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I found it on the smooth marble floor of my house. Bright red-tinted light shone from the diamond-cut crystal and blinded me for one second before fading as a dark cloud passed by the sun, blocking it’s intense glare for the moment. Looking back at my discovery, I wondered how it got there. It couldn’t be my mother’s; she’d never owned anything that expensive. My father’s? I didn’t think so. Naturally, it couldn’t belong to my sister. If my own mother couldn’t afford it, well, my sister’s chances of owning the ring were very low.
The front door slammed open and I heard a muffled voice muttering to herself angrily. Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought I heard, “I can’t believe I lost it!” It was my sister; it had to be. She stormed into the living room, red-faced, saw me sitting on the floor, glanced at the ring beside me, and fumed. “You!” She shouted, pointing an accusing finger at me. “I was out everywhere looking for my ring! And you took it!”
How could she accuse me of such a thing? I thought about being caught red-handed. The ring was in front of me, and I had been looking at it, but I hadn’t stolen it, just found it. I was opening my mouth to tell my sister just that when she shook her head and snatched the ring off the floor, seething but apparently not caring enough about me ‘taking’ her precious possession to shout at me any more than she already had.
I shook my head, irritated. Once my sister was gone, I set about finding something to do. The summer would be a boring one, what with all my friends on vacation and my parents gone for the week. All I had was my sister, who didn’t seem like a good option to be hanging out with at the moment.
When I walked past her room several minutes later, I could hear her on the phone, still angry about something. “But it’s supposed to work! You said so,” She was saying. “Why else would I want the ring?” Some silence. “What? Only for some people? And you just couldn’t find the time to tell me this before I got it?” Silence again. “You tried it too, didn’t you? Oh. Really? But I thought— Will you let me talk?” And then, “Well I don’t see why it doesn’t work for me. Did you give me a fake one? Do I have to turn it or something? What? Don’t tell me to be quiet!”
Rolling my eyes at her drama, I wondered what she could be talking about, and who she was talking to. It was clear that the ring was involved. But what could it do that had my sister so intent on getting it to work? What could a ring do but look pretty on a finger? I wanted to ask her, badly, but she was angry and unapproachable right now. My sensible side was telling me not to take any chances with her when, with the attitude I’d been seeing, she could bite my head off.
As I walked away, I tripped over the leg of one of the chairs my mother loved to put all over the house. It clattered to the floor loudly. I could still hear my sister talking, inside her room. “Wait, I think I heard something.” I quickly picked up the chair and rushed to my room, hoping my sister hadn’t seen me rapidly fleeing. She would not appreciate my eavesdropping on a private conversation. A very strange one, too.
It was late before I finally attempted sleeping. I kept twisting and turning, thinking about how incomplete my day had been, as most of my days had been since I was let out of school. My thoughts kept going back to that ring, so small and insignificant, yet I seemed drawn to it. Earlier, I’d walked into the living room, not having planned to go there in the first place. And I’d immediately seen the small, seemingly useless item, sitting in the glow of the sunlight, its own natural spotlight on the marble floor.
I threw my covers off me and stood up, too curious about that ring to merely sit and do nothing. Besides, I couldn’t sleep.
My footsteps were soft as I crept outside the room and went to my sister’s. She was sound asleep, with even breaths, and her hair had been parted perfectly in the middle and laid carefully on each shoulder.
Honestly, I’d expected the room to be in disarray. The way my sister had been fuming this afternoon had suggested some pillow throwing at least. But everything was in order; no clothes littered the floor, the phone on her desk was not smashed, and even the pizza box she’d brought to her room had been thrown away. She’d either been in a better mood by the time she went to bed or she had just felt the need to be clean. The latter seemed unlikely.
Slowly, I checked the most likely place I thought the ring could be: my sister’s desk drawer. It was where she kept everything she didn’t want people to touch, from journals to cell phones and, probably, the ring. I was shocked to find that it wasn’t there. Where could it have gone? Was this item so important that my sister had felt the need to hide it? Had she thought I would steal it? This wasn’t stealing anyway; it was me trying to find out what the ring did.
Quietly, I crept to my sister’s bedside, hovering over her. There it was, hanging on a chain around her neck. How had I not noticed that before? It looked like any regular ring would look like. When I peeked inside the crystal, I saw something sliding across the surface, like the whole thing was filled with some kind of liquid. From afar, though, it looked as solid as any other crystal would.
Entranced, all the words my sister had said going through my mind, I started thinking that maybe, the ring would work for me. It doesn’t work for everyone, I thought, but it could still work for some. I had no idea why I felt this desire to take the ring and put it on, let it do its work. It made no sense, especially when I had no idea what it did.
Something told me my sister would be furious, but I didn’t care.
I hurriedly snapped the weak chain off my sister’s neck, ignoring her groan, ignoring her now open eyes, the growing confusion, then shock, in them. “What do you think you’re doing?” She shouted. I ignored that too. She was grabbing for my wrist just as I slipped the ring on the middle finger of my left hand… and everything around me disappeared.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself standing on a path surrounded by trees. My sister was next to me, wide-eyed. “Is this it?” She asked.
“You made it work!” She exclaimed. “And you brought me with you. Oh, thank you!” She gave me a hug.
As I looked around me, taking in the fresh, warm air, the overgrown trees, just the change in scenery, I was starting to get frightened. “Where are we? What happened to our house? What did the ring do? Come on! Tell me!”
“Will you shut up and let me talk?” My sister said. “We’re in another dimension. That’s what the ring does. You basically put it on and, well, we’re here. Hm. He wasn’t very clear about where we would arrive in this place…” She placed her hands on her hips. “Do you want to tell me why you tried to take my ring?”
“Do you want to tell me what we’re doing in a different dimension?” Suddenly, the ground started to shake; I could hear shouts and thumping noises in the distance, getting closer with every passing second. “What’s happening?”
My sister started turning around in circles, stopping when she faced the direction the noise was coming from, still gradually growing in sound. “He said we could encounter people. I think we should move,” She said, pushing me into the cover of some trees, out of the path that could have led us to safety later on, if we got lost.
“I still don’t get how this is possible.”
“Just accept the fact that it is and move on, okay?” She told me. “And we can always go back home by taking the ring off, you know.”
“I want to go home now.”
“It’s my decision. I’m wearing the ring, remember?” I pointed to it. My sister looked like she was going to argue, but she pressed her lips together instead, holding back at any nasty comment she wanted to throw at me. She held my wrist while I gently removed the ring.
And nothing happened.