Sunday April 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the curse.

That's pretty much my only explanation for the Canucks season this year. Somebody cursed them. Don't know why, don't know how, but that's my best guess.

Tonight, in the midst of finishing off their disappointing year on a high note with a 5-1 victory, one of their top players took a hit from behind that sent him head first into the boards. I haven't seen the hit - I just don't have the stomach for that sort of thing - but knowing that Daniel Sedin had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher is more than I care to know about it.

Here's hoping for a speedy recovery from an injury that is not as bad as it sounds right now.

In more cheerful news, Kat is now certified to teach pre-natal yoga! Max and I are very proud of her.


Outside grey clouds turned black and a freezing wind began to howl. Pedestrians scurried for home or the nearest shop, wondering if the precipitation would be hail or rain this time. An easy, peaceful summer filled with sunny days and gentle breezes seemed to belong to some other, far away world.

Neighbourhood dogs began to bark unrelentingly, ignoring commands to be quiet from owners and everyone within earshot. Cats soon started to screech as well, though no one bothered to tell them to shut up.

Inside our home, however, silence reigned supreme. Bodies remained motionless, hoping to avoid drawing attention to themselves. It was as though we were all waiting for something to happen. And we were.

We were waiting for father to speak.

And, at long last, he did.

"Young man... what did you just say to me?"


Greg said...

Ouch, that doesn't sound good for Mr. Sedin. Perhaps you're right about a curse.
And congratulations Kat! Though I think there's been a tacit assumption from you, Marc, that she'd pass all along :)
Heh, nice little twist at the end; when I went back and re-read it it was even more satisfying knowing that I was now seeing the scene from the eyes of the young man. Very nicely done in such a short space!

The curse
The hill was steep and stony, and the cover was mostly gorse, still in yellow flower, and scrub oak that must have been sucking all the available water from the ground. The soil was beige, nearly colourless, and cracked deep as though the drought had gone on for a while. Overhead, the sky was cobalt blue and the only dark shape up there was a turkey buzzard circling endlessly. I reckoned that old Mister Buzzard was waiting for me to lie down and die; dinner is served.
I put a hand out and hauled myself up with the help of a gnarled oak trunk, my feet slipping slightly on the dry ground. When I got them back under me and straightened up I could up the hill a ways at last, and I could see the slight indentation in the ground that bespoke a path, albeit one not used much for years. The path led straight and true to the cabin, and when I saw it again I shivered like a cloud had crossed the sun.
I actually looked up, that certain I was that the light had dimmed, but unless that buzzard were much bigger than any bird has a right to be, it was all my imagination. I jingled my loose change in my pocket to give me courage, and strode on.
It might have been a straight trail, but it still took nigh on half an hour to reach the cabin, and I sweating like a washer in the steam-room by the time I got there. My heavy cotton jumper had sweat stains under the arms that wrapped around the back of me and met and I'd wiped so much of it away from my face that I was feeling red-raw.
The cabin was made of logs stacked together and atop each other, the gaps between them stuffed with clay and moss, and the window just a scrap of hide tacked over and scraped thin. The door, three planks with a fourth nailed crosswise across them, was ajar, and there was a shimmer of yellow light from within.
The chill was more real now, even in the sunlight, and fear scraped icy fingers across my chest. I laid a hand on the door, and then Deborah stepped forwards into the sunlight.
She'd been dead for forty years; she killed herself two days after I left they said. Her final act was to curse me, bind me so that I'd return on her sixtieth birthday, and here I was, drawn unwillingly to the house she'd planned for us to live in.
I looked into the mouldering eyesockets of her skull, wisps of grey hair still somehow bound to the bone, and heard the thump of the turkey buzzard landing behind me.

terp said...

Here it was, the seventeenth of the month, and still nothing, not a flicker, not a twinge. She lifted her breasts again but they felt fine, not at all sore. She was four days late. She glanced at her reflection in the bathroom mirror one last time before she turned to grasp the heavy door that led back to the office. Alice and Linda were waiting at her desk.
“Well?” asked Alice.
“Nothing,” she said, “nothing at all. I am doomed.”
“Cursed if you get it. Cursed if you don’t,” said Alice.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks for the kind words on mine :)

That is some seriously inspired work from you! Fantastic atmosphere and descriptions, and that ending is bone chillingly perfect.

Consider me impressed :)

Terp - I like your take on the prompt, a curse of a more subtle variety. I'm left curious to hear more about this situation, but that's not a bad thing :)