Jeneka stared at the necklace in her palm. It appeared to be just a rectangular piece of green glass, with gold, black and silver flecked through it. It was strangely heavy, but she was certain it wasn’t made of gold or anything else worth credit.
“This is it? That’s all there is?” She looked in the box safe again. Velvet lining stared back at her, defiantly empty.
“I’m afraid so, sweetie. Want me to help you put it on?” Her guardian stretched out a hand to take the necklace.
Jeneka shook her head, folding the piece of glass tightly in her fist. “I want to look at it a bit more, Nina.”
“I’ll go make us some tea.” Her guardian gave her a nod and a sad smile, her eyes shining with repressed tears, then stood and left the bedroom.
Jeneka opened her fist and looked again at the rectangular piece of glass. After all these years, after all the nights spent lying awake thinking about what might be in the safe, after all the build-up over what her famous inventor father could possibly have left her; it all came down to this. A piece of glass on a silver rope chain. She wanted to laugh hysterically, but it wasn’t funny. Not in the slightest.
“Gee, thanks Dad,” she whispered. She looked again in the small safe. Empty. She put the necklace down and felt around at the lining of the box. Her fingers struggled to find anything to grasp, but eventually she located a small loose thread in one of the corners. She tugged, working it away from the base of the box. When she had enough fabric loose she tugged on it. After a moment of intense pulling the fabric suddenly broke loose from the container. Her fist flew up and hit her in the chin. She rubbed the sore spot, then looked under the fabric.
No secrets, no last letter to his daughter. No plans for her future. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
She sighed, and pushed the box away. The necklace gleamed at her from the bed beside her, the chain entwined around the block of glass. She picked it up. Her father had locked this away for 12 years. He’d put security on it that nobody had been able to breech. Her own DNA was required to open the box, on her 16th birthday. It had survived court challenges, attempts to steal it and one small fire. After all that build-up she couldn’t believe this was it.
She put the chain around her neck and clicked the clasp shut. The rectangle hung low on her small frame, a heavy weight between her breasts. It felt strangely warm against her skin. Almost too warm. She put her hand up to it, and felt heat radiating from it. It hadn’t been like that a second ago. Startled, she tried to take the necklace off. The clasp would not come undone. She swallowed, and pulled at the chain to try to slip it off over her head. The chain wasn’t long enough, it was too tight. The heat from the glass singed her skin and she lifted it quickly away from her chest.
It felt even heavier than before, if that were possible. And she felt a strange pull in her chest, as if something were trying to get out. Holding the glass as far away from her as possible with one hand, she felt her chest with the other. A lump had formed there, small but noticeable. It was warm to the touch and hard. Panic set in as she raced to the bathroom.
Standing in front of the mirror she could see the skin turning red on her chest where the glass had touched. The glass itself strained to reach her chest. Like a magnet, drawn by polarity. The heat seemed to have leveled off. Curious, she dangled the glass on the chain and watched as it angled toward her chest. She tried pulling it away and noticed the heat increase and the angle intensify.
She took a few deep breaths.
“Jeneka? I have tea ready.” Her guardian’s voice sounded so cheery beside her panic.
“I’ll be there in a minute Nina.” She quickly shut the door to the bathroom and locked it.
“Are you ok dear? I know this had to be a shock.” The concern was palpable.
“I’m fine. I’ll be out in a minute, I just need to go to the bathroom.” Jeneka listened until she heard her guardian leave the room.
She took a deep breath, and then let the glass drop. It snapped down on her chest. She felt a corresponding snap from deep inside her. What the hell? She watched in the mirror as the necklace started to glow. It pulsated, and a strange green light shot out from inside it, blindingly bright. She closed her eyes against it and tried again to move the glass away from her chest. It wouldn’t budge. Panic made her open her eyes once more. In the mirror she saw the green light had resolved into an image. Her father stared back at her, his image blended with the reflection of herself and the necklace. Her eyes opened wider, and she gasped.
“You are my legacy. Embrace the changes. Learn who you are. Remember I love you.” The voice was a whisper, faint and gone almost before it began, but she knew it was his voice. It sounded comforting and familiar. The image in the mirror matched the picture she kept hidden in her drawer. It was definitely him.
The image faded as the green light disappeared.
“Daddy? What changes? What?” She leaned forward but the image was gone. The necklace was cold once more, just a piece of glass. She pulled at it and realized it no longer clung to her skin. The lump under her skin was gone. The glass was still a bit warm, but nothing contact with her own body heat wouldn’t have caused. The clasp still refused to budge, but the necklace hung like any other. Just a pretty piece of glass. She blinked, then rubbed her eyes and looked again.
Just a piece of glass. Yeah right.
She turned on the water and splashed some on her face. It always looked refreshing in movies, but it didn’t help one bit. Her face was red from the rush of adrenaline. Her hair was tangled in the necklace chain and her eyes were puffy as if she’d been crying. Well, they’d expect that anyway. Here everyone thought her father would leave her his last great invention. The one he swore would change mankind forever. Here she thought he’d have left her with something she could use to make a future. What a joke he’d played on them! And on her.
She’d just have to make her own way. But she’d keep the necklace.
Not like she had a choice.