Monday, 4 June 2012

Dice Games 1 - The Morrigan

The Morrigan

Fear flicks the ridge of my spine. 

It was nothing.  A streak of sunset.  An autumn leaf drifting through the twilight.  Nothing.  Just a tawny flash caught from the corner of my eye.  Nothing.

Say it often enough, maybe it’ll be true.

“It’s not my time.” The words hiss between my teeth followed by an immediate stab of regret. Acknowledging it makes it real.  Makes it possible.

And I don’t believe in curses.

Not really.

Laughter in the breeze, a tinge of mockery.  I’m coming.  The words sound in my head, clear as though they’d been spoken out loud.  I spin round.  Sweat breaks out, clammy on my skin.  A scream bubbled up in my throat, choked down.

I reach for my phone, then freeze, pinioned by memory.  Aunt Cass called me, the night she died.  I can still hear the panic streaking her voice, the rapid blur of her words.  “She’s coming! She’s coming Brady.”

But Aunt Cass was delusional. On a secure ward, surrounded by eyes and ears.  Hard to believe she still found a way to hang herself, even there.

She’s coming Brady.

I’m coming.

Aunt Cass was delusional, like Nan.  Strong genetic link, so they say.  Runs in families.  But not me, I’m fine.  Aren't I?

She’s coming Brady.

Something touches my back and again I turn, jerking like a marionette.  Nothing, no one.  The night sky is darkening now.  I don’t know why I’m still standing outside, coatless, feeling the chill.  Feeling afraid.  It’s just… the open door looks dark now.  I’m sure I left the light on inside, I’m sure I did.  But it’s dark. 

I take a step towards it.

I hear a laugh.

Behind me.  To the right of me.  Someone moving, circling. 

“Who’s there?”   It sounds a shrill squeak in the thick night.   A cruel prank, it has to be.  Someone that knows the family legend, the story of the curse.

I’m coming.

The voice echoes in my ear and I hit out, my fist closing on nothing but empty air.   I don’t believe in ghosts.  I don’t believe in goddesses.  I don’t believe in curses that barter firstborn daughters away.  

Aunt Cass believed in it, that’s why they locked her away.  It wasn’t the Morrigan that took her, it was psychiatrists and ECT and locked wards and orderlies.  The nonsense Nana had filled her head with, the talk of the curse… it was enough to drive anyone mad. 

Not me. 

Show me the evidence. 

The thought steadies me.  Taking a deep breath, I walk in slow, dragging steps to the front door.  Safe. 

Reaching the front step I pause, relief flooding me.  Home, safe. It will be fine now, always would have been.

Apart from the flash of red there is nothing. Just superstition and groundless fears, as insubstantial as smoke.

Just as well then, I don’t look back.

To see the face of the Morrigan staring back at me.


Written for the #DiceGames contest run by the fabulous Timony Souler following these rules:

This challenge will run over 3 days:-
·         Monday 4th June
·         Wednesday 6th June
·         Friday 8th June
So, the RULES:
o    You will roll a die – THREE TIMES
o    Each number you roll will give you a PROMPT (Which can be found HERE)
o    You will post a piece (between 250 and 750 words) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

My prompt:  
"A red haired vixen is trying to kill you. Deal with it."


Lena Corazon said...

Wonderful fill, my friend. I love the descent into madness, the tension that ensues, and the reveal that the protag's aunt wasn't as crazy as people wanted to believe.

Sophie Moss said...

I really like this one, Meg. Vivid, descriptive and captivating. Write on, my friend.

David A Ludwig said...

Great sense of panic as we bob along from thought to thought with Brady--that and I love anything with Morrigan.

Is anything missing from the sentence near the end "Just superstition and groundless fears, as insubstantial a nursery."? It didn't quite make sense to me.

Great back and forth in Brady's head though with lines like; "And I don't believe in curses." followed by "Not really." Captures the moment nicely.

Meg McNulty said...

@David Well spotted! I must have been falling asleep when I wrote that thing about nursery (real life and story blending in an unseemly fashion). Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

Bullish said...

I've read this half a dozen times and it still gets me. Really wonderful how we get caught up in the madness and wondering what is real and what is not - and those final lines ... wow. Teriffic! :)