“Well,” said Stella, before I throw any ideas out there, are there any rules to using this gemstone?”
“Rules?” asked the man. His brows furrowed, not quite understanding.
“You know. Things like, are there any rules against the types of things one can change? For example, I changed that starfish to a seashell. But what if I wanted to changed something bigger than that, something much much bigger. And do I have control as to what I change said object into? Or is it a random process?”
“Ah ha! No. There are no rules. But…”
“Wonderful!” exclaimed Stella not giving the man time to finish. “Stay right here. I’ll be back in a bit.”
The man started to speak, but Stella ran off before he could get any words out. He faced the water and watched the waves roll over the sandy shore. To no one he said, “Now I know I told her I can’t be more than ten feet away from the gemstone.” He shook his head as he vanished and reappeared in the back seat of her car.
Stella glanced in her rearview mirror and saw the man smiling back at her. She jumped and gasped, jerked her head around to see he was actually there then jerked it forward again. “What are you doing here? How did you…?”
“How soon we forget, miss. I can’t be more then ten…”
She finished his sentence for him. “Yeah, yeah. Sorry. I forgot.”
“Where are you going?” asked the man. “And what are you going to do once you get there?”
“Work. And none of your business.”
“But there is something you should know…”
Again she cut him off. “Look, I don’t need any help. I got this whole change thing. I’ll be just fine,” replied Stella.
“Ok.” The man smiled. Under his breath he said, “But you might be sorry.”
“What was that?” asked Stella.
“Hm? Oh. Nothing.”
Ten minutes later she pulled into the parking lot of the home improvement store she worked at. A few minutes later she was walking down the main aisle and glancing down each side aisle looking for the two nasty ladies she worked with. Just as she was about to walk past aisle ten, they both turned down that aisle at the other end. Stella halted her step, turned down the aisle, and made a b-line straight toward them.
“Ladies,” said Stella with a smile.
Both ladies turned to her and gave her lazy response in return. “Oh, hi. Isn’t it your day off, Stella?”
“Yes. But there is something I wanted to show you. I found it at the beach.”
“Seriously?” asked lady one. “You came all the way over here to show us something? Why couldn’t you have waited until tomorrow when you come to work? It makes no sense.”
Stella was going to enjoy this. Instead of responding to the lady’s comment, she took out the gemstone hanging from the keychain, held it up, and caught the glint of the light.
The man stood ten feet behind her and watched the scene unfold.
The gemstone sparkled and threw out beams of light toward the two ladies. Stella thought of two rags, and the two ladies each changed into a rag. Stella chuckled, picked up each rag, and held it in front of her next to the gemstone. Then something unexpected happened. The gemstone grew to a size much larger than herself and a tint of blue appeared across her vision. The two rags dropped from her hand in the process and landed back on the floor. She turned her attention in all directions and spied the man behind her, but he was huge, much taller now. “What…what happened?”
The man bent down and picked up the keychain. The royal blue gemstone swung this way and that, and inside of it Stella sat in her new environment. “I tried to tell you. But you wouldn’t listen. You can’t change a human. Doing so will suck you into the gemstone and free me. He put it in his pocket. The two rags on the floor changed back into the two ladies. The man bowed before them. “Ladies? You have a good day.” He walked away to begin day one of his new found freedom.