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ADELAIDE Independent Monthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Mensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 

 

 

 

 


THE CANDLE CURSE: NICE OR NEVER

by Franklin Powers 

 

 

 

He just got fired from US Armored Car Service, there was over $500,000 missing but they could not pin it on him. Frank perturbed “why are you wasting my time by asking me the same questions?” FBI, “there is $500,000 dollars missing, you bet we are going to ask you questions, we will continue until you tell the truth.” “I am telling you the truth, you need to go after my partner, he is the one who stole the money.” FBI, “we would love to talk to him; however he is not able to speak to us, we found him without his head, can you explain that?” Frank, “there is nothing to say, someone wanted the money, and did not want him to talk, that is easy.” Agent, “I would not be so flippant if I was you, we are looking at you for the money and possible murder.” “Listen, if you had something on me, you would have already arrested me, so leave me alone and let me get on with my life.” “you can go, but don’t leave town and I would caution you to look out for yourself, you could be next.” Frank left the Agency and was driving home thinking about all he had learned, and the fact that someone took his partners head was making his stomach sick.

Premiere Marketing in San Francisco had decided to take a chance on Frank, hiring him as Vice President of Sales. He had brought his family to California from New York, trading one big city for another. Instead of overlooking the Hudson, he now sees Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay. Frank, “It is crazy what happened in court today boss, I don’t even own the company and I am ready to kill someone.” “It has not synced in yet, I am still in a daze,” said the boss with a blank look on his face.
When his new boss was destroyed in court because of actions of his new Sales Manager, Frank did not know if he was going to be able to keep his new job, not a good way to start. Most of the suggestions from others were about how to minimize the damages they were going to incur, but not Frank, he was all about revenge and taking them down and making them pay with blood for filing this lawsuit in the first place. Was this his demeanor as shown in his last job?

“Hey Frank, you know I do not like it when you talk that way, take it down a couple notches, “his boss said.

The next morning Frank had gotten a call from his boss who was at an appointment to sign up a company for their benefits. “Frank, I just was at this company on 7th street and I am having to leave, I just got instructions on how to win the lawsuit. I need you to come over here and finish up the signups before they take their lunch.” Frank agreed to go to the sales appointment in a not so good area of the city, he was a little apprehensive to even go, but they were really interested in the product and seemed ready to sign a contract, and his boss asked him to complete the process.

Frank had driven for 20 minutes and turned right on 7th street where the company was, and he was very curious why his boss left a company who had agreed to come aboard. As he turned towards the curb to park, a truck was backing up and as he watched they backed right into his bumper, hitting it hard.  He got out of his car and walked towards the truck, two guys got out, one black and one white guy carrying a bat and wearing a black long coat and walked to the back where Frank was.  A box had fallen out of the truck onto his hood, the contents were black candles, and several rolled into the street. The car behind Frank swerved to miss the candles and rammed right into Franks door just missing him, causing a big dent. He was getting pissed off now as he looked at his car which had now been hit in the front and side. As the two from the truck approached him, “what the hell where you clowns thinking?” “Did you call us clowns’ asshole?” “Yes, I did, and I want you assholes to get those damn candles off my car and I want your insurance information, got it?” as he starts to take his jacket off. The taller one, “we have been looking for you, I am glad we ran into each other.” Frank grabs his jacket and wraps it around his arm, “come on you bastards, let’s see what you got.” The three men start to walk towards each other ready to mix it up. The taller one, opened up his coat, “hey we know all about you, are you interested in meeting our little friend?” Frank not sure what he was talking about, walks closer to them, as he gets close, “say hello to Bob, he is looking for you,” with that he opened his coat exposing a severed head, he pointed his dead eyes right at Frank. Frank seeing the severed head of his friend, loss control of his legs and fell to the ground. “Before he lost his body, he said that you are now cursed for rating on him, look at him and feel the curse he put on you.” Frank on the ground, so weak, cannot get up, his whole body now aching with fear and horror from looking into Bob’s dead eyes. “Get up you weak scared little man, we would love to saw your head off as we did with him, but why waste our time, the curse will take care of you, you poor bastard.”

The driver of the other vehicle that hit Frank was watching and listening to them but did not see the head or hear the discussion as he was on the phone after running into Franks car. “Okay guys lets back up and tone it down,” as he approached them dressed in his police uniform, he was off duty and now part of this mess. The three of them seeing that he was a cop, backed up and put the knife down and the two with the head, looked hard at Frank, making sure he does not say anything about the bloody head.   Being he was a cop he was able to take care of the car mess and get everybody on their way. Frank was still pissed off and out of sorts as he put his jacket back on and got his briefcase for his meeting. He thought about canceling his meeting, but if he did, he would have to explain why he did not go to a company after asked to be there. An hour later, they signed the contract for their 150 employees, Frank was now feeling better but still shaking. He asked around for any suggestions of a place to get a drink, he really needed it and some lunch. He was directed to Mary’s down by the bus terminal. Taking the advice, he headed to Mary’s for that drink and many more.

At the bar Frank asked for his favorite cocktail and sat there enjoying his first sips while he looks over the menu. Frank, “hey barkeep, what is the lunch special today?” “Bacon cheeseburger on an English muffin,” the barkeep responded. “That sounds good, put me in for one, and give me another drink.” Frank glanced over to the older gentleman sitting one bench away from him and nodded as to say hello when the gentleman looked over at Frank. “My name is Bob, haven’t seen you in here before. You new here?” Frank sipping on his drink, “you say your name is Bob huh, I really don’t have anything to say to you, please leave me alone.” Bar patron, “I saw you get out of your car and head overhear, are you looking for somebody?” Frank did not like the conversation at all, he was making too much of what he was hearing, could he really be saying those things to me because he knows, but how could he know. Frank was really messed up as he asked for another drink, suddenly he was very thirsty.

“I had a business appointment around the corner and came here for some lunch and quite time, if you have to know.” Frank kept thinking about what just happened and he kept seeing those damn candles that caused the police officer to crash into his door. Older gentleman, “we don’t get many strangers in here, it seems that they would rather head somewhere else, looking right at Frank. Frank with a disillusioned look on his face, “what are you talking about old man, is this place haunted or something?” “Don’t laugh, you might be right, why would you say haunted though, you feeling something?” “What the hell are you talking about, I think you probably have had to many of whatever you are drinking?” Old man, “well wait a few minutes and you will see our resident Witch come in for her afternoon drink.” Frank coming back at him, “a witch you say, damn what kind of place did I come into,” as Frank thinks out loud. Frank, now feeling more scared then before, “all I wanted was a drink and lunch, not your bullshit old man, barkeep, give me my bill, I want to get the hell out of here.” “It is too late for you, you can’t leave, she wants to see you.” “You know old man, I am really getting tired of you and your shit,” as Frank reaches for his bill. The barkeep pulls it back from him, “your bill has been paid.” “Paid, who did that?” again annoyed of the situation he got himself into. The barkeep, shifted his eyes to the furthest table, Frank following his move, “she did, and she wants to talk to you.”   Not wanting to look, but he did, and she motioned her long finger at him and pointed to the seat at her table.  Oldman, “well you waited too long, you have to go over there now, that is just a fact, you need to thank her for your drink,” with a devilish smile on his face.  Frank lifting the end of his drink to his mouth, put it down and got up from his bar stool and heading to the door. “Hey, you need to take this drink to the lady at the table, thank you,” said the bartender. Handing the drink to Frank, he looked over at the table, and as if he could not ignore the bartender, he took the drink and headed over to the table. “I believe this is for you,” handing the drink to her. The lady reached for it and put it next to her, “no, this is for you, it looks like you could use it?” Frank standing next to her, “I don’t know what it is about this place, but I am not feeling very good.” The lady with a smile on her face, “are you sure it is this place, or could it be what you saw before you got here, sit down.” Frank sitting down where the drink was and picking it up to take a big gulp.  “Have you been having a tough day, Frank?” With his eyebrows going up, “I did not tell you my name, how do you know me?” “I don’t know you, I know your soul, and it is turning black, just like the candles that fell on your car.” “Okay what the hell is going on here,” Franks voice cracking. “Nothing is going on here, it is time for you to go.” “I just got here, and I was told to talk to you.” “Yes you were, and yes you have, now I am saying it is time for you to go Frank, you are done.” “I have heard enough of your crap, and how did you know about the candles and my name, I did not talk about them, and again I will say, what the hell is going on here?” “Frank you need to listen to me and listen real good okay?” “I am listening, what is it that I need to hear from you, I am disgusted with this whole day.” “That is right Frank, it is okay to be disgusted, it will soon be over for you.” “Well that is good to hear, because I cannot take any more of this garbage.” “Frank when you leave, you will meet one more person today, that is the last person you need to talk to and be kind too, sound good?” “You know what sounds good to me is getting the hell out of here, and never talk to you again, that will be a good day.” “Are you listening to me, one more person you will draw in, and you will need to be nice to them, there will be no gray area, nice or never. “No I am not listening, go to hell bitch or is it witch,” as he walks out. “Goodbye Frank, and may your soul be set free, and remember you have one more interaction, be wise,” the witch said as she watched him walk away and out the door. Frank was still shaking as he was when he walked in there and walking out he still was shaking, he had called a cab to take him to the watering hole next to his office, he just wanted to be left alone for a few minutes so he could drink a tall strong drink, and try to make sense of all the craziness.

Back at the office, Frank’s boss had been busy after running into a witch he met at a restaurant near his appointment on 7th street. The witch had bought him a drink and started a conversation with him about the court case he just lost. She had told him about a curse he could use to get rid of all bad spirits that have tried to take his company down. The boss seemed to be all over it, anything to get things back the way they were before the lawsuit.

Franks boss had proceeded to put the black candles around the offices and put a white candle in his office for the good spirits, just as he was told to do. Now all he had to do was wait for all that he had asked for.

A few hours had gone by, Frank was at his favorite watering hole, liquoring it up before he goes home. However, this afternoon he was approached by one of the waitresses who was now off work. They sat there at the bar exchanging laughter and getting chummy. It was time for Frank to make his move, he knew he only had so much time before he was expected at home. He had convinced her to come up to his office and enjoy some good music and some good smoke. The office was empty of all the staff. They ventured into his office and to his couch where they made themselves comfortable. It did not take long until there was clothing on the floor, good music and a lot of sexual excitement as Frank positioned himself to lie on top of her on the couch.  As Frank was busy feeling his pleasures, rocking back and forth, he looked at the table and fixed his eyes on a black candle he had not seen before in his office. He stopped for a minute and leaned back to reach a lighter and lit the candle. The waitress who was also into the loving going on, “don’t stop again Frank, I am really into it. Frank not responding back to her comment, just staying on course but now there was something else competing for his attention. He kept rocking back and forth, not hearing the waitress, as if he was in a trance. The young cute waitress was enjoying the rocking as she laid there with her legs spread and this big man on top of her. She could not see his face as he rocked with his arms holding him up. It seemed like such a long time, rocking back and forth, she was now done with her pleasure and wondered if he was going to get his? Back and forth he went, saying nothing, she was now getting concerned, this had never happened before. Wanting to see his face or something, “Frank, are you done, or do you want more, talk to me?” There was no answer, this was getting weird, just rocking back and forth. “Frank, please get off me, I need to get up, you are not answering me, so please get off me.”

Still no answer, she started to push him off. Pushing him harder as she is starting to get scared, “I mean it, get the hell off of me, you bastard get off me,” as she starts to cry and pushing to no avail, tears running down her cheeks.

Frank, still looking at the black candle and rocking back and forth, he slips back and now and can see the scared little girl. As Frank moves down, she can now see his face, she looks at his eyes that are now swollen and blood red looking like smoke was coming out of them, pure horror takes her over. Now screaming for him to get off all to no avail, as he still has his hands and arms on the couch. Frank, now in a trance, stares into her eyes and without changing his expression, moves his hands to her throat, and rocks back and forth. Screaming, crying and with all her strength she grabs his hands and arms, trying to release the grip around her neck. The grip that is getting stronger as he continues to rock back and forth, now going faster as the screaming gets louder. Frank acts like he does not hear her, just staring into her eyes and now mumbling under his breath, as he chokes her neck and moves faster between her legs, her legs that she cannot move. He is totally out of control, choking her so that she cannot breathe, and she fighting to save her very soul, she reached for the burning candle on the table behind her. The candle is extremely hot, she wraps her burning hand around it and tries to slam into Frank’s side of his head, she misses, but the hot wax around the wick, goes into Frank’s face. He immediately moves his hands to his burning face, hot wax in his eyes, burning his eye shut, he lets out an eerie retching scream. She is now able to push him off of her with his hands still to his face as his skin starts to melt.   Frank rolls to the right off of her. With his pants down to his knees, he struggles to pull them back up with one hand while the other is still holding his face, as he pulls on his belt, his hand slips and hits the black candle, knocking it off the bed where it rolls under his pants as he sits on the side of the bed. With hot flaming wax on the floor the flames are getting hotter as it burns his pants as Frank continues to struggle with getting them off. The pants are now totally engulfed, he looks to the ceiling with his flaming red eyes and lets out a gut-wrenching scream as the flames feed off the flesh of both legs consuming all below his waist, as he disappears into a fiery grave, with his light going out, as the black candle still burns brightly. The waitress gathering her wits about her, looks in the mirror over the couch, and says, “why can’t men just be nice?”

 

 

About the Author:

Franklin Powers has published two novels and has had his short stories published in journals. A mixture of past experiences and witty storytelling gives the reader a wanting read.

 

        

 

 

 

 

     
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