The Curse of Affliction

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Marnie Watson moves to New Zealand and quickly becomes friends with a charming Mr. Allister. A boy named Cecil also perks her curiosity. Read a thriller based on a triangle of love, heartbreak, forbidden witchcraft and more...

Submitted: October 12, 2015

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Submitted: October 12, 2015



~~Miss Marnie Watson just arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand and it was altogether a practically foreign place. Australia had been her past home living with only her mother and bratty younger sister, Meredith. She was welcomed to the town by a celebration of music, dance, loud laughter, and a lavish feast for all. She was introduced to Rev. Sherman and also the towns’ blacksmith, Nolan Allister. “Miss Watson, it is such a delight to meet your acquaintance,” he spoke coarsely, kissing her hand, as if the gesture were to make up for his blackened hands and tatty apron. His bulging arms were firm and Marnie was aware of his unfailing kindness. The celebration was quite nice and Marnie was greeting random faces and listening to them speak in their accents, not so different from her own. She spied on Nolan from a distance watching his behavior and how he presented himself so dignified and talking loudly with groups of chattering girls.  
Her mother’s words haunted her. “By the time we come see you I expect you to have a proper husband.” Nolan escaped yet another conversation and cantered over to Marnie in such a way she nearly lost her calm. “May I have this dance?” he said, restraining a low chuckle. She accepted and they danced sometimes slow and other times quite fast into the wee hours of the night. Soon Nolan asked Marnie if he could escort her to the cabin she would be temporarily staying in. She agreed and the two of them walked in solitude until reaching a small cabin with Cherrywood planks and a large grassy field sprawled before it. Trees loomed around the cabin so it was hard to see anything else, and a reservoir of icy-blue water connected the shore. They reached the door and Marnie stepped inside, Nolan seating himself at the table. “One of my friends owns it. It’s not much but I think it will suit you,” he said examining her bewildered expression. Flowers were hanging upside down in the windows to dry and small beads were strewn everywhere. It looked as if someone had deserted the place. Dust covered everything and the upstairs was the exact same way. The bedroom was large and it overlooked the lake. She glanced out the window and pondered the scenery. New Zealand was vast and unflawed, void with solace and she breathed in the grassy air that engulfed the cabin.  
“Well, I think I’ll be heading out now. Goodnight Miss Watson. Until we meet again. Perhaps you can attend the chapel service with me tomorrow?” Marnie accepted his invitation and he kissed her cheek on the way out. The night hid the fact that her cheeks had turned an awful shade of scarlet. Marnie never remembered drifting off to sleep, but she awoke to a blinding light. A figure was holding a lantern in her face and poking her.  
“You’re in my cabin ‘mam,” he said. She stumbled out of her creaking chair and tripped standing up. He caught her just in time. He held the lantern up to his face revealing a tanned face from laboring in the sun, or perhaps he was from the islands. She loved this realistic idea, so she settled on it. His dusky hair fell shoulder length outlining his sharp jaw and high cheekbones. The light danced in his hazy sapphire eyes, or at least one of them that is. His left eye was cloudy and a murky shade of green. Frightened, Marnie let out a gasp of terror. “It’s all right,” he said letting her go. “I own this cabin. I suppose Nolan didn’t ask for my permission either.” She regained her senses and stared at him. “So who are you?” she whimpered. He sat down at the table pulling out a hunk of stale bread. “I told you, I own this cabin. My name’s Cecil. I’ll let you stay the night but you had better find somewhere else to stay in the morning.” He left without another word and Marnie remained puzzled. She thought nothing of the situation and climbed the creaking steps to a dusty bed. She soon fell asleep and the dawn the next day was new. Someone was pounding on her door and she rubbed the sleep out of her squinting eyes. It was Nolan. She glanced over his shoulder to see Cecil swinging away with an axe, slicing into chunks of spruce.“Marnie we need to talk,” he said summoning her with a tugging hand. They went into the woods’ opening and Nolan dropped down on one knee. Marnie gasped, but couldn’t refuse either. “Miss Watson, would you make me happy to be my wife?” She accepted and gave him a gentle hug. This was her only way out. Cecil would get his cabin back and her mother wouldn’t be ashamed of her. “Excellent!” he said hugging her and twirling her in the air. “We can move into my new house and your family can visit. The ceremony will be next week.” Marnie managed a smile and returned to the cabin packing up her only belongings: a scarf and a haversack full of various parcels of foods. She had expected Nolan to parade into the cabin, but instead he walked back to the town, a wide grin on his face.  
Days had passed and Marnie had spent her time reading stories to Cecil and laughing at his jokes. She had become strangely close to Cecil and it worried Nolan the most. On one afternoon, the week of the wedding, Nolan was patching his shop’s roof when the ladder Marnie was holding broke. Nolan came tumbling down and hit his head on a bench, instantly losing his life. The impact was deadly. Marnie screamed and called for the reverend. Many onlookers accused her of using magic to make the ladder brake. Witchcraft was looked down upon severely and could even be punishable by death by hanging. A woman from the forming crowd belched “She jinxed the ladder, and now her fiancé is dead because of her.” The crowd began to believe this and soon the reverend had no choice but to perform a séance instead of killing Marnie. She cried desperately denying what they claimed she did. Cecil had arrived at the scene and his eyes widened at the sight of what was happening.  
“She is innocent reverend. Can’t you see that? How could she have possibly done such a thing?” A man shouted at Cecil, “Because she’s a witch ya looney!” Cecil couldn’t bear to watch such a thing. They decided they would burn Marnie’s hands to get rid of the magic. The reverend chanted special words and he held Marnie so she wouldn’t struggle. “Forgive me child,” he said, tears falling from his eyes. The hot iron seared Marnie’s flesh and she cried out painfully. Soon it was over and Cecil had his arms wrapped around her. She cried into his shoulder and he bound her hands. “I will never forgive you for this!” she shouted in Rev. Sherman’s face. Cecil brought Marnie back to the cabin and told her she could stay. “I’m sailing for the North Island. There’s a chance I may not ever return.” Marnie stared down at her bandaged hands, the pain still raging. “Can’t I go with you?” Cecil looked into her eyes as if he were searching for something. He gently held both of her hands in his own. “I have to go alone. The cabin is yours. Goodbye Miss Watson,” he finished and standing to leave, waved goodbye for the last time. Marnie wouldn’t have this. She rushed out the door and flung her arms around him. “Goodbye,” she whimpered through tears of pain and heartbreak. She watched him reside through the wooded clearing, the mid-noon fog hiding his moving figure, and the moist grass confined the sound of his gentle footsteps forever lost with his memory.


© Copyright 2018 Mae B. All rights reserved.

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