The Call – microstory

“Hello? Who’s this?”
“Mom… It’s me.”
“Is it really?… You sound different.”
“What’s happened?”
“Your father…,” Mom’s voice catches.
“Is he okay?” Tears threaten to choke both.
“The doctor-”
Words are lost as reality crashes down. Only two are heard – “Heart attack.”




Lydia’s Musings

I’m familiar with the bitter taste. Death. It has surrounded me for years. First both of my parents, then my brother, then my husband. Frank and the unnamed one were all I had left. I say unnamed, because I didn’t know if she’s a he or he’s a she.

Yes. I had names in mind. To keep with the Welch family history, I had decided a boy name and a girl name. Sarah and Ethan – children of Franklin Welch, the first in the American line. They were good names. I hoped for a boy. A second to carry the family name. We are the last, after all. The end of the bloodline, for good or for ill.

It’s hard to imagine why it is this way, though. My own parents were well into their eighties when they passed, and that… That had not from natural causes. I’m still haunted by the notion of the tribe being wiped out so easily. Surely, father had been awake. I saw the claw marks. Bears and wolves both called upon. He was the strongest shaman in an lifetime. He didn’t go down without a fight.

My poor brother… He was such a strong mystic. Stolen away before he could train into shamanism. It fell on me instead. He was the hardest of the deaths. He was too corrupted by that point. The darkness in him had extinguished the light I remember within him. I had no choice…

Then my beautiful Liam. He gave me one parting gift. Another seed. He died of a heart attack in his sleep. At 30, I was certain of foul play. During his short time on this world, he had shown so much strength in mysticism. He was going to be the strongest by another decade. Someone had surely caused the heart attack…

But no one had. It seemed natural, which didn’t add up to me. I searched the annals of the Welch family history. The house has plenty of answers for me. All but one. Why did every male die at the age of thirty for the past two centuries?

Cheryl and Emma, Liam’s sisters, had the answers. My mind is still reeling with the news. A curse. A curse on the bloodline. That meant by dear little Frank would join them. It may be 24 years before it happens, but it will.

And the child I carried? Well, if that was a boy too, then I have only 30 years for them.

Today I wake to the realization that it won’t happen. That bitter taste has returned. The blood was the key. I was raced to the hospital this morning. As I sit in the bed today, I find it hard to move anything but my hands. I can’t walk. I can’t breathe for fear of crying. I can’t think about anything except failing my lost love.

You would think that after all of this, I would be immune to death. But I’m not.

The doctor confirms what I already know. Sarah/Ethan is gone.

The worst of it? I’m a healer, and I could not even stop it from happening in my own body.

I’m sorry, Liam. I promise to raise Frank to be stronger than you. I promise that he will beat your stupid curse.