ALL THAT GLITTERS
does one begin a story like mine? I suppose you could say at the beginning,
but I’d really rather not. You see, by the time I told you about all
the things that have happened to me prior to this, you would get bored
and not care about what I am going to tell you. So I guess I shall
start in the middle.
To be fair, though, I will tell you a little
bit about myself. My name is James Branden. That’s Branden with an
e not an o. I live in the downtown area of Columbus, Ohio and I work
for the local department of the FBI as one of their profilers. To
be sure, I was made for this kind of work. Let me explain.
I was born
with powers. Some might call them superpowers, others gifts, others
may even view them as a curse. I can sense others’ feelings, for starters.
My other gift is that of telekinesis. While my parents feel that I
should work on developing my first ability (they’re gifted as well,)
I found that moving things with my mind was much more in line with
my personality. Of course, using my empathic abilities during an investigation
has proved exceptionally useful. I use them quite often when visiting
a crime scene or when we’re questioning someone. Most people know
how to put on a poker face, but their emotional state? Most of the
time, it’s like they have running lights and a big neon sign that
flashes “GUILTY!” over their heads. About the only ones I have a hard
time being around are the sociopaths. Completely soulless, I find
being in the presence of one an almost terrifying experience.
hobby is geology. I don’t know why, I just got into it when I was
a little kid, and found myself fascinated by rocks and minerals. This
led to me becoming somewhat of an expert on certain famous gemstones.
In fact, it was this level of interest that brings me to where I am
It was a day like any other day in Central Ohio. Grey, gloomy,
mid-thirties. I came to my office, actually a cubicle that gave me
a really great view of the city. As I sat down at my desk to begin
looking at the case file for the day, I saw a note from my boss. “Must
see you at 10 sharp!” it said, no explanation about why or what it
was he wanted to tell me. This was normal for him, and so I thought
nothing of it.
I went about my business, looking over the file, until
the appointed time. When I went to my director’s office, I opened
the door and was greeted by the sexiest pair of legs I had ever seen.
Her back was turned as she sat in the chair facing my boss’ desk,
but her legs were quite visible. Tanned, smooth, tall spike heels
and nylons that had the seam running up the back of them. Like I said.
“Jim, I’d like you to meet Agent Anya Petrucci. She’s from INTERPOL.
They’re working on a case that led them to the US. You are going to
assist them.” he said. He never was one for introductions.
stood up and turned to face me. I tried not to let my jaw drop. The
woman was absolutely stunning to look at. Glossy black hair cut to
shoulder length, impossibly high cheekbones and amber-colored eyes.
I just stared, oblivious that she had her hand out in greeting.
know, Director McCoy, for a profiler, Agent Branden seems rather quiet.”
she said lightly.
“Sorry.” I stammered out, and shook her hand. The
skin seemed warm. Almost too warm. Instinctively, I reached out with
my gifts. There seemed to be something there, but I couldn’t tell
what. She suddenly seemed aware of my scrutiny, because she looked
at me as if she was studying me in kind.
“Well, what do you need me
for, Ms. Petrucci? Surely INTERPOL has its own profilers to help you.”
I asked as we both sat down.
“I need your knowledge of gemstones.
Particularly regarding some stones that were stolen from the American
Natural History Museum back in 1964.” she started.
Hastily, my boss
closed the door. Anya’s warm smile had faded, her amber eyes glinting
coldly as he went back behind his desk. Returning her gaze to me,
she arched an eyebrow.
“Well, most of the stuff you can read online.”
I started. “Several famous stones were taken by someone who got the
idea from a movie. The Eagle Diamond, the DeLong Ruby, the Schettler
Emerald, and the Star of India were among the more famous ones taken.
The Star and the ruby were returned, although the DeLong Ruby did
have to be ransomed.”
“What happened to the diamond?”
“No one knows.
It was a 16 carat diamond. Most likely it was cut and fenced.” I could
sense she had no idea what the term meant, but she nodded like she
understood. “In all honesty, Ms. Petrucci, could you explain why Interpol
is interested in a theft that occurred on American soil over forty
She smiled. “Of course. That would be only fair.” She
turned to my boss. “Director, could you please excuse us for a moment?”
Normally loathe to taking orders, my boss left the office. When the
door was closed behind him, Agent Petrucci had a very sly smile on
her face. I suddenly go the feeling that there was more to this woman’s
arrival and interest in me than an old jewelry heist.
“It was never
cut up. You probably would also be interested in knowing that the
DeLong Ruby that is sitting at the American Natural History Museum
is a fake.” she started.
“Impossible. They can tell artificial stones
from real ones. Besides, the DeLong is a natural, double-star ruby.
That can’t be faked.”
“You said it was missing for some time, and
during that time, it exchanged hands many times.” She opened a small
leather portfolio and laid it on the desk. “When it was “ransomed”
back to the museum, it was in the possession of this man, Aristotle
Miniakis, head of the Greek underworld. What many people don’t know
is that he also has…gifts.”
I looked at her, my eyebrow arched. There
was only one reason why she would say such a thing.
“You mean he’s
got powers?” I asked.
“Yes.” She looked at the office door for a moment
to make sure my boss wasn’t standing too close. “As do I, and a few
others. We work in a department of Interpol not too many know about.
We monitor those who have powers that make them more than human. That’s
how you came to our attention.” she smiled serenely, yet knowingly.
I studied her face for a moment. Her expression revealed nothing,
save a dare for me to contest any of her statements. My mind was swimming;
I had longed for an opportunity to really use my abilities other than
poking around an individual’s emotional state or telekinetically tripping
a fleeing suspect. Anya was giving me the chance to live up to my
potential. When all was said and done, this was probably the easiest
decision I could ever have made.
Leaning back in the chair, I smiled
warmly at Anya. “So, where do we start looking?” I asked.