Dark Heart, (Friday Fictioneers, 2nd March 2012)

For the benefit of anyone just ‘passing through’, Friday Fictioneers is a writing community founded by Madison Woods, where a photo prompt is posted every Wednesday. Members then create a story and, on Friday, paste a link on Madison’s site after commenting on her offering for the week.  It’s a useful exercise; why not pop in to take a look at http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/

“It’s an opal,” she said, handing the ring back to him, lips trembling.

“A black opal,” he whispered, folding her fingers over it, and pushing it back towards her.

She shook her head, tears brightening her eyes.

His voice hardened.  “Stop this foolishness.  I thought better of you.”

He slipped the ring onto her finger.  Sunlight, streaming through the mullioned windows, ignited the fires smouldering at the heart of the stone.

Later, after her death, he eased the now dulled ring from her finger.

Opals?  A herald of misfortune?

Hardly; with her death, he was now rich beyond measure.

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Dark Heart, (Friday Fictioneers, 2nd March 2012)

  1. Madison Woods says:

    An early bird, I see 😉 So I’ll be an early bird responder. Loved this story and can’t wait to see all the others that rise from it. This was my favorite line: “Sunlight, streaming through the mullioned windows, ignited the fires smouldering at the heart of the stone.” I could see that opal flashing 🙂

    Like

    • Madison Woods says:

      Meant the other stories that rise from the prompt, lol. Also meant to invite you to cast your vote or offer advice tomorrow on Jan’s (25 word pitch) for her historical novel Broken Dolls – at my blog.

      Like

  2. Sandra says:

    Hi Madison, I was just posting this in advance, ready to post the link on Friday. I forgot that ‘followers’ would be notified about it immediately. 🙂 🙂 And I still can’t remember how I copy the photo across, but no doubt that brain cell will return after a couple of glasses of wine …
    I’ll try to get there tomorrow – I’ve a busy couple of days coming up (hence the early bird stuff) but will do my best. Have a nice evening.

    Like

  3. Sandra says:

    Hmmm … one sip did the trick! Photo copied.

    Like

  4. Good one, Sandra, and resonant for me because I have a ‘black’ opal ring that was a scam-buy.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting Sheila. Black opals have quite a chequered history attached to them. They were at one time considered to be ‘lucky’ but later they became associated with misfortune (some link with Sir Walter Scott’s story ‘Anne of Gieirstein’). They are easily damaged or can dry out and crack, which might account for some negative views about them. And they supposedly go dull, when the wearer dies! But of course, a ‘scam-buy’ would be more than enough to put anyone off these days. 🙂

      Like

  5. Ooh, I like this, very dastardly. Black opal is very evocative, I wonder how many other stories will be like ours? Something about jewels really seems to attract ‘moider’ 😉

    Many thanks for your comment, too! Really appreciated.
    http://joannakneilson.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/flash-fiction-friday-bloody-jewels/

    Like

  6. This was particularly thoughtful, especially at the twist ending; didn’t expect that. Makes me wonder how veiled his attitude was to her while she was alive.

    Like

  7. Dear Sandra,

    Oh, how I wish she’d followed her first impression. Why do we let ourselves fall into these traps? Very nice, dark, textured story from your mine in Coober Pedy.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  8. The Lime says:

    Definitely high intensity here. I feel terrible for the girl — and want to know if she realizes what’s going to happen. Seems like she does.

    Nice job!

    Like

  9. At first I thought just another mushy love story; then bam–the twist. Excellent!

    Like

  10. Mike says:

    A great story Sandra and I loved the twist at the end.
    A somewhat macabre investment on his part.

    Like

  11. janmorrill says:

    Great story around the legend of opals. I love opals, and remember my mother telling me they were bad luck to wear if they weren’t your birthstone. Is that how the legend goes? Anyway, loved your story!

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I believe that’s part of the superstition surrounding them, Jan. Apparently you can mitigate the effects if you wear them with diamonds. That’s what I’m telling my husband anyway … 🙂

      Like

  12. Jeannie says:

    Ack! She should have said “No!” Black Opals=misfortune Nicely done! Good imagery and dialogue too. Now, I want this guy ‘to get his due’. LOL

    http://thewriternubbin.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/flash-friday-fictioneers-the-voice/

    Like

  13. I guess one person’s misfortune is another person’s windfall. Is it fair to say she was stoned to death? Really loved the sentence with the mullioned windows and the fires smouldering at the heart of the stone. Good job of keeping us guessing about the nature of the relationship and then springing the truth at the very end. Good storytelling!
    Here’s mine: http://bridgesareforburning.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you. There are two schools of thoughts on the power of opals. I suppose he was hedging his bets here. 🙂 They both believed that they were bad luck, but he was prepared to embrace the other view (in public) to achieve his own ends.

      Like

  14. TheOthers1 says:

    Sinister. Id cut a wide path around this guy because he sounds dangerous. Nicely done!

    My attempt: http://unduecreativity.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/fools-gold/

    Like

  15. elmowrites says:

    Hi Sandra,
    What an opener to this week’s friday fiction. I feel like I’m losing my obsession with death – there’s none in my story (here http://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/friday-fiction-15) at all this week, and you’ve gone straight for the jugular.
    The twist felt a tiny bit abrupt to me, but I’m not sure there’s any other way in 100 words. Like everyone else, I loved description of the sunlight glinting off the ring.
    I thought I’d heard that opals dulled if your lover cheated on you – I wondered if you were hinting at that too. But I might have made that up!

    Elmo

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for commenting Elmo. Getting the pace right is always difficult in such short pieces. We can but try! The superstition I’ve read, is that opals go dull when the wearer dies, but maybe there’s truth in what you say.

      Like

      • elmowrites says:

        I don’t know, i’ve looked on the internet and found a few references to the one I was thinking of, but nothing very easy to link. And of course (being a superstition) nothing very concrete!

        Like

  16. Janet says:

    Great storytelling in so few words. So ominous and dark. So much of what wasn’t said also moved the story a long.

    Here’s my attempt: http://postcardfiction.com/2012/03/02/lost-in-translation/

    Like

  17. Russell says:

    I had to look up mullioned (I love it when I learn a new word). I guess black opals work like poison, but without that nasty chemical trace in the bloodstream. Very well written.

    mine’s at http://russellgayer.blogspot.com/

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      ‘Mullioned’ – a lovely word. Opals in general have attracted both good and bad superstitious belief, but nothing more than that, I’m afraid. Some say that their bad reputation was promoted by diamond merchants, and maybe so, because other superstition says that opals should be worn with diamond to avoid bad luck. Convenient, hey? Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  18. miq says:

    I really love the foreboding. The girl knew something bad would happen, she knew more than I did, and when I read the final line I was surprised, but I doubt she was.

    Mine’s here:
    http://threedescriptors.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/flash-fiction-12-the-caper/

    Like

  19. Sandra says:

    Maybe it was self-fulfilling – thanks for commenting. Off now to look at your site.

    Like

  20. susielindau says:

    It makes me wonder if he gave it to her in the first place if he seemed so heartless in the end.
    Nice use of the prompt.
    Here is mine-
    http://susielindau.com/2012/03/02/down-and-dirty-100-word-flash-fiction/

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I think she was a wealthy wife, and he chose to believe the superstition attaching to the opal, whilst apparently dismissing it. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  21. niiko47 says:

    I had no idea of the superstitions surrounding black opals, so the ending was fairly surprising, even in spite of the sense of foreboding that resonated from the rather nasty chap!
    Before reading the comments I thought that the opal itself might have sucked away her life force, but perhaps that’s more my supernatural/twisted thought process.

    Either way, it was a great read.

    Like

  22. Very nicely done. I like the atmosphere and the guy felt very much to me like one of the classic villains, almost as if he should wear a sinister looking cape and occasionally twirl his moustache. I too had to look up ‘mullioned’. That’s a word with specific purpose! I like writing which expands my knowledge.:-) Great stuff.

    Like

  23. Great story! Your title set the mood and the surprise twist was perfect. Complete and intriguing in so few words–I LOVED it!

    Mine: http://www.vlgregory-circa1800.vpweb.com/blog.html.

    Like

  24. teschoenborn says:

    Oooh, wonderful dark twist in the end. Loved it.

    Like

  25. Very creepy…it’s almost like he warned her of his plans and she detected his ill will…but stayed with him until the end. I liked it!

    ~Susan

    Like

  26. Lindaura says:

    Perfect tale – tricky one, too. I thought we were in for a fairy tale ending and we got the sting in the tale instead! I loved the brutal Machiavellian touch!
    good writing
    and here is mine:
    http://fictionvictimtoo.blogspot.com

    Like

  27. Lindaura says:

    well written fairy tale with a sting in the tale – and a perfectly wrought story. Very good writing.
    Here can be found mine:
    http://fictionvictimtoo.blogspot.com

    Like

  28. wonderful twisted fairy tale. The Dark Heart is such a great title, too and I can really picture this villain. The sting is in the tale. Good work.
    Here is my usual:
    http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/sapphire-rhapsody/

    Like

  29. A.M. Murphy says:

    I am amazed that you were able to get so much story into such a short piece.

    Like

  30. Lora Mitchell says:

    You got me. I never expected the twist ending. Maybe because I didn’t know the sinister history of the black opal… which is the clue. But goodness, where was her female intuition? No matter, there is Karma. He now owns the black opal…there will be payback. And, like Andy’s word ‘seiza’…I also had to look up ‘mullioned’…great way to build my vocabulary through these stories. Nice work! Here’s mine…
    http://www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

    .

    Like

  31. EmmaMc says:

    Well written and has a very sinister feel to it!

    Like

  32. Quill Shiv says:

    I really enjoyed this drabble. I think there was a lot more to this relationship than just her superstition about the black opal. Part of me thinks there was a little something sinister about the husband to begin with. Great job.

    My link is here: http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/a-shared-life/

    Like

  33. Atiya says:

    OMG I loved how your male takes so much charge, then turns out to be so seemingly evil. so great.

    http://remakingme-atiyatownes.blogspot.com/2012/03/flash-fiction.html

    Like

  34. parul says:

    Your story made me learn something new. I didn’t know of the superstitions associated with opals before. Thanks to your story, I did some research and found this. Thank you for that.
    Needless to say, a very interesting take on the prompt. I enjoyed reading this a lot!

    Here’s mine –
    http://faitaccompli.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/the-real-thing/

    Like

  35. ted says:

    Nice story… yes, you picked the right stone, not only for being cursed for some, but when given the light, it is ignited the fires smouldering at the heart of the stone. And the mullioned windows tells me that this is an important house… a manor or castle perhaps.

    http://tedeley.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/friday-fictioneers-1-semi-precious-gememoirs/

    Like

  36. Sandra says:

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, I included the ‘mullioned’ to signify historic times. I think it was around 17/18 century when the conflict of views about the opal began to circulate.

    Like

  37. Jake Kale says:

    The opal superstition thing was news to me, too. That’s one more potential scam for me to fall for. It doesn’t matter that rings are not traditionally bought for men, I’d still fall for it. Thanks for the heads up anyway. It’s quite humbling to see so much thought and research being put into just a hundred words.

    Like

  38. Sandra says:

    Thanks for commenting Jake. How did we ever manage before we had these facts at our fingertips as we sit before our laptops? 🙂

    Like

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