Cursed XII~

[12] — Resent Me, My Brother

“You are the biggest fucking asshole.”

“That’s a little dramatic, Claire.” Jason responded.

“Really? Everyone at work already thinks I’m just your bitch, Jason. They think you let me stay here because I sleep with you.”

“So? Fuck them.” Jason said, “This is a good deal. You could find something new.”

“I can’t afford to live in Brunswick.”

“I’ll float you the cash until you can. I could get you a job at my legal office.”

“Fuck off. I am not working for your legal department.”

“They don’t drug test the paper crew.” Jason said.


“I need to move, Claire. This is going to be good for us.”

“That’s fine. I’ll figure something out.” Claire said, “But you couldn’t have told me this months ago?”

“I wasn’t sure.”
“It’s called a conversation, Jason. ‘Hey, Claire I was thinking of moving out.’ Like ok. Do you understand how you are an asshole?”

“It’s always me, Claire. When are you going to do something?”

“Ok, Jason like what?” She shot back, “Not all of our parents paid for college.”

“Your mom…”

“Don’t bring up my fucking mom.” Claire interjected.

I listened to this display of two powers clashing against one another. Claire’s fury rivaling Jason’s unparalleled self-assurance.

After a few minutes. I waved my goodbyes and left them to their squabbles.

I took a sip of Euphoria to get me through, until I reached Clearwater; the glow was immediate. I had rationed the drug better, but I could no longer go a day without feeling its warmth. It wasn’t bad. I had known drugs before, and the afterglow made me feel better than I did prior. My arm was healing undisturbed. My cuts were barely more than pink slivers, like red falling leaves up my wrist. The countryside took over the suburban towns swiftly. Soon I was overcome with boredom as the monotonous miles of cornfields and barren land laid to my side.

My palm still bore the cut of the knife’s blade. It had stung like no other. A fire had burst within my hand as a crushed mushroom spore splintering through my bloodstream. I bit my lip. I needed to see Stella and Alice.


Daylight was fading by the time my car pulled into my driveway. I shook the canteen. I had drunk a few more sips on the drive. It was sloshing at the bottom of the bottle.

I tossed my backpack in my room and sat on my bed. My new phone buzzed beside me. Sam had texted me, asking to go out. I ignored him; Kiera’s words had left a bad taste in my mouth.

The bright side through all of this was, now that Claire knew my secret, I had an ability to explore in a way I never had. I realized how much of a burden it was to hide myself from others. I had never noticed the weight, until it was lifted.


The night came, and so too did the rain, and so too did Stella. I saw her gown shimmer with the moon’s reflection on the side of the lake.

This was my chance, I thought, shining my flashlight through the window. I grabbed my binoculars and scanned the area until I found her illuminated figure; She waved acknowledging my light. I motioned the flashlight on my body and flourished it forward. I did this several times. I felt like an idiot, but she understood my attempts of communication. Stella nodded and gave me a thumbs up as she danced on the side of the mountain side.

I had to talk to her and Alice. The fortune teller’s words echoed through my head. I grabbed my backpack and crept out into the night.

I loosened the parking break and drifted out of the driveway before starting the engine. It was strange, graduating college. I was not sneaking out, but I still felt as if I had to. I had yet to grow, another miscalculation due to the belief in my premature parting.

My car ripped through the small town that bordered the lake. The town was full for summer; however, even now it was only partially awake. A liquor store, an ice cream truck, and two bars were the only signs of life in this sleepy village.

I slowed to a crawl through the main square, and to my surprise I spotted Sam’s car parked in front of a bar.

A pedestrian approached crosswalk forcing me stop. I waved a friendly salute to the lady, before returning my gaze to the bars. Sam was standing outside next to a taller man, whose face, I could not make out, due to the same white-trilby hat I had seen outside of the fortune teller’s studio. In his hand was a suitcase. That was no coincidence; I wanted to keep watch, but a honk behind me forced my focus away.

A sick feeling tingled in my chest. There was more to the mountain than my identity crisis. The fortune teller did something to me. My thoughts exploded in cataclysmic proportion as my fears and doubts spiraled from myself to my friends to whomever that man in white-trilby hat was.

I prayed he had not seen me, but my hopes were dashed a moment later. My music stopped as the ringtone of Sam echoed through my stereo.

“Where you going?” He asked.

“Gas station.” I said.

“Why’d you pass it then?” He laughed, “Alex, I track you. Why are you heading over to Savage?”

“I have a date.” I said.

“No, you don’t.” He stated.

“Got to go.” I said hanging up on him. I opened my phone and turned my location off. That was stupid of me, but he shouldn’t pry.

The winding roads swept past as I navigated the mountainous terrain. I was alone on the path. My car’s lights were the only sign of life around me as I pulled in front of the wired-fencing.

I opened my door to a ferocious blast of a summer gale. The air was musty as a dense fog ascended Savage. The mist swept aside with the brush of my body. I followed the dirt path to the trailhead.

As I neared the trail, a pair of headlights beamed in the distance. “Shit.” I said, thinking a cop was scoping the area out; however, as my eyes adjusted to the distance and the reflection of the headlights against the fog, I found that a crimson, truck had illuminated itself.Fuck you, Sam, I bitterly thought, Why couldn’t everyone just leave me alone?

I could not spend another night with that witch’s words stringing around my head. My legs moved briskly through the tree line, and up a steady incline. I wanted to know what he said to the man in the trilby hat, but I could not be alone for that. Words were poisoned, and I needed Claire to protect me against any wayward assaults.

I followed the trail, hoping Sam would turn back, through the mountain to the lakeside. I came upon the hill I thought Stella would be, but saw no sign of her. The wind continued to howl as the fog swirled around my peripheral vision.

I searched the surrounding hills, until I found a dark silhouette against a low-lying hill. Stella had spotted me as well, bounding up the hillside in erratic movements.

She toppled out of the forest. Her green eyes reflecting into mine, “How are we, this fine evening, sister?” She said with a flourish in pitch, perfected through practice.

“Bad.” I said, grabbing her arm. “Stella, I met Kiera.”

“That is bad.” Her eyes grew wide in surprise, “Whatever she said was laced in half-truths. Do not trust her.”

“Did you?” I asked.

“Once.” Stella said, “And I was wrong, what did she say?”

“It doesn’t matter.” I said, “She told me I was lying to myself.”

Stella smirked, “She’s feeding into your fears. Everyone is afraid their feelings aren’t true, but that is false, not you.”

“What if she’s right?” I asked, “What if I am holding onto this, because there is nothing else?”

“Let go.” Stella said, “Enjoy the fall for a change. Maybe, you’ll find the right path at the bottom.”

The sound of cracking leaves and breaking twigs interrupted our conversation, “Sam followed me, Stella.” I said.

“Oh.” She said blankly, “Should we say hi?”

I shuffled my feet uncomfortably, “I didn’t think you would want to.”

“I don’t.” She admitted, “But I’m trying to be better.”

“Sam isn’t a good person to start with.” I said, “He isn’t exactly gentle…” I said leaving the word hanging.

“I’m a big girl.” Stella laughed, “There’s only one person I fear, and their name is not Sam.”


I called Sam over from the hillside, where Stella and I stood. Her hand gripped my shoulder tightly. I felt the tension in her wrist.

“You don’t have to be here, Stella. I just needed Euphoria.”

“Oh…” She said hesitantly.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” I said.

“No, it’s not that.” Stella said as Sam mounted the hill in a frenzy.

“Alex, holy shit!” He yelled, “Are you okay?”

“Yea.” I said surprised, “Why?”

“Wait.” He said, noticing Stella beside me, “So you weren’t lying? Dude, weird place for a date. You’re asking to get murdered.”

“This is Stella.” I said waving to my shoulder-gripping friend.

“Hi.” Stella said softly.

“Hi.” Sam said, attempting to grasp the situation, “Dude, I need to be honest. I heard some weird shit today, and then I saw you drive past, and I thought you were coming up here to…” He paused, “You know.” Sam pointed his hand in a gun and pretended to blow his head off.

“That was way worse, than just saying it.” I said.

“Yea, I realized that halfway through, but a performer sticks with their art.” Sam said enthusiastically. His body appeared off. Sam’s movements were jittery and erratic.

“Are you good, Sam?” I asked.

“Yea, I just umm…” Sam said, noticing Stella listening. He leaned closer and whispered, “I took a drug.”

“What did you take, Sam?” I asked blandly.

“Don’t really know. That’s also why I came here, though.” He continued to whisper.

“Sam, she can hear you.” I whispered back.

Sam appeared taken back at this, “Oh shit. Sorry.” He said to Stella.

Stella waved it away, but Sam was appearing stranger by the moment. Black bile began to leak from his nose as his body vibrated aggressively. “What?” Sam said to me.

“I didn’t say anything.” I said, beginning to feel anxious. “Sam, what did you take?” I asked again.

Sam’s face creased in tension as a vein bulged above his eye. Black sap dripped from his orifices, “I heard something about you.” He said.

My blood froze; I had not wanted it to happen this way. “What did you hear?” I asked, knowing the answer.

His jittering ceased, as if it were nothing more than a passing shiver. The wind whispered eerily through the valley. Sam stood hunched gazing at me with a fanatical grin, “I heard you’re a freak.” His voice stuttered, pushing the last word out.

“Hey!” Stella shouted.

“What, bitch?” Sam said taking a step toward us.

Stella grabbed my arm. I felt her desire for us to run, but Sam would catch one of us. “Stella, run.” I whispered, keeping my eyes on Sam’s manic form.

“I’ll get Alice.” She said, as her footsteps faded across the hillside.


Sam’s eyes were full of the black fluid. Every blink sent rivers of the substance down his cheeks, dripping off the bottom of his chin. His shirt was stained with putrid, black streaks. I wrenched my phone from my pocket.

“What are you doing, Alex?” Sam said.

“I think Claire, should be a part of this conversation.” I said reasonably.

“Fine. She can hear all about this.” Sam said.

Did he not know, that Claire knew? I questioned. Everything about this reeked, and I had no discernable way of escape. I pulled up Claire’s contact and facetimed her. The number rang a few times before cutting off. “Hey, this is Claire…” Her ringtone played.

“Hey Claire just in the woods with Sam, figured you should know. Call me back please.” I said before hanging up.

Sam smiled the entire time. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He laughed, “We’re friends, Alex. I am stopping you from them.” He said pointing to Savage.

“What is wrong with them?” I asked stepping forward.

“I met a man today.” Sam said, “He told me a story about these trans, who go from town to town, grabbing confused kids, and injecting them with shit.”

“That is insane.” I said, “That sounds insane.”

“Yea it sounds insane, and I thought it was insane, but look where you are.” He said, gesturing to the forest around us.

“It’s where I need to be.” I said, “And you can’t call people bitches, Sam. And you can’t act like an asshole, just because you are high. It’s not okay.”

“I’m not even high, anymore.” Sam said, oblivious to the venom dripping from his face, “I have never felt clearer in my life.”

Sam took a step forward; I took a step back. “Sam, I am asking you to leave.”

“When are you going to learn, dude. Not everything is about you.” Sam dashed across the trail, and up the steep incline.


I pursued my friend. Knowing his destination, I crossed the Hogsneck, and mounted the ridgeline from a separate path.

Sam’s figure was illuminated with the purple glow of the grove’s flora. His figure disappeared within the cracks of the earth.

I ran to the opening in the ground to see my friend approaching the cavern door.

“Stop!” I heard Alice cry as Sam shoved a wooden beam from the entrance.

I crawled through the gash in the ground and fell into the muddy reeds of the cavern. Stella helped me up as Alice ran ahead, armed with a stick.

Sam shoved another piece of debris from the entrance. The scratches grew louder as whatever lurked within grew restless.

Alice smacked his head with the branch, but Sam was undeterred. He shoved Alice aside, and thrusted the iron, locking mechanism open.

Alice pushed herself to her feet as I joined her.

“We need to leave.” She said.

“What was in there?” I asked.

“Keira’s failures.”

Stella, Alice, and I escaped the grove as the wooden barricade exploded outward in a shower of splinters. Screeches, wails, and other blasphemous sounds echoed into the grove. We scrambled through a sloped tunnel, leading to the surface.

The ground shook furiously as the screams turned to sounds of plunder and thirst. “What is going on?” I asked.

“They’re eating the roots.” Stella said angrily.

“What about Sam? Stella, why was he like that?”

Stella looked taken back, “I don’t know; he was your friend.”

“Yea, he is my friend, and he would never do that.”

“Why? Because he was a little high?” Stella said.

“I saw him talking to a man- I think Keira gave him something.” I reasoned.

“Whatever we do, belongs with us.” Alice said, “Take your drugs, make your decisions, but your company hurts us all.”

Sam emerged from the tunnel. The black sap striped his face, but his eyes appeared normal. He stumbled past us, “Let me know, when you’re ready to get better, Alex.” He said leaving me behind.

“He isn’t always a dick.” I tried to explain, but Stella and Alice were distracted.

I walked toward them, gazing over the edge of a splintering crack in the earth. The creatures were ravenously feasting upon the flesh of the roots. Euphoria coated the floor in a brilliant, purple display. I could not make out their features. Only that they were human. Grass or weeds covered their bodies, smoothing their frames. Their guttural noises were monstrous as they gluttoned themselves upon the sap of Euphoria.

“So that’s what was behind there.” I said blankly.

“My old friends.” Stella said somberly.

“The fuck?” I asked, “You knew those things?”

“They were my friends.”
“No they weren’t.” Alice interjected.

“Some were.”

“None were.” Alice corrected.

“They didn’t deserve that.” Stella said.

“They didn’t’ deserve that.” Alice concurred.

“What didn’t they deserve?” I asked.


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