Here we are with October’s promptly penned. The prompt this month was: “While cleaning up the attic s/he finds a box of glass balls with names on them. One drops and, as it shatters, a person appears.” Cool, huh? So, here’s what I did with it:
Lily moved around her grandmother’s attic trying to figure out what to do with eighty-plus years of living. At eighty-three, Lillian Jameson was still feisty and active, but the large family home was just too much for her. The woman who had given Lily her name, and a home after her parents died, was moving to a small retirement community. Lillian was taking only things that meant something to her personally, everything else had to go. Lily hadn’t realized her grandmother was the repository for every bit of family history.
Edging around stacks of boxes, she moved to the farthest corner of the attic and sat on top of a closed wooden chest. Where to start? How to start? She certainly didn’t want to just start pitching. Hell, who knew what kind of treasures might be among all the boxes, bags, and trunks. At least, some of it was already gone since Lily and her grandmother had gone through the things nearest the door. Those were the things Lillian herself had either put up in storage or her husband, Thomas, had. Unfortunately, there was a whole lot of stuff left.
“Sitting here isn’t going to get the job done,” she said, giving herself a pep talk.
Standing, she turned and open the trunk she’d been using as a seat. Old, smelly fabric met her eyes and nose. It was starting to dry rot, which meant its home was in the garbage. Carefully, she lifted it out, making sure it hadn’t been used to protect something breakable. When she was sure, she dumped it beside her on the floor and peered back into the trunk. A small wooden box, surrounded by more fabric, sat in the center.
Cherry wood, it was made of cherry wood. She ran her fingers over the top and thought it might have been handmade, since she thought she could feel where a tool had been used to attempt to smooth the wood. Whoever had made it did a beautiful job. Lily decided it would go perfectly in her bedroom. Maybe she could use it to hold jewelry.
Carefully, she lifted the box out and closed the lid of the trunk so she could study it at eye level. There were no hinges, but a seam clearly showed. Grasping what she thought of as the lid, she pulled up and it easily lifted off. Inside, were four glass spheres nestled in dark blue velvet fabric.
The smooth glass balls seemed to twinkle in the attic lights. When she leaned close she saw each ball had a name engraved on it. Alasdair, Evander, Hamish, and Torquil. No, not engraved. She ran a finger over the even surface, the name was somehow embedded into the glass.
Carefully, she picked up each globe feeling the weight in her hands. They were all exactly alike, or at least, that’s the way they felt. Until she got to the one marked with Torquil. No, that one felt a bit heavier and warm. Warm? That wasn’t possible. Something deep within the glass caught her eye and she leaned closer to try and see what it was. No, the light was too dim.
Cradling the ball in her hands she moved out of the tight space and closer to the lights to get a better look. Before she could react, the glass seemed to leap from her hands and shatter on the floor. Lily stumbled back as a glittering silver fog flowed up from the broken pieces and swirled in circles, as if caught in a tornado.
When the smoke cleared, a man stood in front of her. A man wearing a kilt and armed with a very large sword. Lily opened her mouth, but nothing. She had nothing. She didn’t know what to think. Hell, how could she?
“My name’s Torquil,” he spoke in a deep, heavily accented brogue. “You set me free. Thank you.”
He was big, probably well over six feet dressed in a full kilt. Not something bought out of a store, but a real kilt. A great kilt or, at least, that’s what she remembered her grandmother calling it. He was wearing a cream-colored shirt with a huge belt that held the whole outfit together.
When she found her voice, she whispered, “You’re welcome.”
If she was nothing else, she was polite. Her grandmother had raised her the right way.
“Where am I?”
“My grandmother’s attic.”
“Are you alright, lass?”
“Sure, yeah, I’m fine. Everyday occurrence to break a glass and have a man pop out of it. So, are you like a genie or something?”
He cocked his head and studied her with cool green eyes. “I don’t know what that is.”
“Never mind,” she said, slowly rising from the floor. “I’m Lily. Can you tell me who you are again and how you got here?”
“My name’s Torquil and I was cursed, by a draoidh. He locked me and my brothers in the glass spheres.”
She nodded, yeah still didn’t make any sense. “What’s a . . . whatever that word was you used?”
“Draoidh? Someone who uses magic. Don’t you have those?”
“No, no, I don’t think so.”
“Well then, we might be in a bit of trouble. He’ll know one of us has been released and come hunting.”
Wearily, Lily rubbed her face. Why her? Why did crazy stuff like this happen to her? She never asked for it. She didn’t think she’d done anything to deserve stuff like this happened. Okay, yeah, not that something exactly like this had ever happened. It wasn’t everyday a guy popped out of a paperweight and said an evil magic user had cursed him.
“You said your brothers were in the other glass balls?”
“Well then let’s break them, get them out, and you all can go and fight the bad guy.”
He shook his head. “We can’t. I can’t touch them at all. You’ve already broken mine. You cannot break another.”
“Okay, so what? I just need to round up three other people to break them and then, poof, you’re all free?”
“No, the curse is very specific. Only the one who is destined can break the curse. You’re destined for me. We need to find the ones destined for my brothers.”
Lily raked her fingers through her hair. Yep, the attic cleaning was NOT going to be as difficult as she imagined. It was going to be impossible.