After many weeks, finally able to do #5MinuteFiction tonight. The prompt was “Write any kind of story you want, but it must include a magical gem that is both blessing and curse.”
This was my entry:
“Rough, eh?” the ranger looked at me sympathetically.
“Yeah,” I said. Enthusiasm was notably lacking. It was a beautiful late spring day and the snow was melting on the lower slopes of the mountain. And we found those hikers who had disappeared. Well, I had found them, actually. Quite a shock.
“So there they were?” he asked. “Did they look just like this when you found them?”
I stifled my sarcastic urge. What I wanted to say was, “No, I just made them look like they had those silly grins on their faces because I thought people should be happy in death.” Instead, I shrugged and said, “That’s how they were. Never saw anyone dead like that before.”
The ranger looked at me strangely and then looked back at the victims. They had died in the avalanche. Usually we did a good job of predicting them, so not only was I sorry about the deaths in general, I felt responsible. This one came out of nowhere. Their grins made it seem as if they were happy. Insanely happy considering the situation.
“Well, we’d better put them on the stretchers,” the ranger said.
“D’you want the head or the feet?” I asked with a grimace.
“I’ll take the head,” he said. He didn’t look excited either.
We picked up the body and started to put it on the stretcher to bring it down the mountain so his family could give him a proper burial.
“What’s that?” I said, surprised at the box underneath him.
“Dunno,” the ranger replied. “Let’s check it out.”
We opened the box. Five gold bars gleamed at us. We both fought back the natural impulse.
“Well, his family will have something to help ease the pain,” I finally said.
“Yup,” the ranger said reluctantly.
We went for the second body and I took the head this time. As I picked it up, a small opal like substance rolled out of his hand. “Hmmm,” I said to no one in particular.
The ranger looked at it and laughed. “The gold’s enough. You can have it. That things worthless.”
I smiled and put it in my pocket. We went back to picking up the second body and put it on the second stretcher.
“Thanks,” I said.
“Happy to help. Hope the rest of the day goes better.”
I smiled at him. In spite of the situation, I was feeling better. “I’m feeling lucky already,” I said and then wondered why I had put things that way.