This is the 3rd installment in a series of short stories by the members of The Vocal Creator's Saloon Facebook group. The 2nd story can be found here: The Right Thing.
Ivano worked with careful precision, setting the last of the rubies into the 18-karat golden scalpel. Beads of sweat formed at his brow. He brushed a few stray strands of his thinning, grey hair off from his tanned forehead. The sweltering air wafted in off of bustling 5th street. Air conditioning was still too expensive for Ivano to afford so he kept the glass door ajar and the shutters down. The ticket price on a 5th street rental was steep, he had hoped that the high-end clientele that came with the area would help him pay down the monthly costs, but unfortunately, he only had a few of those coveted high-end clientele to speak of. One of which was Rhiannon Blaset.
The tiny pendant scalpel that Ivano was crafting out of gold and rubies was a custom order for Ms. Blaset, and the beads of sweat that had formed on Ivano’s forehead were not just due to the heat. He was nervous. He dared not produce anything short of a magnificent piece of finery for this particular customer. She was dangerous, and Ivano did not want to end up in her bad books. Ms. Blaset had been frequenting Ivano’s jewellery shop for nearly as long as it had been open, close to four years. He still vividly remembered the first day she arrived…
It had been an unforgiving, blustery February day. Ivano sat behind the counter, watching soaps from his homeland, Bulgaria. The content was cheesy, but it made him feel comfortable to hear his native tongue spoken out loud. A wild gust of wind, and a tiny bell ringing, announced the arrival of a customer in the shop. Ivano had looked up to see a woman with raven, black hair tucked into a neat up-do. She wore a stunning emerald, green coat with a wide, perfectly pressed collar. The type of coat you might have seen in style at the height of 50’s fashion. Her deep, chestnut eyes immediately locked on to Ivano’s.
She was a magnificent sight, it was true, but it hadn’t been her striking appearance that caused Ivano’s breath to catch in this throat. It was the mottled, crimson aura that hung in the air around her head. As if blood had been misted in the air and was turning to a dried brown cloud before his eyes. The truth was that Ivano had a gift, or as he saw it, a curse. He saw death. Or the prelude to it anyway. He really wasn’t too sure exactly how it worked, but he knew that when he saw the cloud, that death would shortly follow. He also knew from experience to shut the hell up about this “gift”. He had tried to tell people, to warn people. That’s actually how he ended up in New York hundreds of miles away from his home. Ivano’s ability had only led him to trouble, and now he lived in the best city he could think of to hide from his past.
Ivano set the final ruby in the tiny, gold scalpel. He cleaned up his tools and meticulously polished the piece of jewellery. His workmanship was exquisite. When he was working with raw metal and precious gems, he was able to let go of the demons that haunted him, but now that this piece was done, he knew he would be seeing her soon. When Ivano had first met Rhiannon Blaset, he had felt mournful for her. He had taken her order of two, 10-karat diamond, stud earrings, never expecting her to pick them up. For Ivano had believed that Rhiannon would die soon after their meeting. That’s usually what the aura meant. When she had come back two weeks later with the same crimson colour looming around her, Ivano couldn’t believe his eyes. He had to make up some lame excuse to her about why her earrings weren’t complete, when in truth, he had never started them. She should have been dead within the week.
Ivano had come to know over the past four years that there must be a different reason why the crimson halo donned Ms. Blaset’s raven locks. When the truth of it arrived, Ivano’s lunch turned sour in his stomach. Ms. Blaset was not a victim of death, she was a purveyor.
A high-pitched ring of the bell signified the door had been pulled fully open, and Ivano looked up to meet the gaze of those chestnut brown eyes. Death herself, had arrived to pick up her order.
Thank you for reading! This story was put together as part of an anthology of short stories by the members of Vocal Creator's Saloon. To continue the saga, watch out for the next story by Julie Lacksonen.