The sea air blew right threw me, cooling my sweat trodden skin. The sun and salty sea air had been brutal, making the restriction of my corsets unbearabl...e. The crew was busy swabbing deck, but I was busy with something else – worry.
I was asked to come along on this trip by my beau, Taylor Black. I wouldn’t usually agree to go on a voyage at sea, but Taylor is quite the sweet talker. I still remember the day he asked me.
“Emma, you must come. I won’t make it a day without you.”
“Taylor, I’ve already told you, a journey like this one is no place for a lady.”
“This is not a voyage for war or one where the freight is high in value. Many ladies have made similar voyages.” At this I just shook my head. “Love, if just one day without you is too much, than surely three months would kill me.”
“Oh Taylor,” I said, shaking his words away again. I’ve never been one to be easily swayed, but he did have a way with me. His hands clamped down on my shoulders and spun me around to face him, passion evident in his face.
“I’ve never been more true than what I’ve told you.” His eyes bore straight into my soul. “Emma, I need you by my side,” he said, and that was it. All it took was to see his hazel eyes pleading with me, his dark hair swept to the side, his square jaw and six foot frame all hanging on my decision. I love this persuasive bastard, this charming man who could get me to bend to his will so easily.
“If you need me by your side, that’s where I will be.”
Now here I am, four and a half months later and just beginning our voyage home. The time that I’ve spent with Taylor these last four months have been breathtaking. I catch him looking at me while he works with the crew, but my happiness hasn’t come without consequence. Two crew members have died already and I can feel something much much worse coming. I’ve felt it for weeks now. Looming over this day, with its bright blue sky and white puffy clouds like a great big lie.
The day started to go by quicker and lunch was splendid, because I sat with Taylor in the ships dining hall. The lot of us were snacking on fresh cheeses, fruits and breads that we had picked up on our last stop.
“How’s Daniel?” I asked.
“We’re hoping he won’t be the third dead on this trip, but I’m not looking to give up on him yet.”
“It’s Typhoid then, for sure?”
“Yes, it could be none other,” he answered.
I had recipes for Typhoid, but everything is so closely monitored on the ship I’d have to be clever; and even then, they might not have everything that I need. I doubt they kept eye of newt or blood of possum on hand, but the secretions from the eye of a reptile were imperative.
When the next fishing next had a sea snake slithering along on the deck I took it as a sign and shoved it into a burlap sack when no one was paying attention. I replaced the blood of a possum with the blood of a mouse and hoped it was strong enough. I gathered ginger, lemon, garlic, salt and a few other spices, then began following the recipe I had for Typhoid, from grandmothers recipe book.
The next time they took Daniel his soup, I slipped it in. Within the next few days, the crew could only explain what happened to Daniel as a miracle. He was walking around the deck and joining us in the dining room.
No one was the wiser.
So, why was Taylor’s brother, Sawyer, looking at me like that, like he knew something about me that everyone else didn’t. I had even caught him in a confrontation with Taylor earlier in the week. His hazel eyes burned with anger, when Taylor dismissed what he was saying.
“Impossible!” Taylor bristled and then when they saw me the conversation was over.
Butterflies were ravaging my insides, and the worry was getting worse as each day passed. Honestly, I thought now that Daniel was feeling better I would too, but I guess that he was not the curse that had been looming.
Taylor took my hand after lunch and led me back to his quarters. I knew this was our time; we didn’t get very much, but I cherished every second. Guilt pulled at me now and then for not telling Taylor that I was a witch, but if I did we could both be executed. So to protect him I kept that secret to myself. What if he found out and didn’t want to be with me anymore. I couldn’t take the chance.
When his lips met mine, all of my fears melted away. His hands were on my face pulling me to him, craving more than what my lips alone could give him.
“I love you,” he said just before the ship wrenched and threw us both to the floor.”
The curse was upon us and somehow I knew it was here for me. It’s followed my family for too long, for so many generations its wanted revenge.
“Stay here,” Taylor shouted.
“Taylor, no!” I screamed from behind him. When I finally scurried to my feet I ran for the door, but Taylor had locked me in. I was trapped, and my love was out on the deck with my curse.
“Taylor!” I shouted for a second time. I pounded on the door, but the ship wrenched again, and again I was on the ground. That was when my power, the piece of the All that I held inside began to grow. My skin became hot and a light layer of moisture laced my flesh. I cried out, the moan carrying on an invisible wave that lapped over and over again, in the direction of the doors. At my powers peak my whole body was buzzing. A high pitched screech escaped my lips and the doors to the deck blew open.
“It’s a storm,” the crew was shouting and pointing up at the sky. But I knew it was no storm, it was my families curse, the whole reason I was afraid of coming with Taylor from the beginning.
The wind was ripping at the sails and lightening was exploding inside this large mass of black clouds. A face emerged slowly form the clouds and with an animal like shriek its mouth opened, it’s sharp jagged teeth wanting to consume my happiness; wanting to consume Taylor!
“No” I answered back with a shriek of my own, my All glowing around my raised hands, propelling the ship forward, creating a force field like protection. The curse writhed in the sky like a wounded animal, so the cloud began to dissipate until it was gone.
I fell to the ground my energy completely evaporated.
“Witch!” I heard more shouting from the crew.
I glanced at Sawyer who I had heard first, his face full of disgust. When I looked up into Taylor’s eyes I couldn’t stand what I saw. Shock or shame or maybe even betrayal, none of it belonged on the face of the man that I love. With what energy I had left I took off running for Taylor’s quarters and locked the doors behind me. What once held me prisoner now kept me safe.
Taylor was banging on the door yelling my name. Redeeming my trust I heard him yelling at the others to shut up, as they continued to shout “Witch!”
Against my better judgment, I unlatched the lock and stepped back as Taylor burst in and locked the door behind him. My dark brown hair was frazzled and wiry around my head; Taylors face was shocked and ashen.
“Emma, what,” Taylor asked, at a loss for words.
I turned away, and just like he did the day he convinced me to come on this journey he clamped his arms down on my shoulders and spun me towards him. He did not speak, but instead kissed me long and hard.
“It doesn’t matter, Emma, I love you,” he said desperately.
I pulled away.
“How can it not matter? I lied to you. I’m a witch.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he insisted.
“How can it not matter?” I asked confused.
“It just doesn’t.”
“What about them?” I asked, referring to the crew. “They will probably kill me.” With tears staining my face. I still heard them outside the door chanting witch.
“I’ll handle them.”
“Taylor, I am a witch!”
“Then I am in love with a witch!” He yelled and then laughed, as if there was something funny.
“There’s more,” I said.
“The storm…” he presumed.
“Yes, it follows my family, it has for generations.”
“Not all witches are good, not even all of the witches in my bloodline are good and most likely the curse is seeking revenge.”
“I don’t care about the crew, I don’t care about the curse. I want to be with you.”
“Taylor I began to argue,”
He closed his eyes and opened them slowly. I saw a light glowing between us. When I looked down I saw there in his hand a glowing orb of light. My mind was racing to comprehend what it meant.
“Do you think you fought this curse off alone? Sawyer is wiping the memory of the crew as we speak.”
“Taylor,” I said.
He was a warlock; my hope soared and then crashed to its death. I’ll never escape it, Taylor, I am the curse.”
Taking my hand he said. “Then my sweet Emma, I am in love with the witch’s curse.”