C. L. VALENTINE - THE PACKAGE
C.L. Valentine is an aspiring writer and poet that uses his love of nature, mythology, art, men and the occult to influence his work. When he’s not grinding away at school work, he’s writing poetry and prose about monsters and romance.
The study fireplace crackles illuminating books lining the chestnut walls of the study. Ariel snuggles deeper into his shawl, leaving nothing visible but his piercing grey eyes ringed pink and his unkempt black curls. The frigid wind and snow whips outside and nothing can be heard but the snoring of dogs, the flip of a page, and the clink of a porcelain cup as the man stirs his silver spoon glistening in the fires glow. All the help had retired to their rooms leaving just Ariel and his three hounds curled in blissful sleep on the adjacent sofa, a huddled mass of dark fur with the occasional glint of gold collars.
“Quite the storm out there boys,” said Ariel as he grabbed for another sugar cube on the tea tray beside him. “Might not stop until morning.”
As he took a sip he was startled by the chiming of the doorbell. A mistake he thought, but the bell chimed again prompting his dogs to stand at attention. Ariel stood to grab a candlestick as he proceeded to the front door with his dogs in tow.
He opens the door shielding himself with his shawl from the blistering wind. He looks around and sees no one. He sees his dogs around his feet and realizes they are sniffing at a strange box on the doorstep. Ariel picks it up and quickly closes the door.
When he arrives back into the study he places the box on the mahogany desk for closer inspection. His dogs standing on hind legs for a closer look as well.
Ariel sits and examines the box. It is small the size of an Altoids tin. It is covered in a black velvet and has a gold clasp enclosure. He goes to open it but before he can he hears a knock on the study door.
“Come in,” he calls out. In walks, his butler Robert dressed in his nightwear he stumbles in yawning.
“I heard the doorbell, Sir, is everything alright?” he asks as he walks in coming to stand by the desk.
“Things are fine, Robbie. I’ve just received this box at the door. Quite odd don’t you think?” asks Ariel holding it up for the man to see.
“Odd indeed, Do you know who it’s from?” asks the butler picking up the box.
“Not at all, I was just about to open it. If you would do the honors,” replied Ariel.
Robert held the tiny box away from his face with squinting eyes in anticipation. He flipped the clasp from the box making it pop open suddenly with a loud click. It stirred a small bark from one of the hounds at his feet. The man brought the box close to him removing a silver gossamer fabric from the top and gasping once he looked inside.
Ariel tensed his voice high in pitch as he spoke, “Well, what is it?”
“See for yourself.” said the butler as he handed the box to Ariel suppressing a smile.
Ariel took the box in his hand and his eyes widened at the sight. A glittering black ring sporting a large blood red ruby laid in the box. The inside lid had an inscription written in red saying, “For my king of the night.” Ariel took out the ring and placed it on his right middle finger examining it. He noticed a note laying where the ring was and he picked it up unfolding it. Tears welling in his eyes as he read the note. It read:
“My dearest Ariel, How long has it been since I’ve held you in my arms? I believe it has been just shy of 10 months but, it feels like an eternity already. I miss you dearly and wanted you to have something to remind you of me while we’re parted. I thought at first a photograph but we can’t have you moping the halls clutching a photo like some mourning ghost. Lord know you’d be a mess so I bought you this ring. Let it be a reminder of my love that runs as deep as the blood through my veins. I don’t know when I will return but know that I am always with you and hope to hear from you soon.
With love, Mal”
Ariel sent Robert to bed then and he admired the ring nearly all through the night and day too. His longing for his love made easier by the blood red ring.
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