domingo, 11 de octubre de 2015

The earring

   The wedding was over and now Christina had to supervise the removal of every single table and fork from the premises. The castle was a very special place to do such celebrations but they always asked for the place to be cleaned thoroughly after each party. It was very late and everyone was not very eager to clean anything but it had to be done. Christina supervised the men and women and checked every room where people may have wandered off to in order to see if it needed cleaning or if thee was something left behind. She found a scarf in a bathroom and even a high heel stuck in the grass in the garden. Another employee found a tie on a tree and a baby bottle beneath one of the tables. But the most beautiful thing Christina found was on a fountain in the garden.

 The water seemed tainted with something but she ignored that and just grabbed the earring that lay there, beyond the surface. The design was very simple but beautiful: an orchid made of metal with a center formed by a large purple precious stone. Christina saw every detail on the earring and realized she had never seen such a beautiful thing worn by anyone in the past. She decided to keep it and look for the owner herself. Maybe that way she could be able to ask where the earring was made so she could herself a pair. When everyone was done cleaning and leaving the place as if nothing had happened there, they were allowed to leave. It was almost four in the morning and everyone just wanted to get home and sleep for as long as they were able to.

 Christina wanted that too. She entered her car, sat down and pulled out the earring from her pocket to put it in her purse. But when she did that, she pricked her finger with the tip of the earring, which fell beneath her seat. Somehow, that had made her feel a little dizzy and her head felt big, like if it was a balloon or something. Christina inhaled deeply many times until she thought she was able to drive. She opened and closed her eyes, turned on the engine and drove in the night. But the truth was she couldn’t see much. She knew she was tired but not as much as she know felt. The car slid off the road a few times but she was able to control it but she knew that couldn’t be done for long.

 On a long curve, she finally succumbed to what she was feeling and let go of the car which when out off the road and into a tree. The airbag was the thing that killed her. The police discovered the car hours later and several members of the staff of the party said that they had seen her drive off after the cleaning was over but really no one knew about the earring. A detective assigned to the case, just in a routine way, discovered the piece of jewelry beneath the scene and he too fell in love with its shape and beauty, so he grabbed it for himself, even if it was evidence from the case. He took it home at night and left it in the kitchen counter.

 In the morning, it was already too late. Her youngest daughter had touched it out of curiosity and pricked herself too. Like Christina, she started to feel groggy. They were able to take her to a hospital but she was slipping away until she died. The doctor couldn’t give a proper explanation, as the child appeared to be falling asleep to very deep slumber but then died. The parents were crushed and stayed home to do the paperwork but they had forgotten about Marta, their housekeeper. She had keys to come in to do her work, so she did. As she mopped the floors, she found the earring and found it to be just marvelous. She had the idea to get it praised and maybe get some money out if it. She had never seen any of the women of the house wearing it, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

   However, Marta lost the earring on the bus. Fortunately, it fell off her pocket and just rolled under a seat, where it wouldn’t be found for some days until a driver checking his transport found it. He took it home, as they had all done. He told his wife it would be a nice pin to wear, in order to give his attire a little bit of class. His wife found a piece to put in his husband’s jacket and she was successful enough, she didn’t even prick a finger. And the jewel looked simply beautiful against the blue suit he had to use for work. He used his jacket like that for many years, been praised by many people when going in the bus.

 Those kind words made his life very happy. But one day, as it was destined to happen, the safety piece his wife had put behind the earring fell silently when he was driving. It was the same day a car crossed his path incorrectly, so he when he stepped on the brakes, he leaned forward violently and pricked his chest with the earring. The crash was blamed for his death. His body was transferred to a morgue, where they would fix him to look perfect. But a young mortician named Lidia fell in love with his pin and took it for herself. When he was buried, his wife thought he was wearing the pin, looking handsome as always but he wasn’t. The pin had a new owner, one that did something the other didn’t.

 Lidia had gotten several piercings and tattoos and she knew what was right. She got home and there she cleaned the earring carefully, avoiding pricking her fingers or damaging in any way the integrity of the piece. Weirdly enough, once she started cleaning the piece the pointy end started to turn purple, just like the jewel it had there. Lidia found this to be very strange so she decided to grab a small plastic bag, put the earring there and go to a friend that worked in a lab. Maybe he would be able to explain what was wrong with it because it was obvious she couldn’t put it on her ears. Maybe it had an infection or some other kind of disease and it wouldn’t be surprising if it had been on a dead man’s suit.

 Larry, Lidia’s “scientific” friend, worked as an assistant in a pharmaceutical company where he worked with various compounds and many advanced machines. When he was able to take the earring to the lab where he worked, he noticed something strange. He asked Lidia if he could damage the piece a bit, specially the tip and she agreed. She wasn’t going to wear it, so no one cared. Larry broke the tip of the earring and a soft purple dust tainted a small plate he had beneath. He had the dust checked and the machines couldn’t tell him exactly what it was but he was able to know what was, chemically, in there. So he did some of reverse science and discovered the dust was some kind of poison.

 But it wasn’t just poison. The earring, apparently, had been dipped into it and then left alone until the metal, and even the jewel, had absorbed the poison. But who would want to do something like that? It was a very complicated way to poison someone but Larry then realized that, looking at the compounds of the poison, it would be unlikely for medical scientists to even know they were dealing with something like that, mainly because the poison seemed to disappear from anywhere in a few hours. Larry told Lidia that maybe a lot of people had been killed by it and no one would ever know as the poison was untraceable and only they knew about its existence and about the earring.

 But then envy made its appearance in the form of a rival to Larry, who just happened to be very good at his job and had found many ways to make the pharmaceutical company win even more money. So this person, this enemy if you will, discovered the ring and thought that if Larry was working with it, it was because it meant something important. So he grabbed it and took him for himself. He took it home and checked it there with a microscope he had but he found nothing and he wouldn’t because the poison was not made to be found. In time, he pricked himself with it, enraged because he couldn’t find something to steal from his rival. His father found his body the next day.

 After that episode, no one really knew what had happened to the earring. Larry always thought he had just lost it but Lidia knew him very well and she knew he wouldn’t just loose something. More deaths happened but, as the people before Lidia, no one was curious or careful enough to handle it. They all thought that the beauty of the piece meant it was made to be worn, to be shown to the world and to be an icon of status and recognition. But it wasn’t. It was just a way to lure the people, the large crowds that believed that beauty was as simple as they were. They didn’t understand that beauty can also be lethal and should always be handled with the uttermost respect and curiosity.

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