The ring slid easily down her middle finger, bumping a little at the largest knuckle, just like it was made for her. She was a little startled at how well it fit, and even more startled when the tiny silver thorns bit into her flesh.
“Ouch!” Etty screamed as the metal sunk into the meat of her finger.
Blood welled from the tiny holes and dripped onto the bare dirt at the edge of the driveway. As soon as her blood hit the ground, it was absorbed without a trace of darkened earth to mark where it landed. Etty paid no attention to it: she was too busy hopping from one foot to another, trying to process the pain of the ring biting her.
Logan, Donna, and John, watched it happen, transfixed. Their minds were empty, except for a blinding need to make Etty happy.
The pain started to fade, along with the trickle of blood from the tiny holes around her middle finger. When she looked down, the ring’s appearance had changed. Instead of silver, it was gold, and the thorns that were once raised above the band had become delicate engraving across the surface of the metal… except for the thorns that bit into her, and reached down to the bone.
She understood the artifact that had become a part of her, as if the knowledge had been in her mind forever, and the pain was needed to awaken it. The ring was ancient, one of many artifacts left behind when their makers left the worlds for unknown realms. They waited, sometimes to be found, and occasionally to be used and then vanish. In rare instances, they passed from one hand to another in a search for the right person.
The ring belonged to her. She knew it as clear as her own name. It had waited for her for millennia, and now they were one.
With a breath, Etty pushed her will through the band around her finger. Her friends lost the crazed expressions on their faces, and stood taller.
“Hey,” John gave his head a scratch, “did you find the strange thing in the truck?”
“Yeah!” Logan echoed.
Donna lifted one eyebrow.
Etty realized they couldn’t see the ring, and for the nonce, that could be useful. She could discuss it with John when they got home, and nip off to speak with her parents in the morning.
With any luck, she could make it back to watch their day at the White House, from just on the other side of the mist between worlds. Logan had explained why she couldn’t participate—she had no identification, history, or proof of her existence in their world—but there was no way in creation she wouldn’t watch their success in progress.
It was simple to linger in the gray between the mortal world and her native realm. From that place, she could conjure a little window, and watch whatever she might choose.