It was only a pebble from the stream, bright ‘n glistening in the sunshine. When I showed Ethan, in spite of knowing he’d tell, it was ‘cos I hardly thought anyone’d care, ‘cepting it was pretty.
Was I ever wrong!
Pa shouted a bit, like his hog’d won a race, but Ma looked worried, ‘n after a while Pa went quiet, too. Then they took me to the Stone House (us kids called it a house, seeing it wasn’t a barn or such, but nobody lived there, ‘n we never rightly understood what it was for), ‘n took my stone off’f me, though I hollered. Then they locked it away, where it couldn’t glitter no more.
I think of it sometimes in the sunshine, all soft ‘n yellow ‘n gleaming, but I never can see why they were scared of it, or of the strangers they said’d come after it.
I’ve been away from VisDare far too long.
Here’s the prompt (I’m not sure I looked at it very carefully), and links to all the other tales.
Unusually, this wasn’t my first idea for this prompt. That was a wild, sprawling, Fitzcarraldo-esque misadventure, featuring a con-artist who, having fallen for a good girl, attempts to evade jail and save his reputation by spending his entire misgotten fortune buying land and building a city house in the heart of the jungle – an ultimately doomed attempt to prove that his apparent scam was actually a genuine attempt to found a new community. There was no way I was ever going to do justice to that in 150 words. I’m going to be intrigued to see if anyone else managed it.