Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Short Story: The Flint Knife

The Flint Knife
Jordan Romain (Grade 8)


The sound of clattering stone reverberated through the pristine halls of the musem. Sirens sounded.

“Wow, Mattie! You clumsy fool. You just broke the Badarian flint knife!”

Mattie’s wide eyes looked down at the knife. Terror made her stutter.

“I… I didn’t mean to. I tripped. Honest.”

Ms. Russell came rushing to where the girls were standing over the stone knife.

“What’s going on here?”

“Mattie broke the flint knife,” Rachel yelled, accusingly. She relished causing trouble for Mattie, her enemy.

Ms. Russell’s brow furrowed. “Is this true, Mattie?”

“Yes, Maam. I’m sooo sorry. I didn’t mean…”

“Mattie’s going to jail! Mattie’s going to jail!”

“Stop that, Rachel.”

The sirens finally subsided. Security guards flowed into the room, moving toward Maddie. As they cleared the area, the museum curator rushed in. He was a skinny, pale man with thick glasses.

“What happened to the Badarian knife? Oh, my goodness! Do you realize that this knife is 5000 years old?”

He was so upset that he appeared to be about to faint.

Mattie began to cry. She knew the artifact was important. Her teacher had explained to the class before they left school that they would be seeing the knife that Zipporah, Moses’ wife, used to circumcise their first-born son. It had to be valuable! Thank goodness it didn’t break.

What Mattie didn’t know, however, would change her life forever.

A ruby had dislodged from the knife’s hilt and had fallen into her shoulder bag. Even as the class was boarding the bus to return to school, the ruby was starting to glow.

Mattie sat in the front of the bus and as Rachel passed she sneered and said, “Nice going today, Mattie. You’re such a clutz.”

Mattie felt like sinking through the floor. She held her shoulder bag close to her chest and she felt something warm radiating against her. She opened the bag and looked inside. What she saw almost made her shout, but she didn’t want to draw any more attention to herself today. She would explore the glowing object when she was home.

When Mattie arrived home, she rushed upstairs to her bedroom and locked the door behind her. She dumped the contents of her handbag onto her bed. There on top of her mirror and lip gloss was a strange red object, glowing like an ember. She stared at it nervously. She wondered where it could have come from.

She finally stretched out her hand and touched the ruby. It was hot and she quickly pulled back her hand. Her curiosity was mixed with fear. What could this be?

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Her mother called, “Mattie, are you okay?”

Mattie tossed her pillow over the clutter from her handbag and turned toward the door.

“I’m fine, Mom. I’ll be down soon.”

“Okay, but please hurry because I need you to set the table.”

Mattie grabbed the ruby and hid it under her bed. Then she went downstairs and set the table, her mind pondering the mysterious appearance of the object.

During dinner she was unusually quiet which raised questions from her parents about her day. Mattie reluctantly told her parents what had happened at the museum; how she had tripped and knocked over a display case, spilling a 3000 B.C. flint knife onto the floor. She didn’t mention the ruby.

Mattie’s mother was horrified and her nostrils flared. Mattie knew she was about to get a major lecture, but her father stepped in and said, “It was an accident, dear. Accidents happen!”

Mattie’s eyes began to tear. It had been a very emotional day.

“May I be excused, please?”

Her father nodded and Mattie quietly slipped out of her seat and rushed upstairs.

That night as she sat up in her bed, she held the mysterious red object … she was sure it was a ruby… between her palms with her knees drawn up. Now it was strangely cool and calming. She drifted off to sleep. And she dreamt of the flowing Nile with stone shrines along the riverbanks. She saw a stranger in long multicolored robe. He was talking to a man and a woman in a strange language. They handed him the ruby that she had found that day in her handbag. The ruler took the stone and placed it in a flint knife.

He handed them the knife and said, “Keep this for the circumcision of the son who is to come. The ruby gives prophesy and the knife brings pain.”

Then the two men and the woman disappeared. The knife and ruby vanished also. The sky became gray and stormy. A booming voice from heaven said, “Mattie, now you know of things to come… the power of the knife and of the ruby. Guard the ruby as one of my holy prophets.”

Mattie awoke and sat up in her bed. It was a dream, or was it? She looked down at the ruby and an invisible hand began to chisel: Prophet of the Most High.

Mattie’s eyes grew wide and she sighed deeply. This was more than she could handle. This was scary. She picked up the ruby and held it close, wondering where she could hide it. How would she ever be able to keep it from falling into the wrong hands?


Alice C. Linsley said...

Awesome! Jordan, you are a natural storyteller.

poetreader said...

Nice vignette! Just the type of story I love to write

It's ekphrastic (fancy word for a work of art inspired by a work of art of a different kind). That shoiws attention to what you see and the imagination to go beyond it.

It plunges the reader right into the middle of the story with no need for elaborate introduction. That's not an easy thing to achieve.

It ends with a lot of questions unanswered. That leaves room for a sequel, but, even if no more of the story is ever told, it leaves the reader still in the midst of the tale. I like to do that.

ed pacht

John M. said...

Wow Jordan! Good job! Poetreader has a writer's insight on your tale. Speaking of sequel... it would be fun to hear more about Maddie's adventure.
Mr. Meadows