What happens when a lady finds a rare opal and it takes her back in time to find her hearts desire?
“No matter how long we exist, we have our memories.”
Arika marveled at her new house. She knew she had a lot of work to accomplish before it would become habitable, but she got a good price for the house, and she had her grandmother’s inheritance to help her bring it back to the proud house that it once was.
But she wondered about its history. She knew that it was beautiful once. She had been at the library researching its history. There wasn’t much history in its ownership, but there were photos of the house when it was in its grandeur. Only on the outside, though. Her imagination would have to take care of the interior.
It was a huge house, and Arika knew that it would take years for it to be completely done. But now she was exploring the skeleton, hoping to unearth some of its secrets.
Her cell phone started ringing, and she answered it. “Hello, Mother……..Yes, I am at the house…….no, Brian isn’t here yet. Yes, I know he said he would be over to help…….Mother, stop, we have been over this ever since I bought the house.”
Arika’s mother had been against her buying the house. She said that it should be condemned and no one allowed on the inside, but Arika saw its potential. She had to promise her mother that David, her older brother, would help her get started. He would be doing a lot of the manual labor, while she did the interior decorating. That’s what she did for a living was interior decorating, and she was quite famous for her imagination. She worked many years on a popular television show designing interiors for people who could not afford it, and had suffered tough times in their lives.
She retired though albeit at a young age, and now she was going to design her own interior. She figured once the house was complete, that she would make it into a bed and breakfast. The house sat on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River in Southern Missouri, and the grounds and acreage provided a lush background. She could see water ponds, and fountains and gazeboes out in the garden area, and flowers all over the property.
Returning her thoughts back to the job at hand she worked her way to the attic, hoping that she could find some of its secrets left upstairs. There were some boxes lying about here and there, but Arika was afraid that she would find little of interest.
A tiny wooden box caught her attention then. It looked very much out of place lying in the corner. While everything else around it was covered with years of dust and cobwebs, the wooden box lie there almost with a glow about it. There was no dust marring it’s exquisite carving, no cobwebs whatsoever.
Arika opened the box and was surprised to find a single piece of jewelry nestled among the black velvet of the box. A necklace made from a single stone of many flashing colors, on a background that was black as night. Reds, blues, greens, all of the shades of the rainbow, Arika knew that the stone was a black opal, a rare but beautiful gem.
But why was this beautiful stone lying in box, hidden away in a dark attic, not out where its beauty could be seen by men and women alike? Did the former owners forget that it was there? Yet, that didn’t explain why it was there without a speck of dust on it. Puzzled, Arika put the box in her coat pocket. She would look at it later, and wonder of its history.
A knock on the door roused Arika from her musings and she hurried to the door to find her brother, David standing there.
“Arika, I’ve been knocking for over 20 minutes. I knew you were here because your car is in the driveway, what have you been doing?”
Arika wiped a smudge of dirt from her nose, “I’ve been exploring, David, trying to learn a little about the history of the house, find out something about who lived here, and what it looked like inside. “I have all this information on what it looked like on the outside, but nothing at all about who lived here, when they lived here, and why they lived here. It had to be someone of note, for the house was so grand in its day.”
“Perhaps, it was a prince from a far off country, looking to get away from his kingdom, and have some piece of mind. Come on, we have a lot of work to do, especially if you want to keep mom off of your back.”
Arika and her brother began cleaning up the debris that was left behind after many, many years. It was hard work for just the two of them, but they worked well together, and soon had most of the debris cleaned up from all three floors of the house.
“Well, Sis looks like tomorrow we can go shopping for what we’re going to need to make this look like a house. I am going to go back to the hotel and catch some shut eye. You are coming with me?”
“No, David, I am going to sit here and watch the sunset. It is so beautiful here. Makes you wonder who else sat under this tree watching the same sunset 100 years earlier.”
“I know what you mean. Well, don’t stay here too long after the sun sets, you don’t know the people around here, and you don’t know if they are friendly or not.”
“I won’t. I’ll see you back at the hotel.”
Arika sat back and gazed out over the emerald hills that made up Southern Missouri, watching the river slowly flow past. She took the mysterious box from her pocket to look at the opal that lay just inside.
She really couldn’t take her eyes from the beautiful gemstone. It was not set in any type of setting; it just sat there on the white velvet, flashing its beautiful colors in an almost hypnotic way. Soon she began nodding off, and the dreams began.
She felt as if she were floating on a calm lake, rainbow colors brightly flashing by. Relaxed by what she was seeing, she didn’t feel afraid, but more at peace than she had been in many years. Thoughts of her mother’s haughty ways becoming lost in the myriad of colors that floated by, thoughts of her meaningless ex-marriage a thing of the past, not there to rear its ugly head.
Adrian wandered the grounds of the Missouri home that he’d purchased a year earlier. He had bought it at a bargain by his recollection. But it was money that wouldn’t be missed since he had so much of it.
He lived there alone, and that was just fine by him. That is why he had come to Missouri. He wanted to get away, to hide. Too many memories plagued him. The house was isolated and not many visitors passed by. He was a man with secrets.
His fiancé’s beautiful face filled his memories. Anna was so beautiful, and so full of life. He had met her at one of the many balls that his grandmother was always throwing. His grandmother loved parties, and she didn’t care what people thought of her throwing her money around.
Anna was new to Boston, only having recently arrived from England. Her parents escorted her to the ball, hoping to make a match for their daughter. They found the eligible bachelors in England were too mundane and foppish for their only daughter.
Adrian took one look at her and was instantly in love. He danced with no one except Anna that entire night.
Anna’s parents though did not like him. No matter that his grandmother was one of the richest ladies in Boston; they did not like him because he really served no definite purpose in his life.
Adrian was a rake, and well known among the ladies of Boston. He loved daring lady luck on a regular basis, and was too flighty to settle down with just one lady.
That all changed when he met Anna, though. But it was too late. Her parent’s had already checked him out with a Pinkerton Agent that they had hired, and forbid Anna too have anything to do with him.
Unknown to Adrian though, she was also being courted by one of his acquaintances from college, someone Adrian did not like at all. Anna preferred Adrian, but wanting to make her parents happy, she also allowed David to court her also.
Unknown to Anna’s parents though, David was much more dangerous than Adrian, and he knew how to cover his tracks so there was never any improprieties’ ever found.
David loved pain and suffering, and loved to wreak his weakness on unsuspecting ladies. Mainly, they were the ladies of ill-repute, where if they disappeared, no one would miss them, but some were well-bred young ladies, and when they happened to disappear, all hell broke loose. David was never suspected though.
Adrian followed the two of them one night. He wanted to confront David, and he wanted to plead with Anna to give him another chance, to talk to her parents. He didn’t want to be weak, but damn it, he wanted Anna as his wife. Settle down, take over the family business, and raise several children. So he followed them to the bridge.
As he watched them from the shadows he saw David lean in towards Anna. She pushed him away from her, but David, being the persistent one, leaned back in. This time Anna slapped him, and tried to run. David grabbed her by the wrists and pressed her back against the stones of the bridge.
Adrian took off at a run when this happened, but what happened next, would forever burn in his mind. David lifted a knife and brought it straight down into Anna’s chest. It came so quickly, that Anna didn’t have a chance to scream.
Adrian yelled, but David just looked at him with a sardonic smirk on his face, took her hand, placed something within, and in turn threw her body off of the side of bridge to land with a splash into the water below.
Adrian’s musings came to an abrupt stop when he came upon the form of Arika asleep at the foot of the tree. He had to wonder where she came from, because no one ever ventured onto his property.
Most of the town fold avoided his property at all costs, because of the fear that they held for him. They called him mad, and wished that he would just leave them all in peace. He took great pleasure that he presented a mad front. It was the only way to get people to leave him alone.
Arika slowly woke from her deep sleep. She looked around slowly before settling her eyes on Adrian. When she did so, she leaped up quickly in fright.
“Who…..Who are you? What are you doing here on my property?”
“Your property?” he asked. “I’m afraid that you are sadly mistaken, miss. I purchased this property a little over a year ago. What makes you think that this is your property?”
Arika was confused. She looked around her, seeing beautiful gardens, and perfectly manicured lawns. She looked towards the house and that it too was perfect.
“I….I don’t understand. I sat down under this tree and must have fallen asleep. But this property did not look like this at all. It was in disarray, the house falling apart, the gardens overgrown.”
She then took a good look at the man standing in front of her. He was wearing leather leggings, with rather tall black boots. His shirt was white, unbuttoned partially down exposing a rather muscular chest.
His hair curled seductively around his collar, while his eyes were filled with anger, making his eyes the color of an angry sea during a storm.
He suddenly grabbed her by the arm and roughly pulled her to her feet. “I do not like trespassers, and you, madam, are a trespasser. I would appreciate it if you would leave my property.”
Arika soon regained her senses. “I am not going anywhere. This is my property, albeit it doesn’t look like my property.” She shook his arm from her person.
Adrian couldn’t believe his ears. She wasn’t leaving. She said that it was her property. He finally took in her appearance. She was fairly attractive, not in a classic way, but attractive with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, with dust on her nose and her clothing.
Her clothing, that what was odd about her. She did not dress the way that most women dressed. She had a flannel shirt on, tucked into some very form fitting blue jeans. Her jeans hid nothing to the imagination, and put it all out there for everyone to see.
“Why are you dressed as a man,” Adrian asked.
“I am not dressed, as you say, as a man. Women dress this way everyday.”
“Where? Women don’t dress that way around here.”
Adrian took a step closer. There was something about this woman which stirred his senses, senses that haven’t been stirred in many years.
Arika stepped away. “Don’t come any closer to me, or I will call the police.”
“There are no police around here. We only have a sheriff, and you won’t find him very easily. This is my property, and if you refuse to leave, I will forcibly put you off my property.”
“You and what army?”