Word Count: 1616
Reading Time: 6-7 minutes
Curse – That’s what they’ve been calling her from the day she was born. It was, indeed, a curse for a girl to be born with red hair and green eyes in the little village of Deil, let alone that night. Not a moon, nor stars where visible in the sky. Only darkness, like ebony.
“The child is cursed. Is it that hard to understand?” shouted one of the midwives.
“You should call it Curse. That’s the only name fit for her,” said another.
“Throw it in the fire just like the others before it!”
A woman, pale as snow, was holding two newborn babies in her arms. One of them was dead, but the other was very much alive, with eyes emerald green and some curly strands of hair, red like the fire. With every passing second, their mother’s breath slowed down, until she could hardly breathe.
The words of the midwives, who helped her give birth, were now piercing through her heart like sharp knives. She caressed her living child’s hair, her weak hand trembling, and looked at her with eyes wet. How she wished she could live for a few more years… to see her daughter growing up, and hug her every day. Just for a split second, she imagined combing her beautiful red hair and braiding it.
“You have to live,” she whispered to her little daughter, as she drew her last breath. A tear escaped from her eyes, that were left open, with a blank stare. The newborn girl started crying loudly, as if she understood everything that was happening around her. However, nobody seemed to comfort her. There was no way they would touch that thing with their bare hands. It should die along with its mother. That should be its fate.
“Good Lord! That thing killed not only its sister, but her mother as well! I can’t believe it,” a midwife said.
“It killed its father, too! He died a few days after Anna got pregnant.”
That moment, a young man entered the room. He had an evil mark on his face, which made the midwives crawl in a corner. They didn’t dare to utter a word. He didn’t bother to look at them – they were of no value to him. He checked up on the baby in front of him. He wrapped it with one of the many towels that were lying there, took it in his arms and disappeared into the darkness of that night.
The man named the cursed daughter Lilith, and he brought her up with all the affection, care and love a child needed. He never let her out of his sight. She had become his most precious treasure.
The child grew up to a young woman. Her fire-read hair grew long and, like waves, the strands danced on her beautiful body. The young man who took care of her was still by her side. He no longer loved her as his child, but as the woman who he had in front of him. And she always looked at him with eyes full of affection. But it was impossible for them to be together. No! She didn’t want to hurt him. Who knows what would happen if she dared to feel anything for him? Damn it! She already loved him…
“All, whom my childish heart dared to love, are now dead. Please, I can’t bare to lose you, too. Don’t let me love you.”
“You are not cursed, Lilith. Even though they stigmatized you like this, it does not mean that they are right.”
“They call me Curse. That is my name for them. Lilith exists only for you.”
That was the truth; nobody called her Lilith. Everyone knew her as Curse. Even the little children called her like that, and made fun of her every time they saw her along the marked man. How could she explain to them that they were wrong? How?
“This is a burn mark. Even so, they still think of me as one of the Devil’s pawns, some evil being that will bring disaster upon their village. I’m not what they think I am, and you already know that.”
“You? You haven’t killed anyone. You father was very ill, your mother died from heavy bleeding after birth, and your sister, because she was too weak. None of this is your fault.”
Lilith looked at herself through the mirror. She lowered her dress a bit. She had a black mark, just a bit over her chest, that looked like a tattoo. It was a word in the Japanese language that read noroi, meaning curse. They had stigmatized her, too. From the day she was born, she carried a heavy burden that kept growing, trying to bring her to her knees and destroy her.
One day, like all the others, Lilith decided to go out in the village on her own. She came to deeply regret that wrong decision of hers… very deeply. She believed that, if she told them her name, they would stop hating her. She stood at the most central point that she could find and the villagers started gathering around her, looking somewhat terrified. “My name is Lilith! I’m no longer Curse. I don’t want this mark!” she screamed on top of her lungs.
“What are you saying?” said a villager.
“You were born a Curse, and you will die a Curse.”
“Where is your protector today?”
One of them took a rock and threw it at her. Then, another. And another. The others followed his example. Oh, how much she was hurting… how much they were hurting her!
She tried to leave, but she stumbled and grabbed onto a woman’s dress, and tore it. Before she could apologize, the woman raised her hand and slapped her. Scared and wounded, she ran back home. She was craving to feel her beloved’s warmth again.
When she went inside, the stigmatized man saw her wounds immediately, and helped her stand, as she almost fainted. He sat with her by the fireplace and touched her bloodied hands. He smiled tenderly at her and, suddenly, all her wounds disappeared completely. It was as if nothing had happened, but her internal wounds would never heal at all.
“But they are wrong! I’m not the one they think I am. I’m not Curse!” she screamed, tears streaming like a river down her rosy cheeks.
“No, you are not. Your name is Lilith,” the man replied, and wiped away her tears.
“Why don’t they listen to me? Why don’t they believe in me?”
“Because their minds can’t quite understand your existence. You aren’t like them. You are different.”
His words soothed her broken heart a little, but Lilith didn’t stop cursing the moment she decided to change their mind. She realized it was impossible. They would never understand, no matter how hard she tried. And she would always remain stigmatized. She would always be Curse.
The days were passing by and Lilith didn’t go outside anymore. She was wasting away in a corner of her room, and didn’t even dare to look out her window. Then, she thought of something crazy. She tried to shove that thought away many times, but it was no use. That thought would never leave her troubled mind.
She could hardly stand up. The man that she loved wasn’t at home at that moment. So be it. That’s much better.
She wandered mechanically for some time, as if some higher power controlled her movement, ignoring the villagers’ weird looks and verbal attacks, until she reached the edge of a cliff. She stood there for a while, staring at the river that was flowing tirelessly.
“Lilith! Stop!” sounded a worried voice. Only one person in this world would worry about her.
“Stay where you are or else, I’ll jump!” she warned him.
“Why? Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t want to be Curse anymore. I want to be Lilith. I don’t want this mark on me. I want to be free!”
“You are Lilith! I gave you that name.”
She teared up and looked at him for the last time, a painful expression on her face. She made a step back and let her body fall, while the only man that she had ever loved tried to reach for her hand. It was meaningless – she didn’t want to be saved. She saw him crying and screaming her name loudly. This wasn’t the last thing she wanted to remember before she would be lost forever.
As she was falling, she saw the mark, that she so hated, tearing away from her body and floating in front of her. All these years it has been a part of her, and she never realized that she had been reading it wrong all along. The right word was negai, which meant wish. And the wish that was no longer hers, was now a part of her beloved’s body. Relieved, she closed her eyes and fell violently into the raging river.
She couldn’t hear anything anymore. She couldn’t see. She felt her body becoming one with the water, until it disappeared into its depths. The chains that they had put on her the day she was born, were now broken. And that heavy burden she kept carrying because of them, had disappeared. Only now she could say she was free.
Days later, an incurable disease spread throughout the village. Nobody knew how it started, but everyone thought of Curse. Yes, she must have sent it, to get her revenge. One by one, the villagers kept dying, unable to find the cure. And only he survived, to whom the Curse’s Wish was granted.