I am so damned tired of this curse. So God Damned, mother fucking tired of it. It is unrelenting and I
know no longer know where reality ends and my life begins because I no longer feel like I’m a part of what is real. Everything is lost to me. The dead are all around me but even my wife has lost her patience in continuing on this way.
I struggle to find reasons of some damned way to stop
p this madness. I had cable installed and now the cable man is dead and joined the masses outside. He was a husband and a father of two kids whom he’ll never see again. Then there is the one who installed internet. Things that I wanted to try and keep me from slipping further into the depths of despair and guess what… now he’s dead too. He was a kid, working at the cable company during the summer. His boss was his father who now mourns a son. Ben is his name, or was, and is, who the hell knows, but now his life is over. He wanted to go into business, he will never get that chance. It was all taken away from him because he got too close to me.
And what defines closeness. Sometimes it feels like the shadow woman will take anyone who is just close to me, other times they are at a distance but yet I knew them and had spoken to them recently. The rules to this crazy game are always changing and I was never told how to play.
It’s trying just to make me crazy. I swear it feeds off my misery just as much as the dead around me. It wants me insane. Sometimes I think I already am. What sane man would live alone out in the woods talking to the dead?
And now I’ve had these strange dreams. A woman, I keep showing up in her apartment. I tell her to get away from me, she isn’t safe, but she knows the shadow thing. She says she has something for me and that it’ll help me.
Nothing is going to help me.
If it wasn’t for this curse I’d kill myself but it is because of the curse that I want to die. If I die, who’ll inherit I’m them? Tommy? One of his kids? How do I do that to them?
Jessica put down the journal. Tears were streaming down her cheek and she tried to wipe them away, but there were too many. She gave up and reached for the tissues nearby. Already there were spots of moisture on the page she had been reading were tears had fallen.
She sniffed more time before blowing her nose, then looked across the room at Lizzie who was still reading.
“How many years did your uncle live like this?”
“I don’t know. 15 years or so” Lizzie didn’t look up right away, but when she did Jessica could see the streaks of moisture streaking the dirt on her face. Neither of them had showered after the attack, they hadn’t wanted to be away from one another. Instead, they had started reading, looking for answer to what that was outside.
That had been how long ago? Neither of them were sure as time slipped by them in the cabin. One hour could feel like seconds, but Jessica knew it had to be more like five hours of her time had been lost. She could see the orange glow from the kitchen as the sun made its lumbering journey below the trees. The light in the dining room was on, Lizzie must have flipped the switch while Jessica’s nose had been in the handwritten pages, and now the light grew stronger as the radiance outside faded.
Night was falling, and Jessica feared what that might bring. This thing was stronger in darkness and it nearly killed them earlier. What would happen now?
“Have the lights ever gone out in here?” Jessica said. She couldn’t help but look between the different light bulbs that were already casting their illumination throughout the room.
“Not that I’ve seen. I don’t know.”
“You got spares right?” Was that one in the living flickering? She couldn’t tell. It could just be her imagination, but she swore it was dimmer than a few seconds ago.
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Well, what if the lights went out. Then couldn’t it get in?”
“I don’t think it works that way.”
“But how do you know for sure?”
“Well for starters, I don’t make a habit of sleeping with the lights on.”
“No. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I’ve never gotten the sense that it was light keeping it out. There’s something else about this cabin.”
“Has he mentioned it in any of these?” Jessica asked as she held up one of the new journals. Her uncle had upgraded his writing books in the newer ones and this one looked like was made out of faux leather.
“Maybe. There are so many of them and much of it is just him talking about long trips in the woods talking to his wife who had been the first one killed by the curse.”
“I wonder what happened to his dead. You would think that they would still be here torturing you. I mean-” Jessica has stopped falling and Lizzie looked over to her friend. It was almost like she could see the wheels turning as Jessica looked at the table and then as though she was scanning it for something. Lizzie didn’t think she was though. Her eyes were moving quickly as she was running through whatever had occurred to her, but Lizzie didn’t think she actually saw the table. She was lost to her own thoughts.
Lizzie has known Jessica a long time and while some would assume that with her bubbly mature and long blond hair, that there wasn’t much going on upstairs. The more you knew her, you’d learn that she was a very aggressive person who was one hell of a fighter. If you knew her long enough, you’d learn the airhead was mostly an act, and that she was smart. It wasn’t book smart, Jessica was not one who enjoyed being sitting down for long periods of time, but she could figure her way out of things pretty well.
“How could your uncle walk through the woods?”
“What do you mean?”
“You just said he was always taking long walks with his wife. How? You walk outside and your getting attacked. First by Sarah, who I couldn’t see, and then by possessed birds killing themselves to kill us. Why was none of this happening to your uncle?”
Lizzie wasn’t sure. She looked at the books around her and then back towards the door which they had slammed shut after being chased inside. There was a chair leaning against it now and a pile of books in front of them. On a conscious level, Lizzie knew no one was getting in that door, but that didn’t stop her from letting her friend block them in. It made her feel safer too, but now as she looked at it, she realized her friend was right. Why was it being more aggressive for her.
“I don’t know.”
“Something’s changed, but what?”
“Maybe because I’m a woman?”
“You really think the things gone all crazy because you’re a woman?”
“No, but it’s the only thing I can think of.”
“There’s got to be something else.”
“Why? I mean, it doesn’t play by any rules I can follow. The voodoo woman told me it was a trickster, playing by one set of rules only to change them on you later. I don’t know, maybe it’s jealous. It went after you-know-who with a vengeance.”
“No, I can’t believe it. This is the 21st century.”
“And we’re dealing with an ancient being. Maybe some kind of sexism worked its way in through the years.”
“Well that’s bullshit.”
“That’s bullshit!” Jessica yelled again, this time projecting her voice loud towards the ceiling. Lizzie thought she could be imagining it, but she swore she heard laughter from outside.
“It was my uncle before me and his uncle before him. My uncle always referred to it as a shadow woman, but I always see a shadow man. There’s definitely some kind of kind of game going on with the gender, but I don’t believe that that alone is why it is being more aggressive with me.”
Jessica looked at Lizzie for a minute, then the door and now back to Lizzie. It was like she was studying her, having some kind of internal debate in her head. Lizzie was getting frustrated as the music had paused, the quiet was getting loud around them, and that gaze was getting unsettling. She was just about to scream at her friend, heading to interrupt the stillness when Jessica took in a large breath.
“O-kay.” Lizzie said, stretching out the word with her confusion apparent on her face with a cocked eyebrow.
“It played the male for you, but now you said it yourself, that it’s using Sarah to get to you. You said there was no way that was Sarah right? That Sarah must not be out there like the others. It is using her to try and get to you because you showed no interest in the guy version.”
“I still don’t think it’s about gender.”
“Liz, I don’t care how old this thing is, but everything is about sex.”
“I doubt an evil curse, or thing, or darkness from beyond time is after me because it wants sex.”
“I don’t know. If I’ve been around for a few centuries, I’d be horny.”
Lizzie rolled her eyes and tossed one of the diaries at Jessica. It felt good to giggle at her best friends. It was almost like a weight had lifted slightly from her chest and she was able to breathe a little easier. Some of the weariness she hadn’t realized had been bogging her down, slipped away. She actually laughed as Jess swatted the book away.
It fell to the floor. It was one of the older ones and the binding had already been loose. The pages ripped from the glue and spilled out across the room. One of them floated to the center of the threshold between the living room and dining room and rested there.
Lizzie looked at the page, and her laughter stopped.