Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Puff Errington’s Fateful Discovery

In the next of our Alien Artifact story submissions, Jenn Spaulding tells the story of how Detach Detachment’s Puff Errington found a magic ring that led to horrific events…


Puff and the Magic Dragon’s Eye

by Jenn Spaulding

ring skeletal jenn spaulding puff.png

Before Puff got arrested and had the option to go to jail or join the GAF, she spent her whole life on her home planet of Erronburg in the Alpha Quadrant. Erronburg is an overcrowded, industrialized planet that not many of its inhabitants make it off from. Both of her parents worked many hours at the factory or were out at one of the local taverns and rarely paid any attention to her or her younger brother Pugg. So not only did Puff have to look after herself, but Pugg as well. Puff and Pugg Errington both were born with bleach, blonde hair and crystal blue eyes. It wasn’t until Puff was fifteen and she found the magic dragon’s eye that she chopped and dyed her pretty blonde hair pink.

Puff was an apt student and learned as much as she could from the provided school kiosks, but on most days Puff had to wait until almost dark before one was free. Plus she always had Pugg with her tugging on her shirt to hurry. It was on one of these days that Puff stumbled upon the dragon’s eye. Instead of taking the shortcut home, as they always did, she decided to go the long way. She was in no hurry to get into their tiny two bedroom dome house with nothing but a holo and some processed prepared food you stuck in the oven. Everyone on Erronburg had dome houses some were tiny, some were small, and some were big. Pugg began whining about his feet hurting when Puff noticed something gleaming out of the corner of her eye. Surrounded by a landscape of houses that all looked the same the shiny object was not hard to miss. Besides Puff swore the thing said her name.

“Come on Puff, what are you doing? My show is going to be on I don’t want to miss it!” Pugg whined demandingly in his nasally voice, that gritted Puff’s nerves like nails on a chalkboard.

“Just a minute snot nose, let me see what that is,” she barked bossily.

“It’s just some dumb black rock, what you want with it anyway Puffy?” he curiously asked.

“Don’t call me Puffy or else I’ll box your ears and you won’t watch the holo when we get home,” Puff said as she shoved Pugg to the side to bend down and pick up the stone.

The instant Puff picked up the object she felt electricity zing through her body. Upon closer inspection she could see that it was a stone set in a ring that was tarnished. The ring was a red gem with a sliver of black running through its middle. To Puff it looked like an eye. Like a dragon’s eye. She felt brand new, she didn’t feel the pressure of the constraints that had been placed on her. She slowly slid the ring over her left ring finger, images of things she had never seen flooded her mind. Strange voices were hastily talking over each other struggling to be heard. Puff, overwhelmed by the onslaught of all of this, tried taking the ring off. No such luck. It was stuck, she’d have to wait until they got home to take it off. If it didn’t drive her bat shit crazy before then.

By the time her and Pugg got to their house she had gotten the ring under control or so she thought. At least the voices weren’t clamoring on anymore and the images that had inundated her mind had ceased for the time being. This was no ordinary ring that was for sure. She went into the bathroom and closed the door. Now that Pugg was in front of the holo with his dinner she could actually take a few minutes to get the ring off and clean it up. Once she rubbed her finger with liquid soap it slid off with ease. She set the ring on the countertop and immediately felt deflated, dejected. All of her worries and problems flowed over her like a tidal wave, washing away the earlier happiness she had felt. Suddenly she seized the ring back into her hands and felt the electricity as her troubles melted away from the ring’s energy.

After the ring was cleaned the silver sparkled and the red gem within gleaned, it looked so expensive that Puff never took it off not even when she took a shower. Plus she loathed the way she felt when she took it off anyway. For some reason the old movie The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien popped into her mind. Images of the creature Gollum hoarding the ring, stroking the ring and calling it Precious. My Precious. That was the affect that the dragon’s eye ring had on Puff, it was all she cared about.

“Puff, wake up! Your darn hollering is gonna wake up the whole block,” her father said hushedly as he shook her roughly.

Puff woke up to her father’s mousy gray eyes and pug nose in her face; his bald head shining from the slated light coming through her window from the streetlight. Argh, she thought, I really need to get out of this house. Since discovering the ring her parents had become cloying in their overt attentions. Puff knew the ring was making them act like loving, caring parents because as soon as she took the ring off they would head out the door in search of the nearest pub to quench their thirst. Now here her Dad was again sitting on her bed for the second night in a row.

Her father was staring at her like a puppy dog, waiting for her to tell him what to do. Well damn it! She had it, she couldn’t take anymore. She abruptly threw the blankets off of her and knocked her father off of the bed. He fell with a clumsy Oomph, his fat ass smacking the cold hard floor; shaking the house. She began throwing her things in her back pack. Puff Errington was moving out of her life as a Nanny and into the world.

Puff’s first night on her own in the world was miserable. To start with she had left so hurriedly that she forgot to grab food, blankets, and toiletries. To make matters worse she was penniless, she had not one credit to her name. However none of these downers effected the way Puff felt. Unstoppable, ready to take on the world. A light mist had begun to fall causing the world to sparkle in the night’s dim light. Puff decided to try to find her old friend Tani’s house. Tani Trompton hadn’t been around since she met her new boyfriend. Hopefully she hadn’t moved, which was highly unlikely. People in Erronburg became stuck like glue to their domes.

Tani’s house was a few blocks from her house so it wasn’t long before Puff was knocking on her oval door. It was late and the light mist had turned into a steady drizzle; making Puff shiver. After several minutes of knocking she could hear the shuffle of feet on the other side of the door. “Who is it?” a female voice asked mutedly through the door.

“It’s Puff Errington is Tani home?” she asked ambivantly.

The door flew upon with a Creeeeeeek that nearly tore it off its hinges. Tani yanked her into a warm embrace and the door shut with a Whoosh. It was warm in Tani’s so Puff shrugged out of her jacket and plopped down on the fluffy sofa. The air was filled with the aroma of clove and ginger. Puff slowly looked around the living area which had two small sofas and a recliner, a fireplace was in the center. It’s dying embers providing the only source of heat and light. Puff began to giggle as she thought of her father’s fat ass hitting the floor. Hell her parents begged and pleaded with her not to go. Even snot nose Pugg had made his case for her not to go; his tears soaking her skin tight jeans as she untangled his arms from her legs. “I’ll be back soon Puggy I promise, I just need”, she quipped reassuringly and paused as she struggled to think of what she needed, “Look I don’t know exactly what the hell I need. I just know I can’t do this no more,” she finished perplexedly.

Tani came from back from getting her a towel and a glass with amber liquid in it. She handed Puff the glass, which turned out to be scotch and looked at Puff pensively from under her lashes for quite some time before she finally spoke. “Well out with it, why are you at my house at,” she looked over at the time displayed in red on the wall, “4:00 a.m.?”

As Tani spoke her eyes only left Puff’s ring when she looked at the time. Needless to say this made Puff incredibly uncomfortable and she instinctively, protectively covered the ring and began stroking. She was instantly soothed and put at ease. Tani’s eyes flicked back to her eyes once she realized Puff wasn’t going to reveal the ring again. Man this thing is powerful, she thought, eerily My Precious, its mine all mine, crept into her head. Since finding the ring she had thought about that movie A LOT! Tani broke the unnerving silence that had suddenly filled every corner in the room, “Where did you get that ring? Can I see it? Can I wear it?” she repetitiously inquired.

Instead of answering all the questions Puff simply stuck out her hand and Tani rushed over and kneeled before her; grasping her hand with the ring on it. “Oh my God! Puff this is beautiful!” she gushed as she stroked the ring’s smooth surface.

Puff knew that the ring had a strange effect on those who weren’t wearing it, but she had yet to experience anything like Tani’s reaction. Puff snatched her hand away from Tani’s grasp, getting scratched by Tani’s nails in the process because the dumb little snit wouldn’t let go. Puff jumped up, grabbed her pack, and began slipping her coat back on. “Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea, thanks but I best be going…” her voice suddenly trailed off as her brain filled with images of unlimited amount of credits, parties, pretty dresses, and species Puff had never seen the likes of. It was during this fugue state in which Tani decided she wanted that ring no matter what the cost. Hell, she would kill for it if that’s what it came down to. Taking advantage of Puff’s blank stare, Tani sprang into action and grabbed a fire poker and whacked Puff across the back of her head knocking her out cold.

Puff came to hours later, the sun had risen. Slowly she lifted her head but as soon as she did she became dizzy and almost passed out again. What the fuck happened? Her arms were tied behind her back and she was lying on her side on a concrete floor. Despite her dire predicament all Puff worried about was her dragon’s eye. She knew she still wore the ring because if not she would feel utterly hopeless. Instead she was thinking of ways to escape. Not only that she was madder than hell at Tani for hitting her. She didn’t know when she had begun to rub the gem, but as she did she felt her head begin to clear and felt her strength growing. She lifted her head again and this time was able to see clearly without becoming dizzy. She must be in Tani’s cramped crawlspace under the house. That fucking bitch!

Puff spotted a shard of glass in the corner near her head so she sat up and skootched backwards on her butt so she could reach it to cut the ropes that bound her hands. A hatch door creaked as it was thrown open to reveal a short, stocky man with rotten teeth. His hair was sticking up at every angle making him appear like a Jack Nicholson look alike only fatter. “Good, you’re up! Bout God damn time! Tani won’t rest until she has that damn ring! So how bout you just give it to me,” he rasped demandingly as he climbed down the ladder to get into the crawl space, “Hell’s bells if it weren’t for me she’d cut your finger off!”

The whole time he was speaking Puff was skootching her butt towards that shard of glass. She reached as far as her bound hands allowed, searching for the glass. At last her hand found the cold sharp glass, she clasped it so tightly in her hand that it cut her. Hot blood filled her hand making the glass so slippery she almost dropped it. She clamped her left hand over the glass to ensure it didn’t slip and frantically began sawing at the rope. The burly man had his back to her so he didn’t see Puff as she cringed in pain as the rope broke free and the circulation began returning to her phalanges. Didn’t see her as she quickly shook her hands out and then returned them behind her back as if she were still bound.

As the man stepped off the ladder the small space permeated with his pungent body odor. The smell of sweaty balls and stinky feet clung to her nostrils as the man began inching towards her. Puff’s hands were shaking so violently behind her back that she nearly dropped the glass, thankfully she remembered the ring and began stroking its polished surface. Her hands immediately ceased their quacking and she knew exactly what she had to do. He looked down at her and unceremoniously shoved her so now she was laying on her back. Miraculously, somehow the glass had not impaled her when she fell onto it.

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He began roughly squeezing her breasts with one hand and hastily unzipping his fly with the other. “I bet you’re a virgin ain’t ya?” he crooned as his hand fumbled with his limp, flabby pecker.

Meanwhile his other hand that had been exploring her clothed breasts viciously tore her shirt and bra off. Puff had enough and sprang into action. She plunged the jagged glass in the side of his neck just as he was leaning over to put her nipple into his mouth. His blood squirted out like a hose with a leak in it, covering Puff. With strength she didn’t know she had, she kicked the fat man in his nose. He fell back with a thud, motes of dust flew up around him. Puff was pretty sure he was dead or dying, but surprisingly felt no remorse or guilt for having taken a life. She MURDERED another living being.

Looking like something that crawled out of a horror movie, Puff climbed up the ladder and out of the crawl space. Now to deal with Tani’s crazy ass. There was no way in hell that bitch was coming out of this unscathed. Not after what she had done to Puff. Puff rubbed the ring for reassurance and began searching the house for Tani. Coming to the realization that Tani wasn’t there, Puff waited.

To Be Continued…

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