The prompt for this one was curses. Sometimes the writing comes slow, other times it goes fast. As soon as I have the spark of an idea, I start writing, and see where it goes.

When I got the the end of this one, however, I had no idea what came next. I still don’t.

What do you think?

Image from WikiMedia by George Chernilevsky.

“I not-hate you,” Alan murmured to his wife.

She smiled at him. “I not-hate you more.”

“No, I not-hate you the most!” He kissed her forehead, her nose, and then her mouth.

“Will you two get a room! You’ve been married a month, surely you’ve got most of that kiss–” Thomas choked, the gangly twelve-year-old grasping his throat, eyes bulging.

Alan and Isobel hurried over.

“Oh, no!” She cried.

More practical, Alan thumped Thomas on the back, as the young man coughed and hacked. Several moments and thumps later, a toad leapt out of Thomas’ mouth.

“Can you breathe, Thomas?” Isobel asked, rubbing soothing circles on his shoulder.

 Alan rushed over to the town well, and drew a bucket of water, bringing it and a scoop over to the stricken Thomas. “You know you shouldn’t use those words. Think before you speak. The Curse War ended two years ago, and it’s been almost half that since the not-hate curse took all the not-ugly words away from us. You’ve got to remember.”

Thomas took too big a swig of water, sputtered it out on the ground, took a smaller sip, and regained his composure. “I was just having a bit of… not-dull.”

“We understand,” Alan offered. “Better not-danger than speaking in toad, though, eh?”

Thomas grumbled. “Yeah, yeah. It’s cruel, what those wizards did. I don’t even understand why they did it!”

“They kept building up the spells, I think,” Isobel said. “They were small at first, and each side thought they’d win with just an annoyance, but they didn’t, so they kept trying.”

“Wizards,” Alan growled, a common complaint in the town.

“We’ll get not-worse, all of us, someday,” Isobel said, offering each of them a reassuring smile. “And it could be worse, we didn’t get the blindness curse that hit past the river, too, just the speaking one.”

“One day, I’m going to grow up not-weak, and I’ll go show those wizards what they did,” Thomas promised.

Isobel’s smile wavered, but she fixed it in place, gave him another pat, and stood. “I’m sure you’ll be plenty not-weak, Thom. We should get going, Alan. Don’t want to be late.”

Alan nodded, ruffled Thomas’s hair, and they walked off, arm in arm. Neither wanted to talk to Alan about what had happened to the wizards to end the war.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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