Greed, hatred, youTh, power
The Periapt
Belinda Abraham
Belinda Abraham, eighty three, lied stiff on the nursery cot. Her body was motionless but her eyes looked wild under the low quality fluorescent lighting (which somehow flattered her despite her current state).
Slowly, her arm moved towards her neck, fingering the string that wrapped around it, and she smiled gently at her two young granddaughters at the edge of the bed. Charlotte Abraham, at the foot of the cot, choked on a breath every time Belinda’s eyes closed for even a slight second. Next to Charlotte, Hazel Abraham, a petit, dirty-blonde girl of three, fiddled with the waves of blanketing nervously.
Belinda looked up at Charlotte, who was now five, and who looked sick under her forced smile. “Darling,” Belinda began, but she gagged on her raspy, weak words, stealing Hazel’s attention from the fabric and keeping Charlotte captivated in fear.
Charlotte nodded, her irises as large as quarters under her peeled back eyelids. “Yes, Grandmami?”
Hazel slowly shuffled towards Charlotte, angst and misunderstanding screaming from her dilated pupils. “Charlotte?” She croaked, which earned a weak smile from Belinda.
Belinda wrapped her fingers around the rope she so desperately fidgeted with, tugged on the necklace sewn around her neck, and admiring it in her wrinkled, paled, dehidrated fingertips. The string chain slipped in the gaps between her wrinkled fingers, and the golden pendant shone brilliantly in her palm. “Charlotte, darling, bear this until Hazel is old enough to rightfully take it.” Belinda’s eyes didn’t move off the textured pendant.
Charlotte’s eyes were now glossed over, and she could no longer hold her own fake smile, a choked sob escaping into the empty air. Drops of salty tears dribbled down her flustered cheeks, being joined by a waterfall of other’s.
Belinda looked taken back at her first granddaughter’s reaction, but her smile still lingered despite it. Belinda, who’s name meant ‘beautiful’, was always so gorgeous inside, and her gentle smile proved it. “You know what it does. Protect it,” she said to Charlotte.
Hazel remained seated at the foot of the bed, motionless, gazing into Belinda’s distressed eyes. Hazel’s eyes were small and glossed over, too, and her face didn’t even try to bend into a fake smile. Instead, her features twisted into sadness and repentance. The woman she had loved, known her whole life, who she had called Grandmami this whole time, let the Lavaliere, in its golden glory, slide into Charlotte’s hand. Charlotte squeezed it, pulling her now enclosed fist surrounding it tight to her body.
And in front of her, reflecting in Hazel’s pupils, Belinda’s eyes grew dark, and the wild to them just washed away as if her soul was taken with the pendant itself.
Hazel glanced to Charlotte, who’s tears still stung her face. Charlotte pulled her towards her and hugged her tighter than ever. She squeezed desperately.
“I love you,” Charlotte whispered.
“I love you, too.”
Hazel Abraham, now of the age nineteen, slipped out of her fogged memory as she looked back into her small apartment. The clouds cried outside, and the evening sky was dark in color. Hazel smiled at the day.
Despite the unideal weather and cold breeze, Hazel couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. She loved the rain, the way it danced on vertical window panes, moving across the glass like it was some kind of stage. Hazel absolutely adored, though, the light breeze that she allowed to trickle through her few opened windows. It made her home smell of rain and her house a perfect mixture of hot and cold. With the gentle breeze, the smell of fake soap and cheap perfume seemed to... disperse.
It was like her Grandmother, Belinda, used to say in some of Hazel’s earliest, and only memories of Belinda Abraham. “The rain is my perfume.”
The quote was on Hazel’s pastel pink kitchen walls and on her customizable, milky white phone case.
Anyways, it was nice to have a person without shared flaws, that actually once existed, on her mind. It was like her grandmother, who had left gaps in her real identity, had left Hazel with the perfect person. So many unanswered questions, but Hazel loved the part of Belinda she knew.
Maybe that was because all Hazel knew of her was that she loved nature and she lived alone since she became widowed. And, well, the golden amulet she had given Charlotte, Hazel’s older sister, when she had died. Hazel was three, but she still recalled her grandmother explaining to Charlotte that the amulet belonged to her second granddaughter, Hazel herself, rather than Charlotte. She told herself she could remember the words Belinda had said, or at least she could imagine what she wanted Belinda to have said.
It was always what she imagined, because she couldn’t exactly know what really happened: “This amulet belongs to Hazel, but she’s too young to keep track of it. So you should give it to her when she turns ten.” But even Hazel knew her Grandmother would never talk that causally. From what she could recall, and from accounts from her mother and father, Belinda Abraham was a brilliant, beautiful woman. She didn’t spare time on silly things and didn’t waste words on stupid lines.
But if there was anything Hazel knew for sure, it was that the amulet belonged to her. She had received it on her tenth birthday with a note from her grandmother. Charlotte had held Hazel tight when Hazel opened it, informing Hazel the necklace was always hers, and how hard it was to give up, but that it was the right thing to do.
Whatever separated the right thing from the wrong thing was screwed up. Because there was a fine fine line between if Charlotte was full of greed and held onto it for too long, or if Charlotte truly came to her senses in time.
Hazel drew in a shaky breath at the thought, fingering the oversized amulet -she would swear never to wear- in front of her.
Something felt different about it: like the presence of her own grandmother was here. She knew better than that, though.
Hazel Abraham sipped a hot gulp of tea, and swallowed it, feeling it warm her insides. She smiled as she ran her finger across the encased pendant. The cheap velvet that contained it didn’t seem nice enough for such a beautiful, magical thing.
Hazel’s dimples peaked out even further as she closed the case and slid it to the corner of the kitchen table.
Hazel always felt guilty looking at it for too long, like one moment too much would break it, or maybe one moment too long would steal its magic.
Then again, she knew it was once touched by Belinda Abraham. That magic could never be stolen, stare for hours or not.
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