Destinies Entwined DE Press Stories Kathy's Manips KAM's Manips Multimedia Slash Loft Library Gen Loft Library
Dotty Kathy Lvblair Mary Ellen Ophelia KAM Ronnee Kathy 'n Mary Ellen
A Decision Made
Warnings: Somewhat sensitive subject
read with care.
My thanks to Toni Rae for the quick
She stared at the doctor in total shock. He
had to be wrong. Are you sure?
The general practitioner smiled,
Yes, Mrs. Ellison, Im very sure. From the tests and
what youve told me, your baby will be born pretty close to
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
cant 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, dont try to eat it. If
you break out in a rash after trying something, avoid it. Some
womens bodies become over-sensitive when they are
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 grandmothers
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
grandmothers eyes made Grace cringe. Come, we must be
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
Every one of us has the chance of
passing on the curse, girl. Grandmother Tierneys 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.
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 dDannu 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 dDannu and part man. These children are rare and fey,
loving to learn and to play just like their kin only they
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
dDannu. 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
mans 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
dDannu. 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 dont see or hear or smell things
But you carry the blood in
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 womans 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
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 grandmothers 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,
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 Graces 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 fathers 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
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 Tierneys 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
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
werent asking. She did not think they dared, thanks to her
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
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.