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  • Mia Lyttle Twysted

Horror/Thriller - Engagement Ring

Updated: Apr 3



Rick tapped his fingers on the top of the glass display case.

 

"See anything you like?" a saleswoman said, appearing from behind.

 

"I don't know," Rick said, letting out a long sigh.

 

"Allow me to show you some beauties we just got in," the saleswoman said, jumping into action.

 

Like a magician putting on a show, she rounded the counter. Her hands were swift as she placed a soft black rectangle piece of fabric across the glass before setting two trays of diamond rings on it. Nimble fingers showcased each ring before Rick as she questioned him about his future wife.

 

"I'm sorry," Rick said. "They're just not right."

 

To the disappointment of the once eager saleswoman, Rick turned and headed out of the store, nodding to the security guard. The contempt of the saleswoman reflected at him from the windows as he stepped back outside. The same contempt he'd seen from about a dozen other salespeople over the past several weeks.

 

Believing a walk through the park might help them find clarity, Rick strolled through the swaying trees as he flipped through the photos of his options. Sitting on a nearby bench, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

 

"Why does it have to be so difficult?" he mumbled.

 

Again, he flipped through the pictures of the various rings from different stores. One was the perfect color but not the right shape; another sparkled too much, and another not enough. He was so caught up in his world that he failed to notice an older gentleman sit down beside him.

 

"How hard can it be to find one perfect ring?" Rick said. " I don't understand."

 

"I don't understand," the man repeated after Rick.

 

Jumping in his seat, Rick grabbed his chest, suddenly aware of the older gentleman.

 

"I just don't understand," the man said again.

 

Chills ran up Rick's spine as his breathing returned to normal. The man stared out into the distance with empty eyes, rubbing something small in his hand as his body swayed slightly from side to side.

 

"We were in love," the man continued, "We were going to be married."

 

Rick cleared his throat, scanning the area, hoping to find someone else, but the two men were alone. Biting his lip, Rick tapped his knee twice before slowly starting to rise, intent on a quick and quiet departure.

 

"I loved her," the madman's voice cracked as he revealed the item in his hand.

 

With an eager gaze, Rick eyed a sparking white and black diamond engagement ring. A slight piercing shard of light shot through Rick's eyes, causing him to look away for a brief moment. Lowering his hand, Rick flinched at the sudden shock of the man staring straight into his eyes.

 

"Can you tell me what happened?" the man said. "Explain to me what went wrong."

 

Frozen, Rick tried to speak, but no words came out. Eye to eye with the stranger, the hair on Rick's skin stood straight up as the man's eyes burrowed into his soul. Then, as if someone had set the reset button, the man returned to his side, staring into the abyss. Rising, the speckled gray-haired man walked away.

 

Unsure of what had occurred, Rick ran his hands through his thick black hair, trying to make sense of everything, when a slight glint caught the corner of his eye. The engagement ring was in the grass, just under where the older man was sitting.

 

Picking it up, Rick started to yell for the man in the distance when he stopped. It was the most elegant ring he had ever seen. He was amazed by it. The shine, clarity, and setting were just what he had been looking for. Looking around nervously, Rick deposited the ring in his pocket and walked away as quickly and calmly as possible.

 

The enthusiastic man purchased a small black box and put his plans into motion. On the night of their anniversary dinner, Rick proposed to Megan, and to his delight, she said "yes."

 

The couple began planning their wedding, and Megan couldn't help but show the ring off to every passing person. Rick even found his future bride standing in front of her closet mirror, holding her hand to different outfits to find the ones that made it shine. Everything was perfect.

 

It started small and hardly even noticeable a month later, with Megan getting a cough. Within the next few weeks, she fell ill with a fever. She spent over a week in bed. After a consult with their doctor, who found nothing of concern, Megan threw herself into the wedding details, hoping to power through this mysterious ailment.

 

Pastor Elden was immersed in the notes from the bride-to-be three months later about how and when things should be said during the ceremony. Detailed instructions were created and sent to those who RSVP'd on how the bride expected everyone to act and dress on the big day. Family and friends secretly whispered in the shadows about the bridezilla and her quest for perfection.

 

Five months before the wedding, the bride and groom were shocked to find Megan's wedding dress, veil, and shoes on top of the bed in the guest bedroom. Convincing herself and Rick that it must have been her maid of honor when she was last over, they pushed it aside.

 

As the days passed, the couple started finding more and more things out of place around the house, and Megan's gown, veil, and shoes were out again in the guest room.

 

Rick contacted the local police seeking answers, only to be told there was little they could do besides sending a patrol car around the block at night.

Wanting to calm the nerves of his jittery bride-to-be, Rick installed several cameras and an alarm system in and around the home. Answers came just a few nights later when they again found Megan's dress, veil, and shoes in the guest bedroom.

 

To their shock and amazement, when they reviewed the camera, the couple found the person breaking into their home was Megan herself. Watching, in disbelief, they observed Megan sit up in bed at three o'clock in the morning. She then paced back and forth in the main bedroom before wandering down the hall to the guest bedroom. Once in the room, she unzipped the garment bag and admired her gown. Seated before the vanity, the sleepwalking woman did her makeup and hair before wearing her gown. Twirling around like a schoolgirl in her fluffy white dress, she laughed. Raising her arms as if accepting a partner, she skipped around the house, twirling and dancing. Picking up random items, Megan shook their make-believe hands and received their kind comments and congratulations before putting the object down and picking up something new.

 

Megan's stomach sank, catching the joy on her face. That is how she wanted to be feeling when awake. The carefree image she imagined she would have during this time in her life. Pulled back from her drifting thoughts, she watched with her husband as she stripped out of her gown and placed it carefully on the bed before showering in the guest bathroom, then returning to the main bedroom, where she got back into bed until she awoke the following day.

 

Distraught, they returned to the doctor, who suggested the sleepwalking was nothing more than a stress-related event and nothing to worry about. Charging forward, Megan began preparing for the big day, only to have things start to fall apart.

 

Within four months of the wedding, the location flooded. Within three months of the wedding, Rick's tux, made of particular Italian fabric, was mislabelled and given to another intended groom, who had to be tracked down in another state. Megan couldn't help but think they were cursed.

 

If only, she thought, she could be as happy as she was in her sleep. Night after night, she watched herself on the video doing her hair and makeup. She then stepped into her wedding dress and enjoyed a party only she seemed to hear. Why couldn't it be like that? She just wanted to be in the joy of the event and not be bogged down by the overwhelming and endless details.

 

The closer the big day got, the more crazy life became and the weaker Megan seemed. The cough that had started her downfall became more profound and intense. Rick tried harder to convince Megan to delay their vows so she might have time to become stronger, but again, she refused.

Even when, one week before their wedding, the florist quit, leaving the maid of honor and bridesmaids to finish the flower arrangements, Megan still refused to call it off.

 

Then, two nights before the ceremony, Rick was woken up in bed by his fiance's mumbling. Taken by surprise, Rick gasped for air as Megan's hands clasped around his neck. His eyes blinked hard, adjusting to the darkness as he pawed at Megan's arms.

 

"I didn't get my happy ending, so why should you get yours?" Megan growled.

 

Possessed by a strength she had never had, Megan squeezed her fingers tighter around Rick's neck. Rolling from the bed to the floor in an attempt to loosen her grip, their bodies thudded off the hardwood floor. Rick struggled for his freedom, trying not to hurt his bride.

 

Unable to breathe, he jerked, slapping Megan across the face and rolling her to the floor beside him. Leaping back on top of him, she fought to get her hands around his neck once again. Lifting his pelvis, Rick thrust Megan head over heels as he struggled to breathe, inching away from her.

 

Megan stood stiffy and left the bedroom. Hearing the front door, Rick scrambled to his feet and darted down the stairs and out the door to see Megan getting behind the wheel of their minivan.

 

The engine roared as she turned her head to look at the man she loved. Her eyes were dead and empty. She looked right through him as she put the car into gear and slammed down on his gas.

 

"NO!" Rick cried out.

 

The terrified man watched in horror as the minivan smashed head-on into the telephone pole just over the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Sprinting to Megan's side, Rick pulled her from the wreckage just before the car burst into flames. Holding the woman he loved in his arms as she faded away, Rick howled like a wild animal. Neighbors and first responders tried to separate him from the corpse of his would-have-been bride, only to have him cling to her tighter.

 

Finally pulling him free, Rick latched on to the engagement ring, removing it from her finger. Clutching it in his hand, he moved about like a zombie directed and guided by emergency workers. In the back of an ambulance, Rick sat rocking back and forth as firefighters put out the blaze and police moved onlookers back. Unnoticed in the drama, Rick stood and walked off into the night.

 

Wandering through the park the next day, he returned to the bench where he had found the ring. Sitting on the bench was a well-dressed man looking through his phone.

 

"Why must it be so difficult?" the man mumbled, unaware Rick had sat beside him.

 

Again, he began flipping through the pictures on his phone.

 

"How hard can it be to find one perfect ring?" the man said. " I don't understand."

 

"I don't understand," Rich repeated after him.

 

Jumping in his seat, the young man grabbed his chest, suddenly aware of  Rick.

 

"I just don't understand," Rick said again.

 

Rick stared out into the distance with empty eyes, rubbing the ring with his fingers as he swayed slightly from side to side.

 

"We were in love," he continued, "We were going to be married."

 

The man looked awkwardly around as he cleared his throat, scanning the area, hoping to find someone else, but the two men were alone. Biting his lip, he tapped his knee twice before slowly starting to rise, intent on a quick and quiet departure.

 

"I loved her," Rick's voice cracked as he revealed the ring in his hand.

 

The man's eyes widened as he saw the sparking white and black diamond engagement ring. A slight piercing shard of light shot through his eyes, causing him to look away briefly. Lowering his hand, he flinched at the sudden shock of Rick staring straight into his eyes.

 

"Can you tell me what happened?" Rick said. "Explain to me what went wrong."

 

Frozen, the terrified man tried to speak, but no words came out. Eye to eye with the stranger, the hair on his skin stood straight up as Rick's eyes burrowed into his soul. Then, as if someone had set the reset button, Rick returned to his side, staring into the abyss. Rising, Rick walked away.

 

Unsure of what had occurred, the man ran his hands through his thick brown hair, trying to make sense of everything, when a slight glint caught the corner of his eye. The engagement ring was in the grass, just under where Rick had been sitting.

 

Picking it up, the man started to yell for Rick in the distance when he stopped. It was the most elegant ring he had ever seen. He was amazed by it. The shine, clarity, and setting were just what he had been looking for. Looking around nervously, he deposited the ring in his pocket and walked away as quickly and calmly as possible.

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