Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The golden amulet hung from a chain of uneven pearls, glowing in the half-light as it lay there on the dark velvet in the jewel box. I stared at it, wondering what it meant. No answer came to me. So I took it to the Professor.
He had been a professor at a university which I shall not name at one point in his past. But certain irregularities had occasioned his fleeing the academic life. Now he lived in solitude in a small apartment, a seven floor walkup in the city. He made his meager living from his knowledge of archaelogical wonders not often seen by honest men. They were secreted out of countries of their origin and discovery and sold often to the highest bidder. The new owners dared not display them. They were consigned to locked private museums for only the possessor to gaze on.
I had dealt in some of these wonders in my checkered past, which need not be detailed here. And when I was stumped by some new but obviously valuable piece, I often went to see the Professor.
On this day, I found him in his flat, surrounded by heavy tomes, the air in his dank rooms heavy with the smoke of some Egyptian tobacco he consumed in his Calabash pipe with the Meerschaum bowl. I coughed and then held out the box containing the golden amulet.
The Professor eyed me from beneath his bushy white brows, then took the box and gently opened it. I cannot describe my shock at the change in his appearance. While still holding the object in shaking hands, he appeared to lurch back from it as his face turned pale.
“My god” he said, then repeated it “my god”.
“What is it?” I asked. “Are you all right?”
For a time the Professor was silent, seemingly trying to gain his breath and search for words. Finally he spoke. “It is the sacred medallion, the only one of its kind in the world”, he gasped.
“But sacred medallion of what?” I inquired.
He looked up at me and I could see the fear in his eyes as he said “It is the symbol of the Rodent King.”
With trembling hands he closed the lid on the box, handed it back to me and said “take it away, please, take it away before it . . .”
At that moment, I was struck with fear myself and slowly backed away and closed the door gently behind me, wondering what had come to my hands and what curse it held.
I never found out. I accidentally left it on a bus as I was returning home and never saw it or the Professor again.
The amulet of the Rodent King is a product of my much two fervent imagination prompted by Willow as part of her fiendish plot on Magpie Tales to extract writings from we, her slaves. Click on that link to find more imaginative whimsies.