Chapter Six: A Black Jewel
A Black Jewel
Roses, pink flowers, lilac, and lavender slowly fell from high above as Hosea let go of Shiloh and the inhabitants carried her, in a handwoven basket, through the applauding crowd, to the Purple Pyramid.
An extravagant palanquin with golden poles and a large throne sat before Hosea. He sat upon the throne and four inhabitants carried him through the tunnel of falling flowers as they followed Shiloh, up the mountain, and through the entrance of the Pyramid.
The deep purple washed over him as they carried him inside the Pyramid. The crowd applauded his successful Harvest, in awe of Shiloh, as he had done in the past during other’s Gathering celebration. He felt glad to be home and seeing familiar faces. Hosea stroked his thumbs on the edge of the throne as they carried him upon the golden streets, through the crystal city, up the sapphire steps, into the Diamond Temple where Shiloh was handed to the nine elders.
Hosea was placed upon the diamond floor of the Temple and two inhabitants placed a robe upon his shoulders. He kneeled before the elders and was given their blessings to enter the Sanctuary.
The inside of the Sanctuary was never to be discussed, for it was impossible to comprehend. It was a place separated from the physical realm – without reason, structure, or scientific laws.
A place where whatever is desired is given.
“Come here, my son,” a voice called out to him in the white.
Hosea stood before a large entity and bowed at his feet. Tears fell from his face as he clung to the entity. “I have awaited meeting you my entire life, Elohim!”
Elohim picked Hosea up to his feet.
“You have made me and the island of Moriah very proud, Hosea,” Elohim’s deep voice enraptured Hosea.
Thank you, Elohim, Hosea thought. The words were unnecessary, knowing Elohim had already known his thoughts.
“What is it that you desire?” came into Hosea’s mind when he thought of the cave he and Isaiah had been stuck in years before.
Hosea remembered seeing the golden tunnel and finding the black jewel. He remembered pulling it from the golden wall and gazing upon it. This was when he first saw the dark presence, hearing it offer him power and knowledge. Hosea knew he had to have the black jewel, for it contained the life force of the dark presence. Since Isaiah was older and could complete his Harvest first, he could ask Elohim for the black jewel. This was not an option for Hosea because the one that wielded the jewel, controlled the presence.
Only Elohim could merge the power of the presence and the jewel’s wielder.
Staring at the jewel, Hosea knew what he must do.
When Isaiah had found an exit to the cave, Hosea ran behind him and pushed him from the cliff.
“I’m sorry, brother,” he spoke to the roaring waves.
Now, as he stood before Elohim, chewing the inside of his cheeks, he held the black jewel and asked to be eternally bonded to its power, so no one should ever know the strength of its possession.
Elohim took the jewel, bound it to a large ring, engraved it with a golden symbol, and placed it upon Hosea’s left index finger.
“You have my blessing to do as you wish with this ring and I have forgiven you for your brother’s murder. But, alas, the dark presence will never be allowed in this sanctuary, for I know its plans and what fate it shall bring you. You must leave and depart from me now, Hosea, since you have eternally bonded yourself with doom,” Elohim spoke and His presence left, leaving Hosea with his future.
Hosea looked upon the ring and clenched his fists. The dark presence was now a part of him, granting him power and knowledge. He smiled, knowing his reign was soon to begin.
The news coverage of Hosea and Shiloh’s vanishment was immense. Salome had been almost bound to her New York penthouse suite like a princess cursed to the tallest room of a dragon guarded castle.
The light in her life was completely gone, the darkness burrowed through her soul and dug deeper by the passing of every moment, seeming longer than an eternity.
Before her hormones could return back to a non-pregnant state, her body was flung into postpartum depression – taking complete control over her emotions, behaviors, and cognitions.
She could barely eat or sleep – sometimes all she could do was sleep. Her mind began to think the most horrendous thoughts. Her decisions were brash, and she could not think clearly. She wore the same clothes, never bathed, and her beautiful brown hair became knotted and lost its shimmer.
Salome was being told her paintings were being sold at impossibly high rates for her current status and the mystery of her vanished husband and child.
Everyone had their conspiracies: they were both kidnapped and their release demanded a ransom, or he left her for another woman when she miscarried Shiloh – whatever they would say, she refused to listen to, for the pain was too much and her heart was too vulnerable. Every accusation felt like a knife, thrusting deep into her body, and twisting every muscle.
She sat in a dining room chair, her eyes fixated on the illuminated veins of the city, with the edge of the chair pressed against the large windows, and her legs crossed beneath her. It had been impossible for the people around her to comfort her, all she asked for was to be left alone.
A bottle of fine wine stood beside her. She picked it up and placed the bottle into her mouth, drank a mouthful, and placed it back on the penthouse floor.
Then she began to weep.
She lost control, everything seemed to have been lost.
After a short while, she heard the ding of the elevator.
A sharp piercing jab shot through her muscles, as if she should be ashamed to be tearing at the seams, and no spectator was allowed to witness such a travesty.
She wiped her face dry and drank from her wine, carefree of the visitor or the lateness of the hour. She reached for her pack of cigarettes, the first she had purchased since Shiloh’s birth, but the lighter had run out of fuel. Salome kept trying to light it, becoming more anxious with every failed attempt, and she began to panic.
Then a small flame came into her peripherals, and she lit her cigarette. Once it had been lit, she turned and saw the man holding the ignited flame – Hosea.
She quickly stood and jumped into his arms, sobbing, and kissed him hard. Once the initial embrace was over and reality came flooding back in, she stepped back, and asked him, “Where is our daughter?”
“I need to talk to you, Salome,” he said, outstretching his glowing ringed hand, signifying she needed to sit down and listen. “She’s fine, I promise.”
Hosea and Salome sat at the long dining table, he took a cigarette from her pack, lit it, and took a swig from the bottle of wine. Then he said, “Salome, I am nothing like you. I was born on an island, surrounded by people whose lives were all meant to be something. None of us knew our real families – my “brother,” Isaiah, wasn’t actually my brother – but we made a blood pact with each other and always referred to each other as family. My childhood was free and beautiful, but once I became a teenager, everything became so calculated and projected for my greatest outcome. I always wanted to get off the island and create a story that couldn’t be forgotten – ones like the elders would teach us… like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Ragnar Lodbrok, Adolf Hitler, Jim Jones… I needed to be like one of those men – to know what it was like to wield such power,” he explained. He crushed his cigarette and ignited another. Salome looked at him, almost as an apparition, wanting to know why he was telling his story at such an odd time. “So, when I came here, I seduced people with music and a bewitching potion – all to gain the people’s loyalty and willpower. What threw me off my calculated course was you and my never-ending love for you. You became my queen and my everything!” he said. He placed Salome’s hands in his and continued. “Please, hear what I am about to say. You will never see Shiloh again. She will grow up happy and carefree, then she will have her own calculated moves and progressions. She will never know you or I – that is just how my people are. But you and I can have anything we want now, sweetheart! We can start again, without the sacrifice, and be a force stronger than what this world has ever known, Salome!”
Salome sat there in silence for a moment, thinking of his revelation, and said allowed, “She was my daughter and you stole her!” She stood up, broke the wine bottle, and swung the broken end at Hosea. “I could kill you!” she began to sob again, slowing her swing, and ending up throwing the bottle at him.
“Salome, stop!” Hosea remarked, holding his hands out to her, pleading with her to see his side.
Salome charged at him and began clawing him with her fingernails. He started to bleed from three gashes going across his face. His ring illuminated and the dark presence took control over his body.
His body began to transform into a large black figure, with sharp-edged wings, large fangs, and incredible strength. He threw Salome on the hard floor, cut with the broken glass from the bottle, she began to tremble in fear.
Dark Hosea roared at her as he grew in height and strength. His voice was deep and screamed at her, “YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE! NOW YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE!”
Then he dissipated, leaving Salome bloody and trembling on the floor of the penthouse.
The mall was sprawling with shoppers as Salome made her way through the sea of people.
There was a large water fountain in the middle of the main room with people sitting around it, laughing, and carrying on with their Saturday – happy to be out of the rain. She wore a large camel-skinned jacket, with fur wrapped around her neck.
Salome looked elegant, with her beautiful brown hair straightened and flowing, wearing her finest jewels: her large diamond ring and watch, and designer shoes. People looked at her as she made her way through the mall like an arrow, stepping onto the escalator, and going to the highest floor.
A musical band was playing, with their music being performed over the loudspeaker of the mall. Salome ordered a cup of coffee from a vendor and listened to the band. She gazed at the band leader, enjoying his singing as he sat on a stool and played his guitar.
Once her coffee was finished, she stood and walked over to a trash can and dispersed of her trash. Then she walked over and stepped onto the stage. Salome grabbed the microphone midway through the band’s performance. The people in the surrounding area pointed to her and became quiet, finally realizing who she was.
“Hosea is a monster,” were the words she spoke into the microphone – the entire large room now giving her their undivided attention.
She dropped the microphone and pulled a revolver from her coat.
The crowd gasped and began to take cover as the gun shined.
Salome put the revolver to her heart and pulled the trigger.
Her lifeless body fell from the edge of the top balcony, down into the fountain below, breaking the stone fountainhead.
Water began to rush out into the bottom floor of the mall, her dark blood mixing with the light blue water.
The crowd screamed in terror, rushed to vacate the mall, and ran into the pouring rain.