I turned the ring over and over in my hands, feeling its smooth, curved surface. In the midday light of my present-time home, the ring glittered yellow, silver, and gold, the entire metallic rainbow.
It wasn’t that unusual though. Between my forefinger and thumb was a communication-ring, exquisite in value, and something that collector-owners thought worthy. They weren’t very rare, but communication-rings of this calibre were expensive in our world. I had an idea about how that magician had managed to get his hands on one, but that still didn’t explain how he knew that I was an astronomer by trade.
I rubbed my forehead in distress, as all this work was giving me a headache.
I studied the wallpaper of my old bedroom. It had seen better days in my youth: underneath the outer layer of starry purple print was a dull green print, splashed with leaves to symbolize an elf-grove. Elves were all the range when I was a teenager. With two distant-land friends and one ex-boyfriend being elves, my future was all but set out; my imagination and lust for something more had led to those dreams of the other worlds that I would make my way to someday. I supposed, at this moment, that the ghosts of those dreams had unintentionally persuaded me to become an astronomer.
An astronomer… It was said to be one of the more…testing of careers that people could have in those days. Something like astronomy was an enduring job, but it involved a lot of work. As I had done that previous night, and the two before it, it involved me staying up to watch the sky if I thought that something was amiss, and then going to find out the source of such feelings. Often, in occasions like last night, it would be nothing more than the fall-out from a black-hole or a white dwarf exploding out the final light of its life. There would be a ripple across the skies and into our earth below, but there would no other repercussions. Only in the times when a red comet soared across the sky did I have to do more and make sure that the newcomer was not a foe to our universe. And then, there was the point that I had to report back my findings to the Astronomy Society, even when all I had was the report of clear skies, things that I was able to spot from my bedroom telescope.
It wasn’t that I hated the AS, but they had the tendency to be on my back about things all the time. If there was freedom within the skies, it certainly wasn’t reporting back to them.
Pushing away my memories of the past and present, I decided to try again with putting the ring to my lips, and so I said one singular word:
Suddenly, the ring glowed fire-red with the electricity that spat through it. I drew my hand away with a yelp, but stopped as I watched that my palm was not consumed by the sensation that I expected to burn right through.
“Hello?” A masculine voice echoed out the ring. “Who is this? How did you get the connection to this private ring?”
“What?” Startled, I dropped the ring in surprise. I would have been more surprised if I’d not recognised the voice, and in this situation, not recognising that voice would have been strange.
“Hello?” the voice slipped out the ring once again. It slipped right into my head and echoed round every inch of my soul.
I knelt down to pick up the ring, my hands shaking. At last I managed to speak.
“Jacob.” I said his name quietly; what more could I do?
“Elissa? My Elissa?” Jacob’s voice went through phases. At first, he sounded shocked; then he went for a loving tone, but finally, he could not hide the harsh angry tone that reverberated through his words.
“I didn’t know that you owned a communication-ring,” I stammered. “It seems a bit pricey for something you’d get, Jacob darling.”
“Well, I…um…err… Please listen, El, it’s really nothing. It’s just a loan if you must know-”
“The ring, or the money?” I replied, arching my eyebrows.
“Do you really think…?” I heard Jacob’s famous fury begin to rise in his throat. “It’s no big deal, okay?”
I was met with silence as the ring glimmered to a low cold colour, its red hum gone. He had cut me off, with the same cheek that I had used when interrupting him.
Once again, I put my head into my hands. None of this was making any sense. Why would a stranger to this town, and, indeed, this world, pass me a communication-ring of great power and value with the intent to reach him, but that reached someone completely different. I didn’t even know the magician’s name! So many questions made themselves suddenly present in my mind, and that was one of them.
Bad thoughts popped into my head too, and what was worse, the sky was beginning to heat up outside. Now, I could no longer say that my week was just over average, when it so surely wanted to point my attention to something more that had happened out in the depths of the sky.
Jacob was the supposed to share his thoughts with mine, but he had mentioned not anything like this. Jacob…my boss, a trusted member of the AS, and another astronomer. He was meant to be on the same level as me, and astronomers were meant to be more faithful…
And, all the while, I was coming back and forth to the ring still sitting in the uncurled palm of my hand. Why would that magician lead me to contact my boyfriend?