Florence Anita Brown had waited patiently for her item to arrive and when it arrived she was over the moon with it. Ever since she had first seen it on eBay, she wanted the item so much and although a bidding war broke out, she had managed to become the winning bidder. It had cost her almost a month’s salary but that did not matter. She had the item finally in her hands and she was about do the unthinkable.
The seller, Sally Ann Meredith, had forgotten to send the item by registered post, thus there was no proof that Florence had ever received it. Without hesitation Florence put in a claim that she had not received the item and forty-five days later, eBay had refunded her the money.
The winning item sat on her beside table and she would look at it every night before going to sleep and dream of being with him. She had not taken much notice of its frame, only the old photo that was in the frame had her attention. The frame was tarnished and in need of a good clean, but the man in the picture was handsome, well dressed, and as she stared at his eyes, she could hear him asking her to ‘come and join him’. She looked for clues in the photo of where the man could be, but there were none. She had considered removing the photo from its frame, but she did not want to do that in fear that she would damage the photo itself.
Several years before, her mother had given her a ring shortly before a fatal accident at the local swimming pool had taken her mother’s life.
“This is the ring of fire. It belonged to your Grandmother. See how the stone has the redness of a fire. They say the ring has a special wishing power, but only when used wisely. Take care of it Florence and promise me that you will use it wisely and pass on its power to someone you love”.
Florence was not able to see any fire in the stone, but went along with what her mother had told her. Even though she had been short of money many times, she had never considered selling the ring as it had belonged to her Grandmother who she had loved very much.
She put the photo frame down and opened a drawer in her bedside table. The ring was in a black box which was not the original and she had tucked it away well so that nobody could find it. Her fingers finally found the box and she took it out of the drawer and opened up the box. For a moment she thought she could see a flame flicker in the stone, but it quickly disappeared. She had never tried the ring on and hoped it would fit, but upon placing it on the second finger of her left hand, it was a little loose.
‘Never mind’ she thought and she picked up the photo frame and stared into the man eyes. She finally closed her own eyes and made her wish.
“I wish I could have just five minutes with you to see what you are like”.
Before she knew it, Florence was thrown across the floor of her bedroom. She tried to open her eyes but they seemed to be heavy and all around her she could hear screaming and shouting. She felt as if she was at the latter part of a dream, just before waking up, but her mind was refusing to let the dream stop. She finally forced opened her eyes and was immediately grabbed from behind and pulled up.
“Go now, you must go now”.
She turned around and came face to face with the man from the photo.
“You must leave now, go please, go”.
He turned Florence around and grabbed her hand. The ring on her finger flew off and rattled away from her while he pulled her in the opposite direction.
“My ring, I must get my ring” she shouted at him, but he refused to listen and continued to her pull her in the other direction, away from the ring.
Still unaware of the chaos around her, she turned her head as he pulled her towards a group of people, and noticed a girl pick up the ring. The girl looked back at Florence and smiled as she picked up the ring but made no attempt to come after her. Instead, the girl’s mother picked the girl up into her arms.
“Muriel, hold on to Mama tight“. They were both helped into a small boat.
“She must go” shouted the man, “please get her in into the boat” and he picked Florence up on to some rails and pushed her towards a boat containing some other women and a few children.
“No, I must get the ring back” screamed Florence, as she tried to turn around to get to the other boat where the girl and her mother now sat. But as she turned, her foot caught the rail and she fell backwards into the void between the boat and what ever it was she had landed on when she had made her wish.
Just before she hit the black icy cold water, she saw the face of the man from the photo looking down at her, his face in shock. The coldness of the water then covered her body and she remembered how she had never learned to swim for fear of water. It only allowed her to come back to the surface once and as she came up and took her last gasp of breath, she remembered how much she had loved her Grandmother and the words of her mother went though her mind.
“Take care of it Florence and promise me that you will use it wisely and pass on its power to someone you love”.
The last thing the eyes of Florence Anita Brown saw, was the name of the ship that she had just fallen overboard from.
Muriel Florence Brown had been a little girl on that ship and had survived.
Eighty-two years later, Sally Ann Meredith would steal a photo frame containing a photo from an antiques fair, and list it for sale on eBay eighteen years later. She never got the money for the item even though it sold.
Florence Anita Brown disappeared without trace on 15th April 2012.