Black, ghostly coils spun around Isaac’s arm. Staining his skin black as ash. His fingers stretched out to grasp the wooden lid, but he wasn’t even close in reaching it. Not yet anyway. Ghosts with blood shot eyes and iridescent bodies, pinned him against piles of gold.
The cave was cold and damp and the ocean in the distance was calm and gentle. The moon hung low and shone rays of silver onto the mountain of riches. Pearls, rubies red as blood, crowns of old, scepters and uncountable coins. Those hadn’t mattered at first to Issac. For he knew that if he could just get the chest open, he would possess all the rarest treasure his heart could desire.
When he first attempted to open the chest, it hadn’t budged a notch. He tried wedging the tip of his sword through the long crooks on either side. This was done to no avail but still the blade couldn’t pick the lock, let alone wedge between and pry the chest open.
‘You look like you could use a hand,’ said a lady on a rock.
Her body had scales just as a fish would, that shone lilac and gold. Her hair spun and twisted into a golden fishtail. With curls and wisps of hair framing her large golden eyes. Her eyelashes were long and purple glitter clung to each lash and sparkled as she battered them, whilst asking her question once more.
Isaac knew better than ogle at a sea witch, so he took a breath and examined her question.
‘What do you want in return mam,’ he said. She licked her teeth and lightly giggled.
‘Nothing,’ she replied and put her hand through her hair. He noticed the sharp glint of her nails.
In the end, Isaac agreed. For he thought he had no other options and would find that he was sorry for it, because it was, as you could say, down hill from here.
When the chest had opened, the ghosts’ came out.
They tried to reel Isaac into the chest. For so the curse went: “Those who tried to take forth from the treasure, shall join it instead.” The curse was inscribed, point blank, on the front of the chest. Too bad our heroine hadn’t known how to read, let alone understand Latin script.
Isaac’s face reflected on the coin that he had clutched in his hand. The chest had produced a golden chair and had moved Isaac onto it. He was forced to sit. In minutes his youth faded, until he was no more than bone. He could never let go of the spectacular gold coin that he clutched in his hand. And if anyone were to take it, they would be doomed as he was, to be a dead man too.