November 20th – The Ring of Enchantment
“Give it here!”
“No! It’s mine!”
Ten seconds to tears. There was never a moment’s peace.
Clare had had a hard day. And now all she wanted was five minutes to drink her cup of tea and unwind. Just five minutes. But with the twins, that was never going to happen.
“Am I going to have to come up there?”
Sometimes the shouting-up-the-stairs technique worked. Not this time. The inevitable tears began, accompanied by the sort of wail that you could hear through concrete. First one, then the other. Clare sometimes thought that she was cursed, rather than blessed with twins. Everyone had said lots of positive things when they were born, after a spectacularly complicated birth, things that intimated they would get on well, and play together, and be each other’s best friend. These things had been said, but they weren’t happening.
“Right, that’s it. I’m coming up!”
Clare slammed her mug down on the worktop in frustration, spilling a little, which didn’t help her mood. She made her footsteps extra heavy on the stairs to the twins’ room, to spread a little foreboding amongst her delightful progeny.
She pushed the door open. The twins were sitting on the floor, an old board game that must have come from the bags she’d collected for the school jumble sale that weekend spread in front of them.
“Where did you get that? I told you not to go in those bags!”
Clare was dimly aware that she had just answered her own question, but she continued on gamely, keeping her indignation up.
“Now, what’s all the noise about? Jamie?”
Older by a matter of minutes, Jamie was often deferred to in situations like these, although there was nothing really to choose between them, and Dylan would probably have come up with a similar answer. It was Dylan who did, in fact, answer.
“Jamie took the Ring of Enchantment. I threw a six, and I picked up the spell card. It’s my ring!”
“You cheated!” Jamie shot back, “You only moved five spaces.”
The volume of their mother’s voice was enough to stun the twins into silence. Both of them looked up at her, their faces red and streaked with tears.
“Give me that ring. Now.”
With some hesitation, Dylan held out his hand and opened it to his mother. Clare took the ring, and held it up to the light to get a better look.
“This looks very old. Are you sure it came with the game?”
Looking down at the twins again, and then at the game, Clare could see that the game itself was old. Very old. She didn’t recognise some of the writing.
She twirled the ring between her fingers. Stretching out the middle finger of her right hand, she slipped the ring over the tip.
“No!” cried the twins in unison, their voices straining. But it was too late. Their voices echoed back off the bare walls. Their mother had disappeared.
Inspired by a prompt from here