O is for “Opal and Onyx”-my #WEPFF entry for ‘Jewel Box’ #AtoZChallenge

Posted 17th April 2019 by Anstice in Blog Fests & Hops, Creative Writing / 🗨31 Comments

Today I’m combining my Blogging from A-Z Challenge post for the letter ‘O’ with April’s WEP Challenge, for which the prompt is ‘Jewel box’.

Write…Edit…Publish post on the third Wednesday of every second month and the challenges are open to all. To join in, you submit your name to the list, write an entry for the prompt (1000 words or less) and edit it. Then on the date given, you publish it to your blog, stating your feedback preferences. You can also read and leave comments on the other entries and share the challenge far and wide on social media.

The winner for each prompt wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card with winners’ badges for second and third prize. There is also a special Commenter’s badge.

About my Entry

I tried to think a little ‘outside the box’ for this one. It was difficult to keep within the word count and the story ran away with itself a little, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

Word count: 975-FCA

Please note: I’m from the UK so I use the British spellings: jewel, jeweller and jewellery.

Opal and Onyx

The Jewellers throw me into the glass cage like a rag doll. Onyx struggles with them, shouting obscenities, but they shock him until he collapses in a heap on top of me.

The Head Jeweller slams the door. “Tut, tut, I thought better of you, Onyx.”

As she smirks, the skin around her mouth splits and weeps clear fluid. Half of her face is covered with ugly, red blisters.

Onyx staggers to his feet. “Let my sister go! She’s of no use to you.”

“We’ll be the judge of that.”

Onyx charges at the clear wall, slamming into it with his full force. I cover my head, but there’s no shattering sound.

“It’s reinforced crystallised carbon, or what I like to call ‘diamond glass’. Not even you can break through it—in fact, you couldn’t even leave a scratch. You can thank your friend Krystal for that.”

“What did you do to her?” I scream. Onyx flashes me a warning glance, but I ignore it.

Our captor assesses me for a moment, her face calm. “Krystal’s sacrifice will be remembered long after this war is over. Her legacy, the incredible power contained in her DNA, will live on.”

“She was a person, not a weapon. You murdered her!” My throat burns as I choke back tears. “One day you’ll pay for everything you’ve done to us.”

“Do you think I haven’t suffered too? Look at me,” the Jeweller gestures to her disfigured face. “Ruben thought he could use his little party trick to burn his way out of here. But diamond glass won’t burn until it reaches over 3000 degrees Celsius. The fool lost control, couldn’t contain his own flames. I tried to save him, and this is what it cost me.”

“Don’t pretend you care.”

“But I do care, Opal. I care about the Alliance and the millions of lives that depend on us winning this war. My precious Jewels, your abilities are worth more than you know. I wish I could protect you. But we have to do what’s necessary. One day, the world will thank us for that.”

Her cold stare sends a shiver down my spine. She really believes that. They all do. That’s what makes them so dangerous.

She turns away from me as the tears flow down my cheeks. I listen to the sharp clack of her heels disappearing into silence, then turn to face my brother. Deep wounds cover his arms. After everything we’ve been through, he’s still not broken.   

“We’re getting out of here.” His dark eyes bore into mine, and I want to believe him. But I remember what happened to Saffi, Emmett, Krystal, Ruben, and all the others I didn’t know.

“You can’t just muscle your way out of this one. No one has ever escaped from the Jewel Box.”

He places a finger on his lips. Of course, they’re listening.

“No one is like you, Opal. You’re smart, and people don’t see you for what you are.”

I nod to show I understand his deeper meaning. “But I’m not ready.”

He places a hand on my shoulder. “You’ve always been ready.”

 

***

We endure a week of torture and degradation in the name of ‘research’. They cut us and polish us until our skin is raw, but I keep my power locked away, deep within me. They determine me useless; an iridescent beauty with no practical value. It’s my brother’s strength and endurance that interests them.

We finally recognise the Jeweller’s footsteps approaching once more, the opportunity we’ve been waiting for.

“I can’t hold it for long.” I’m unable to hide the tremble in my voice.

Onyx squeezes my hand, and I remember all the times that his strong grip anchored us together, one solid force against the world.

“Now!” he hisses.

I concentrate all the strength I have into this task. I close my eyes and focus on shielding myself against the light. Instead of letting the waves hit me and bounce off, I bend them around my body.

The Jeweller approaches our cell and her eyes widen. “Where’s the girl?” Her eyes dart back and forth, but she cannot see me.

Onyx smiles back at her. “She’s gone.”  

“That’s impossible. No one can break out of here. You’re hiding her somehow.”

“Where? She’s already on her way to gather the rest of our people. When they get here, you’re all dead.”  

The Jeweller hesitates before unlocking the door and stepping into our cell, thrusting her laser blade out in front of her. “It can slice through flesh like a knife through butter,” she warns. “Now, where is she?”

Onyx flinches back further into the cell and I creep forwards holding my breath. I approach the Jeweller from behind, ready to take her off guard.

“No!” Onyx yells, and the Jeweller slashes at him with the laser.

He’s not talking to her. He’s talking to me. His eyes dart towards the door. So, that was his plan all along. He wants me to flee while I have the chance.

But I’m not leaving him. I take a deep breath and lunge at the Jeweller from behind, jumping onto her back and squeezing my arms around her throat. She sinks her teeth into my forearm and I lose concentration, becoming visible again. Onyx howls in pain as the laser blade slices into his wrist, but he manages to wrestle it from her grip and it clatters to the floor, rolling away from us.

“Let go of her, now!” Onyx shouts and I jump out of the way as he barrels into the Jeweller with unstoppable force, throwing her across the cell. She hits the wall behind her with a sickening thud and slides to the floor.

A high-pitched wail echoes through the corridors. They’re coming for us. I take his dripping, red hand in mine and we run.  

Before you go…

What did you think of my flash fiction? Constructive feedback is appreciated.

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs in the hop here!

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31 responses to “O is for “Opal and Onyx”-my #WEPFF entry for ‘Jewel Box’ #AtoZChallenge

  1. Action-packed and clever. I never would have thought of writing from the gem’s POV! There’s mileage here for a longer story too – do they make it out alive?

  2. This is a unique take on the prompt… and really captured my imagination.
    I enjoyed the terminology “cut us and polish us” as well as their names, which fits the story perfectly; and I’m wondering what the ‘research’ is all about.
    Very intriguing.

  3. Lovely, Anstice. Who would have thought to write from a gem’s POV? You! Made it very intriguing, yet cringeworthy thinking of jewels as living things being tortured. Some good suspense here. Now we’re all wondering if they’ll make it out alive…and where do escaped jewels go? Great use of the prompt!

  4. I love this take on the prompt. The jewel box is a cage and we get to see the jewels point of view. It almost feels like a superhero team-up story, like X-men, but that’s just the geek in me coming out. Fun entry. Hope to see more of this.

  5. Now that was a great end to an afternoon of blog hopping! Great story. Maybe a bit more about the stakes of the jewels in the war? (Besides being turned into weapons, of course, which I got. I’m thinking more of why they are being involved if they could stay out of it. Why are they near the Jewellers in the first place.) Just the way my mind works this late at night 🙂

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing: The One…

  6. Nilanjana Bose

    Cool flash! and innovative use of the prompt. I do hope Onyx and Opal make it out of the Jewel Box…

    Pleased to find another user of British spellings, quite rare nowadays on the internet 🙂

  7. What a great way to twist this prompt. Kudos! I like the idea of gems with personality and the jewel box itself as the cage/box to keep them in. The length is needed to give us more information about the setting. No worries.

  8. Jo Neal

    Brilliant story – mysterious to keep us intrigued but did make sense. Love the frustrated atmosphere you created throughout

  9. The intriguing promise worked. But you cleverly kept me wondering.

    I never notice the Brit spellings as a fellow Brit. However, as an ex-pat living in the US, I have to keep telling my software I’m writing in English-English not American-English. Two languages?

    • Technology does seem to be biased towards American English. I always have to fiddle with the settings. More than once, someone has commented on my blog to point out a spelling error that was actually correct for British English (e.g. colour, favourite, etc.)

  10. Intriguing! Loved the unexpected approach and you pulled me right in with the urgency! I believe they’ll make it to freedom 🙂
    Love this line… Her cold stare sends a shiver down my spine. She really believes that. They all do. That’s what makes them so dangerous. … it’s applicable to so many groups in the world, both past and present. Scary!

  11. Hi,
    your story is very interesting. I finally caught the meaning, I think. The names of the characters being named after stones. That’s cool. Onyx, Krystal, Opal, etc. I hope I understood the story meaning. The following sentences gave me insight. “We endure a week of torture and degradation in the name of ‘research’. They cut us and polish us until our skin is raw, but I keep my power locked away, deep within me.”
    Excellent job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  12. hilarymb

    Hi Anstice – well this had me in thrall … I love the idea of Opal and Onyx together having the force to defeat their crafters and the Jeweller. Clever – and great post for joining the ‘O’ of the A-Z with WEP for this month. Cheers Hilary

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