Cursebreaker

This is Week 26 for Odd Prompts from More Odds than Ends. This week I was given: A visceral memory (yours or fictional as you prefer), brought to mind by a scent, taste, song, etc. from Fiona Grey. My prompt was, The noise woke me up. I looked out the bedroom window to see two fully armored knights rolling a stone into my back yard. The stone had a sword protruding from one side. What is going on? and it went to Leigh Kimmel. Head over to both of their places to see what they’ve done with current and past prompts.

This rattled around in my head for a few days and finally came out as part of the next installment of what I’m provisionally calling Cursebreaker. This is the first time I’ve managed to make one piece follow directly from a previous piece. Previously I wrote them in a sort of chronological order, but not one directly after the other. I’m working on putting the pieces together into a coherent whole. So, to that end, I present the next part in the life of Jack McKnight, Cursebreaker.

Previous installments can be found here. Our protagonist has just freed his brother-in-law and family from the confines of a figurine.

*******

Monica hugged Rob hard before reaching for her sister-in-law and niece. After Monica moved on, Jack and Rob exchanged a long stare.

Jack finally spoke. “I’ll get you…us…a drink. Let’s sit down and figure out what happened.”

Rob nodded. He looked over at the cluster of his young daughter, two dogs, his wife, and his sister. “Yeah. They seem to be handling things. You got any whiskey?” he turned to Jack.

“You know it.” Jack pointed at the couch. “Sit. I’ll get it.” He walked over to the small liquor cabinet in the corner of the living room, grabbed two low ball glasses and the bottle of good Scottish whiskey he kept for special occasions. Or, as in this case, emergencies. He was pretty sure Rob would want it neat. He certainly did.

Walking back to the sofa, Jack glanced over at Monica and the others. Bruno was hovering over Sophie, seemingly reluctant to let her get too far away, while Ralphie lay in Julia’s arms occasionally reaching up to lick her chin. Sophie sat on the floor and leaned against Bruno. Monica and Julia were deep in conversation.

Jack handed Rob his glass and sat down in the chair next to the sofa. Rob raised his glass to his face and inhaled the peaty aroma of the whiskey. He smiled.

“This takes me right back to when we all went to Scotland, what, ten? twelve? years ago. Monica and Julia were shopping, and you and I bought a bottle of this, and headed out of town to one of those old seventeenth century bridges over the river and drank half the bottle. I can feel the stones under my hands, the sun on my head. That was a great day.” He took a sip and smiled.

“Yeah, we got lucky with the sunshine. Remember it rained almost the whole time we were there. But it was still a great trip,” Jack raised his glass in a salute to his brother-in-law and took a sip himself.

Jack let the smokey liquid slide down his throat before looking up at Rob. “Dude. What the hell happened? Who cursed you and why did they curse Julia and Sophie too?”

Rob took a deep breath and let it out. He followed that with another sip of whiskey. “It was two witches, Camilia Sharpe and Armina Grove. I had asked them to help me strengthen my working circle. Witches have a stronger connection to the elements than sorcerers do, and I figured if they helped me repair the circle, the combination of magic would make it stronger. We had a contract, and yes, I read it over very carefully. I know I didn’t breach any part of it. But about a week later the two of them showed back up claiming I had broken the contract. Before I could say anything, they cursed the whole family. The last thing I remember is seeing one of them holding up that stupid figurine. Next thing I know, we’re standing here.” He paused. Another sip. He looked up at Jack. “That’s all I got. How did we get here?”

Jack mirrored Rob’s pull on the glass of whiskey. “Bruno and Ralphie brought you. I should tell you, you are the fifth or sixth magic worker cursed into a doll and brought over by their dog that I’ve seen in about three weeks. What the hell are you guys doing? Is this a new trend or something? Or is somebody out to get rid of magic workers?”

Rob sighed and stared into his glass. “I wish I knew. There were a couple of rumors, but I didn’t pay much attention to them. You know how clique-ish the magic community is…”

“Tell me about it,” Jack responded. He tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice. Freelance curse-breakers like him were treated like a necessary evil. Not seen as true magic workers, even though they were the ones who got to undo all the b.s. curses that magic workers tended to throw around. He took a deep breath and willed himself to calm down. Rob wasn’t like that. This wasn’t his fault. A wet nose pushed into his hand and Captain nudged him until Jack was forced to pat the big German shepherd on the head. He smiled and delivered the requested ear scratches, feeling better immediately.

He smiled at Rob. “Yeah, you guys are worse than high school. Let me go get my notes from the others and let’s see what we can put together.”

Rob nodded and tossed back the last of the whiskey. Before he went into his office to gather his notes, Jack grabbed the bottle and put it on the coffee table in front of Rob.

******

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to join in our Odd fun, just head on over to More Odds Than Ends. The instructions are posted right there and the one rule is to have fun!

Image by cromaconceptovisual from Pixabay

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