Tag Archives: curse

Dead Witches

The first time I met Shanna and Sharisse they were just 12. We had moved into the house next door and the two girls in their red and white dresses sat on the front porch of their own house. They didn’t smile or laugh or say hello. They only waved for a moment and then kept staring.

I thought that it would be nice to live next to neighbors’ with daughters the same age as Becky. When the agent told me about the twins next door I imagined that they would become friends with my own daughter. Already in that short moment of seeing them for the first time I realized that I was wrong.

Becky tried to be friends with them. She went over every day to talk to them or invite them for play or meals.

Their parents told us that Shanna and Sharisse were unusually bright but very antisocial. A doctor had suggested that the twins were autistic, but their parents didn’t seem to believe that.

“They are just a bit more mature,” said their father.

“They really like to read, but they still do kid stuff,” said the mother. “They have their own language and everything.” Continue reading

The Curse of Love

“shittynarrator” kindly narrated this story:


I have never seen two people as much in love as Dustin and Kayla. They met at work and from their first kiss on did everything together. They spent the nights in the same bed, the days in the same office, the meals at the same table, the evenings with the same friends, in the same bars and clubs and they were planning the rest of their lives together.

My brother had loved his previous girlfriends Lynell and Marie too, but neither of them even remotely as much as Kayla. Occasionally he still talked about his exes, told me how they were doing or that Lynell and Marie were still looking as great as they had looked when he first met them. But there wasn’t any love in his voice anymore, just a factual description of their lives the way most men and women keep an interest in the lives of the people they shared beds with in the past. Continue reading

A Bond of Blood

There is no force in the world that is stronger than the bond of blood. The bond of blood is that of parent to child and that of sibling to sibling. And of all the possible bonds the strongest is that between twins.

That’s why it’s so damn hard to even lift my fingers to write all this down. Because all our bonds have been broken; every bond of blood has become a blood-drenched bond.

And all of it is my fault. My parents warned me not to violate one of the unwritten rules of German culture – that if your last name begins with ‘S’ it’s first name cannot begin with ‘S’. SS, one of the initials that stands for the eternal German sin.

I thought that was folly. I thought if my child grew up outside the country nobody would mind.

“You are ruining his life.” Said my father.

I laughed.

That’s how the bond between my father and me broke.

Sammy and Jimmy. We chose the names because we liked them and because they sounded alike; they sounded like brothers that would be a team for life.

And they were a team. They did everything together; they even had their own secret language for a while. Sammy and Jimmy always took the fall for each other – a missing cookie? Both claimed to be the culprit. Someone forgot to write their homework – both claimed not to have done theirs. Ripped pants? Of course both wore it during the day.

Watching them made me proud. Watching them reassured me that I had done right.

They were smart. I say that with pride, but also because it’s true. They learned reading faster than any of the other kids in their class; they excelled in every subject.

We had a ritual for their birthday. We went to the bookshop and each could choose the smartest and thickest book they liked. Not the books for children or teens – the real, expensive, solid books; the ones they could stack on their shelves with pride.

They always chose the same type of book; they coordinated their purchase just like they coordinated the clothes they wore, the sports they played, and the friends they made.

On their thirteenth birthday we went to the bookshop again. I wanted to help them be more independent and sent each in one direction – Sammy to the left, Jimmy to the right. At first they didn’t want to; they wanted to stick together like always. I wanted to be a good father, to help them be independent and mature.

That day, without my knowledge or intent, I committed my second sin; I broke the second bond of blood.

Jimmy came back with a book on economics. Sammy came back with a book on philosophy.

Each read their books and then they exchanged and each read the book of his brother. But somewhere through that first book they changed.

Since the divorce, at the time they were just ten, I always made sure that we my sons and I had dinner together, just like I hoped that my former wife and my former daughter too had dinner together.

The all-male dinner table was the place where they asked me the questions young boys ask and told me the worries young boys have. And it was also the place where I first notice that they broke apart, that they had different opinions.

Jimmy began to lecture us on economics – price points, demand curves, later even game theory.

Sammy began to bombard us with philosophical thought experiments – if you shoot a man that would have died anyway, but in the process save ten others, are you still a murderer? In a world without color, could you understand the concept of red? And of course, his favorite: If your brain was exchanged with another man’s brain and then one of your bodies would receive a million dollar and the other would be killed – would you rather like your brain receive the money and your body to die, or the other way around?

We argued about the body switch experiment. Sammy said it was fantastic and everybody would choose to kill his own body and give money to the new body with the mind. Jimmy said that all this was nonsense; he said that none of that would work and any reasonable person would give the money to himself.

In my memory that’s the first real fight they ever had; the first real issue on which they disagreed.

At first I liked these changes and the variety in conversation they brought. I thought it was healthy that they had become separate – and, after all, they still worked together most of the time.

Maybe they would have found neither economics nor philosophy – maybe together they would have chosen books about something altogether different, like medicine or law. Either way, I can’t change the past. No matter how much I would give to be able to do it, even if I would give my own life for it – I can’t change the paths on which I pushed each of them by sending them in different aisles.

Sammy went into a downward spiral. His passion for philosophy led him to a passion for magic and then one for alchemy. He spent days and weeks hunched over old books, silently laughing to himself. He barely paid attention to school or friends anymore.

Jimmy seemed to become more open and social but mostly stayed similar in character to how they both had been. Then, shortly before their sixteenth birthday, from one day to the next they seemed to have become different people.

Whatever I tried, I just couldn’t help Sammy get back on the path. While Jimmy aced every test he tried, Sammy failed the first test of his life, then a second, then a third.

I asked Jimmy to help Sammy and as far as I could see Jimmy tried very hard to help. But all their tutoring sessions ended with fights; with Sammy shouting at Jimmy that it was all his fault and that he should go away.

Despite his efforts I think Jimmy helped even less than the two tutors I paid and the many hours I myself tried to help Sammy get back on track. Honestly, if anything, I think all those efforts made the situation all worse.

Sammy was bitter and angry most of the time – while Jimmy was cheerful and helpful in every respect. Sammy gained weight; Jimmy gained muscles. Sammy failed exams; Jimmy jumped through them with ease. Sammy locked himself in his basement, rereading old books; Jimmy went out and made new friends every week.

With 19 Sammy dropped out of school – while Jimmy went on to university. Sammy was fired from job after job – while Jimmy, a few months into his second year of studies, founded his first company.

Jimmy sent money and books for Sammy, he wrote letters of reference, and called in favors with old friends – but Sammy was on the wrong track and nothing Jimmy or I tried made Sammy any less angry or unsuccessful.

I remember the phone call I had with my own father, shortly after Sammy had lost another job because of ‘laziness.’

My own father said that it was my fault, that I had made a mistake by giving Sammy the initials SS. He thought that that’s how I destroyed Sammy’s life; that the shame and guilt had driven Sammy to failure; that I had set him up to be an evil and vile person.

I have to admit, nothing ever got to me that much; nothing ever hurt me more than to have my own father tell me that I ruined my own son’s life.

It hurts as much to admit that, in one way or the other, my father was right.

With 22 my son Jimmy sold his first company and founded a second.

With 22 my son Sammy got into a pub fight and lost one of his eyes.

With 24 my son Jimmy found the love of his life; with 25 they got engaged.

With 24 my son Sammy found a girlfriend that screamed at him for the tiniest things; with 25 he got a criminal record for beating her.

With 26 my son Jimmy sold his second company for more than 300 million dollar.

With 26 my son Sammy steered his second hand car into oncoming traffic.

Jimmy and his wife came to the funeral; so did Sammy’s mother and sister and I. Sammy’s girlfriend didn’t even send a card.

The women went to bed early. Jimmy and I sat at the dinner table that seemed too big for just two.

We sat silently for most of the time while one gin after the other disappeared in my throat.

“I miss Sammy.” I finally said.

“I miss my brother too.” Jimmy said.

“I guess your grandfather was right. I messed him up. It’s all my fault.”

“You didn’t mess Sammy up.” Jimmy said.

I shook my head.

“You remember,” Jimmy said. “All my alchemy books?”

I emptied another glass of cold liquid in my mouth and enjoyed the gentle tickling burn it left in my throat.

“They had some interesting stuff about twins; that we are connected by a bond stronger than anything else; a bond that is strong enough to even allow you to switch your bodies and to change fate. We had that bond.”

“You loved each other.” I said.

“Jimmy and I tried a technique from one of the books,” said Jimmy. “When we were fifteen.”

“What?”

“Promise not to hate me.” Jimmy said.

“I could never hate you.” I said.

I didn’t know that was a lie.

“Do you remember how I always told you about the philosophical thought experiment? The one where you have to imagine that you can switch bodies?”

“That was Sammy, not you. You didn’t believe in it.”

“Right.” Jimmy said.

There was a thin smile on his lips.

“One of the alchemy books said that the fates of twins are linked; they are connected and they can influence and balance each other. And it gave instructions.”

“Instructions for what?” I asked.

“Do you remember the outcome?” Jimmy asked. “The outcome of the thought experiment?”

“Instructions for what?” I repeated.

“What’s the outcome?” Jimmy asked.

“One gets rich and one dies.”

“Right.” Jimmy said. “Instructions for that.”

He smiled.

“As said, twins have this bond. I proved that to Jimmy when we were fifteen.”


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

White Devils

“The war made him first from a boy into a man, then from a man into a broken man.” Grandma always looked sad when she said that.

The three years of war never left him. You might have heard about PTSD, but hearing about it is not the same as experiencing it. Even when I was just a child I knew that something was wrong with grandpa.

When I was very young he scared me. He was nice to me, always nice and friendly, but I could hear him scream behind closed doors and stomping up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.

Whenever my dad came home late after his bowling nights I would tell him that he “smelled like grandpa.” That was grandpa’s way to cope and I think he inherited some of it to dad and dad in turn to me. When you grow up with the knowledge that alcohol solves problems and preserves sanity then it is hard to get around that idea.

Grandpa drank to forget; to forget the memories and flashbacks and nightmares. When Kim Il-Sung attacked the South grandpa’s boots were some of the first Western boots on the ground. They drove the North back; then they got too close to the Chinese border.

I still remember grandpa’s cursing when he spoke about the “millions of Chinese” that crossed the border. Their weapons were inferior, their training too. Still, by sheer mass, they drove the UN forces back.

Grandpa was one of thousands that came home with scenes and images etched in their minds. Some lived a normal life; grandpa barely functioned.

As a teenager I read many books about the war; their authors often served in the same battles as grandpa. Others I asked in person.

Still, no one else ever spoke about nightly attacks on the camps and no one else ever called the Koreans “White Devils.”

Grandpa always cursed about them. Ever since the war he stayed up at night and slept during the day, just because of them. He said that he needed to protect his house and family.

I hated it when we stayed over at my grandparents’ place; there sleeping was impossible for me. If grandpa’s cussing didn’t wake me up it was the baseball bat crashing on floors and furniture, and sometimes even gunshots at imaginary enemies.

I never dared to go down to stop him. I never dared to sit down and talk with him. I feel guilty for that now, but as my dad usually points out it was already much too late – no one could get through to him.

All grandpa talked about were his nightly encounters with the white devils. Dad usually cut him off and told him grandpa that he needed to go again to see his therapist. No matter what time of the day – grandpa always answered the same way: by pouring a large glass of liquor.

Twice grandpa tried to talk to me about the white devils. The first time I must have been around 11. I cried when he told me about the shrine he destroyed and that the Koreans, as revenge, killed most of his squad. That was the only war story he ever told that day – else he only talked about the white devils; that they were trying to harm his family and him.

After that I too began to have nightmares, but only whenever I stayed over at grandpa’s place. I saw small white figures behind the window, white-socked feet behind the door, and a few times even figures standing in or walking through my room.

When I told grandpa about my nightmares he made me sleep with the door open. He patrolled the house, the baseball bat in one and a cold glass in the other hand. His presence made me nervous and it was harder for me to fall asleep – but in return the nightmares ended.

The second time grandpa sat me down was when I was 14. I don’t remember the details of our conversation, but I remember the sickening smell of his breath, the way he slurred words and that he kept talking about the white devils.

He said that I was old enough, that I had to help him protect the family because my father refused to do so.

In retrospect it seems obvious that around that time grandpa’s mental health began to deteriorate rapidly. The shouting got more frequent, often furniture was broken in the morning and several times the neighbors called the police because grandpa’s gunshots broke through their wall. Back then I didn’t notice the change, it was too gradual and I think I wasn’t the only one deluding myself that the deterioration was just ‘temporary’ and that grandpa would return to his previous state.

Then he began to speak of “proving it.” A few times others had stayed awake with grandpa to help him hunt his memory ghosts, but no one ever saw anything.

Grandpa was prescribed new, stronger medication, but he never took it. He usually said that he needed “to be awake and alert.

His screams woke me up. Not cussing and cursing about white devils; screams. Grandma too was on the corridor and followed me downstairs.

“Help.”

“Get off me.”

“Let go.”

“Help!”

Grandma and I heard the shot from the stairs; just one. Then silence.

I tried to keep grandma out of the garage, but she was too quick. She too saw the open skull, the fleshy mass splattered on the floor, and the red spots on the ceiling.

The gun was still in his mouth.

At the other end of the room, on the floor, was a camera. It was on, but there was no tape.

Grandpa got a funeral with full honors. We were proud of him that day. Grandma cried, and so did dad. For me it was strange to hear grandpa being called “a hero.”

Now I too call him that, and not just for the war. Now I too have a house and a wife that I want to protect; I feel the urge and drive to protect.

My son is now six. This morning he told me that he can’t sleep. He said that there are figures next to his bed; small figures with dark black eyes that stare at him; he said that otherwise the figures are bright white.


This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.