The Curse

The Curse

A Story by Druella

 

   Greg stood silently staring out at the world below him.  He spent most of his nights up on the roof top of the apartment building; it gave him a sense of belonging.  As for the days, well those were to be avoided as much as possible.  It had been almost three years now since he had stepped out in the sunlight; three years since he had been cursed by the woman in the market square.

   He had been rude and disrespectful, he could admit to that; but nothing to warrant this retribution.  He had been young and his life had been full of promise up until then. Vividly he remembered that day.  His friends had suggested they go to the market square for the rummage sale that was held there every month.  They had found a lot of classic nostalgia items and then they had come across the woman’s table of wares.  They were classic fortune telling and spell casting items.  The three of them had all joked around about the items and made fun of the concept of anyone ever believing in such things.

   The other customers had moved on quickly and the woman had stared at them all with such a venomous look.  But they had not been easily put off back then.  They had heckled and called names and suggested that she was insane.  The woman had confronted them, and within less than a minute she had grabbed a hair from each of them.  They had moved away quickly but it had been too late; her rambling threats of curses filtered through the air behind them.   As they were leaving they saw the ambulance near her space; someone informed them that she had died.

   Thinking nothing of it they had left the market square.  That evening one of his friends had a heart attack and then two days later the other friend drowned.  It wasn’t until after that that Greg had started to notice the effects he was having from the sunlight.  His girlfriend had mentioned that he looked unusually pale and thin; when he finally looked close enough he found that she was right.  But it was more than that; it was as if his skin was drying up and pulling back tight against his bones.  By the end of the week he had become a hideous looking monster.

   He found that if he stayed out of the sunlight he could keep further damage from occurring but it was too late for what had already happened.  He had asked around and was told that the only one that could remove the curse was the woman who had placed it on them.  Which since she had died that day there was no way of ever reversing or stopping the curse; it would eventually kill him too.  He missed his previous life and had to deal with it. 

   Pulling the cloak around him tighter he turned away and began to head into the apartment building when he heard something.  He wasn’t sure where the scream was coming from but he was sure it was close.  He rushed down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk, he listened carefully until he heard the scream again. He did his best to follow the sounds as he avoided the looks and gasps as the people on the street moved out of his way. 

   When he finally reached the darken alley way there were three guys attacking a young girl.  Greg knew what they intended to do and he had no intention of letting it happen.  He dropped the cloak and pulled the first guy away from the girl.

   “What the hell,” the guy started to proclaim until he got a good look at Greg.

   It was all that Greg needed, that one single moment of surprise to get the upper hand.  He swung hard and his fist hit the jaw of the guy.  You could hear the snap as his jaw dislocated and he went down screaming.  Greg turned towards the other two that had turned their attention to them instead of the girl. By the time that  the fight was over he had several injuries of his own but the other guys were worse off and he hoped they would think twice before attacking another girl. 

   A crowd was gathering at the end of the alley way and he knew that he needed to leave quickly.  He grabbed his cloak and began to turn away but something drew his attention back to the girl.  She was half undressed and looked a fright; which was saying a lot compared to how he knew he looked.   He tossed the cloak over to the girl so that she could cover up.  He took a brief look at the crowd and then looked at the direction he knew he would have to take.

   “If you go to the crowd they will get you help,” he said softly before he turned to shadows of the alley way.

    “Wait,” the girl cried out as she ran after him, tripping over the length of the cloak.

    “Look, I can’t help you anymore.  The cops should be here soon and they will help you get back home.”

   “I can’t go back home,” she said through the tears.

   “Why not?”

   “Because those guys, they were my step father’s buddies.”

   “Great,” he said as he stayed deep in the shadow’s.

   “Can I come with you? Just until I can figure out something,” she pleaded.  It had to be the desperation in her voice, he told himself as the words, “Fine, but only for a little while,” slipped out.

   He didn’t talk on the path home, he had to slow down a few times for her to catch up because the cloak kept tripping her up.  When he finally reached his apartment building he looked back at the girl, she seemed even younger than she had before.  His doubts were  starting to rise again but before he could voice anything she fell down.  He waited for her to get up but she didn’t move, quickly he was at her side and very thankful to find that she was still breathing.  He picked her up and carried her the rest of the way to his apartment.  He laid her down in the bed and then wrapped a blanket around her.

   He went to the window and stared out at the street below, he had not gone to rescue the girl.  He had hoped for a quick and painless death; instead he had seen the girl and attempted to save her instead.  He was sure that he had broken a rib or two but otherwise his injuries were limited.  Nothing about the night had turned out as he planned.  He glanced back at the girl and was unsure how she would react when she woke and found herself here with him.

   He didn’t need to look in the mirror the slight reflection from the window was enough, he looked a fright.  With his skin pulled so tight against his bones that it was hard to tell that the skin was still there.  The computer beeped and he turned his attention to the screen, the flashing cursor told him that his search was done.  He walked over to it and looked at the very short list, three names to be exact and not a one of them in the United States.

  “Are you dead?” the girls voice chimed from the bed.

   “No,” he answered, annoyed by the question.

   “Sorry, it’s just that you look,” then she stopped.

   “I am aware of how I look.”

   “Have you always looked this way?” she asked as she got closer to him.

   “No.  I was cursed about three years ago and this is the result.”

    “Can’t you have the curse lifted?” she asked.

    “Well since the woman who put the curse on me died after she did it, no one can ever lift it.”

    “Oh.  I am sorry about that.  Anyway thank you for saving me.”

    “Uh, yeah, you’re welcome,” he said as he tried to focus on the computer screen.

    She walked over to the window and looked out.  She didn’t see the same things that he saw, she saw the hopes and dreams of a future below her.  She just needed to find some way to make some money and get a place of her own.  That was all she needed, a way to earn some money.  She looked down at her torn clothes and knew that she wouldn’t be able to find any decent work dressed like this, she would have to figure things one step at a time.  She looked back over at the man in front of the computer, and as frightening as he seemed he had saved her.

   When morning arrived Greg woke up with an odd feeling.  He looked around the room and realized the girl had left.  For a moment he felt relieved until he started to think about the trouble that she could get into.  Quickly he grabbed his cloak and rushed out the door in search of the girl.  His fears were confirmed as he found her about to get into the car of one of the local dealers, he grabbed her arm.

   “Hey freak, leave her alone, she’s with me,” the dealer yelled angrily.

   “No she’s not,” he said back as he let his cloak slide away from his head.  The dealer gasped as the sun began to bake what was left of his skin.

    “Pull your cloak back before you get hurt worse,” the girl begged.

    “Are you coming back with me?”

   She looked between the two before she nodded.  She stood and waited until he pulled the cloak back over his head.  The dealer swore at them before he climbed back into his car and drove away. Greg hesitantly took the girls offered hand and they walked slowly back to the apartment.  Once in the apartment the girl turned at him with an angry face beneath the tears.

   “Why would you do that?”

   “I wasn’t going to let you go with that guy.  I don’t think you understand what he does.”

   “I was only going to work for him till I could get decent clothes to wear to get a real job,” she protested.

   “You don’t understand, you don’t quit working for someone like him. It’s a lifelong job, one way or another.”

    He had to explain the way of the world to the girl and he hated being the one to take away her innocence, but if he didn’t it would be worse.  She was a bit upset at what had happened but even more upset that he had risked his life a second time for her.  It was hard for him to admit that the first time had not been for her.  She ran at him with balled up fist, screaming at him for being so stupid.  When she finally calmed down they came to an agreement on how she could work for him.

   That night before he went to bed he didn’t stare down at the streets as he usually did, he looked at the young girl who had taken this dried up soul and made him into a man again.  For the first time in three years he went to sleep feeling as if tomorrow might actually hold hope for him.

  “Greg,” the girl shook him awake.

   “What is it, Cathy?”

   “You changed?” she said as she touched his face.  The feel of her touch seemed so foreign to him.

    He got up and looked at his reflection in the mirror, a face he had not seen in over three years looked back at him. He looked over at the girl and he knew that the woman had not died in vain; what he had taken as a curse had actually been a gift.  For the first time in his life he cared for someone else besides himself. 

© 2010 Druella


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Added on April 18, 2010
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Author

Druella
Druella

Kansas City, MO



About
I am forty years old, married, with four children of my own (plus about another 10 I claim as mine) and just had my first grandchild born in November on Friday the 13th. My second grandchild is due i.. more..

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A Story by Druella