From Cursive To Curses- Part XVIII
- From Cursive to Curses- Part XXVII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part I
- From Cursive To Curses- Part II
- From Cursive To Curses- Part III
- From Cursive To Curses- Part IV
- From Cursive To Curses- Part V
- From Cursive To Curses- Part VI
- From Cursive To Curses- Part VII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part VIII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part IX
- From Cursive To Curses- Part X
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XI
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XIII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XIV
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XV
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XVI
- FROM CURSIVE TO CURSES- PART XVII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XVIII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XIX
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XX
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XXI
- From Cursive To Curses-Part XXII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XXIII
- From Cursive To Curses- Part XXIV
- FROM CURSIVE TO CURSES-PART XXV
- From Cursive to Curses- Part XXVIII
***Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction. It is an adaptation of the characters created and owned by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. This story is not associated with Disney’s adaptations, their added characters, or story elements. *** Past Chapter
Jacob followed behind the towering woman as she walked towards the twisted castle. Thankfully, the woman had stopped her humming. He glanced behind him at Aledia. She was holding herself together despite the slight tremor in her hands. Wilhelm looked to be fairing the same. Jacob looked down at his own hands and found a slight shake. He shoved his hands deep into his pockets.
The doors swung open without a sound. Jacob expected the door to creak open with a horrendous screech. The woman peered down at the group and smiled. Her crooked teeth grinding and creaking against each other. He stopped walking. Aledia and Wilhelm halted behind him.
“Do we have any reassurance that we will be allowed to leave?” he asked.
The devil’s mother laughed. “Darling mortal, you gave up that right the moment you stepped off the boat. You are now subject to my whims.” She turned and glided into the castle. Each step was silent. Jacob wondered if she was walking at all or floating forward.
Jacob looked over at his companions and followed the woman inside. They were not armed for a fight. Besides that, he did not think they would ever win a battle against her. Her size alone would make the feat impossible. As the devil’s mother, who knew what kind of unholy magic she contained at her fingertips?
“If you keep my interest, I will allow you to leave with what you seek. We will cross the bridge if you do not keep me entertained,” she said.
Her scarlet skirts whispered over the white marble floors as they started down a corridor. The red flames of the torches reflected red off the otherwise white surface. Jacob tried to shudder as he noticed the lighting.
She guided them into a study. The furniture was of monstrous proportions. Bookshelves traveled so high that Jacob could not see where they ended. In all his life he had never seen so many books. It would have been heaven if the books were not the size of him.
The woman settled into a rocking chair beside a large plush armchair. In the hearth, a fire raged before them. The flames within the open fireplace cast a red glow into the room as it had done in the hallway. They waded through the fibers of a Persian rug. Their knees brushing against each strand of fiber. The devil’s mother adjusted her velvet skirts, they hissed against the rug. She peered down at them.
“So tell me, mortal boy, what brings you to deal with my son.”
Jacob swallowed and tried to force down the lump in his throat. The empty eye sockets gazed down at him and awaited his answer. He cleared his throat and prayed his voice would not fail or waver.
“We are here to trade for your ferryman,” he began.
She laughed and the room shook. Wilhelm tumbled to his feet. Aledia clutched onto Jacob as the ground shook. It amazed Jacob that he managed to stay on his feet. A tear slid from her empty eye socket, and she wiped it away.
“Even you, little mortal, have nothing to sway us on that. The ferryman was a role assigned by the almighty bastard of a God. A role placed upon a mortal’s shoulders. They ferry the lost souls and the foolish to my son and me. There must be a ferryman.”
“Someone tricked their father into the job. The original ferryman is gone,” Aledia whispered. She glanced at Jacob and back to the devil’s mother. The empty eye sockets turned to her.
“Ah, so one of your companions has found their voice. Of course, the original ferryman is gone. He has been gone for quite some time. Do you think that anyone signs up for the job?” S
“Ah, so one of your companions has found their voice. Of course, the original ferryman is gone. He has been gone for quite some time. Do you think that anyone signs up for the job?” She chuckled.
“How does one become the ferryman?” Jacob asked.
She stuck out a mangled finger and waggled it in a taunt.
“Not so fast, mortal. Before I spill my secrets, what have you come to haggle? You cannot expect something for nothing. I do not run a charity.”
“We have-” Aledia began, but Jacob cut her off.
“We have come for answers and if your answers fit our needs, we show our hand. If not, then we have failed to amuse you, I’m sure. What is more amusing than the anticipation of what we have to offer?” Jacob asked.
Teeth creaked as she smiled. “Amusing, indeed. We can add a dash of bold to the mix as well, I think. Alright, mortal, we shall play your game. However, I will limit your questions. Three in your party, three questions you may ask. No more, no less. Keep me amused,” she warned.
Jacob nodded and looked to his companions. They nodded. “Very well. How does a person become the ferryman?” he asked.
“They are foolish and allow themselves to fall into the trick,” she said with a toothy smile.
Jacob frowned. It was an answer but not the one he had wanted or expected. She wanted to play it like this. He would have to be more precise.
“Foolish and tricked… is an interesting way. It cannot be from stepping onto the boat. As we have done that and made it to your doorstep. It cannot be from returning to mortal shore. We had a fourth member that returned safely back,” he thought aloud.
The woman cackled. “This is what makes you so interesting, you mortals. You scramble to not be outdone but, in the end, fail to see what is true.”
Aledia shook his arm. He glanced over at her.
“There was nothing in the boat beside us and the oar. It’s the oar,” she whispered.
The woman smiled and clapped. The room shook at the sound. “The women were always the brightest of your species. Shame the simple-minded only use them for breeding or cooking. The downfall of man will be the sweetest to witness. The next question is yours, my dear.”
Jacob scowled back to the devil’s mother. “That was not what we agreed upon,” he said.
The woman continued to smile. “I gave the three of you, three questions. I did not say you would get to ask all the questions.”
Aledia looked around and frowned. She was not prepared to ask a question. She didn’t know what to ask. Then it came to her. “Why are Jacob and Wilhelm’s family cursed?”
The woman nodded. “They upset Karama and her punishment of another mortal.”
It was a short answer. Too short of an answer. There were too many possibilities and so many more questions. How many people had the brothers helped during their journey? It could have been anyone. She ran a hand through her hair and looked to Wilhelm. He had the final question.
“Where is the last ferryman, the one who tricked my father,” he asked.
“He is in the mortal world, seeking riches and revenge,” she said. She looked over each one in the group and frowned. “What a disappointment. The first asked for answers he already knew. The second asked a vague question and the third was not precise enough. How very disappointing. Show me what you have to offer for these sad questions,” she sighed.
Jacob took the pack and opened the top to reveal the golden apple. Light flooded the room and chased back the darkness. The red hue of the flames and torches were cast aside for the glory of sunlight contained in the apple.
The woman stood and plucked the apple from Jacob. She rolled the apple in her fingers.
“A bit of sunlight in this place for such sad questions. Perhaps if you had led with this, you would have gotten more for what you are paying,” she said.
“We do have something else,” Aledia said and reached for the pack. She pulled out an invisibility fabric. “This will cause the wearer to be invisible to all that seek them out. It will protect your apple from those that want the sunlight for themselves.”
The woman reached for the fabric but Aledia pulled it back.
“This was mine to offer and not originally on the table. We will require more for it,” Aledia blurted out. Her heart hammered in her chest.
The woman walked back to the chair, still rolling the apple in her hand.
“Very well, girl, as your question. You will only receive one for this item.”
“Whose fate did Jacob and Wilhelm interrupt to warrant a curse.”
“None,” the devil’s mother answered. She reached down and snatched the fabric from Aledia.
“If it wasn’t you two… that means it was your father. He is the only living relative,” Aledia said turning to the brothers.
“Yes, but who? What fate do we need to fix to ensure everything reverts to normalcy?” Jacob asked aloud.
The woman wrapped the fabric around the apple and frowned as she still saw the fabric.
“Girl, did you lie to me? You’ll find it foolish to do so.”
Aledia smiled. “I do not lie. I did not tell you the spell to activate the magic, and you didn’t ask. If you grant our safe return to the mortal shore, I shall share them with you.”
Jacob was aghast at her audacity. The woman smiled again and clapped her hands.
“This is quite amusing. Here I thought the boy would be the entertainment but you, girl, hold all the cards. I will grant you your request.”
“I will give them to you once we are home,” she said.
The woman nodded.
Featured Photo by ID 12019 via Pixabay. Altered by Lindsey Gruden.