The parchment of paper, written in black ink, got thrown as a woman in her early sixties fainted on the floor. Two burly men ran towards the old woman and picked her up with their strong hands. While one of them sprinkled water on her face from a small jug nearby, the other picked up the brown parchment. He opened the folded paper and read what was written

If you fancy your daughter alive, who unfortunately was kidnapped by us yesterday, you would deliver unto us a single bag of thousand gold by tomorrow eve. If you fail in this endeavor, we promise you by placing two fingers upon our hearts that your daughter will return to you but in death. Think wise and do as we bid you.

The man who had picked up the paper gave it to the other man who also read it and looked shocked. His wife had gone to her friend’s place and not returned by the morning as she had told. They did not worry as she had no respect for time herself but the ransom note disturbed them. They thought of contacting the Sheriff but the old woman, the mother, would not have it. She kept shouting her daughter’s name, Amelia.

The husband and the other man, his elder brother, were distraught and moved hither and thither. Not knowing any option, they called for help from their friends who began searching places in and around the city for any sign of her presence. It was five hours since. Nothing, not even a word of her. The husband packed a thousand gold into a yellow pouch and tied its opening with a crimson red thread, knotting it tightly.

They were about to go out when a bearded friend of their’s came in, pulling Amelia. The two brothers were so happy and her mother smiled for the very first time since the note. But the friend told a different story. After hearing it, they were all angry at Amelia. Well, she wanted a thousand gold for a jewellery set which her husband would not buy and in her desperation, she plotted with her friend, Cecilia.

Her mother slapped her on the face which turned red. She pleaded sorry but none would listen. Ultimately, the friend took pity and asked her never to resort to such tricks, not with family, asking her to see closely unto what she had done and how much pain she had caused them. Amelia readily agreed and swore on her heart that she would never in the future, near or far, do such a thing and would repent in front of the Holy Stars. The husband readily forgave her then and said he loved her and if she wanted something, she should but ask him and that he would not deny as long as the demand is within his limits and that the jewelry was too much to bear and in its stead, they could build a mansion and leave this house as business was prospering. Her mother was in tears which streamed down her fair wrinkled cheeks. She hugged Amelia then and looked her in her bright blue eyes. Never do this again, she told, her voice rugged and weary. But the only unconvinced one was the brother. He looked totally convinced of the darkness in Amelia’s hearts. This time she was caught but he knew not what she would resort to next. One thousand gold was even too much for a piece of jewellery. It was something else Amelia was after. What? He knew not.


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