BY NANCY BOYCE
Copyright is held by the author.
“MAY I see that ring, please?” Abby asked the pawn broker salesman.
Abby was anxious to see the beautiful Victorian ring up close. One small amethyst was flanked by two larger ones with a cluster of three natural pearls above and below the stones. All were set in an intricate gold pattern. As Abby took the ring from his hand, an image of a woman flashed through her head and she was filled with an overwhelming sense of dread. Abby started to gag and dropped the ring.
“Are you okay?” the salesman asked.
“I’m sorry,” Abby cried as she ran from the store.
Abby couldn’t recall the vision well enough to see the woman, but the feeling stayed with her all day. It was probably from an estate sale, she reasoned; perhaps the woman had suffered an untimely demise. Abby made some herbal tea and decided to watch a movie to try and forget the vision for a while.
As Abby slept that night, a scene repeated in her head in what seemed like short one-minute movie clips. She’d wake; try to block it from her mind and then fall back into the same dream.
Abby was exhausted when she awoke. In her attempt to analyze the dream, she wrote down everything she could remember. The woman was in modern dress, so she wasn’t from Victorian times. Abby had seen the woman’s back as she walked away, a jacket draped over her left arm, a purse slung over her right shoulder, a wide brimmed hat covering her hair. None of the details were clear, except one, the woman wore a large ring on her right hand.
Abby had sensed the woman was in danger, but hadn’t actually seen anything in the dream to confirm her feelings. She still had so many questions. Was the danger in the past or the future? Was the previous owner of the ring the woman in her vision? Could she be in danger even though she no longer had the ring? If Abby was going to be able to answer these questions, she’d need to buy that ring.
“May I see that ring again?” Abby asked.
Abby wanted to explain her behaviour from the previous day, but the pawnbroker salesman stared at her in silence. He took the ring from the case and laid it on the counter.
Abby took a deep breath and braced herself before she picked up the ring. She placed it on her right ring finger. It fit perfectly.
“I’d like to buy this ring,” Abby said.
“But I haven’t even told you the price,” the salesman said.
“I know the cost of this ring is high in many ways,” Abby replied.
“Hmphh,” the salesman mumbled.
He started to write up the invoice and asked Abby for her full name and address.
Abby gave him the information and asked, “Do you know the name and address of the person that sold this ring to you?”
“We have that information on file, but I can’t give it to you,” the salesman said.
“Please,” Abby pleaded, “it really is a matter of life and death.”
The salesman frowned and showed Abby the invoice. Abby took a $100 bill from her wallet. She never thought she’d be using her mad money to bribe a sales clerk. She folded the bill, placed it under her charge card and slid it across the counter. The salesman left and when he returned he gave Abby her charge card and the receipt to sign. As Abby walked out the door, she turned over the receipt. On the back was a man’s name and address.
Abby hesitated as she approached the old red brick house with rotting wood steps.
It’s broad daylight, she told herself. You’ll be fine, just don’t go inside.
Abby knocked loudly to be heard over the music. She wasn’t sure what to expect. What did a thief look like, she mused. Abby was sure that anyone who lived in this run down house hadn’t come by the ring honestly.
“Are you David Murphy?” Abby asked the man that answered the door.
“Who are you?” he asked. Abby thought the man to be in his early 20s. He was tanned and muscular.
“I’m the current owner of this ring,” Abby said as she showed him her hand.
“What’s that got to do with me?” he asked. The man looked agitated as he shifted his weight from one foot to another.
“Look, David,” Abby said. She was certain he was David Murphy even if he didn’t want to admit it. “I’m not here to get you in any trouble. My name’s Abby. I bought this ring from a pawn broker. I asked for the name and address of the person that sold it to them,” Abby explained.
“Why do you want to know who sold the ring?” David asked.
“I know this is going to sound strange, but sometimes I have visions. This ring is trying to tell me that a woman is in danger. I need to find her, to help her. Can you tell me who owned the ring before you?” Abby asked.
“What’s it worth to you?” David asked.
Abby had been sure to leave her purse at home and conceal her wallet. She had put a few $20 bills in her pocket. She handed David $20 dollars. David stared at the money and smirked. Obviously, it wasn’t enough. Abby took two more 20s from her pocket. She grabbed his hand and slapped the money into it.
“Just give me an address, please. A name would be nice too,” Abby said.
“Marie Simpson on McGregor Avenue. I’m sure you can look up the number. Don’t mention my name or you’ll be sorry, Abby,” David said as he closed the door in her face.
“Marie Simpson?” Abby asked the woman standing in the doorway.
Perfectly coiffed auburn hair surrounded a 60ish face that was still quite attractive.
“Yes,” Marie answered. Her expression changed as she stared at the ring that Abby was wearing.
“That looks like my ring,” Marie said, her voice rising an octave.
“Yes, I think it might be,” Abby said. “I bought it from a pawn shop this morning.”
“Wait here,” Marie said.
Marie returned a few minutes later.
“My ring, it’s missing. I didn’t realize. How could this happen?” Marie seemed very confused.
“Have you had anyone new working on your house?” Abby asked. “Repairs? Maintenance?”
“Just David, a very nice young man. He cuts my grass and does small repairs. I haven’t seen him lately. He said he had the flu and wouldn’t be back for a while,” Marie explained.
“I think he may have stolen and then pawned your ring,” Abby said.
“Oh, dear,” Marie said.
“May I come in and speak with you, Marie. There’s something else I need to explain,” Abby said.
Marie led her to a formal living room and motioned Abby to sit on the sofa.
“Marie, when I first held your ring, I had a vision of a woman and I’ve been haunted by dreams of her ever since. I feel that the woman is in danger. I’m afraid that woman may be you,” Abby said.
Marie stood abruptly.
“I think you should leave now, but not with my ring,” Marie said.
“I’ll return your ring, but not until I figure out whom the woman is in my visions. I need to help her and I don’t think I can figure it out without the ring.
“I’m going to phone the police,” Marie said.
“No, please, just give me another day. I’ll come back tomorrow,” Abby said.
Abby’s heart was racing when she awoke. She breathed deeply and tried to remember the dream.
The woman was still walking away from her. This time the surroundings were clearer. Old decaying brick walls with graffiti lined either side of the alleyway. Empty coffee cups, food wrappers and over stuffed green garbage bags littered the paved surface. There was a parking lot at the end with stores in the distance. The woman turned slightly, but didn’t show her face. She quickened her step and took a more firm hold of the purse slung over her shoulder.
“Marie, I’m sorry, but I still haven’t been able to see the face of the woman in my vision. Please, I need another day,” Abby said.
“One more day and that’s it,” Marie said.
Abby boarded the bus and took a single seat in the middle. She closed her eyes and tried to conjure up the vision, but it wouldn’t come. Abby decided to get off the bus a few blocks early to do some shopping on the way home. The sun had broken through the clouds and she started to feel quite warm. She removed her jacket before getting off the bus.
Abby walked a block and then pulled her sun hat out of her purse. Abby’s fair skin and thin blonde hair caused her to burn easily. She unfolded her hat and put it on, covering her hair completely.
Now, where is that bulk food store, Abby wondered.
She spotted it on the other side of the parking lot, but the parking lot was at the end of an alleyway.
Abby glanced around and started walking down the alleyway towards the store. She thought she heard something and turned around. Everything was fine. She quickened her step and then she stopped and stared at the wall. That graffiti looks familiar, she thought. When she looked ahead again, she saw a young man approaching from the other end of the alleyway.
“Well, well, what a surprise,” he said.
“David, you scared me,” Abby said.
“And so I should,” David said, smirking. “I got a call from Marie. I told you you’d be sorry if you mentioned my name.”
David grabbed Abby’s hand and tried to take the ring. Abby struggled and David slapped her hard in the face. She fell backwards and hit her head against the wall.
The vision was clear now. The woman’s face showed utter fear as her hat fell and so did she. The woman was Abby.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” the police officer asked.
Abby opened her eyes and the police officer came into focus. She sat up feeling a bit dazed. She glanced around. Her purse was missing, but she was still wearing the ring.
A man approached them holding Abby’s purse and looking in her wallet.
“Are you Abby Robinson?” the detective asked.
“Yes,” Abby answered.
“I’m Detective Hughes. Officer Edwards is going to take you to the hospital for observation and then we’ll need you to come down to the station to answer a few questions,” he said.
“Of course,” Abby said.
“We’ve had a report from a Mrs. Marie Simpson about a stolen ring,” he said.
Abby had a slight concussion. She felt a bit groggy and her stomach was queasy, but she was told that the symptoms would clear up in a couple of days. Officer Edwards brought Abby to the police station.
Abby was surprised to see Marie sitting at Detective Hughes’ desk. A police officer was standing off to the side with David. Gone was the familiar smirk, he appeared to be in handcuffs.
“Mrs. Simpson has explained the situation, but I’m still not convinced that you weren’t working with David Murphy. I’m not a big believer in visions,” Detective Hughes said.
Abby reached in her purse and took out the bill of sale from the pawn shop. She handed it to Detective Hughes.
“Call the pawn shop and check this out,” he said to Officer Edwards, “and tell them we’ll need to speak to them later about selling stolen goods.”
He turned to Abby, “If this all checks out, you’ll be free to go, but the ring belongs to Mrs. Simpson and will have to be returned. We’ll see about getting your purchase price refunded from the pawn shop.”
“How did you find me so quickly after I was attacked?” Abby asked.
“David Murphy is, as they say, known to police,” Detective Hughes said. “We already had him under surveillance when Mrs. Simpson reported that he had stolen her ring.”
“The pawn shop confirmed the sale of the ring,” Officer Edwards said.
Abby stood and gave the ring to Marie.
“I’m happy to be rid of this ring,” Abby said.
Detective Hughes stood and Abby turned towards him.
“Officer Edwards will escort you home because of your injury,” Detective Hughes said.
“Thank you so much for clearing this up,” Abby said.
“You’re welcome,” Detective Hughes said.
Abby shook Detective Hughes’ hand and tried to suppress the need to gag.