Authors: Lisa Rayns
Curse of the Egyptian Goddess
An Urban Fantasy Novella
By Lisa Rayns
Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Rayns
Also available in print.
ISBN-13 # 978-1466486089
ISBN-10 # 1466486082
Kindle Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
First, I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support with my writing dream. Their faith in me has been inspiring. Next, I’d like to thank my wonderful writing group and critique partners for providing a constant flow of motivation and feedback.
Consciously, I allowed the pinkish sunrays to reach my pupils. After several blinks, fuzzy images appeared and confused my relaxed state of mind: a windshield with one tiny crack on the driver’s side–my blue sedan. Without moving, I let my eyes wander. My purse sat beside me on the seat. Out the windows I saw an empty parking lot and a white, brick building. I was parked beside the bar. I never left.
Had I been that drunk?
As I reached into my purse for the car keys, pain jolted through my muscles like lightning. Suddenly, I knew my problem wasn’t alcohol. Panic registered behind my eyes, and I struggled to fit the key into the ignition. When it finally slid in, the tires squealed as the car took off by command of my shaking foot. My whole body shook.
was the only thought I allowed in my head.
The early morning traffic was light, and I didn’t live far, but the aches intensified with every mile. When I finally reached my parking spot, I threw open the door and jumped out of the car. My legs didn’t support me. I crumpled to the ground. Aches turned into screaming streams of pain as my body hit the concrete in a fetal position. My legs felt like putty, and I couldn’t seem to move them. Gritting my teeth, I tried to fill my lungs with the much needed oxygen.
“Emma?” a familiar voice called out to me from across the street. “Are you all right? I saw you fall.”
My shaking fingers fumbled to tuck my necklace inside my shirt and zip up my lightweight jacket before he arrived. Once safe, I slowly raised my head to my neighbor and forced a reassuring smile. “Hi Dave.” My voice sounded raspier than normal.
The oil stains on his jeans and gray T-shirt told me what he was doing up so early. He leaned down and pulled me up with his muscular arms.
“Thanks. I seem to have had a little too much to drink.” Once on my feet, I felt a twinge of hope…until he let go. I fell back into the seat of my car, realizing that I was unable to stand on my own. “Um…” I looked at him dumbfounded, then at my apartment building. The gray, three-story building stared back at me, teasing me. I was so close. “Would you mind helping me inside?” I asked, trying to keep the desperation out of my voice.
“Sure.” He carefully lifted me to a standing position and encircled his arm around my waist to help me walk. When he realized my legs were doing more to trip me than to help us along, he scooped me up and carried me like a small child.
His flowing blond hair tickled my face as I concentrated on trying to hold in the pain and stop shaking. Once inside my first floor apartment, he set me down on the sofa. He wasn’t even out of breath from the ordeal, but concern shadowed his face.
“Look, do you want me to call a doctor? Or an ambulance? I could drive you. You don’t look very good, and you’re shaking all over.”
“No, thanks though.” I raised my hand and fought for the energy to wave it off like it was no big deal. “I’m fine, just a little…or maybe way too much to drink, that’s all. I’ll be fine once I get some sleep.”
“Well, if you’re sure that’s all it is.” A wave of sympathy flooded his face. “I’ve been known to crawl home a time or two myself,” he said, adding a wink.
I smiled, grateful to be in my apartment and thankful the ache ceased when I wasn’t moving.
David Allvy was one of the few people I felt comfortable around. After complimenting his ’68 Firebird one time last year, he took me in and called me a friend. His love for his car, coupled with the time he spent in his garage accounted for his recent divorce from wife number two. We had a neighborly relationship, but most often I thought of him as a long lost uncle. Except he was safer than any relative of mine. He was handsome, muscular, and five years older than me, but more importantly, he hadn’t been affected by my curse.
“Do you want me to take you to bed?”
“What?” My head jerked upward, causing a new ripple of pain to shoot through my upper body. I muffled my whimper with a fake cough.
His hands darted up in a quick surrender. “I mean, would you be more comfortable sleeping it off in there?”
Relief flooded me as I let myself relax. “Oh. No, thanks, really. You’ve already done enough for me today. I owe you one.”
“All right.” He pulled an afghan off the back of the sofa and laid it over my body. “At least you won’t get run over in here.”
“That is a plus. No birds will shit on me either.”
He chuckled before he headed toward the door. “Call me if you need me, and I’m glad you made it home.”
“Thanks.” I managed one last smile to placate him.
When he left, my anxiety eased, and I tried to calm down with happy thoughts of being home. I looked around my small one bedroom apartment that only held the bare necessities: Brown sofa, white table, small black television on a stand.
Home wasn’t really home anymore.
I’d always lived in Madison, Wisconsin. Whenever my family wasn’t traveling, it was where we hung up our shovels. Up until two years ago I lived in the same large estate I’d grown up in, but when my dad died, I moved out. The house still waited for me, but I couldn’t bring myself to enter it. After all, it was my fault that my whole family was dead.
Twelve hours after I laid my head on the arm of the sofa, I awoke to the sound of a blender in the upstairs apartment. Darkness loomed outside the small living room window. I raised my eyes enough to see the green illuminated clock on the microwave. Seven o’clock pm.
A slight panic ran through me when I remembered what I was doing on the sofa. Thoughts rushed into my head, and I couldn’t hold any back.
Did it really happen?
Or maybe I did just drink and dance too much. Maybe I dreamt it.
My heart fluttered briefly as more thoughts entered my mind.
Should I call Chad? He was with me, wait, no he wasn’t. He left the bar before me, and he wasn’t there when it happened.
Frustrated with my own questions, I slowly made my way to the kitchen. Though the aches and pains were still intense, they were better than they’d been before I slept, and I found that I could stand and walk with little effort. After taking four Ibuprofen and gulping down what seemed like a gallon of water, I grabbed an extra pack of smokes and a picture frame out of my bedroom.
Once in the bathroom, I turned the water on and stared at my pale white face in the mirror. I looked like the living dead. My normally pink lips bore no noticeable color, and my eyes were a lighter shade of green than I’d ever seen them. My long black hair was matted and stuck together in clumps as though it had been wet before I’d passed out. Dark circles beneath my eyes stuck out like portals to Hell.
Closing my eyes, I undressed and eased into the tub. The hot, stinging water felt like healing waters. I enjoyed the sensation for a few minutes before I opened my eyes and scanned my naked body–bruised from my knee caps up.
“I guess it really happened,” I mumbled.
It’d happened before and I knew it would happen again, but before last night its timing had been more predictable, occurring only during the full or new moon.
was hard to explain. I called it my curse.
I sank back in the tub and surrendered to the haunting memories.
Ever since I’d put on the golden, snake necklace, I’d been attacked twice a month during the moon cycles. The attacks were made by a large, invisible snake that squeezed the life out of me until I passed out. I could feel its bumpy smooth skin under my fingers, I could dig my nails into its cool innards, but I couldn’t ever seem to hurt it. After ten years with the curse, I knew the damn thing didn’t want to kill me. Its goal was to make me suffer.
As bad as the attacks were, I would gladly take them if they were my only punishment. But my curse didn’t stop there. It extended to every part of my life, causing bad luck for me and everyone I was close to.
I coped with alcohol and nicotine–
of alcohol and nicotine.
Lighting a cigarette, I grabbed the 5x7 I’d brought from of my room. The ten year old picture had been taken next to my father’s dig in Egypt. I was wearing a yellow dress and holding a red flower. A little boy in a striped shirt had his arm around me. The hint of turquoise in his blue eyes made them unforgettable but that was where our differences ended. We both had dark hair, we were both ten, and we were both cursed.
A pounding on my door pulled me out of thoughts, and I struggled to get out of the tub.
“Just a minute,” I called loudly and then tossed my cigarette into the toilet. I quickly pulled on my full length robe; dreary pink and worn, but it covered all the bruises. Stumbling toward the door, I imagined finding Chad on the other side.
Chad was my casual boyfriend but he always tried for more. He thought he could win me over by showing up unannounced at all hours of the night, thereby proving he was spontaneous and fun. He didn’t understand the real reason I wouldn’t get close to him–I didn’t want to hurt him.
A shiny gold badge stared at me when I opened the door. “Detective Cade, Madison Police Department.”
Fear wrapped around me like my cursed snake, making me shudder. “Can I help you?” I asked nervously.
“Yes, you can,” the uppity detective said, slamming the badge into his white shirt pocket. His dark blue suit was as crumpled as his mood, and his brown eyes glared at me like venomous fangs. “Are you Emma Patrix?”
“I need to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind.” His harsh tone made the request sound more like a command.
“Okay.” I eyed the serious faces of the two uniformed policewomen standing behind the detective. “Did something happen?”
He ignored my question. “You’re dating Chad Landchester. Is that right?”
“Yes, casually. Why?”
“Casually?” he mocked. “Is that why you were seen slapping him in the Captain’s Bar last night?”
“I didn’t slap him,” I insisted, feeling like my life depended on clearing up the misunderstanding. “I merely brushed his hand away because…I don’t like people touching my necklace. Is this a joke? Are you trying to tell me he’s pressing charges?”
The detective shook his head gravely. “I can assure you, this is not a joke. How long had you two been dating?”
“Had? Had been dating?” I asked, my voice straining to a squeal. My heart sped up and black dots formed in front of my eyes. “What are you saying? Is he all right? Tell me what’s going on!”
Mr. Cade raised his hand and looked up at the ceiling unsympathetically. “Calm down, miss, I only have one more question.”
I calmed slightly, hoping he’d misspoke but internally I was praying a million prayers that Chad
suing me and pressing charges for the smack of his hand.