It was a ring. A silver ring with a purple stone. The design was simple, yet elegant. She wore it on her middle finger of her right hand. She was often told it complimented whatever she was wearing. That was a very good thing, because she never took it off. She never explained why, but it was important to her. It had always been important to her. It was important because She had given it to her.
Lillianne had first met Her on a tragic day in her family’s past. Lillianne was seven years old when her home was attacked. Her father had pissed a lot of people off, and the home she grew up in was marched upon, and whole sections of the house were set on fire. She had run from her room, determined to make it out, but she had been cut off, both by flame and by bad men. She hid in a spare bedroom, and as she heard people approaching, she retreated even further into an empty walk in closet. She armed herself with the small pocket knife her father had given her ages ago when she was jealous of her brothers’ scout knives. But even still, she was pretty sure this wasn’t going to end well for her.
When She burst into the closet, Lillianne didn’t attack her. She had a gut feeling, and she didn’t attack. “Oh, excellent. I thought there was someone in here. I don’t want to hurt you. I want to get you out of here safely. Do you believe me?”
Lillianne nodded just the tiniest bit, and she turned to leave the closet, but Lillianne cried out, “No! Don’t leave me here alone!”
She immediately felt ashamed. Her brother’s wouldn’t have cried like that. She should be strong like them. But the woman didn’t look angry or disappointed. In fact, she smiled as she turned around to face her again. She knelt down in front of Lillianne, and said, “Sweetheart, what’s your name?”
“Lillianne,” She whispered.
“Well, Lillianne, you are a very special little girl. And I’ve got to go out there just for a minute so that I can make sure that you stay safe. Do you understand?” She nodded carefully. “You’re still scared, aren’t you?” She nodded again. The woman thought for a moment, and then stuck her hand into her pants pocket and pulled out that ring. “Here. You hold onto this. It’s very special to me, and I’m going to give it to you as a promise that I’ll keep you safe and that I’ll come back. Okay?” She held out her hand, and the woman placed the ring in Lillianne’s palm and closed her fingers around it. “Keep it safe, Lillianne. That ring is just as special as you are.” And then she left.
The next thing Lillianne knew her oldest brother forced his way into the closet, screamed out in relief that he had found her, and carried her quickly to the main hall where the rest of her family was waiting for her. She didn’t see the woman. No one asked her about the ring. They always just assumed that she had found it in the spare bedroom, since no one had been in that room in decades, it easily could have been left behind by some distant relative, a silly piece of jewelry that no one cared to miss.
She didn’t speak of the woman, because she wasn’t sure that anyone would believe her. And she just couldn’t take something looking her in the eye and telling her that she had imagined her, that she was just a dream Lillianne’s brain had cooked up out of fear, out of a desire to believe that she was being protected.