A Distant Relative

To whomever may read this,

I come from a family of storytellers. My mother before me, her father before her, his aunt before him. There has always been a storyteller going back for over fifty generations. That is when our family was cursed. A demon was set upon our ancestor for a reason that he did not record except to say he deserved his punishment. When he died the demon passed to his son.

It appeared before him on the night of his father’s death carrying a sack of his father’s stories. It stood ready with parchment and reed pen and demanded a story. The son began to recite a child’s bedtime story but that was not what it wanted. It demanded an original story. The son desperate to appease the demon told it a story about the rain and the corn. The demon accepted the story and said it would be back in one week for another story. For thirty-four years, the son told the demon a new story every week until he too died and the curse passed to his daughter.

The curse has been passed down from father to son, from aunt to niece, from cousin to cousin. After it passed to me, I spent ten years studying the pattern of transference. Once I understood why the curse choses a nephew over a daughter, I formulated a plan to end the curse. I would ensure that there was no one the curse could pass to. I had no children myself so that was not a problem and I was an only child so there were no nieces or nephews or me to worry about. I did have cousins. The ones who had not had children I persuaded to remain childless or to adopt. Those with children were a problem. As dedicated as I was to ending the curse I could not simply kill them. So I out lived them and their children. I held on to life for as long as I could to ensure there was no eligible host or the curse.

If someone is reading this, I’m sorry. I failed. I missed something. A family branch I didn’t know about or a rule about how the curse transfers. I am sorry.

A distant relative, (no signature)

You look up from the letter the demon handed to you when it appeared. It has set a traveling trunk down at the end of your bed, inside is pile of papers, some tied in bundles but most loose. Red glowing eyes look at you expectantly. Ash covered hands hold paper and a fountain pen. Lips pull back into a smile that shows far too many teeth that are far too sharp. An elegant smooth deep voice rumbles, “Tell me a story.”


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