The Grudge(s)

April 5, 2011
I never knew the power that came with a burning, harbored rage until just a few days ago. That was the day I discovered that a man with a grudge so deep holds a curse that equals death. Much of my family died that day due to that curse, and it has forever changed my life. This is my story.

“Guys! Guys we gotta go NOW!!” Henry panted, running into the garage where the family had gathered for their weekly game day. “Michael’s friend James just killed him!! And now he’s after the rest of us! I’ll explain the story later, but now we gotta get out of here and QUICK!” Henry was the eldest of our six siblings, and also the most trusted. If Henry said something, 99.9% of the time, he was being dead honest. We could tell by the tone of his voice that he was definitely not lying to us. We scrambled out the garage door to the old bus we used for trips and piled in, one couple per seat, with Dad taking the drivers seat.

“Quickly! It won’t take him long to realize what sort of power he has possessed through his dark intentions and powerful grudge. As soon as understands it, none of us, and I literally mean NONE of us, are safe from his wrath.” Henry spoke rapidly as Dad pulled out of the driveway and onto the road.

“Now, Henry, please explain to us exactly what is going on,” Dad spoke in a very calm and assuring manner.

“Okay, well here goes. Michael was with the girl James likes because he was trying to get them together. James saw the two and thought that Michael was trying to get with her himself. James got upset and broke Michael’s favorite pool stick, instantly killing him. James’ rage has turned into a curse, and now he can kill us simply by destroying something that is represented by our family pendants! It won’t take long for him to realize what’s going on, and as soon as it hits him, the only way we’ll be able to stop him is…. Is….” Henry trailed off, turning his head at the atrocious thought.

“Is what Henry? We need to know!” I shouted angrily at him from a few seats back. I started to get up, but was held down by the arms of my boyfriend at the window beside me. “Let me go love. I need to talk to him,” I said calmly, reassuring him that I was not going to hurt my brother. Letting me go, I got up and walked to the seat that Henry and his wife had occupied, kneeling beside them on the floor. Placing my hands on his shoulders, I looked Henry directly in the eye with a very intense stare, letting him know I meant business.

“Henry, you have to tell me how we can stop him. Do you want to see us all killed off by the hands of someone we though as a family friend with a burning hatred for us? Henry, think of your wife, think of me, think of all of us! Please, dear brother, tell me how to stop him!” Just as I said this, a scream pierced through the air from the back of the bus.

“Daniel, NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!” my sister Kathy cried, her long-time boyfriend slumped dead in her lap as she sobbed heavily over his corpse. “Elizabeth, we have to stop him! I can’t bear to see anyone else lose their love like I just have!” Kathy said between sobs, nearly choking on her tears. I turned and looked at Henry, pointing my finger towards the dead boy.

“Listen to me Henry. You have to tell me NOW how to stop James!” after a moment, I lowered my voice and got closer to his face before continuing. “Do you want the rest of us to suffer like Kathy already has?” I asked menacingly, knowing that was the only way to get him to talk.

“I know,” he replied quietly, almost inaudibly. “We have to kill him,” Henry said, taking a deep breath, his hands shaking violently from fear. I tensed up slightly at those words, because I knew everyone was looking directly at me. I was going to have to be the one to do it. Afterall, I was the one who, as a former military sniper, was trained for this kind of job. Sighing, I nodded slightly as I hung my head.

“I know…” I spoke softly, getting up off the floor. “Me. I… I’ll do it,” I answered the unspoken question that hung in the air like a dense fog. Just as I had said this, a gasp of shock arose through the silence. “What is it?” I asked, completely oblivious to the evident answer.

“Jason!” Alice screamed as her husband slumped to the floor of the bus, his skin cold and his body lifeless. For a moment the only thing I could do was stare at the atrocious site before me. Then suddenly, a pang went through my heart; I had to stop this NOW. Having already watched three of my family members die was more than enough. I knew that everyone was depending on me, and it gave me a sense of duty to kill this so-called “family friend” before he killed any more of us.

“Elizabeth …” I heard quietly from a seat behind me. I turned around to see who had called my name and ended up looking down into the worried eyes of my boyfriend. “Elizabeth, if you’re going to do this…promise me…promise me you won’t get hurt…” he said softly, taking my small hands into his larger ones. “No, even better yet. I’m coming with you.”

“Tyler …” I started to tell him no, but he stood up and firmly planted his lips to mine to stop me.

“Elizabeth, I refuse to let you say no. I can’t risk you dying out there without me. I won’t have it, and that’s that.”

“Okay,” I agreed almost inaudibly after a moment of silence. He kissed my forehead affectionately, and, taking my hand, led me to the front of the bus where we convinced my father to let us off.

“Dad, I have to do this. I can’t let anyone else suffer! Please Daddy, do it for the whole family,” I pleaded with him until he opened the doors and let us off. “Thanks Dad, I promise I won’t let you down,” were the last words I said to him before waving him off.

“You got your gun?” Tyler asked, squeezing my hand tightly.

“Yeah…” I sighed in reply.

“Come on babe, we gotta hurry before he gets to anyone else!” Tyler motioned towards the way the bus had just came and pulled slightly on my arm to get me going. I resisted momentarily before realizing my duty and following him down the road.

We had backtracked about a mile when all of a sudden, Tyler and I came across an elaborately decorated cake sitting in the middle of the road. Instantly I realized that that cake was, as a matter of fact, one that my twin brother had baked for his pastry shop. That cake would be the death of Nikki if I didn’t do something and QUICK.

“Tyler! That cake! We have to get that cake out the road quickly before…” just as I was about to say it, I heard the sound of a car revving up somewhere off in the distance. “…before that!” I shouted, running into the road as the sound got closer. I picked up the cake, and, just before the car came over the horizon, threw it into the trashcan on the side of the street to hide it. As the car appeared, growing with every turn of the wheel as it approached us, I ran back across the road and clutched Tyler’s body to mine.

“Elizabeth, what’s wrong?” he asked gently, stroking my hair softly as a few tears welled up in my eyes.

“Tyler, I just want you to know how much I love you and if anything happens to me, please don’t cry. I just want you to be happy forever…”

“Well well well. Look at the little love birds Tyler and Elizabeth. Saying your last goodbyes before I kill you both?” a sinister voice spoke behind us, and I instantly knew.

“James…” I said menacingly, the tears instantly drying in my eyes as I turned around slowly. “You….YOU B******!!!” I screamed angrily at the boy. “You a**hole! Why the hell would you do something like this?!”

“Because life is a b****, dear,” he snarled back at me, glaring at Tyler and me through squinted, bloodshot eyes.

“Dammit!” Reacting quickly and out of pure anger, I pulled my .45 from the back of my jeans and shot James in between his eyes without thinking. The boy fell to the ground dead, and as the blood started pooling around his skull, I realized what I had done. I choked on my own breath and dropped to my knees. “What…. What have I done?! I’ve just killed someone I’ve known for years!! I… What have I done?...” I cried, clutching myself tightly. Tyler kneeled down beside me and held my trembling body to his chest.

“Shhh baby, it’s okay. It’ll be okay. Your family is safe and that’s all that matters.” He kissed the top of my head and stroked my hair softly as I tried to steady my breathing. In all my years as a sniper, I had never had to kill someone I knew, and so it never affected me to do my job. But this time was so…different. As I attempted to calm myself down, held tightly by the arms of my love, Tyler called my father and informed him that they no longer had to worry, James was dead.

About 15 minutes went by, and just as the family bus came into sight, I had finally calmed down with the help of Tyler’s reassuring words. The family piled out of the bus and came over to me, each hugging me tightly in gratitude. After a few minutes, we piled back onto the bus and headed home.

“Nikki,” I spoke softly as we drove home, sitting down in the aisle next to my twin. “You were supposed to be next…”

“I know. I could feel it. Don’t forget, Eli, that we’re twins, and whatever you feel, I can sense.”

“Yeah I know,” I said softly, still shook up at the thought of my brother almost dying.

“Eli, I’m just glad you’re alive.” Nikki looked at me and gave me his secret I knew I wouldn’t have to worry look before hugging me tightly.

I was just glad the nightmare was over…

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