The clock lay in a hundred pieces on the ground. “I guess that’s one way to stop the ticking,” she said, shaking her head at me. “You realize you can’t replace that, right?:” she asked, wrinkling her nose. I said nothing. Grabbing the broom from beside the refrigerator, I swept up the slivers of broken glass. There wasn’t really anything I could say. It was a family heirloom, or so I was told. My sister would never forgive me, and frankly, I wasn’t sure if I could forgive myself either. The clock wasn’t the only thing this family had passed down from generation to generation. The Diamonds were known for one thing besides mining the jewels whose name we bore: our rage. A feud with one of our kind could only be settled by the sword, or sometimes, a heart-stopping game of Russian roulette. Women were no exception. Though our feuds didn’t normally end in death, it may as well have for the loser.
And Diamond women never lost … except, perhaps, to each other. This was one such case. My sister and I were always at odds, but it had escalated to the point of a fight to the death. Not the death of the body, or the soul, but the death of reputation—the manner in which we women settle our feuds. In my rage, I had broken an heirloom that had been passed down for more than 5 generations. Unforgivable. Still, without a word, I trashed the broken clock, and marched upstairs. Throwing my things into a small bag, I snatched up my purse and a few documents. The sooner I could make it to the train station, the greater my chances of starting a life somewhere new, before word could spread throughout the kingdom that I was a dead woman. The moment my sister dropped the news, I would be scorned at home, and possibly abroad …forever.