Fake Diamonds Forever
By Dorothy Meyer (Judged by Felicity Keats)
The jewellery store had been particularly busy. Shirley felt smothered by the December heat and Christmas crowds. She was going to the Emmy awards ceremony on Friday in Johannesburg. She must pick out a necklace to go with her dress. The most talented actors and actresses in the country would be there. She was completely in awe. The dress fitting had gone splendidly. A turquoise satin fitted dress showed off her elegant figure. Her burnished auburn hair would cascade over her shoulders.
The store manager was expecting her. He greeted her and motioned her to step inside his office. Display cases lined the walls. She viewed the sparkling stones set in beautiful metals which were works of art to complete her outfit. One particularly magnificent stone was shown only to select customers. It was kept in a locked up vault and she wanted to see it.
Legend tells of the stone first belonging to the daughter of an Egyptian king. As a girl of extreme beauty she must marry the man of her fathers’ choice however, she was in love with the Arabian horse-trainer from her father’s vast livery stables. In the dead of the night she had slipped out to ride off with him and her maids found her absent from her sleeping chambers. They alerted the guards and the poor princess was shut in her rooms. Her lover’s head was severed from his body. She was put on a ship sailing down the Nile river into the ocean towards the southern tip of Africa. She was exiled from Egypt forever. Her only possession was the Stone. It was a gift from her father on her thirteenth birthday and she hoped to use it to barter with wherever she was landed.
The manager hustled Shirley to a desk outside the vault and he gently placed the box in front of her. Shirley gasped! It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Fine gold filigree work surrounded a deep blue stone. A matching gold chain snaked around it, sparkling against the black velvet. The satin dress would off-set the stone perfectly. She had to have it. It was perfection. The manager offered her a copy to wear. She could put the copy necklace on immediately. The genuine jewel would remain in a vault until the awards evening.
Stepping outside it was still incredibly hot and the moist sea air was difficult to breath. She had a few hours to kill until Gary, her agent, came by to pick her up. The movie theatre was just a short walk away. The air would be cool and pleasant. She would be there well in time for the early evening show. She left a message for him to pick her up at the Nu Metro in West street.
Shirley made her way through bustling afternoon crowds. Beads of perspiration were damp on her face. She brushed aside strands of thick auburn hair. Make-up smudged around those deep blue eyes. Walking quickly, she dodged groups of people. The queue at the entrance to the theatre was short. The film started in fifteen minutes. Shirley purchased her ticket for the movie, Grey Stone Abbey. It was supposed to centre around an abbey near Durban. She started down the cool passage leading to the cavernous interior of the theatre. She was not fond of the bustle and fidgeting of the front rows.
She slipped into an isle seat near the back.
Grey Stone Abbey had been built by the first Settlers in Durban a few hundred years ago. There lay the traditional grey stone crypts. Grey-green moss seemed to be trying to pry open tightly fitting lids. Weeds sprouted from corner crevices . Among the crypts the secret of the last of the werewolves remained hidden. Prying human eyes must never discover it. The terrible secret had even been hidden from the Werewolf Leader himself. The dreadful fall of Mighty Ferdinand.
Local stories tell of a beautiful auburn haired orphan girl with deep blue eyes. They say she lived at Grey Stone Abbey. A beautiful diamond pendant always nestled at her throat. The Mighty Ferdinand fell in love with her. He would howl sorrowfully when the moon was full. For many moons Ferdinand prowled the Abbey, hoping to capture his love. Most of all he coveted the sparkling stone. Finally his patience was rewarded. One sultry summer evening at sunset, there She was. The cool grey stones almost hid her. He crept stealthily over, keeping to the shadows. He was so close he could feel her breath.
He took his chance – leapt at her and brought her to the ground. Passion overcame him and he had his way with her. In the heat of the moment he forgot about the pendant. Ferdinand returned to the clan in disgrace. The shaken girl returned to the Abbey. Neither the girl nor the diamond pendant was ever seen again.
Nine months later a boy child was born. The poor mother died in child birth. The baby had thick black hair all over his body. As the child grew it became clear that he was not entirely human. The Nuns at the Abbey became afraid. The strange young boy would disappear into the night. He would return to the Abbey days later with no explanation. Eventually the Nuns stopped worrying about their unusual orphan-child. The Werewolves befriended him and he joined their secret clan.
Many years passed. The young halfbreed werewolf came of age. He was very clever but not as strong as his half-brothers. There was much trouble amongst the secret clan living in the ruins of the Abbey.
It was full moon again. The werewolves prowled the shadowy graveyard. One in particular was stalking another. It was Fang, second in line to the Leader. Fang sniffed the slight breeze for the scent of his half brother, the Halfbreed. He must eliminate the impurity. It cannot be left to breed further. Fang spotted a shadow darker than the crypts and smaller than a normal werewolf. Fang gripped the ebony handle of his killing-knife.
The music reached an intense crescendo. Shirley held her breath. The gleaming steal blade glinted sharply in the silvery bright light of the full moon. Fang drew himself up to his full height which was twice as tall as his hated human half brother. His shadow was stark and black against the grey stone wall of the Abbey . He raised himself up to plunge the blade deep into the half-breed’s heart. Again he lifted up that powerful arm and swooped down, again and again. At last the body at his feet lay still. Absolute silence descended once more. The weeds and bushes struggled on to gain life amongst the dead grey stones. Fang shook his vast shaggy head. He must clear any residual memory of sibling ties. Now the purity of the Werewolves’ clan was secure. He made his way proudly back to the den.
In the back row Shirley slowly let her breath out. She loosened her nervous grip on the pretty diamond pendant at her throat. The music became quiet after the crescendo.
Ferdinand crept stealthily down the aisle. He must use the darkness to hide himself. He stopped just behind Shirley. There was just a brief glimpse of steel blade and barely any noticeable movement. Her brief scream went unnoticed. Blood pumped quickly from her heart. It blended with the deep red upholstery of the chair. Ferdinand smiled secretly. He slipped the diamond pendant into his pocket crept stealthily into the night. He ran through the darkened streets. He was eager to tell the others. The clan would be proud of him. They will celebrate him and he would no longer be in disgrace.