Fleeing the Curse

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for December 5. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week comes from Janet Webb. My piece this week weighs in at exactly 100 words.

Copyright Janet Webb

Copyright Janet Webb

Fleeing the Curse

Stella could feel the ghosts of her ancestors in the sting of the north wind. Their tragic, icy hands grasped for hers. In recent memory, luck had not fallen to the McCully house. She felt regret upon leaving the family homestead for the city but believed it her only viable option.

On the train, Stella imagined she could hear the chains of the family curse breaking. She ignored the rattle in her chest, convinced herself that the warm air of her new employer’s home would soothe her aching lungs.

The following week, a crimson-soaked handkerchief fell from Stella’s lifeless hand.

42 thoughts on “Fleeing the Curse

  1. Dear Marie Gail,

    We seem to have taken somewhat similar paths this week. At least, where curses are concerned.

    I guess in Stella’s case there really was a curse. Stelllllaaaaaaa! Well written as always, m’deah.



  2. Adam Ickes says:

    Foolish girl should have known you can’t escape the icy grip of dead ancestors. Nice tale.

  3. paulmclem says:

    Ah, but was it Stella’s blood on the hanky 🙂

  4. Caerlynn Nash says:

    Wow! You say a lot if a few words. Well done!

  5. rgayer55 says:

    Curse you, red handkerchief. This poor family was doomed from the start. Great-great Grandpa must have really pissed somebody off.
    A well told tale, Marie Gail. You gave us just enough to whet my appetite for more.

  6. Poor Stella! She tried. But one can’t outrun death.

  7. I would say the same .. to me the curse is so vividly real and I think of tuberculosis that was such a real curse just 70 years ago…

  8. What a tragedy to believe in a curse, try to get away from it, and come to the realization it has followed you. Too bad the new family will inherit it also. Great take MG. Very interesting.

  9. Some things can never be escaped, especially those that are inherited. I really love the images in this story Marie Gail, particularly the tragic, icy hands and the crimson-soaked handkerchief.

  10. MG,
    Great job, linking the cold wind and its destructive power on her with her ancestors. It adds a touch of mystery to it. I guess she couldn’t run far enough.

  11. Great hook!! I would’ve happily kept reading this story to find out what happened to Stella.

  12. A mystery worthy of Edgar Allen Poe! From “Their tragic, icy hands grasped for hers” to “crimson-soaked handkerchief fell from Stella’s lifeless hand” it weaves the spell throughout.

  13. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Marie,

    Sounds like tuberculosis, which, don’t look now, is making a comeback. A cruel tale that harks back to the turn of the century and all the maladies people had to endure before they ultimately succumbed. Grim, bitty and good tale.



  14. wonderful period piece, Marie Gail. I could see it all; you captured the character, time and place so well. Though you didn’t say where or when, I think each reader will feel a similar pull. Really nice writing! “Stella could feel the ghosts of her ancestors in the sting of the north wind.” That first line is gorgeous. Clean, powerful, beautifully written!

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Dawn, especially for “clean.” There was something clean about this photo, it seemed, and my character is desperately seeking a fresh start.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  15. subroto says:

    Poor Stella. Had she sought medical advice instead of believing in dead ancestors’ curse, she might have lived. Or maybe that was the curse?

    • storydivamg says:

      Sadly, with tuberculosis, if often didn’t matter much whether or not one sought medical attention. Perhaps it may have eased the suffering somewhat.

      Thanks for reading.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  16. Ellespeth says:

    I had my hopes up and then she died! Oh! Dawn’s comment was a scary thought!
    Good one…

  17. draliman says:

    A family cursed indeed, or perhaps just very unlucky. Sadly, travelling to a new place rarely shatters curses or cures ailments of the lung.

    I loved the first sentence, very atmospheric! It immediately draws the reader in.

  18. I saw this as an old fashioned story, when people explained unknown with superstitious believes. I too thought about the tuberculosis, poor thing didn’t know that nice, warm weather would be the end of her. Nicely layered and composed story.

  19. Margaret says:

    Tragic. The ice, the curse, the blood – such powerful and chilling ideas. Great story.

  20. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Marie Gail, A wonderful story! You did this just right! Wow, I’m impressed and would like to read this if it was a teaser for a book. Just marvelous and gives me goosebumps. Did I say Topnotch? Nan 🙂

  21. Marie Gail, Looks like the real curse of that family was the TB that was passed down from one to the other. If the family home was chilly, that probably didn’t help. She was apparently well along in the diseast from the symptoms you describe. It’s a terrible disease and still with us. Well writtten with great description. — Susan

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