She awoke in the darkness. Her eyes opened but the blackness was complete. She took a breath and felt the deep chill of the air rush into her. As panic tugged at every fiber of her body she began to move her arms into the surrounding space, hoping to feel, something.
The air seemed to grow colder as she reached out from her body. Trying to control her trembling, she started inching herself up to a sitting position. As she moved, her leg slipped off an edge, nothing below, just empty. She quickly retracted and started to scoot away, but her hand slipped off another edge and she teetered prone, half on and half off of, something. Stifling a scream she made herself freeze. Stop, take control!
Slowly, rotating to her hands and knees, she gained solid ground. Slow down, she told herself, see with your touch, move slowly. The flat stone she was on sloped upward toward a rough wall of sorts. Taking a deep breath, she inched herself closer to the solid wall and exhaled. Now think!
And then it all rushed back to her.
She felt her finger and yes, it was there; the blood red Cornelian Cabochon, the Life-Ring of the Amazonian Under-Lord. The gift was from an antiquities dealer she had supplied for many years. As he grumbled about having to pay her high fees he turned, winked and tossed her a small package.
“What’s this?” she asked suspiciously.
“Just a knock-off, thought you’d find it funny considering what you went through to get that last piece for me” he shrugged. Then added “Don’t say I never gave you nothin’.”
As she opened the box to the exquisite ring. He told her it was just a re-production and with a snicker, said not to worry, the legend wasn’t true anyway, so the Under-Lord wouldn’t miss it.
As she left him, she chuckled, she had saved the best piece to auction off herself. That sleaze isn’t paying me enough for all I do for him. Walking through the steaming streets of La Boca, she felt a movement between her fingers, slippery and slimy. As she looked down at her hand the skull head on the ring twisted and turned its head up to hers, the eyes piercing a yellow glow. Then the red pool of the cornelian began to swirl faster and faster and then splashed over onto the cobblestones. Hissing and spitting the stones broke apart and she was sucked through, down, down, down.