Cursed XXI~

[21] — Light Spots

The sun rose over the valley once more. Its visage sent thousands of shimmering rays off the lake’s surface. The wind blew with renewed brevity. The world was as it always was, and yet here I lied, bruised, broken and cut into. Droplets of my blood fell into the grass, which was unusually still.

Sobriety had returned like a bitter roommate, forced to share an apartment with the untidiest of wastrels. Her judgements had only worsened with age, as if it were true that time healed all wounds, or the more comical assertion that was wisdom arriving alongside a distinguished coat of grey. I understood her point. If I were to make a go of it; then, I would have to put in more effort.

I was already so tired. The cave had drawn the vigor from my youth. I had nothing, but a flimsy hope that a new name and a pill would solve my woes. Even if I knew what damages a false name and an incompatible body created.

The grass was soft and inviting. The days had not felt the bitter chill of Winter’s opening crescendo; however, I knew she was on her way, riding the northern winds to our sleepy valley.

Claire was mending Jason’s bruises, while Stella and Claire attempted to decipher a string of letters they received from another compatriot. Stella brought his name up often enough, though the context was random, and saturated with the narrator’s imagination; although, if a fraction of the stories about Mickey were true; then, more questions were raised about our world than answered.

Sam sat beside me in silent contemplation. I had dared a look during our trek through the trail to see a battered, soulless version of the chaotic friend, I had known. I wanted to say something, but what was there to say to someone, who had just tried to murder me?

“I need a change.” I said, deciding any words were better than none. I turned to my side to spit a mouthful of blood onto the tree’s roots. Sam did not respond immediately. His breaths took a moment to finally calm.

“It’s going to hurt you.” He said.

“More than you already have?” I said spitefully. Perhaps it was a mistake conversing. The night had barely ended.

“I lost my friend.” Sam said, “I lost you for two years; then, you come back, and nothing mattered? Our childhood memories were all painful? I just don’t know how to get over that, Ale… Grace.” He admitted, staring at the lake’s glassy surface.

“None of our memories hurt me.” I said looking at my bloodied body, “I’m the same person. I just have held back the best parts of me. Parts that I had never had the chance to meet. I just want you to be excited to meet those parts of me too.”

“They did something to me.” Sam admitted, “I felt my world crumble, as if I had nothing left to live for. And for some reason, I thought it was because of you— or them.” Sam nudged his head toward Stella and Alice.

“She did something to me, too” I agreed, turning to look at him. Sam lay broken. Blood matted his clothes and hair. Grime and dirt swashed over his body. He failed to return my gaze.

“Will you never see me?” I asked quietly.

He hesitantly turned to me. His eyes were awash in red and yellow. His veins were puffed and blue. “I see you.” He said.

I looked at the lake in silence, save for the muffled sobs of Sam. Autumn had swept in over the valley. The trees were brilliant shades of yellow, reds, and browns. They gently flittered into the lake with every passing wind.

“Can I ask you something?” Sam said after he stifled his soft cries.

“Sure.” I replied, feeling the chewing resume in the pit of my stomach.

“What stopped you?” Sam asked, “Was it instinct, or did you change your mind?”

“Both, I guess.” I said, “I had tried it before. You know? And sometimes my fingers would just not go anymore. I would get all shaky, and have to stop. I think the only thing truly stopping me was the thought that we’d ever share another adventure, or hangout again.” I said, pathetically to the man who had just attempted to murder me.

“I think death will be the best adventure of them all” Stella said optimistically, running over from Alice, “Another train to hop.”

“I hate trains.” Alice said.

“Then, you’re going to hate dying with me, sister.” Stella giggled, “Come on, I hear the train’s whistle. We have a ride to catch.”


We walked over the footpaths and down the calmer hills. The scent of Fall wafted in through the mountains. I closed my bruised eyes and allowed the wind to kiss my wounds and play with my hair.

“Did you always know?” Sam asked.

“No.” I said honestly, “I still get scared, I’m wrong, but those fears come from how others might see me. This is the only way, Sam. There is no future without it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.” I said bitterly.

“Please, Grace, I am so sorry.”


“I don’t think you believe me.” Sam said.

“I said its alright, Sam.”

I felt fine enough to walk unaided. Jason kept Sam steady as we descended the unkempt, forested trails. At one intersection Stella and Alice stopped by the side of the path.

“Is this it?” I asked, while Jason, Claire and Sam continued their descent.

“Come on, Stinky. Let’s get you to a hospital.” Claire said, grabbing Sam’s other arm. “Grace, we’ll call you later. Get some rest.” She said as my friends trekked onward.


Stella grabbed my hand as we diverted to the railroad tracks. Stella took everything in, moving her head in slow, deliberate movements.

“Once, this mountain was all I knew.” She said, “Everything before that was so horrible. I had thought Kiera’s gift was the only chance I had a normal life, but there were other ways. There are better ways; we just need to ensure they get better.”

“So why do all of this?” I asked, “You could settle down and work and just pay for transitioning. Why go through the effort?”

“I want to live.” Stella said, “I want to feel the rush of a train engine below me and the squeal of iron scraping against rushing wheels. The world doesn’t like us, sister. I’m not going to let that stop me from being me. As you said, ‘I am who I am.’ And I am not going to see the same ugly faces every day.”

“Hey!” Alice cried.

“Not you. Not you.” Stella said, “You know what I mean though right?”

“Yes, Stella.” Alice said exasperatingly, “I can literally see your eyes darting to the tracks.” She turned to me, “Don’t let Kiera decide who you are. Everything she said was for her demented goals, and not your betterment; remember that. Money shouldn’t intervene with medicine.”

We walked over to the ridgeline. A thin section of the lake lied below us, running beneath an old miller’s bridge. The train rumbled in the distant folds of the valley. Its whistle pierced the peace of the morning.

“I’ll let you know when the bloom happens, Grace. Then we will be richer than any could imagine. Our souls were always fated to unwind; we get the chance to see to see it twice. Are we not so fortunate?” Alice said as she embraced me, “We are priestesses; we are the beauty within a binary world. Never forget this. We are children of the Goddess. We are sisters forced through a dark night, but we found a family.”

Stella joined our hug, “Yea, I love you. Fuck everyone else.”

After what felt like the briefest of farewells did my family wave their goodbyes before heading to the rail tracks.

“Last chance, Slime!” Stella yelled from the edge of the tree line, “It would be pretty cool!”

A deep desire took root to abandon my life, my friends, and my family to chase trains and plant magical trees.

“Let me know where to meet you, Stella!” I yelled, “But I’ll take my car!”

I saw her laugh, but nod understandably.

I watched them hop the edge of the tracks and hobble over to the side where the train was forced to slow down before proceeding over the bridge.

I thought of waiting for the train to come with them, but I figured it was best to leave it at that. It was only a farewell after all. I would find them again. Through the dark or dreary, we were bonded.

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