Monday, September 10, 2012
Genre: Middle Grade
Title: The Necklace
Sandra rummaged through the attic. It smelled musty, and she really just wanted to go watch some tv, but she needed to find some things she could sell at the school charity auction. They were trying to raise money for a local no-kill animal shelter. Sandra’s grandmother had left a lot of junk up here, but Sandra was hoping she’d find some things worthy of the auction.
She sneezed as some of the dust from moving things around drifted into her nose. Her allergies were going to be plaguing her for weeks after this. She moved a box full of dresses to the side to go through later. Jackpot! she thought, looking at the label on the box below that read “jewelery.” Sandra couldn't remember ever seeing her grams without jewelery.
She opened the lid and started pulling out tissue-wrapped jewelery. The first thing unwrapped was an shiny, black ring. The next thing she unwrapped was a charm bracelet. It had five charms on it, a high-heeled shoe, a lucky four-leaf clover, a coin, a heart, and a star. Sandra liked it, but she wanted to help the charity so she added it to the pile of things to go to the school auction. The third thing she unwrapped from within the box was a silver necklace. The necklace itself was a twisted rope chain and the pendant on the necklace was unusual. It was a five-pointed star, and in the center was a round stone. The stone was almost white but it shimmered and sparkled with different colors. Sandra was surprised that it was in such good condition after spending so many years in the box up in this attic. With most of the other jewelry she had found so far, she could tell that they needed polishing. But this looked like it had just been polished and shined.
The opal mesmerized Sandra, and she felt as though she couldn’t help but put it on. Once she had put it around her neck and closed the clasp, she realized it felt oddly comforting. She left it there and continued sorting through the rest of the jewelry in the box. She’d have to check with her mom to make sure she didn’t give away anything her mom wanted to keep, but by the end of her work in the attic, she felt as though she had done well.
She went down the stairs and found her mom in the kitchen preparing dinner. “Hi, Mom,” she said, “I’ve got a bunch of stuff for the charity auction at school. I need you to look through it and make sure I’m not giving away anything you don’t want me to, okay?”
“Sure, hon,” her mom said, "I can't look through it right now though. I've got some reports to finish writing tonight." Sandra was certain just then she heard her say “Great! Another thing to add to my long to-do list." Sandra had been looking right at her while she’d been saying it, and she hadn’t moved her lips or acted as though she was speaking at all. She hadn’t actually said anything, yet Sandra had definitely heard something.
“Mom, did you say something?”
“No, honey. Go get cleaned up. Dinner is almost ready,” her mom replied, and then, with her mom not saying a word, she heard her mom’s voice saying, “You are such a mess from playing around in the attic."
"It's really dusty in there." Sandra defended herself. "It's not my fault I got so dirty!"
"Pardon?" Her mother had a little crinkle in her forehead as she looked at her. Did I just respond to something she thought? Sandra wondered. The necklace was glowing.
As Sandra washed her hands, she looked at herself in the mirror. The necklace was definitely glowing. But the glow was fading. She wrapped her hand around it, without even thinking of what she was doing and it felt warm in her hand. She was very curious about the necklace, but before she could think more about it, her mom called her.
"Sandra, hurry up! Your dinner's going to get cold!"
No matter how much she enjoyed her dinner, Sandra couldn’t stop wondering about the necklace. Where had her grandmother found it? How did it glow? Or was Sandra just imagining its glow and that strange warmth coming from it when she held it? Had she really heard her mom’s thoughts? And if so, what did the necklace have to do with it?
Jasper, her family’s dog, a huge Burmese Mountain dog, started barking loudly, interrupting dinner. That usually meant that someone was at the door. Sure enough, the doorbell rang. None of this surprised Sandra, but what did surprise her was the fact that, along with Jasper’s barking, she heard another voice, a boy’s voice, saying, “Someone’s at the door! Someone’s at the door!” over and over. It took a few minutes before she realized that the voice was Jasper! She was actually hearing Jasper’s thoughts! How was this possible?
Sandra knew that it was the necklace. It had to be! She looked down at the necklae hanging around her neck and that subtle glow was visible again. How was the necklace doing this? She could hear her dog’s thoughts. Could she hear the thoughts of other animals too? While her mom went to answer the door and her dad and brother were busy talking about other things, Sandra covertly unclasped the necklace from around her neck and slipped it into her pocket. She didn’t want to hear anyone else’s thoughts right now because the whole thing was freaking her out. Where had Grams found this necklace? Had Grams known it was magical?
"May I be excused?" Sandra looked at her dad. "I have some homework to finish."
"You're done?" Sandra's dad made a goofy, surprised face at her, "I can't believe you want to leave the table while there are still tacos to be eaten!"
"Very funny, Dad."
Her dad smiled. "Go, do your homework. Your brother and I can take care of the rest of this food." He rubbed his hands together in pretend glee. Sandra couldn't help smiling back at her dad.
On her way to her room, Sandra noticed the voices at the door. Curiosity about who was at the door overcame her. She slipped the neckace back on and tucked it under her shirt. She tiptoed into the hallway, but kept out of sight of her mom and the guest at the door. She peered around the corner and could see her mom's back. Facing her mom was a man in a faded grey suit. His dark hair was slicked back with an abundance of hair gel making it appear greasy and he was scowling.
"You're late with the money, and, if you don't pay up, my next visit will be to start collecting your possessions." But Sandra heard what he was thinking. "I hate this job. Why don't people just pay their bills on time and avoid having to go through this?"
"I'll be caught up by Monday," her mom told the man, but she was thinking, "How am I going to get that much money by Monday?"
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