Lori closed the door against the raging wind and paused to get her breath back. She turned on the hallway light and dropped her keys into the plastic bowl. Behind her Jink shook himself then began padding away.
‘Wait. Stop!’ Lori shouted as she spun around, ‘heel.’
Jink whinged, but turned around and came to stand in front of her.
‘Good dog,’ she spoke, giving him a pat then snagging his towel from the coat hook.
She rubbed him dry, clipped off his lead and waved him away. Jink wandered down the hallway and into the kitchen as Lori began sorting herself out. She unzipped and took off her coat first. Hanging it up, she dug the gloves out and laid them to dry. She took off her boots next then decided she was too wet and cold to remain in her clothes.
Going up the narrow staircase, she went to the first room at the top and changed into fleece PJ’s and slippers. Coming down again, she heard Jink scratching around his basket which was under the stairs. She went to check on him then remembered the object she had found on the beach.
Lori pulled the ring out of her pocket and took it into the kitchen. Hitting the lights, she walked to the counter and clicked on the kettle. She went to the sink and running the tap, washed the ring. The sand fell off, collecting in the metal sink before the water flushed it away. She removed the ring and looked at it. The sliver band was topped with a patterned setting which held a large opal. The crystal was speckled light blue and green though it was reflecting red and orange from the kitchen. Lori inspected it closely but couldn’t see anything else.
She dried the ring on some paper towel as the kettle boiled. Placing the set opal on the kitchen window sill, she made a cup of tea. A rumbled of thunder made her jump and Lori laughed at herself. Holding her mug, she listened to the wind and rain rattling against the back door and window. Lightening forked across the sky and before it could fade another bolt struck.
‘Wow, that’s a really big storm. Looks close too,’ Lori said.
Blowing on her tea, she picked up the ring and walked into the living room. She checked on Jink as she walked past. The black lab had curled into his basket and was staring to snooze. Shaking her head and wondering how he could switch from sheer panic to relax so quickly, she switched on the living room light and sat down on the sofa. The curtains were open and she could see the rain beating against the glass.
‘Glad we got back when we did,’ she uttered, ‘I’d so not like to be outside right now. Hope there’s no one out there on a boat.’
She placed her mug and the ring down on the coffee table then grabbed the TV control. Pressing the on button, her eyes dropped to the ring and she picked it up. The news came up on the screen, but her attention was diverted. Lori rocked the ring slowly and watched the opal changing colour as it reflected the different light in the room.
She hummed and slipped it onto the second finger of her left hand. The ring fit her perfectly. Pulling a face, she held it up and looked at it as the opal glowed on her finger. She went to take it off and found with a small twist and a tug, it easily slipped off. She placed it back on to the coffee table and picked up her mug of tea.
Her eyes flickered up to the TV screen and of a few seconds she watched a summary of the daily news. Feeling drawn to the ring, she looked down at it again. She took a sip of her tea then deciding why not, put her mug down and slide the ring on again. It felt strangely comfortable and as if she had always worn it.
Shrugging, she settled back on the sofa and drank her tea. Her thoughts drifted and soon she wasn’t paying attention to anything. She thought about her walk along the beach. The sand was soft under her bare feet and the sea gently rolling close by. Sometimes, the white tip of the wave would reach her and she would feel the coldness of the sea. A warm breeze played with the long white skirt of the dress she wore and her fingers would occasionally bunch up the cotton fabric to keep it from blowing up.
Lori made her way across the beach, enjoying the heat from the golden sun in a too blue sky. She glanced up, but due to the combination it hurt to look directly upwards. Sighing and breathing in a deep breath of fresh sea salt air, she shut her eyes for a moment. Opening them again, the scene around had changed.
A wooden ship was rocking under her. Three large white bellowing sails rose on huge masts above her and there was a flag top of them. She tried to make it out, but the wind was whipping it around too much. Turning about, she saw a small deck with a large wheel behind her. Pulling a face, Lori went to walk up the small staircase, but a splash of cold water stopped her.
Lori snapped open her eyes and her living room came into focus with Jink before her. The dog’s tongue was hanging out and he licked it across her face. Crying out, Lori shoved him away and sat up. She wiped her face and made loud disgusted noises. Jink barked and with a sigh she rubbed his ears.
‘That dream was weird,’ she started, ‘I was on the beach then a ship.’
Jink barked, interrupting her.
‘You want food, huh?’
He barked again and Lori got up off the sofa.
To Be Continued…