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Dotty    Kathy    Lvblair    Mary Ellen    Ophelia    KAM    Ronnee    Kathy 'n Mary Ellen 


A Decision Made

By: Ronnee

Warnings: Somewhat sensitive subject… read with care.

My thanks to Toni Rae for the quick Beta. 

She stared at the doctor in total shock. He had to be wrong. “Are you sure?”

The general practitioner smiled, “Yes, Mrs. Ellison, I’m very sure. From the tests and what you’ve told me, your baby will be born pretty close to your anniversary.”

Grace smiled uneasily, trying not to feel trapped. She quietly took the papers the doctor handed her, all giving her directions about how to stay healthy. “Why can’t I eat anything?”

“I can prescribe something for the nausea,” he wrote out a small blue paper. “But the easiest thing to do is to stay away from the things that bother you. If smelling it cook makes you ill, don’t try to eat it. If you break out in a rash after trying something, avoid it. Some women’s bodies become over-sensitive when they are pregnant.”

She forced herself to thank the doctor. She had to think. She had to get out.

Grace went to the park. She could not believe this was happening. She had been so careful. It was too soon for her to be having a baby – it would upset all of her plans. And the problems she was having – her skin reacting to the soap she used, being unable to eat anything with tomatoes in it, the scent of the lab making her dry heave – they were too much for her to handle.

She thought about her grandmother’s words from so long ago.

The day she had become a woman and her body showed its readiness for childbearing, the old woman had pulled her aside.

“It is time for us to talk, Grace. Time for you to know about the curse.” The ancient pain in her grandmother’s eyes made Grace cringe. “Come, we must be alone.”

Grandmother Tierney had led Grace to the old house, up on the hill that overlooked the town. It was a beautiful view, but the house was somber. It had been somber since the day her grandfather died, only a year earlier. Now her grandmother kept it shut up, no guests, no frivolity, nothing new to bother her ‘oversensitive’ aging body. Grace hated it.

“Every one of us has the chance of passing on the curse, girl.” Grandmother Tierney’s eyes watered.” I gave it to my sons, both of them. Your father died of it – in the War. He could not fight the curse and when the gas fell near him, he died, unable to breathe.”

“What curse, grandmother?” Grace watched wide-eyed as the old woman pulled out a journal labeled 1949.“Is the curse there?”

“No, child. This is just my memories of the curse, my generation of it.” She laughed lightly.” The curse is older than that.” Bright, blue eyes met hers and the fear there made the girl want to run. ”Long ago, in the days before Cuchulain, the Tuatha d’Dannu gave men a choice. One brave man could accept the curse – to see, to hear, to sense the enemy long before the enemy arrived. In exchange, for this aid from them, he would have no choice but to share his soul with one of the half bloods. The half bloods were children of mixed blood, part d’Dannu and part man. These children are rare and fey, loving to learn and to play just like their kin – only they are mortal.

“To one man, an ancestor of ours, this was a fair bargain, for times were hard. The invaders were sorely pressing the people of the hills. And the clans were dying out, raided for slaves; the lands were stolen and the towns were pillaged. Our ancestor agreed to the bargain with the Tuatha d’Dannu. He was given eyes that could see like the hawk, ears that could hear the growing grass as it cut the sky, a nose that could smell the incoming ships while still far from shore, skin that could feel the presence of an enemy by the warmth the man left behind, and a tongue that could taste the faintest poison put into a well. His soul was split and given to one of the soulless half bloods. His soul-kin kept the gifted senses from driving the man mad. For if God had wanted man to have such senses he would have given them to all men.” Her grandmother laughed bitterly.” God was angry, child. Very angry. He poisoned the man’s mind so that it could not hold against the gift and only the half blood kept him from madness.

So this man took up the mantle – but he did not know the curse would pass to his sons and daughters. And now there are no more children carrying the blood of the d’Dannu.” A spindly hand rested on her shoulder.” I carry that cursed blood and I know what I am speaking of. I hear your mother calling for your sister to stop humming out of tune again. I smell the scent of dinner – roast beef and potatoes, asparagus, the fresh onions in the salad, and for desert, a nice custard.” The pale eyes gleamed fiercely.” Your grandfather was not one of the half bloods, but he was a descendant of them. He could make the senses fade so I seemed normal. But he is dead and they become harder to deal with every day. Soon, I will go mad, as God decreed for the unholy bargain our ancestor made. And you – you carry the curse.”

“How can I carry it?” Grace was furious at the old woman. Her mother was right, Grandmother Tierney was mad.” I don’t see or hear or smell things that way.”

“But you carry the blood in you. And your father, before he left for the war – he knew. His skin was red from his uniform. He could hit the target when no one else could see it. He heard the plans his officers made and was never caught unaware.” The tears in the old woman’s eyes were running down her face.” But he had no one to make the curse be gentle for him. And so, I knew he was not coming back. He knew too.”

Grace looked at her hands and saw they were shaking.” How will I know?”

“If you have shown no sign of the curse by now, it has passed you by.” There was honest relief in her grandmother’s voice.” But if your children carry it, you will know. Your skin will burn from things that make no sense. You will be ill every time you eat. The scent of simple things will make you ill or worse.” The old woman was so very matter of fact about the symptoms.” My sister had no part of the curse. Her firstborn, your cousin Jack, did not have it either. But her second child – she barely survived that. And the boy died before he was two years old – asthma the doctor said. But we knew why he died – his father was not one of the mixed bloods and so could not soothe away the troubles like your grandfather did for your father.

“It will be your choice, child. But know this… every child your bear will be at risk of having the curse. You will know which have it and which do not. Only if your husband carries the blood, however diluted and forgotten of the Teethe will the child live.” Her grandmother looked away and then, after a long moment, met Grace’s eyes.” There are ways, not all of them legal or approved by the church to prevent children and to keep you from having a cursed child. Think about this now, before you marry.”

Within a month, the old woman had died – from asthma according to the doctor. And that had scared Grace more than anything, because her grandmother had never been ill in her life.

From that day on she had studied her family and their heredity. Her mild interest had become sharpened by her findings, sending her to science and genetics for an explanation of the curse. Her mother was normal – so she did not study that side of the family so hard. But her father’s family, there she found evidence of the curse her grandmother had spoken of. Not all the members showed signs of the ‘curse’ but too many did. And most who had the curse died young. Very, very young. She still did not know why some lived but most died but she would find it.

And now she had to make her own decision – about her own child. She stared at the pond in the middle of the park. Could she choose? Dare she not? And what about William? He would never believe any family curse. He had see it but had scoffed – said the things he saw at the family reunion were just tricks. She knew better, they were her family and they could not lie to her. She could see through their lies.

William, she had married him out of choice. Not for love, but as an escape from her family. He only wanted a pretty, educated wife to grace his home. He knew she did not love him; he did not love her either. For his inheritance, he had to be married by his twenty-fifth birthday or he had to wait until he was forty. Stupid will but it gave them the money they needed. He used his share to start his business and gave her enough for research and labs.

Now, there was going to be a child. A child, who if she paid attention to Grandmother Tierney’s words, was cursed by both the Teethe and by God. Not that she believed in either of them. But she believed in genetics and from her research she knew enough to be afraid.

She shivered in the cool breeze. She had made her decision.


She knew she had to it soon or it would be too late, but everywhere she went she found the thing. It was huge, a giant, black cat. And it was angry with her. When she picked up the phone to call a friend for help finding a doctor, it hissed at her. When she started to ask a colleague about the subject, it appeared, teeth bared and threatened her. Grace was terrified of it. In her dreams, it was curled up around a baby boy, gently and protectively keeping the child safe. It was fighting her and winning.

Today, she could have sworn it was gloating at her. Laughing as it purred near her feet in the labs. The numbers were not matching and her experiment was a failure. Her coworkers were worried. They knew she had been ill but weren’t asking. She did not think they dared, thanks to her temper lately. 

The room swayed again -- she had not eaten a full meal in nearly a week and it showed. Before she could sit down, the room went gray. Vaguely, she heard one of her colleagues yell.

“Grace, I want you to meet Sally.” William was beaming as he introduced the young Asian woman to her.” I've hired her to take care of you and make sure you get the rest the doctor ordered.”

She did not scream. She did not wince. She did not fight or cry. She met the brown eyes and saw a wisdom there that seemed boundless. Sally knew, it was in her eyes. The woman nodded slowly. Grace heard the rumbling purr of that damned panther from where it lay across the bottom of the hospital bed. It had won and it had found someone to protect the baby. She could yield gracefully. ”I'm happy to meet you, Sally.”

“I am happy to serve you, Mrs. Ellison.” Sally's words were formal, almost a pledge. Oh, yes. Sally and her ageless eyes knew.

The End