to Jaipur India on the hot trail of the hope diamond. Each year we vacationed as world miners, this year India became our target. The Smithsonian Institute had called claiming our cherished gem had gone missing.As bail bondsmen it was our duty to protect our clients investment A few day earlier two descendents of the French jeweller Jean Baptiste Tavernier had visited the institute in hope of returning the gem to the head of Sita ending their family’s curse. For as it goes whoever captured the diamond shall suffer the consequences.
My faithful companion Andy joined me as he does on every chartered flight. You never know how comfortable a deflated beach ball can be on those uncomfortable chartered seats. Once our team arrived in Jaipur India, we had a few hours to kill awaiting our next flight taking us to Golconda mines. Before entering the mines, there was only one problem required to be solved getting pass the guards.
For as legends told us the mines were guarded by no other then the striped hyenas. The most feared animal that prey themselves on other animals. As far as humans we were never the prey of the hyenas unless you were injures or sick. For then we became easy prey.
Once we reached the mines there they were waiting for us. The curator of the Smithsonian had identified our two assailants to a tee. They simply lied there motionless. Their bodies savagely malled undoubtedly by the hyenas.
The sights of the land and mines were breathtaking. Of all the mines we toured in the past these were undoubtedly the most ravishing. As we got closer their presence became well noted. There wolf like features can scare a few people but not for us for we knew the prize that stood there behind them were far greater value. Since we were of healthy body we knew the advantage was all in our hands. Then began by approaching us but once there saw we had no fear they seemed to back off. We were to much work for their liking.
As we entered the mines there she was in all her hindu beauty. Sitar there goddess was a sight beyond no other suddenly a voice had caught our attention.
“Can I help you gentlemen.”
“We are here to return the hope diamond to its write full owner.”
“It seems to me the jewel write fully belongs the sitar goddess.”
“We have papers here from your government that the hope diamond has been legally sold to the Smithsonian institute in Washington of the United state. You can see from the seal its a legally binding contract.”
“I see so let it be. Everything seems legal . I pardon for my two brothers action they never believe the law. They always did as they pleased.”
The Smithsonian where in our gratitude for the safe return of the beloved gem to be adored by all.
She stood on the deck of the steamer absentmindedly stroking the rough hair behind Hendrich’s ears as he pawed at a beach ball. A low whishing sound barely audible over the noise of the festivities below marked the demise of yet another ball. Anastasia sighed as she wrestled the deflated ball from Hendrich’s grasp and cast it into the ocean where it flipped and rolled in the wake of the steamer. “That was the last one, Hendrich.” He buried his head in the voluminous folds of her skirt, whining his apologies. Anastasia wrapped her arms about her faithful companion and kissed his head lightly. Gazing past him the ocean shimmered as a thousand diamonds in the setting sun. They would be in Morocco soon enough and Anastasia wondered if she would find the answers she’d sought for so long. “This has been a strange holiday, Hendrich. I suspect it shall get worse before it gets better.”
“What a strange beast?” The rich tenor startled Anastasia and Hendrich though only the hyena reacted. Hendrich rose from his haunches and snarled at the uninvited guest until Anastasia soothed him with a soft rap to the back of the head.
“Hendrich is no beast, my lord. He is very well trained, I assure you.” Anastasia glared at the stranger quickly assessing her best chance, the small pistol in her corset or the knives hidden within the folds of her gown. “Lord Barriston, I presume?”
Without breaking his smooth cadence, Lord Errol Barriston laughed. It was as chill as the evening air but Anastasia did not quiver. “So you do know who I am.” His dark eyes glinted in the diminishing light.
“I know what you seek but you do not want this burden, Lord Barriston.” Anastasia shifted her weight, sliding her gloved hand into the satchel at her hip to touch the item he sought.
“Oh, but I do.” Lord Barriston strode forth so that he was but a few feet from her, challenging Hendrich more than Anastasia. “I do not believe in curses. Why not allow me to ease your burden, dear lady?” The silver pistol pointed at her face betrayed the mock kindness of his words.
“Just because you do not believe in them does not mean they do not believe in you.” Anastasia’s lip curled as she withdrew the Hope Diamond from her satchel. “But, by all means, relieve me of this burden, good sir.” Just as she knew he would, Lord Barriston focused on the beauty of the diamond and not the small throwing blade in her dexterous left hand. The blade impaled Lord Barriston through his mechanical monocle before he even knew what hit him. With a second flick of her wrist Hendrich was upon the unfortunate lord. Anastasia turned from the sounds of tearing flesh and smiled. Morocco. She had a good feeling about her holiday in Morocco. Between the markets and the mythology Lady Anastasia Hope would solve her family’s curse before it claimed her life too.