Part 3- Bone Snap

Chapter 13

He drove himself to the nearby grocery store. He was definitely not going to go to the ER, or even the doctor. It was just a broken finger after all. It hurt like fuck, but the bone wasn’t jammed through the skin. “Fuck fuck, fuck.” Mark muttered as he carefully pulled on his finger. A loud cracking pop happened, and then it straightened. The pain lessened immediately, even as the swelling increased.

He couldn’t decide if this was coincidence – or if something else was going on. That crazy old man had messed with his head. Could this dollhouse have a fucking curse? Mark swallowed his disgust, what kind of father would bring home a fucking cursed object? At the grocery store he got a finger splint, and wrapped his finger tightly to prevent it swelling further. He’d broken a finger before, so he had a a pretty good idea how to take care of it. Now he was perpetually flipping people off with his right hand. Good, he was pissed anyways, and subtly flipping off the entire world seemed fitting. When he climbed back into the car he considered where to go next. He couldn’t quite go home yet, since it was still a little too early.

Curiousity took the best of him and he decided to stop by the library before he went home. He threw back painkiller. Maybe he could find out if there was any book about this curse, and the weird fucking note. His mood was sour, and he wasn’t even sure he believed any of it anymore. Sleepwalking and a broken finger could be one hell of a coincidence. Plus, his finger hurt, and he didn’t really give a shit. He looked at the little scrap of paper in his hand: Abel’s curse. Sounded like the world’s dumbest prank was being pulled on him.

He went into the library and he almost went to the computer to try to figure it out himself, but he barely knew how to use those things. So instead, he asked the librarian who was sitting at her desk annoyed. “I’m trying to look up something called Abel’s curse, do you have a book on it or anything?”

She frowned. “It seems like every few months someone’s asking me about the Abel’s curse. Did you get a dollhouse?”

“What?” He said, completely embarrassed. She knew about the dollhouse? Or was this just a coincidence thing? Did Vladimir tell all his customers they had the curse? Maybe just like to freak people out. Mark coughed, and then said, “Do you have any books about it or not?”

The librarian rolled her eyes. She came back with a stack of books 10 minutes later. “Good luck.” She said.

He took the books to the nearby table. They were already bookmarked, which made flipping to each section easy. Four books, four sections about the Abel’s curse. Two of these books were almost exactly restated from one another, and they didn’t include much information at all. “Abel’s curse is a curse upon an object that contains seven stages ending in death. Typically the death includes murder and suicide.”

The text between the two books was nearly identical. It seemed strange him the two books would even bother mentioning the Abel’s curse. It was virtually no information, useless. He flipped open the third book, and it didn’t particularly have much more information. But there was a hand written scrawl next to the section, “I already have sleepwalking, a broken leg and the bloody nose. Is there any way to stop it?”

The handwriting was in young girlish scrawled. It looked like the kind of thing that should be covered with hearts, and funny little notes to a boy. There was a drop of blood directly below the note. Possibly from a nosebleed?

Underneath her note was a second note in tight tiny capital letters. “I have sleepwalking and a broken toe.” This one had a name written directly underneath it, Kevin.

His phone buzzed, and his pocket. And he realized time had been flying. He was late now, and Kelly was surely getting frustrated. “I want to check this two books out,” Indicating the one he hadn’t even looked at yet, and the one with the handwritten notes.

“Do you even have a library card?”
“I… I guess I’ll need one.” He said. He filled out the forms, his broken finger causing his writing to look even more terrible than normal. Subtly, he checked his nose to see if it was bleeding, but it was not. Eventually, he managed to check out the two books.

“Look, I don’t know what you guys all have been getting into. But make sure you return these books on time.”

Grabbed the two books through them in his truck and drove home. By the time he arrived Kelly was in the middle of making dinner. She had made his favorite, spaghetti with actual meatballs. And the whole loaf of garlic bread, fresh bread that she had baked herself. And a side salad. It was a feast.

“No chicken nuggets?” He said.

“I just want to give you a taste of what life would be like if you let me stay home. I want to stay home. I don’t want to go get another crappy job.” She said.

He felt a longing inside his soul to give his wife exactly what she wanted. But the reality was that they couldn’t even eat like this now. Much less when she stayed home, there would be less money, less food, more Ramen. But he tried to enjoy the feast. But in the back of his mind he was wondering when he could look at those two library books more closely. Abel’s curse, had he caught it?

Chapter 14

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.
broken bone
crying blood

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.

Chapter 15

Mark awoke in a cold sweat, he knew he had been dreaming but he wasn’t sure of what.

He was certain he wasn’t in his bed.

In his hands was something cold, slowly growing warm with the warmth of his own fingers. It was familiar.

He felt foggy like he wasn’t fully awake, but he wasn’t fully sleeping.

He swallowed twice and fidgeted. There was something pressed tight against his eye, and he could see Kelly laying in bed in front of them. For a moment he thought to himself he had just gotten out of bed and was standing at the end of the bed staring at her. His finger felt strange, itchy or something. There was tension all through his body, and he was almost trembling with the effort.

He sniffed, slightly wondering if he had a cold. And then he blinked, sweat rolling into his eyelid. Then he adjusted the rifle against his eyes again, aiming it at his wife.

His finger was resting, but he had this feeling that if he shot now she would never even wake up. At least he thought that’s what he is waiting for… Her to wake up.

She fidgeted slightly, and he were was reminded instantly of a fawn in the forest. And how he wouldn’t shoot the mothers and babies, but if a male walked by just pull that trigger like it was nothing. She turned to slightly, and her exposed breast was pointing at him. One pull of the trigger, and then she’d be gone.

He could almost envision the bullet piercing her ribs. There was something amazing about hunting, something carnal and human about it. Sweat was dripping as he blinked a couple of times and reached up with one hand rubbing his face. He opened his eyes and he realized he was pointing a gun at his wife.

Terror shuddered in his heart. He dry heaved twice, but, at least it couldn’t have been loaded. He never left guns loaded. How did he even get it out of the gun safe, in his sleep? Did he turn the combination lock in his sleep? His mind was buzzing. He quickly checked the gun, and two fat bullets were in the gun.

And he nearly shit himself.

Chapter 16

It was only 4 AM, but he got into his red truck and turned the key.

The engine screamed, reluctant to start up at such an early hour. But eventually, it rumbled to life. He drove immediately to Mr. Vladimir’s house. There were so many coincidences happening he couldn’t deny that something was going on, and he wanted a better explanation. If this dollhouse was cursed, and Mr. Vladimir made it, then he should know how to stop it. So he drove and he sat in the perfect driveway the expensive house. Then he turned off the truck and wondered what the hell he was doing there. He had questions, but it was more than just he had questions, he had problems. How many stages until he started killing?

He had broken a bone, he was having nightmares and sleepwalking – but there were more stages before he murdered anyone. Wasn’t crying blood next, then fury or something?

If this dollhouse was cursed, by a witch, then where was the witch? He didn’t particularly believe in the paranormal, but he didn’t have to. If he could convince the witch to fix the damn problem for him, then this would be over.

While he sat, trying to make sense of this situation, he heard shouting from inside of the house. And he stood and waited, rolling down his window and straining to hear the words.

“How many families must you ruin mother! I know you are mad at dad, but now innocent people are caught up in this curse. It’s disgusting! You can’t stay here any longer.” The could hear Mr. Vladimir’s voice carrying out into the night. He saw some lights flicker, as of the two of them were striding through the house turning lights on and off as they walked. He didn’t hear the lady replied, not with words, but with a painful screech. The front door clattered open, and out snarled an old lady. She was carrying a bag that looked awfully like Mary Poppins bag, a cloth carpet bag. Her hair was silver, and chaotically sticking out everywhere. His eyes were wide as he stared at her. She didn’t even seem to notice them, hopping in her own yellow car, and squealing down the road. Mr. Vladimir never came outside.

After she squealed away he turned his truck back on. And he followed her down the road. Surely, if there was a witch, it was her. He wasn’t following very closely, because he wasn’t totally sure what he was doing. Was he about to confront her? He kept her in his sight the entire time. It was an easy task, because at four in the morning there were not many cars on the road. He followed at a leisurely pace so as not to be too suspicious. She was driving out to the woods, a place had been many times with his wife, with his child, and with his own father. It was one of his favorite places to hunt. The woods were thick and full of animals to hunt, deer, rabbits, and apparently witches. When she turned onto a scraggly dirt road he pulled over and turned off his truck.

He was 100% certain if he followed her down that road she would know he was following her, and he was already concerned that she suspected. But it didn’t matter, there were only a few cabins down that road. And if he wanted to find her later it wouldn’t be hard. Especially not for an expert hunter like him. He wished he had brought his rifle.

Did he really intend to shoot her?

The thought sobered him. And his cell rang. The noise pierced his ears and quickened his heart. It was only 4:30am, why was Kelly calling? He answered.

She said, “Where the fuck are you? Coralina is on the roof, I need your help.”

Chapter 17

Mark drove like a maniac, his car scampering across the road like a drunk puppy. The wheels barely could keep their footing on the ground he was swerving so quickly through the streets. When he got to the house, he could see Kelly was standing at the base of the house, her hands in the air, her body drenched in sweat. She was trembling from head to toe, “Coralina, wake up. This is your mother. Wake up!”  Her hands were outstretched as if she was prepared to catch Coralina.

Coralina was standing exactly where Mark had stood just the other night. Her eyes were shut, and her arms were spread out in the shape of a cross. Her toes were on the edge of the roof, one step forwards and she would fall to her death Kelly was terrified to move. But Mark was all action, grabbing the ladder from the garage as quickly as he could. He shouted to Kelly, “keep talking to her.”

Kelly had tears streaming down her face from the terror raging inside her. Kelly let out a sharp “No!” as Coralina swayed suddenly forwards.  But she didn’t fall, instead just rocking back until she was still again. He got the ladder and climbed up it in a frantic rush. And he grabbed Carolina, screaming, “I’ve got her! I’ve got her Kelly.” He sat her down next to him on the roof and he burst into tears. Kelly didn’t climb up the ladder, but he could hear her shouting from below.

“Can you carry her down the ladder? Let’s get her off the roof.” Kelly still sounded terrified, like her eyes and heart had not been fully convinced of Carolina safety yet.

“Okay, just a minute. She’s not awake yet.” Said Mark. He carefully picked up the girl holding her tight hugging her to his chest. She barely responded, but eventually started hugging him back. “Coralina, hang on tight and I can get us down.” He wasn’t sure she is awake or not but her grip tightened significantly. Slowly and carefully he climbed down the ladder with her on his chest squeezing him. When he got to the bottom he handed her to Kelly. Kelly let out a terrible scream.

Coralina was covered in blood. It was smeared across her neck, and down the front of her light pink nightgown. Mark was startled, even horrified to see it. “But she was fine up there!” He ran his fingers frantically through his hair, staring at her.  She was blinking and rubbing her eyes. Coralina was the next one to talk, “daddy you are bleeding.”

Kelly turned to stare at him, and then back at Coralina.  She turned to Mark, “Your nose is gushing blood.”

The third stage.