This is the 38th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
The Snake Ring, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 8th January 2012
Word count: 946
Theme: fantasy, mystical, vengeance, demons, fury, fight
“Two thousand dollars?” Charles asked shocked.
“No, two thousand sterling,” the salesman at the stall said.
“You’ve got to be kidding, that ring’s not worth anything like that?” Charles said backing away.
The salesman paused, trying to judge whether to make a lower price, but Charles attention was already looking towards other stalls.
“Fifteen hundred,” he called, trying to get the prospective buyers attention again.
“Still not worth it, but thanks,” Charles said starting to walk away from the stall.
“This ring is special,” the salesman said, seeing his chance falling away, “But for you, I’ll make a special deal, thirteen hundred.”
Charles drifted back t the store again, “One thousand,” he said.
“No, thirteen hundred,” the salesman said, “No less, the ring is special.”
“Okay,” Charles said relenting.
The salesman rubbed his hands, as Charles pulled out his wallet. He took all the notes and handed them over.
“Thank you, thank you,” the salesman said, splitting the cash into three lots, one lot in his pocket, one lot under the till, and the third seemed to just vanish, then he handed over the ring.
Charles took the ring, inclined his head in thanks and walked away, slipping the ring into his pocket. He melded into the crowd and vanished from the sight of the salesman.
An hour later at a suburb on the east side of the city, Charles entered and returned to his room. He pulled out his strongbox and opened it with his key and admired the matching pieces of jewellery. One by one he got them out, and gave them a polish, then he laid them on the bed.
The first was a thick chained necklace, the metal was a dark grey like all the pieces, and links in the chain were made to look like snakes swarming. From the chain hung a pendulum shaped piece, in the middle sat a bright red opaque stone. Below the necklace he placed two bracelets, one on the left, one on the right. These were solid grey metal, but with a pattern etched in to appear like snake skin, at the top in a thick grey mounting were opaque stones of green.
Beneath these the two rings were place, each dark grey, but each with an opaque blue stone set in a fanged snakes mouth.
Lastly came the buckle of a belt long since worn away, the buckle was also a dark grey metal, and in the centre was the largest of the stones, a big opaque purple.
Charles admired them for a second, then he carefully put each piece on starting with the necklace, and finishing with the belt buckle.
“Now,” he said, “Revenge will be mine.” Then he uttered words in an all but forgotten language from long forgotten times. The stones seemed to flare up, whether from the magic he hoped was there, or from the sun as the blinds blew open, he could not tell, he could only put his faith in that magic.
Charles had spent ten year tracking down each piece of this mysterious set. There were few records of parts of the set, but he had managed it anyway. It had been worth it, the cost, the time, the violence, the smuggling, all of it with the aim of uniting this unique set. His weapons, and his armour against the most terrifying of nightmares, nightmares that had plagued him for twenty years since he had seen his parents slain by a demon.
It had been a summer night back in England when the creature fresh to the world had come upon their house. Charles was only thirteen then, and he had to watch as the demon tore his parents apart, and feasted on their blood. First Charles had tried to escape as his mother had pleaded for him to do, but demons were fast, and strong, there was no escape for the terrified young boy. in desperation he’d tried to fight the creature, and it threw him through a wall for his trouble. That wall had saved his life, part of the building collapsed, and it wasn’t long before the first of the emergency services had arrived. The creature fled.
The boy’s body healed, and in time he became a man. As a man, he continued to search for answers, until he found out about demons, until he tracked down the type of demon that had killed his family, until he had tracked down the demon itself. Twelve years ago he had tried to kill it, but bullets held no fear for it, and it again proved to be the stronger. It choose not to kill Charles.
“You are weak, and you will always be weak, and stupid. You are not a feast I want to sample,” the demon had condemned him. Charles wasn’t ready to give up, so he sought out those few people in the world that knew about demons, and thought them. From them he learned of an ancient set of armour that could stand against the power of this demon, this king of demons.
Now he had the set, he would try again. As luck would have it, the final piece was within five hundred miles of where the demon was currently sating it’s appetite in a desert town in the middle of no where. Charles did not wait, he got his rental car and headed down the dusty highway, ready to face his destiny. Armed with faith, armed with a burning desire for vengeance and armed with his mystical weapons and armour. He knew he would not fail his parents a third time and live, but it didn’t matter, the demon would pay.