Morlock left Tanya alone at the waterfall, racing back towards town to get to his home. His heart broke, shattered after she told him that she loves another, not him. His dreams crumbling right before his eyes as she stared off at the waterfall talking about him finding another to marry and make his own, taking her as his wife and going to the kingdom with her so he may work beside the king instead of his Tanya. His thoughts cloud as he races back to town, wanting to be far away from Tanya at that moment. Without a word, he left her. He knew that it is wrong to do so but he could not bear being with her at that moment. He didn’t know what he could do to change her mind, maybe a love spell or something in his book would help but he needed to read the book as soon as possible.
Sensing his love somewhere behind him after he is halfway through the town, he turns to see her enter the gate and walk around the side of her house to get to the door. He watches her stop and smile at him, a small sad smile then raise a hand and wave. He doesn’t wave, just stares at her. He sees her enter her house and once she is out of sight, his anger grows even more intensely. She must pay! A love potion or spell isn’t going to make him happy. Watching her suffer for the pain she has caused him would make him happy. Making her beg for his mercy and love would make him happy. But how? He turns away from her house and continues to head back home, his mindset on finding a curse for his Tanya. He goes through the curses that he has memorized in his mind as he stalks through the town, ignoring the whispers and stares from the other townsfolk. A couple of people try to stop him and say hello but he brushes them off, telling them quickly that he has to get home.
He doesn’t go into his house, instead unlocks and opens the basement door to his lair, heading down into the darkness. He mutters under his breath a quick spell, the torches that he had placed in there before, springing to life so that he may see where he is going. His eyes adjust to the low light and he stops in front of his book. Flipping it open, he licks the tip of his finger and shuffles through the pages until he finds the section about curses. A cruel smile spreads across his face as he begins to scan the different curses, trying to find the perfect one for the tramp, Tanya. He shakes his head when he thinks about the name he gave her suddenly. Not tramp…lover, bride to be, confused little girl, but definitely not tramp even if she is in love with another. He returns his attention to the book, reading the curses under his breath.
“Curse of blindness, curse to grow old faster, a curse to kill with a single touch. Hmmm.” He stops after the last, thinking of how Tanya will kill anyone she touches and he will be the only one protected from the touch so she will be forced to turn to him for help. “That curse could work.” He marks the page with a scrap of leather and continues to go through the curses, the book having about 10 pages full of curses though he knew that his other books held more. “Curse of deafness, the curse of loss of intelligence, a curse to murder in your sleep.” He tags that page, as well as the sleep cure, intrigues him, not for Tanya but one to experiment with on another unfortunate soul he finds in the future. “Curse of loss of speech…” Morlock turns page after page, unable to find a curse that he liked, guessing that the death touch curse may be his best bet when his eyes fall on a curse he has never heard of before. “The Curse of the 7 Tasks. The one how is cursed with this specific curse must perform 7 tasks in two weeks, one that is deadlier or more dangerous than the last. If the one cursed does not perform the 7 tasks, he or she will die a most horrific death. The one who performed the curse may remove the curse before the tasks are finished if he or she sees fit.” He raises an eyebrow as he thinks about the curse, this curse having caught his full attention. “I can stop it before she dies, make her beg for me to stop the curse by promising herself to me.” He grins at the book, reading the curse to see what it is that he will need in order to make the curse work. He copies down the ingredients that he will need in order to make the special drink that she must drink in order for the curse to work.
“This looks easy enough to make,” he says as he rolls up his parchment and heads for the door. He needs to get to the market and get the ingredients before the day is done since it looks like it will take a while for the potion to be made.
The torches turn off as he passes, his lair being sent back into darkness before he leaves, locking the doors behind him. He looks at the parchment again, reading the first two ingredients and with his quill with ink on the tip he scratches them off since he has them already in his lair. He then heads off to the florist for the next ingredient, liking that the drink will not be a disgusting type drink that she would never drink but something sweet and delicious. He paid for the edible flower he would need and then moves on to the next place. Soon, his bag is full of ingredients and he is headed to the last place to collect the last ingredient, making sure that he avoids any route that may take him near Tanya’s house or anywhere near where her father works. He does see Stacy, one of Tanya’s best friends, but he avoids eye contact and keeps moving through the town. He returns one last time to the waterfall for the last ingredient, the water of the waterfall as it splashes down right before the pool.
Satisfied with everything he has collected, he walks back to the house, ready to create a tasty drink that will curse his love and make her want to be with him since he is the only one who can lift the curse. Eager to get started, he heads inside to grab a few bowls to use to mix the items in and crush other items in, then sets everything up at his table. He grabs a bit of jerky to chew on as he works, having skipped lunch in order to go shopping in the market for the items he will need. He places the bowls out on the table, then grabs a few cups and his special mortar and pestle to grind the dry ingredients into a fine dust. Sitting at the table, he chews on the jerky as he reads and re-reads the spell in his book, having retrieved it a few minutes after returning home, not wanting to make any mistakes and causing her death before she has to start the tasks. Feeling more confident with the spell, he begins mixing dust of herbs and flowers with liquids of drinkable nectar and honey with water. He begins to chant the words from the book over the drink as he stirs everything into a cup after having mixed everything in a bowl. He smiles when he sees a puff of pink and blue smoke, the sign that he has done the curse right and that the drink is ready for his victim.
He finishes the jerky, drinking water and making sure that it isn’t the drink he has just made, and taps a finger on the table, staring at the glass full of purple liquid. Now the hardest part for the whole curse to work; getting Tanya to drink the spell drink without her growing too suspicious of him. He continues to tap his finger on the table, unsure of how he is going to get her to accept the drink from him. Unless…unless he says that it is a peace offering and that he is sorry. He nods his head, knowing that that will be the only way to get her to take it. He cleans up his mess, washing the items he has used, and putting them back into the cabinets. He returns to his wizard lair and places the book back into the locked cabinet he had brought with him after having bought it from another wizard he had met along the road back to his town. He locks his book safely inside and places the other ingredients that he had extra from the spell into his large trunks, and heads back upstairs to make dinner and get to bed.
He enters his home and turns to watch the other people go back to their houses for the night, wondering what Tanya will tell her parents about their meeting. He also wonders if Stacy will tell Tanya that she saw him walking home. He shrugs his shoulders, slamming his door behind him. He makes a quick dinner of quail and potatoes before he gets an idea. He pulls out some paper and his quill, sitting down at the table with both, placing them alongside his plate. Before he eats, he writes a quick letter to Tanya, asking her to meet him in the meadow so that they can talk and so that he can apologize for his reaction. He says that he is hurt but he will accept that she loves another and that he does want to try to be friends again. He tells her that he misses his spunky little friend and wants to be able to do things again, to get to know her all over again so that they can once again be best friends. He also wants to apologize to Stacy for having ignored her but he was in a hurry to get home to nurse his wounds and to think things over. He signs the letter and places a cloak on, having taken off his wizard robe and slipped into other clothes, and heads out into the growing darkness. He makes his way through the town, saying hello to others as he goes in order to make people believe that he isn’t an outcast but someone who wants to be a part of the town again.
He reaches Tanya’s house, the letter clutched in his hand, and he sees that her father has just gotten home. He walks up to the door and knocks gently on the door, trying not to be impatient. A few minutes later the door opens and her father stands before him. He grins a huge smile at him and thrusts his hand out to Tanya’s father. “Wow, Mr. Torrance, it is so good to see you again. I cannot believe that I am back here and that you and your family are still here.”
Her father looks confused for a second but takes his hand and shakes it, “Morlock? No that can’t be the 7-year-old all grown up.”
Morlock laughs, hearing the unease in his voice, “Yep it’s me all grown up. I am sorry to be calling on Tanya so late but I have a letter for her that I am hoping you can give to her. We talked earlier and things didn’t go well and I feel really bad about it all. It explains everything in the letter. Could you please give it to your daughter? I would really appreciate it, sir.” He pulls out the letter and holds it out to Tanya’s father.
Mr. Torrance looks down at the letter that Morlock holds out to him and he gently takes it from his hand, “Oh of course. I will give it to her in a moment. She told me that you two went to talk by the waterfall. I hope that everything works out and you two can put this behind you.”
“So, do I, Mr. Torrance. I want to just be friends and meet up like we used to as kids. She is the only one who truly understood me and I miss my friend.” He smiles at the father, wishes Mr. Torrance a good night and turns to leave. He then stops and turns back to face the man, “Tell Mrs. Torrance I was sad to have missed her earlier and that I hope she has a wonderful night. I can’t wait to see her. I want to cook for you all some night soon to give her a break and to show her that I remember how to make her famous rabbit stew.”
Mr. Torrance laughs, “I think my wife would love for someone else to cook for her and to see how good your rabbit stew is compared to her own.” He waves another time as Morlock walks backward for a split second. He then shuts the door and faces his daughter and wife, letting out a slow breath. “It was Morlock and he wants me to give you this.” He holds out the letter to Tanya, who takes it with a shaky hand. “And he wants to make us rabbit stew one night.”
Tanya slowly opens the letter and begins to read it, hoping that it isn’t a threat or worse, a curse that if she reads will stop her heart. She sighs in relief, “He just wants to talk more about us being friends and to apologize for the letters and seeming like an obsessed puppy.” She smiles and looks up at her parents, “May I go to the meadow tomorrow and talk to him?”
Mr. Torrance nods, “He seems genuine about all of this so yes you may go.” He looks at his wife and gently takes her hand, squeezing it. “It will be okay. He sounds like the old Morlock we knew as a kid. He just wants to apologize to our daughter.” He heads back to the table where he sits down and relaxes in front of the fire he made earlier as the nights have become colder.
Tanya smiles and re-reads the letter, glad to see that Morlock has accepted that she won’t be his wife and that he wishes to actually have a friendship with her. She walks back to her room and puts away the letters from Morlock back inside a box with the latest one on top. She pulls the crystal out from her pocket, now sure of keeping it again as a token of friendship, and sets it on the top of the letters. She slides the wooden box under her bed and gets ready for bed, looking forward to her meeting with Morlock tomorrow. She gets into bed, unaware that the letter is just a ploy to get her to the meadow for Morlock’s devilish scheme.
Outside, Morlock faces the house, pulling the cloak’s hood up over his head and stares at the house. He mutters under his breath another spell that he has found in his book, one that will guarantee she will play along with his curse and hopefully will trigger her to come to him right away to release her from the curse. Once he has finished the spell, he waves his hand across his chest in front of the house seeing a black mist, and then turns and stalks back to his house, his mind seething with anger. He enters his house and walks over to his fireplace, making his own fire in order to fight off the cold and curls up in the chair in front of it, staring at the flames as they dance for him. Inside the fire, he sees Tanya walking through the meadow to him with her hands held high and smile on her face. Soon he can feel the breeze rolling across the meadow, pushing his hair back as she moves closer, wearing a pretty ruby red dress and her hair over her shoulder in a long braid with flowers intertwined with her hair. He takes a hold of her, pulling her close, muttering that he loves her, and kisses her deeply.
Tanya doesn’t return the kiss. Instead, she bites his lip until she draws blood. Morlock jumps back, letting her go and she laughs at him. She shakes her head, “I don’t love you and I never will. I would rather die than ever love you. Actually, I think it would be best if you died.” Without warning, Tanya pulls a knife out from the folds of her dress and stabs him right in the heart.
Morlock yelps, sitting up straight, placing a hand over his heart to see if there is blood or if there is even a wound where she had stabbed him. He wipes his eyes as he looks around, seeing that he is still in his house in front of the fireplace. He must have fallen asleep while still sitting in the chair and then the nightmare came to him. He knew that dreams and nightmares can be signs and warnings for when he is awake as it has happened before but more times than not, they had just been bad dreams with no meaning. This one felt very real causing him to rub the spot on his chest where he had felt the knife penetrate through his skin and bone to get to his heart. He lets out a shaky breath as he stands up, seeing that the fire has died out and only a small spiral of smoke is left in his fireplace. Outside he can hear the sounds of the crickets and bats. In the distance, an owl lets out a hoot as it swoops down from a tree to most likely claim its dinner. From these noises, he can tell that it is very late and that he should get back to bed to try and sleep. He is glad that his insomnia hasn’t attacked him that night but with the nightmare that has shaken him to the core, he might actually accept insomnia over sleeping.
He slowly makes his way through his cold house to get to his bed, wrapping his cloak around him tighter, having kept it on when he had entered his house. He didn’t want to take it off as it is very comfortable and warm. He crawls into his bed, wrapping himself in the cloak and then pulling the warmish sheets over his body. He closes his eyes with a heavy tired sigh, wishing for a dreamless sleep for the rest of the night.
Across town, Tanya sits upright in her bed, breathing heavily as she awakens from a dream. She is in the meadow in a beautiful ruby red dress and walking towards Morlock. He has his arms open to her and is saying how he loves her and will protect her. She runs to him, letting him enfold her in his arms and kiss her. She doesn’t kiss him back but her hand moves to the folds of her dress and she bites his lip so hard that it bleeds in her mouth. She steps away from him, wiping his blood off of her mouth with the sleeve of her dress and tells him that she would never love him and that she would rather die than love him. She pulls a knife out of the folds of her dress and tells him that maybe instead he should die. She then pulls her arm back and before Morlock can react, she drives the knife down into his chest, pushing it deep into his heart. She stands over his body and begins to laugh as he stares up at her, his expression of betrayal written all over his face. She continues to laugh as she watches him bleed out from his chest wound before she turns, leaving the knife buried in his chest, and begins to walk away.
Now she sits in her bed, staring out the dark window, catching her breath and blinking several times because tears are threatening to escape from her eyes. She couldn’t believe that she just dreamt of herself murdering her longtime friend in their meadow by a knife. She pushes back her covers and slips out of the bed, placing her bare feet on the warm rug that sits beside her bed. She silently trudges over to the window and pushes it open, letting the cold night air brush back her wild hair. Without thinking, she climbs out of her window without anything on her shoulders and she walks out to the gate that leads to the meadow. She pushes the gate open and heads into the meadow, her bare arms under her nightdress short sleeves prickling with goosebumps as she grows colder. She scolds herself since she hadn’t grabbed her shawl or anything for her arms and now she is paying for it but she didn’t want to go back home just yet.
She sits down at the edge of the meadow, closest to the gate and stares off into the darkness, listening to the sounds around her, letting the night calm her nerves. She stays there for a good hour, shivering and letting herself calm down, pushing the nightmare from her mind. Finally, unable to handle the cold any longer, she rises to her feet and rubs her arms as she slowly makes her way back to her home. She has done this before when she has things to think about or something is bothering her but never because of a nightmare that was so realistic. She could feel the knife’s hilt bite into her hand as she slammed it into Morlock’s chest. She can still taste the blood in her mouth from when she bit his lip. She can still hear the knife’s blade cutting through his skin and deep into his chest. She can still smell the blood as it slowly seeps out of his heart and out of the wound she had caused with the knife.
She enters the gate, making sure that it doesn’t creak and tiptoes into her back yard, crawling back through her window and into bed. She snuggles down deep into her bed, willing her bed to warm her and help comfort her so she can fall back to sleep. She can tell by the sounds that it is past midnight and soon enough her father will rise with her mother and get ready for their day. She would soon have to get up as well in order to do her daily chores, now that she is allowed out of her house before she can get ready in order to meet with Morlock. Finally, sleep comes to claim her and she sleeps peacefully through the night.