Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Prompt: Stolen, Switched, Obsidian Mirror, Uses for Boys, Don’t Turn Around* (Use at least three)

“Don’t turn around.”

I froze with my hand reaching for the carved soapstone fish in a bowl at the back of the earthy craft shop. I didn’t turn my head at the whispered command, but I couldn’t resist moving my eyes side to side to see if I could catch a glimpse of whoever stood behind me. He leaned close and I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. He was young, maybe college aged. He had a slight accent I couldn’t immediately identify. I felt his hand slip something into my jacket pocket. What in the world? Was this some kind of fraternity prank? It was mid-August – when did the kids come back on campus? I suddenly felt old, and very out of my depth. I didn’t want to play games, or get in trouble.

“Please don’t turn around, or they’ll know you’ve seen me. I’ll find you in the mirror, I promise.”

“What?” I whispered back. What did that mean?

I felt the warmth of his hand press against the middle of my back, and then he was gone. I shook my head and looked around. The door bells jangled as it closed. I took a step to look out the front window, but his warning rang in my mind. Could someone be watching me? I felt a stab of fear, and then irritation. Dammit, I had just come down here on my lunch break to choose a gift for Anita’s birthday this weekend. I didn’t have time for nonsense like this.

I figured whatever he had put in my pocket was a store item, and I wasn’t about to get caught shoplifting. I reached my hand in touched something sharp and rough. I flinched and carefully pulled it out. I couldn’t believe what I held, and I clutched it to my belly. I looked around to see if anyone was watching me. The clerk was sitting on a stool behind the counter, pencil tapping against her teeth as she worked a newspaper puzzle, either crossword or Sudoku, I bet. There was an older lady up front looking at the scarves, and a college girl behind me listening to the world music CDs with headphones on. No one seemed to be paying any attention to me.

I turned away from their view and held my hand flat to examine what the young man had given me. It was a magnificent five-inch carved stone spear point, in shiny black, probably obsidian. Chipped in a classic 12,000 year old Woodland style, it was a flat, broad triangle with a well-defined base for wrapping onto a stick with fiber or deer sinew. I had seen comparable treasures in museum collections, but in 14 years of fieldwork, I had never discovered such a beautiful find on my own.  Was it stolen? It wasn’t from any collection that I knew of, but there were closely guarded private collections still around. I felt my mouth dropping open, and I snapped it shut. I cupped the blade in my palm and slid it back into my jacket pocket. I felt as self-conscious as if I were stealing something from the store, but I tried to look calm and relaxed as I walked out and headed for my office a few blocks down the street.


I stood in front of the lab mirror and held up the obsidian blade. The late afternoon sun glinted through the blinds and reflected off the multi-faceted lines left by the careful artisan. The stone felt warm in my hand, and as I held it up, it seemed to lean toward the mirror. I once held a dowsing rod and felt the same curious sensation of the stick turning in my hand despite my efforts to hold it steady. The stone tilted toward the mirror and drew my hand forward. My arm stretched out until the stone tip clinked against the glass. And then it slid into the mirror.

The blade slid straight into the mirror up to its hilt, then stuck there. I jerked my fingers back in shock. A swirl of black wrapped around the blade in the glass, then swept across the surface, covering the mirror in flat, shiny, obsidian black. It wavered for a moment, then stabilized. I stepped back, my heart racing, but I couldn’t tell you for sure if it was fear or excitement. Both, I think.

A young man replaced my reflection in the mirror, and I knew even before he spoke that he was the one from the shop. The one who had given me the blade and pressed his warm hand against my back. I could still feel the warmth of his fingers imprinted against my skin, even through my jacket. He was Native American, and since I was in North Carolina, I guessed Cherokee. He wore a white jacket with colorful beads in an intricate pattern over the front and sleeves. My lips quirked with amusement to see he wore denim jeans underneath the traditional top. His boots were classic buckskin, though, wrapped with a thong around his calves up to his knees.  His hair was tied in two long braids behind his ears, reaching to his waist.

He reached toward the blade sticking in the mirror and pulled it out of the glass. I felt my eyebrows raise as high as they could while I watched the base disappear into the mirror, even as I could see him pulling the length of it into his own side. Although his face was serious, his eyes held a warm twinkle when he looked out to me.

“Thank you. I’m sorry to involve you in our problems. It was a race against time, and I’m afraid I took advantage of your kind heart.”

I reach out, sensing he was about to disappear. All of this was about to disappear. “Wait! Please! Tell me, what’s going on?”

He hesitated, then seemed to make up his mind. He reached the blade back into the mirror, and it slid halfway between, the tip pointing toward me on my side. “Touch it, and don’t let go.”

I felt a shiver of fear, of resolution. I gripped the blade between my thumb and forefinger, and as he pulled it back through the mirror, I felt the cold shimmer as I passed through to the other side.

TBC (perhaps)

*a few random YA Book Titles

Dogs in house:



Wonderful Chill Out Music Mix from Africa by JaBig

Time writing:

~1 hour, including some quick research

April word count:



  1. Prompt: Use at least three of these word or phrases: Stolen, Switched, Obsidian Mirror, Uses for Boys, Don’t Turn Around

    "Don’t turn around!" Jennifer cried.

    Three feet from the cafeteria trays, Mica froze. "What?" she asked.

    "I mean, um, yeah, as you were."

    Mica turned, slowly, to see Jennifer leaning against one of the tables, in an overly deliberate casual pose. "What _are_ you on about?"

    Jennifer was blushing!

    "Seriously, Jen," Mica said, "what was that about?" Although with the blush plus Jennifer's furtive glances at the cafeteria exit, she could guess. Jennifer usually did not have many uses for boys, but there was that new one--tall, handsome, and exotically from Africa. Yeah, he had definitely stolen her friend's heart.

    1. LOL Clever! I couldn't think of anything unoffensive for "uses for boys" - it was a book title that caught my eye, so I felt compelled to include it. Funny that we both started with "Don't turn around!" Now, maybe I feel inclined to start with "uses for boys"! We'll see. I am trying to switch up the prompts from so many visual ones, not that they aren't fun. I'm finding it a little more challenging to *choose* the prompt in the first place. But when people have suggested them to me, I don't always get a ready story idea. Perhaps I will try that again as well though - solicit prompts on FB.

  2. Oh, yours is interesting! I just came out with something terribly stock. Still running on nearly no energy,