My mother should own the copyrights to the phrase, expect the unexpected,Ó because IÕm sure she wasnÕt expecting me to be brought home by Mrs. FiggÕs nephew, David, at one in the morning. Although it shouldnÕt have shocked her as much as it did considering that this wasnÕt the first time something like this had happened. What- my mother barely squeaked out. I knew the next words resounding in her head were the hell.Ó I couldnÕt suppress a smile that IÕm sure appeared to be a smirk. I caught Danielle breaking into my Aunt BettyÕs house down on BakerÕs street.Ó Why would she do that?Ó Even though it was said to David, I knew it was meant for me. Apparently she was dared to steal a diet soda from the fridge. No damage was done, so my aunt and I decided not to call the cops.Ó IÕm so sorry. I promise it will never happen again.Ó These were my motherÕs words, not mine. Goodnight ladies.Õ Goodnight.Ó My mother whispered before she closed the door. Then she turned to me. She began shrieking at me for being irresponsible and immature. She continued yelling that I was lucky that Mrs. Figg and her nephew have such kind hearts, because if they didnÕt I could have been sitting in a cop car at that moment. I rolled my eyes and reached into my pocket to make sure it was still there. Even though I had broken into Mrs. FiggÕs house on a dare to bring back a diet soda, I took something better. It was a dark green stone on a silver chain. The rock had a single Chinese character engraved on it. Fate. The following morning, I rolled out of bed feeling like a semi truck had hit me. Mom had yelled and tried to pry information out of me until four-thirty in the morning. My alarm went off an hour and a half later, at six. The only thing that got me up was the thought of showing off my stolen Chinese amulet. When I got to school, I quickly caught up with my friends Mason and Gabby, who gave me the dare last night. Crap girl, youÕre here. We went over to Mrs. FiggÕs house to check on you, ‘cuz you were taking a long time and I heard Mrs. Figg talking to you. I knew youÕd gotten caught.Ó I could tell Gabby had lost sleep worrying about me. Mason, of course was more to the point. So, did you get the soda?Ó No, they took that, but I got something better.Ó I pulled out the necklace, and gabby squealed, Oh my gosh, itÕs so pretty. Is that real silver? You have to put it on.Ó I turned around and pulled my hair up so she could put the stolen object on me. The minute the clasp was closed, I was flung into a cyclone of colors. When my eyes stopped seeing spots, I found myself in a basement. There was a man tied to the chair, pleading, while a woman stood across from him, an axe in her hands. Please, Maria. I love you. DonÕt do this.Ó If you love me so damn much, why were you with her last night?Ó I donÕt love her like I love you.Ó But youÕre admitting to loving her.Ó Maria, I love you. I never meant to hurt you. Listen to me, please.Ó Then Maria took a giant step toward the man and raised her axe. I shut my eyes. I didnÕt want to see a rolling head. The picture faded away to reveal Mason and GabbyÕs worried faces. We have to help him. SheÕs going to kill him.Ó I panicked. Dani, Dani, chill out. WhoÕs going to die?Ó Mason tried to calm me. The man that I just saw. The one in the basement. His wife or girlfriend or whoever is going to kill him.Ó I realized in that moment that there was no man, no Maria. I was loosing my mind. Gabby, I think sheÕs having a psychotic episode, or something.Ó No,Ó I said, IÕm fine. I just fell asleep for a minute.Ó On your feet?Ó Gabby didnÕt believe me. Yea, I got like no sleep last night. IÕm fine now.Ó I walked off knowing I was anything but fine. At six, I turned on the news. I figured that if there really were a murder they would report it. As much as I told myself that there was no murder, I couldnÕt really believe it. Instead of assuring me that I was just imaging things, what I saw nearly induced a heart attack. In Chicago today Gary Walter was found dead in the basement of his home.Ó A reporter was saying in the usual unfeeling tone. The policed have the suspect in custody. WalterÕs wife, Maria Walter openly admitted she had beheaded her husband because he was cheating on her.Ó Holy s***.Ó I said to the TV. Mom came in at that moment. What did you say?Ó Oh, nothing.Ó The next day at lunch, I caught up with Gabby. I had to talk to someone. I just hoped this was one little piece of gossip she could keep to herself. Hey, Gabby, can we talk?Ó Yea, sure girl, whatÕs up?Ó You know the pendant I stole a couple of days ago? I think itÕs possessed.Ó Gabby spit her coke all over a passing freshman boy. You seriously have issues.Ó Listen to me. Remember the ‘psychotic episodeÕ you thought I was having yesterday? That occurred because the amulet induced a vision.Ó That doesnÕt prove anything other than you have an undiagnosed mental illness.Ó Gabby, what I saw was on the news last night. I saw Maria Walter kill her husband half a day before anyone reported it.Ó Oh.Ó Here, put it on, youÕll see what I mean.Ó The instant I shut the clasp, and dreamy expression glazed over her face, and she started to drool. I hoped I didnÕt look like that during my visions. Less than a minute later she snapped out of it. Oh my gosh, Dani, it was so amazing. Josh Watson asked me out, and we were in the back of his truck, and- I get your point.Ó I said, knowing where it was going. Why didnÕt you see a murder?Ó I donÕt know, but I fully believe you. I want this thing.Ó No. ItÕs my responsibility. I think IÕm going to have to talk to Mrs. Fig.Ó DoesnÕt she have a restraining order on you?Ó I laughed. Not yet.Ó Danielle, IÕve been expecting you.Ó Mrs. FiggÕs voice was calm, not scared or angry as I imagined it might be. I didnÕt speak, but the look on my face urged her to explain. I know you have the amulet. Come in and IÕll explain.Ó I stood, still wondering why she was being so nice. Was she waiting to trap me inside, and then call the cops? Out of desperation, I took a step forward inside. I wanted to trust her. I needed someone to turn to, and I wanted to believe she would help me. She led me to the kitchen table and I sat down. Would you like a soda,Ó She asked ungrudgingly. It didnÕt seem like she was mad at me for breaking into her house to steel a soda. Okay, thanks.Ó She brought out two sodas and a platter of cookies. I waited for her to take a bite and a sip before I ate anything. I know itÕs stupid, but I wanted to make sure she didnÕt poison anything. Now, Danielle, about the amulet.Ó I reached into my jeans and pulled out the possessed object. As I held it out to her, it shone in the light, like an omen of ill will. I took this time to speak. So what is up with this pendant? When I put it on I see people I donÕt even know die. When my friend Gabby puts it on she sees her and Josh Watson. Why doesnÕt she see murders?" You are right, the pendant does different things for different people.Ó But, why?Ó Her answer blew me away. The pendant shows different things, based on the intentions of the heart. For example, when I put it on, I see my worst nightmares unfold. I witness the death of my children a thousand times. I see my house and all my possessions burn to nothing. I see all these things because I am selfish. Your friend sees what she does because she is selfish. You, however have a good heart.Ó I couldnÕt understand how she could say I was unselfish when I had broken into her home three days ago. As much I hated to admit it, that was really selfish. Out of curiosity, I asked, Did any of your visions come true?Ó Yes, all of them. My husband and my two children were both killed. My old house was burned to the ground.Ó I didnÕt know what to say, other than, That sucks.Ó She looked at the clock. ItÕs getting late, and I wouldnÕt want you to be late for dinner, so youÕd better get going.Ó I got up, and then turned around. I guess youÕll be wanting this back.Ó I placed the amulet on the table. No, dear, you keep it.Ó What do I do with it? It creeps me out.Ó Use it. Only you know how.Ó I had every intention of locking the pendant up until I figured out how to use it, but that night at eleven fifteen, I had an obsessive urge to put it on. The minute the image came into focus, I gasped. Mrs. Figg was talking into the phone. Police, there has been a break in.Ó A man snuck in behind her. In his hand was a knife, Where are they?Ó He demanded. When Mrs. Fig saw him, I thought she was going to have a heart attack. The china is downstairs in the kitchen. My purse is- Where are your guns?Ó She looked around, as if searching for someone who could help her. I saw the clock, eleven thirty. I donÕt have any guns.Ó He charged at her and I was ripped away from the scene. I stood, clinging to my dresser. The clock read eleven seventeen. I had thirteen minutes. Grabbing my pepper spray and pocketknife with one hand and my black ski mask and cell phone with the other, I climbed out of the window. When my feet had hit the driveway, I ran full speed to Mrs. FiggÕs house. Instead of ringing the doorbell, I was planning to go around the back and break the glass door to get inside. I was shocked when I saw the burglar had beaten me to it. I pulled my cell phone out of my back pocket. The time was eleven twenty five. I had five minutes. I phoned in an anonymous tip off to the cops. Send someone to 1571 Bakers St. ItÕs Betty FiggÕs house. There is going to be a break in.Ó I clicked the phone off and ran inside. I saw from the clock on the stove that it was eleven twenty nine. I herd Mrs. Fig saying, The china is downstairs. My purse is- I reached the scene just as the burglar took a step towards Mrs. Fig. I lunged straight at him, throwing every bit of me at his back. He fell down face first and there was a cracking sound I took to be his nose breaking. The burglar raised his head, but I slammed it down again. I was starting to feel really sick seeing the blood pooling up, but I forced myself not to throw-up. Who are you?Ó Mrs. Figg asked. I ripped off my ski mask. Danielle?Ó Mrs. Figg, I called the cops, they should be here soon.Ó Hearing that the cops were coming, the bleeding mass below me struggled harder. I pulled my pepper spray out and sprayed it directly in his eyed. He screamed. IÕve herd that spraying pepper spray too close to someoneÕs eyes can make him or her permanently blind, but I didnÕt care. A minute later there were police sirens, and second later, cops banging at the door. Danielle, go. Now.Ó Mrs. Fig ordered. Why?Ó The man had tried to kill Mrs. Fig. I had been protecting her. I couldnÕt possibly get jail time for that, could I? There are going to be questions you canÕt explain without the truth. You canÕt let anyone know about the amulet.Ó I delivered to the burglar, one more blow to the head so he would stay unconscious until the cops came in. Then I escaped. I was still awake at two in the morning, thinking about how the pendant had given me the power to save Mrs. FiggÕs life. I realized I that I couldnÕt lock that power away. I had to use it often, maybe even daily. It was, as the amulet inscribed, my fate.
September 1, 2007