No one knows exactly when the amulet was made. It was rumoured to have special powers that only a select few could unlock. Maybe the rumours were true, maybe not. The amulet's appearance was enough to spur the rumours: it was a dark, diamond-shaped flat stone that hung from a blue beaded chain. Suspended perfectly in the centre was two blue stones, like upside-down diamonds.
The night that the pueblo of Los Angeles came under attack, a small girl was wearing it. When she was struck down, the clasp broke and the amulet clattered to a stop under the statue of Mary in the church. Her heartbroken father had placed the amulet in Mary's outstretched hands in hopes that God would have mercy on his daughter's soul. He lived only long enough to see Zorro die and his lifeless body being carried away. The amulet was retrieved by a boy who had seen the curious object glinting. Eventually, he flung the object into a river and it floated away. Los Angeles gradually returned to normal, though shaken. No one but a select few even remembered the amulet.
It was washed out to sea. It was swallowed by a fish, then carried on a ship when the fish was gutted and eaten. The sailor who found it held onto it as a gift for his daughter once it was cleaned. The daughter wore it for many years and it became a family heirloom. Six generations later, the spoiled brat of a daughter said she "didn't want this old thing" and threw it away. Someone else found it and sold it at a pawn shop. The amulet disappeared mysteriously overnight. Nothing else went missing.
It was strange then…if anyone would have looked closely at the amulet, they would have seen it glowing slightly.
Many more years passed and the amulet had circled the globe three times before it finally came to rest in a church. At first, it was an object of fascination amongst the community, but it was put away in a drawer to keep it safe during renovations. Gradually it was forgotten again. The curator of the church came across it one day when they were doing the spring cleaning. Everything in the dusty storage room was emptied out and sorted through. He held the sparkling amulet up to the light. Then, he remembered that it was his granddaughter's birthday. She was more than happy to keep it and promised to take good care of it. The clasp, which had been broken, was easily mended. It struck her as odd that she couldn't get it off after that, but she didn't mind. She could have sworn that the stone sometimes glowed, but she chalked it up to her imagination.
Then, the dreams started…
A young woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes serving bowls of stew in a tavern…a bumbling, chubby sergeant with a heart of gold and a big mouth…a well-dressed young man playing the piano…another young man dressed in black silk and masked as he wielded a blade of polished steel…
The girl never revealed the dreams to anyone, not even her grandfather. The community thought she was strange enough as it was. Her patience with the "real world" was very limited and it was hard for her to get good grades in school. After a week of bizarre dreams and nights punctuated with toying with the idea that she'd finally lost it, the inevitable finally happened.
She was working at the church late one night, humming songs under her breath. Her favourite book, Jane Eyre, was resting on a nearby pew, her rucksack and jacket beside it. The amulet began to glow again and Ariella held up the small pendant and shook it. She thought it was a trick of the light. Her eyes narrowed.
God…I must be pretty tired...I'm starting to see things.
The door creaked open. Ariella looked up and immediately felt uneasy. A man in baggy, ripped jeans and a dirty sweatshirt walked towards her. His cap was pulled down so she couldn't see his eyes. The already dim lighting made it nearly impossible to see past the shadows that his hat cast on his face.
"Can I help you?" Ariella asked, straightening up. She'd been polishing the wood on the pews. "Father Matthew's not here," she continued, "but I can get my grandfather if it's important."
"I'm not looking for the priest," the stranger replied in a silky-smooth voice. Ariella wondered how that voice could come out of such a rough-looking human being. Dark stubble from an unshaven beard decorated his jaw-line. His skin looked like paper, white and crumpled.
"Who are you looking for?"
He inclined his head in a bow. Now, she was really confused.
"You are Ariella Hamilton, aren't you?"
She wished she'd thought to lock the door. If something happened to her, no one would be the wiser until morning. She was supposed to be staying at a friend's tonight, but she'd cancelled, deciding to stay at home until her parents came back the next day.
"I have a message for you."
Who is this nut job?
The man pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and read it out loud.
"The power of love transcends time. Love God and Love Thy Neighbour, the rest comes from the divine."
She stared at him.
"That's what it says. If you don't believe me, look right here."
"What do you want with me?" she demanded, her hand slipping onto the broom handle. The flimsy plastic might not do much damage, but it might slow him down.
"Your amulet, girl! You didn't think that getting it was an accident, did you?"
"Of course it wasn't an accident," she snapped, "it was a gift!"
The man grinned, as if enjoying a joke she didn't understand.
"Of course it was a gift," he answered, "from above."
Ariella wanted to smack her forehead.
"Don't worry that pretty red head of yours," he said, still smiling, "you'll figure it out soon enough."
"Stop talking in circles and just tell me!" Ariella demanded, pissed.
"I'd rather show you."
Before she could object, he seized her arm. The amulet flashed so brightly that it looked as though there had been a lightning strike inside it. The world suddenly blurred around her and went black.