Part 4- Blood Cry


Chapter 18

Kelly cleaned up Coralina, and started making breakfast. Mark’s nose was still bleeding. He went up stairs and stripped off his clothes, turned the shower to hot and the steam filled the room. Once under the muffling sounds of hot water he sobbed. Coralina had almost died. This was all his fault. His uncompromising fears about being a bad father were replaced with the belief that it was too late. He did the best he could do as a father, and even though he tried desperately not to continue the abuse he had grown up with, still his daughters were in incredible danger. They could be permanently harmed by his actions. He wept from the unrelenting guilt, and the overwhelming fear. But then he let his anger grow hard, as he toweled off and prepared to face the day, and his wife.

How he was going to talk to Kelly about this very serious development? Maybe they really were cursed, or haunted. It was the first moment that it seemed real. The stages, that seemed like coincidences, were now prominently waving in his face.

He was terrified that Coralina might be in the middle of it. Would her bones break? A shudder ran down his spine the moment he thought it.

“Kelly? Can I talk to you about something?” He said, when he came and sat down. It was still only six in the morning and he had a little bit of time before had to go to work. Kelly was in the middle of making pancakes.

“Is this about my job again? I told you I’m not going to get a new one. I’m staying home. You can’t stop me.” She said slamming down her spatula.

Immediately Mark was furious, his misplaced anger overwhelming his brain. His heart was pounding in his eyes, they were slanted little slits of fury at her. “You have to get a job! But that’s besides the point, I was trying to talk to you about…”

But she charged at him, “I do fucking not. And you can’t make me. I will do what I want.” Then she whirled her cocky little head around, so her back was to him. Anger bouncing between them like a energizing game of ping pong. She started scrubbing a pot, with furious big long strokes. Water was flinging up in little tiny dots all over the house. As she slammed the pot down into the suds, they let out a cry of steamy little anger.

“Geez, that’s not even what I was trying to talk to you about! Fuck. Why do you have to be like this! If you like eating we have to work. But whatever, who cares. Eating doesn’t matter. Does it? You being jobless screws our finances.” He grabbed his wallet and held it in front of his crotch and pretended to ride it. “Look I’m Kelly I just fucked our finances.” Then he threw it on the ground and stomped on it. “Get a job, if you want us to eat. That is how this works. That is the reason we work.” Mark shouted, stomping on his own wallet while his wife stared at her.

Just then Beth stepped into the room, her tiny little mouth in a circle. “You don’t like it?” She whimpered, and immediately started to cry.

It was then, that Mark remembered she gave him the wallet for his birthday. “Fuck. Beth, no… I…” He clenched his fists and glared at his wife. This was her fault, he was sure. He picked up the wallet and shoved it back in his pocket. “I saw a spider.” He swallowed, staring at her upset eyes and she nodded slowly.

“Okay.” She said, with a sniffle, and stepped back out of the room to the dollhouse.

Kelly was silent, furiously scrubbing the pot refusing to speak to him. A moment later she set a pile of pancakes on the table and said, “food is ready.” She said it with a soft sneer, a laced threat. Like: we are eating, so maybe I don’t need a job.

He slammed the front door on the way out, his belly empty of pancakes. Anger was throbbing in his chest, and he never even told her that he thought they were cursed.


Chapter 19

Mark was furious at work. He rarely showed up to work with anger hot in his belly. Mark continue to build the wall of the house, thinking that his wife, and her absolute insistence that she not get a job. It really pissed him off, while he stood there and he worked and he sacrificed. How dare she. He picked up a two by four and started to carry it toward the saw. The board turned red in his arms as his nose started to gush on it. His anger faded into a quiet terror. Kelly having now job was nothing compared to being cursed. He dropped the board, clutching his nose and rushing to the bathroom. The grimy mirror showed his face coated in blood. He quickly scrubbed it, but what started as a drizzle suddenly waterfalled, and he ended up sitting with his head between his knees desperately squeezing his nose shut as a puddle started to form between his legs.

The third stage.

Carolina was on the first stage, sleepwalking. His daughter was cursed. Panic was crawling up his tight chest and pressing on his tongue, begging for a bleat of raw terror to escape. But he bit his lips tight together and closed his eyes tight. Maybe he was just imagining this. Kelly would calm him down, he needed to tell her, so that she could be his voice of reason.

So, he swallowed his anger, and called his wife. While it rang he threw a handful of paper-towels on the ground and started to clean up his blood puddle with his foot. One hand still clutching his nose tightly to keep it from spewing. “Hey, Kelly. I don’t want to fight. I think…”

“I’m pregnant.” She said, interrupting.

“What?” He was so unprepared he slipped in the blood he was wiping up. He twisted, one foot skittering out from under him. He had to let go of his nose to catch himself on the wall. The shock was unbelievable. “You are on the pill!”

“I am, that’s what is pissing me off so much. No part of me wanted a baby right now. I know that you were fine with us having another kid- but now… I just… I want to stay home with this one. I won’t go back to work! I don’t want to work, puking and pregnant gross. I don’t want to clean hotel rooms when my belly is fat and my cankles swollen. It’s not fair.” She said with a loud half-sob threatening to burst free, and he could hear her slamming pots and dishes in the background. “It’s not fucking fair!” And he could hear the tears threatening to spill out of her eyes.

Fuck. How was he going to get her to take him seriously now? “Look, you can say home.” He said, hoping to end the conversation quickly so they could move on to the ‘hey we’ve got a cursed dollhouse’ part of the conversation.

But him relenting just caused serious waterworks. Her bawling was loud, and breathless, with goofy hiccups between sobs. She audibly tried to gather herself and he could picture her taking a breath and wiping her eyes. “Don’t tease me. Do you mean it? I’m sure we can figure it out. I can… I can figure it out.” She lost it again. He could feel the relief in her voice. A loud hiccup made her giggle.

“Yes. I’m excited to have another kid!” He said, trying desperately to sound excited. “Kids are great.” But secretly his stomach was turning, what if he couldn’t take care of three children? Coralina was on the roof this morning, and he had already brought in a cursed dollhouse. What on earth could he do wrong next?

The cycle of abuse.

What if it caught him? How do could he possible break a cycle if it had become supernatural?

“Mark, I know, I know that your terrified about being a dad. We’ve been doing great so far! You’ve been doing fucking great.” Kelly said, through sniffles. As if she instinctively knew that he was already spiraling. He was running lies in his brain of the ways that he was going to fuck up a tiny human. “It’s gonna be okay, but I will figure the budget out. I’ll do whatever it takes. Maybe I could babysit, if we really need? If it’s real tight.”

“Kelly, I have got to talk to you…” But then he glanced at his watch. Fuck, his break was over. “Shit, I gotta go, but… Look at the books under the couch. I think… I think that’s… Our dollhouse. I’m concerned.” And he hung up, without even saying goodbye.

Hopefully she would feel the urgency in his voice, and not just think he was screwing around.


Chapter 20

He impatiently waited for lunch time. His stomach hurt, and he regretted not eating pancakes. If only he had more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But also, he needed to call his wife again. Maybe, with any luck she would have read the books, and understand what was going on. Maybe she could talk some sense into him, and tell him he was imagining things. At least they’d be in it together, whatever this was. His lunch would be cut short from his extra long break. He couldn’t dial the phone while he ripped open his sandwich. The broken finger on his right hand suddenly gained his attention as he was tearing the saran wrap off the pb&j. Sleepwalking, then bone break. Fuck. Coralina broken. Her tiny little bones snapped. God he hoped he was wrong.

The thought turned his stomach, and he punched the button to call Kelly. “Hey honey?” He said to his silent wife on the phone. He was starting to worry that she hadn’t actually picked up, because she was so quiet. “Did you read them?”

“Is this some sort of fucking joke? Are you pranking me because I’m pregnant?” There was a ring of hostility in her voice, disbelief running through her veins. She was as angry as he’d ever heard her.

He swallowed nervously, trying to prepare himself to calm her down. “I wish I was. I already was sleepwalking. I broke my finger, and now the nosebleeds.” He said, try to sound very calm. Kelly was a beast when she was angry, and he needed her present and thoughtful, not angry and shouting. “I don’t know if it’s real, I just know that I’m kind of freaked out. I also think I know where the witch is who… Started all of this. What you think?”

“I don’t believe you.” She said, even more hostile sounding. This wasn’t going well. What was he supposed to do now? “Why the hell would you do this to me? Have you been planning this ever since you got this dollhouse?” He could hear her foot tapping the linoleum in the kitchen, with a rapid slap slap sound. “Coralina was sleeping walking, are you trying tell me she is going to break a bone?” Her voice was getting a higher and higher pitch as she shouted.

Mark tugged on his shirt collar. The panicky feeling was starting to choke him. “I don’t know!” He took a deep breath and tried his damndest to collect himself. “Fuck, Kelly, seriously. It’s not a prank. When I went to get the little table leaf, the guy told me he thought we got the cursed dollhouse. He said a lot of weird shit. And I got bored and stopped by the library to check it out. “ He could feel her angry breathing on the phone. “Could you just help me figure out what to do next?” He was met with angry silence. He couldn’t stop himself, he just had to twist the knife. “You do after all have no job.” He said, sarcastic frustration running off his tongue the like the blood running out his nose.

“Oh, I thought it was okay that I didn’t have a job, because, “ She started screaming, “You put a baby inside me!” And she hung up.

Then he was really mad, what an utterly stupid conversation. Coralina was on the roof this morning, and he had been on the roof not just a few nights earlier. Was Coralina gonna snap one of her tiny, perfect bones? He had an immediate vision of her eyesocket crushed, and he gagged. He never finished his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, opting to let his belly ache with hunger. Why did they have to fight? He dragged his feet back to work, dejected, and confused. Fuck. If his wife wouldn’t help him who would?


Chapter 21

Not an hour later Kelly called frantic. “We’re at the hospital, Coralina broke her arm.” She was breathless, and a man’s low rumbling voice was barely audible for a moment. “Doctor is here, gotta go.” She hung up almost as soon as she called. Mark’s hair was on end. His scalp was prickling, as if his hair was turning gray that very second.

Coralina was stage two, bone snap.

Mark was stage three, blood cry.

Fuck.

Not five minutes later he was in his truck rattling down the road toward the hospital. As he stopped at a red light, he could feel panic brewing in his chest. His heart was pounding in his ears. He glanced to the left, and saw an old lady driving a red car. She pointed at him, miming something frantically. He turned the hand crank on his window, and it screeched down slowly. “What?”

“Your nose is bleeding!” She said, with a horrified look on her face.

He grabbed his nose with his right hand, the one with the broken finger sticking out cockeyed from his face. Blood was already soaking his shirt. He had a terrible sinking feeling that he should not be driving to the hospital, but he be driving to find that witch. Save his family, from the haunting, or curse, or whatever it was. Would she be able to help? The light turned green and he pounded the gas with his foot, terrified that he wouldn’t be able to stop this curse.

They waited in the ER for two hours before finally they set Coralina’s arm. Mark could tell it was broken as soon as he saw it. Her right arm hung at such a crooked angle. This is a curse. She broke it right in the middle, right where her bicep would sit. Mark’s head was pounding behind his eyes so hard he couldn’t think. His girl was whimpering from the pain, and sweating. A large nurse gave her an injection and she went quiet, and goofy. My little girl is cursed. He was grateful for her sedation. They called it a clean break. Coralina said she wasn’t totally sure how it happened, something about tripping. Kelly wept nearly as hard as the little patient. But Mark, he felt like the whole experience was outside himself. His one thought was pounding in his skull. We’ve been cursed.

They drove home, and it was already late, they stopped at Burger King on the way home. Mark spent the last of his paycheck to buy four cold one-dollar hamburgers. It was well past bedtime, and Kelly was falling asleep, and both girls were already snoring by the time he got home.

Kelly climbed up to bed, and Mark tucked in Coralina in her own bed, and Beth in hers. All three of his favorite women were sleeping. He rummaged through the house, grabbing some crackers and a beer. His mind was spinning a web of tangled thoughts so thick that he’d never be able to rest. Coralina broke her arm. He sat down and looked at the books again. He drank one beer, then two beers. They didn’t say anything else, there was nothing else useful here. No secrets left, scrawled in a margin anywhere.

How many people had that’s dollhouse killed? He wondered. He searched for the name Kevin and murder into Google, and he found an article not six months old. Kevin killed his dog, his wife and himself. It didn’t mention his broken toe, so he didn’t know if it was the same Kevin. Why would this man, who apparently had no daughter, own a dollhouse though? He googled Kevin’s name now that he knew the last name, and found his Facebook page. He flipped through the man’s pictures. Most of them were just him and his wife smiling. In one picture, the couple were laying on their couch together, him underneath, her on top. The picture was posted not even a month before the murdering spree. She was laying on top of him, and they were holding hands. She had her tongue stuck out and he was in the middle of the happiest looking laugh Mark had ever seen. What could have ruined this happy couple?

But as he stared at the picture he noticed a mirror over the couch had a familiar shape. Carefully he zoomed in, and he could make out the tiny shingled roof in the reflection. He turned and looked at the dollhouse in his living room, and then looked back at the picture. It was the exact same little diamond pattern. In fact, as he stared, he realized one of the diamonds had a chip. He hopped up and walked carefully around the dollhouse. It didn’t take long to find the exact spot in the roofline that was in the man’s picture. That same tiny chip.

Fuck.

He flipped back through the library books, but he couldn’t find the girl’s name anywhere.

But he didn’t need to. He searched again for Kevin, and at the end of one of the articles there was a link, “is slaughtering families a new problem in the valley?” He clicked the link, and there was another article about a young girl, a teenager who had killed her brother and both her parents. And then herself. Her name was Emily. It said she had a broken leg.

He flipped back through the library books and found her note about her broken leg, right next to Kevin’s note about his broken toe. It had to be her.

The air in the room felt thick, and he was helplessly choking on it, as his chest tightened. Quickly he chugged another beer. Mark’s panic could possibly be stalled by booze. He stared vacantly at the wall. There was a large empty feeling inside him. He was completely numb. He had no way to fight the supernatural. What the hell should he do next? His vacant staring was awakened by a click. The bedroom door just swung shut. He turned and saw Kelly standing at the top of the stairs. She was slowly walking down, almost in a daze. “Kelly?”

He glanced down at his phone, it was nearly 2 AM, he couldn’t believe that he been sitting here thinking about that damn dollhouse this long. When he glanced back up, she was at the bottom of the stairs. “Kelly?” Mark stood to grab her, but she didn’t turn her head, stepping out the front door.

He had this sudden thought that if he followed her he would know how they were getting on the roof. Quickly he slipped on his sandals, and stepped out the door after her.

His heart dropped to his stomach and he suddenly retched. He looked back up, at his wife, scaling the building like a demon, her elbows turned the wrong direction, climbing with a frantic pace. Then she slowly stood on the shingles, and turned and placed her toes at the edge of the roof. She was grinning a wide, terrible smile. She lifted her arms, and took a deep breath.

Kelly scaled the outside of the building.

It scared the fuck out of him.


Chapter 22

He set up the ladder, and slowly climbed up. Kelly was standing at the edge of the roof, her arms outstretched, a grin permanently plastered on her face. “Kelly.” Mark said, trying not to scare her.

It took him two hours to get his wife off the roof. He almost called the fire department. She wouldn’t wake up, and he couldn’t carry her down a ladder. Instead of continuing to try and force her down, he sat on the roof at her feet, clinging tightly to her calves until she awoke. It was nearly four in the morning when she finally started stirring. Mark was terrified and tear streaked, and when she finally became aware of her situation she sat down with him. He wept hard, and held her, while she slowly looked around and tried to make sense of what had happened. “How did I get on the roof?”

“I don’t know, you were sleepwalking.” Mark had decided never to tell her that she had been consumed by a curse like a demon. Never tell her that she scaled the building like a demon. He involuntarily shuddered. She pressed her lips tight together but didn’t demand he explain, thankfully.

“Mark, I want you to go talk to the dollhouse guy again and see if we can do anything else. He seemed to be the most educated about this particular problem. And I believe you now.” she said, being the third person in their family to be on the roof in just a short few days.

He rolled his eyes, “Oh good, you believe me. I’m hoping we can stop it before you break any bones.” Said Mark. He was nervous, thinking about his pregnant wife snapping. Would the baby be cursed? Would it snap a bone inside his wife’s belly?

“I’m more concerned about the part of the curse where we kill each other.” Said Kelly, and then, she climbed down the ladder. Her movements were resolute, and she trembled slightly. Mark had been trying to avoid that thought.

What if he killed the things he loved?

He didn’t going to work that day, instead driving back to Mr. Vladimir’s home. This time he went at a respectable hour, Kelly’s idea. And it was nearly ten in the morning when he got there.

He knocked on the door and despite being able to see Mr. Vladimir in the window, there was no answer. He knocked again, more forcefully this time. Again Mark was left standing alone in front of the door.

Finally he shouted, hoping that someone would hear him “I am not leaving until you talk to me about the curse!” At that Mr. Vladimir finally opened the door.

But not all the way, he only opened it a crack. “Go away. I can’t help you. I don’t want to catch it from you.”

“Tell me what I can do to stop it.” Mark said, fear running through him in a cold wave.

“You can’t.” Mr. Vladimir said. And he started to close the door again.

But Mark put his foot in the way. “Tell me.”

“There is nothing you can do.” Mr. Vladimir hissed. “If you don’t leave I’ll call the police.”

Mr. Vladimir slammed the door. Mark cringed as the wooden door smashed his foot. He body slammed the door and pulled his boot out. The door clicked shut, nothing more he could do now. He trudged back to his truck angrily, fists clenched. But before he climbed inside he saw the little yellow bug. This, this he thought was the witch’s car. He took down her license plate. He was hoping he could look her up and find out more information about her.

He hated to go home to Kelly and tell her what happened. He was a failure, and he had gotten their family cursed.


Chapter 23

Coralina had broken her right arm. His wife, Kelly had walked on the roof in her sleep, and he still had a fucking bloody nose. He drove back slowly holding his nose tightly.

He kept thinking about how he followed that old lady, the lady he thought was the witch. How he had contemplated killing her. He had her license plate now. What if she wasn’t even a witch? His mind was spinning around all the possibilities. What if he killed a woman who wasn’t a witch? His teeth were clenched painfully tight as he drove, and he realized he was hunched over the steering-wheel like an old man.

Maybe he was going crazy.

But if they were going to have a new symptom, or a new stage every day or so, which is what it looked like, and they were only about four days away from him killing them all.

Or five days from Coralina killing them, or six days from Kelly killing them all. Fuck. He needed to find that witch. She would have to cure them. Or he would do whatever it took.

His finger was throbbing, as he tried to drive one handed, his other hand clasping his nose. Mark was exhausted he hadn’t slept more than two hours in the last night. He’d stop by the house and grab his gun, tell Kelly his plan, then bring the witch back and have her fix this. With whatever the fuck witches did.

When he got there, there was chaos. Beth was crying, Coralina was screaming, and Kelly was nowhere to be seen.

“Girls?” He said, quickly checking Beth. She was covering her eyes, but she didn’t appear to be injured.

“Blood.” She said, with panic. He turned and stared at the kitchen, and there was a lot of blood.

“Daddy it won’t stop.” Said Coralina, between big hulking sobs. It sounded like she was practically choking to death on her own tears. And her nose was gushing. Stage three. Her nose was gushing blood. He grabbed a kitchen towel and press it to her face, showing her how to tilt her head and pin her nose.

“Stay like this. Where is your mother?” He said, bit of panic running through his soul. The shock of the blood everywhere, was lessened by his own knowledge that he had been gushing from the nose, and he was fine, not even lightheaded. But it was still unnerving. Why had Kelly left them? Why could she leave them like this? Where had she gone? “Kelly!” He shouted, hoping that his wife’s call would answer him.

But he didn’t hear anything. Finally he ran up the stairs, glancing around their bedroom, and he saw her foot sticking out from the bathroom door. He ran in, and she was unconscious on the floor. Her ankle twisted in an unnatural angle. Bone snap, stage two. Fuck.

She was slowly waking while he was shaking her. “You look like you hit your head, are you okay do you remember your name?”

“I remember your name, dickhead.” She said, with a certain amount of sass even as she reached up and touched her head. Pain ran across her eyes as she gingerly touched a large goose-egg forming. She shifted slightly and then pain ricocheted up and down her body. He’d seen her this way before, her body shuddered from pain. But only in childbirth. Right before they managed to get that epidural in place. He hated to see his wife in so much pain. Her eyes grew wide with shock, and she let out a whimper.

“Kelly, stay still. Your foot is definitely broken.” He was wrestling his cell phone out of his pocket, and called 911. Not fifteen minutes later Kelly was packed in an ambulance flipping him off subtly with a wink as she was wheeled inside.

She was gonna be okay.

But they, had to stop this fucking curse.