Maybe she was tired after cooking all that food, but his wife went to sleep, sound and steady. He wasn’t particularly sure. Mark was wide awake though, his mind buzzing with the idea of a curse. He crawled out of bed though, and sat at the dining room table dollhouse was sitting in the living room just on the other side of him.
He looked at the two books he had checked out. One was titled Comphrending Curses. The Comphrending Curses book, was the one with Kevin’s tight scrawl, and the girly writing of a teenage girl wildly in love.
The other was a thin yellow paperback entitled, Modern Witchcraft. The yellow book was particularly faded, and discolored. If this book was modern, it had been modern eight or more years ago. As he thumbed through the pages he noticed a bookmark. It said, “Owl always read” and had a picture of and owl on it. Standard library bookmarks.
He flipped through it again pausing at the bookmark. There was Kevin’s weird scrawl, and the perfect neat handwriting with teenage girl on the side of the page. He looked at the passage, and it was written about like a dictionary. It said Abel’s curse: this curse tends to be attached to an object. It requires the blood of a witch, and a passionate incantation. This incantation is not available at this time. This results in a cursed object. Anyone who invites the object into their home, and activates it, will receive the seven symptoms of the curse.
Mark compared to the seven symptoms on the list to the one that were written on the slip of paper. They were similar, nearly the same – somehow this felt more ominious than if they had been totally unrelated to eachother. Bone snap- broken bone. Crying blood- Blood cry. That was next. What would it mean?
Underneath the symptom list – was a small notation in italics. This curse has no known cure at this time. To destroy a cursed object see page 98.
The girl’s writing on the side said, “All is lost.”
And Kevin’s reply: Fuck you.
Quickly Mark flipped to page 98. The book was terse and useless. Destruction of accursed object: destroying a curse that object is not known at this time. It appears to be more difficult than anticipated.
And in Kevin’s scrawl he wrote – things that do not work; fire, dismantling, eating, hitting with the car, leaving at a thrift store, leaving on the porch, no known way to get rid of the dollhouse.
And in the perfect, girly font – she wrote: I have tried, I have failed.
Mark wondered if he should add anything to this book.
The second book, entitled Comprehending Curses. And it was hard back, leather, and worn. One of the pages fell out when he turned it. He carefully slid it back in place, and flipped forward. There was a bookmark in place. This one said, “I love books” and had a picture of glasses. The first thing he saw was Kevin’s script on the side. “Tried it. Don’t bother.” With a small, neat arrow pointing at a sentance. This book was written in big solid paragraphs, not in easy dictionary format like the other book. It would be easy to loose his place in the sea of words on the page. Mark had never been a good reader, anyways, so he would have never found what he was looking for without Kevin’s helpful note.
To get rid of a curse you must cleanse your soul. You will need the branch of a young sapling, oak, a virgin’s blood. Place the blood on the branch, and whip your skin until the blood between the virgin and the cursed has mixed. Incantation: I’m not worthy. I deserve to be cursed. So I beg for mercy.” This must be recited twelve times while facing the equator.
The girl wrote
I am a virgin. This sounds idiotic. If my blood could save me, I wouldn’t be so filled with fury right now. Three stages left for me. But I’ll kill myself before I ever get to the last one. I can’t risk it.”
There was no way Mark was going to hit himself with a branch.
He was he was sure if he was just getting spooked, and freaked out – or if something real was happening. Something… Otherworldly. He didn’t believe in God, or demons or ghosts. So strange to sit here and read a book about a witch and spells. The closest he had ever felt to something godly, was when he pulled that trigger and dropped the buck. While his father cheered. There is something magical about standing in the forest, becoming nature. The wait, and then righteously taking the life of something delicious. The most feral, human thing he could think of. The most godly.
Reading about curses made no sense. His broken finger, and his violent nightmares, even the terrifying sleepwalking, it still seemed unreal. Like he was staring into a fantasy world. How could Mark come to terms with the idea that he was truly cursed. Maybe if he got to the next stage. But then he’d only be one stage before the girl, and she, she would rather kill herself than get to the final stage.
He turned and looked at the dollhouse, and it just looked like a toy. He didn’t feel ominous or real or scary. Mark turned back and looked at the book. He wondered if it was hogwash. He flipped through Comprehending Curses and he found Abel’s curse.
It took him a while he was flipping through pages kind of mindlessly, it wasn’t totally sure what he was looking for. There it was on one of the pages that slightly loose. Abel’s curse. He wasn’t sure if there had been a bookmark here at some point, but what stopped him was he saw Kevin’s scrawl. Here is the curse. Don’t curse any other objects!
The girls handwriting was suspiciously missing. Had she killed herself? And there was the curse, written out with explicit instructions on how to create a cursed object that cause someone to go through the seven stages. As soon as he stared at it he felt the urge to test it, but he didn’t have the blood of a witch. Unless he was a witch and never knew. But as he stared at it his stomach started to drop harder and harder. Until he was sure, just absolutely sure it was hanging outside of him between his legs.
He didn’t look down, because he didn’t want to know. What if it was true? What if he was going mad?
What if he ripped up this page and then no one would ever be able to make Abel’s curse again? And he stared at the curse and felt almost compelled. And with a quick terrified motion he slammed the book shut. Grabbed both books and shoved them under the couch. When he ran up the stairs and climbed into bed. Curled up tight to his warm wife. He closed his eyes and desperately prayed for sleep.