WIP - The Locket
Contributor
Written by
Sharon Cullars
November 2014
Contributor
Written by
Sharon Cullars
November 2014

I've started a novella that has a contemporary African-American woman time traveling back to 1930s Germany (thanks to a mysterious necklace) and finding herself joined up with the resistance conducting espionage and sabotage against the Nazis. Unfortunately, she and her fellow resistance members don't realize there is a Nazi officer undercover in their group.

Read a short excerpt below:

CHAPTER 1

"What do you think?" the elderly shop owner asked with a barely detectable accent.

Danai stood in the middle of the antique shop holding the necklace he'd handed her. A little trill ran through her as she inspected it. It was perfect. Danai had seen other jewelry equally if not more beautiful, but the necklace's fragile simplicity was more to her taste. The delicate chain dangled as her fingers caressed the bluish lapis lazuli tear-drop setting and the gold filagree that bound it. There was something so old world about it.

"It's nearly a hundred years old," the white-haired owner continued enthusiastically, as though reading her mind. A mutton-chop mustache obscured his upper lip as he said, "Has passed through very few hands. Rumor has it that it was once owned by an old San Francisco dowager who willed it to a wayward niece. The niece was named Joyce Venture, and she was famously - or infamously to some - known for her flamboyant parties. The 'twenties and all, you understand. Flappers and the like. Not too far off from Fitzgerald's world."

"It's lovely," Danai sighed. "But it's probably more than I can afford. I'm just looking for a piece of jewelry to go with a costume for a play I'm in."

"Well, I'm a reasonable man and I'm in the business of pairing folk with the right items. That lapis would go well with whatever you chose to wear."

It really would, she decided. Since she'd come all this way, she might as well leave with something in hand.

"So, how much?"

"Well, I'd initially priced it at seventy-five..."

Danai started to hand the necklace back to him, already shaking her head. That was much too extravagant for her tight budget.

He held up his hand, ignoring the proffered necklace.

"But again, I'm in the business of seeing that an item gets to its rightful owner. I don't know why but I believe that there necklace belongs with you. And so, I'll give it to you for...hmmm...let's say five."

"Five? That's way too generous. I can do maybe, uhm...twenty?"

Her left hand subconsciously patted the suede of the purse hanging from her shoulder.

"No, five dollars is all I need. I'll get satisfaction knowing that everything's alright with the world and the necklace is where it belongs."

Danai smiled at her luck. The day was waning, the sun shooting out its last rays through the large glass pane of the shop. She had to get home.

The dying sun lit the store's interior and its dusty wares with an ambient glow of warm gold. The light touched softly against a myriad of vases, furnishings, dolls, the glass case that held antique fob watches, rings, bracelets and of course necklaces. The smooth lapis of the one in her hand gave off a soft gleam. She had to have it.

Danai reached inside her purse, pulled out a five bill and handed it to the genial shop owner. He took it, straightened the bill with his hand on top of the counter, then placed it carefully inside the till.

"Do you want me to put it in a bag for you?" he offered.

She shook her head. "No, thanks. I'll just put it in my purse. Saves you the paper and plastic waste. And saves the ecosystem," she said with a soft laugh. He gave her an appreciative nod as she left the shop.

On the short walk to her car, Danai pictured herself in the flapper costume that the play's assistant director had chosen for her. Grey and blue with dark embroidery and crystal beads, the dress along with lapis would really accentuate the deep tones of her skin. She couldn't wait for the coming Saturday when they would have their first dress rehearsal.

#

Minutes later, back at the shop the elderly owner, whose name was Saul, lowered his head and clutched the counter edge as though he were in pain. He hadn't been sure she was the one, but from the moment the woman had entered the shop, he had felt impressed to lead her to the necklace, even though initially she'd been searching for a bracelet.

Time was of the essence here. Actually, time was essence. It was an ephemeral door through which only a few could pass. It didn't travel in a straight line, but was more like a Mobius strip over which one could step forward and find one's self back at a former point, a point that might be the past, or a road that moved concurrently with the present.

Again, only a few were chosen. He prayed for her journey...and its inevitable outcome.

He walked to the door and turned the "Open" sign facing outward to "Closed" then walked as fast as his arthritic leg would allow toward the door leading to the back room of the shop. He disappeared behind the door and if anyone would have sought him, they would have found no one in the shop. No one in the little back room. No one at all.

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