“Where are they, Wilson?”

Max waited for him impatiently at the front door, unable to claim the shoes as he promised earlier.

Still in the hidden place where he left them, he was now torn between passing to his brother the shoes with the curse or just accepting his sibling’s howls of protest if he said he changed his mind.

He chose the latter.

“You can’t have them,” he passed through him in a rush, not wanting to elaborate why.

“It’s not fair!” Max followed him wherever he went, like a pesky mosquito attacking its host.”I’ll tell father!”

“Don’t!” Wilson stopped and turned around. “Leave him out of this!”

Instilled with fear, he decided not to tell Max what he learned earlier.

“What’s wrong? Why the sudden turnaround?”

“You won’t understand.”

“Let father be the judge of that!” Max said angrily, ready to call his ally.

Wilson held onto his arms, having no recourse but to relate to his brother the story about the shoes. Perhaps, the fear factor would be enough to dissuade him.

“Have you proof that they are the same shoes?” Max asked, unmoved from his decision of ownership.

“Max, I had a nightmare yesterday. You will have too if I let you have them. Possession, it seems, is part of the curse.”

Max studied him closely, figuring out if he invented the scenario to scare him.

“If you don’t want me to have them, what will you do?” he asked, disbelief was written all over him.

“I’ll sell them to someone at school,” Wilson revealed. “They’ll fight with one another just to buy them.”

“So, the buyer will inherit the curse.”

“That’s correct!”

However, Max would not let go quickly. His cynicism was strong.

“What if you’re wrong? What if there’s no curse?”

“Do you want the nightmare?” Wilson asked with the explicit challenge. “I’ll tell you the shoes are not worth it.”

“I’ll take my chances,” his younger brother decided. “I want them, curse or no curse!”

“It’s your choice!” Wilson tried but failed: his brother won.

“Where are they?”

– 0 –

After his uneventful supper, which was a contrast to his family’s cheerful exchange in front of the dining table, he lingered for a while in the living room. Max was the master of ceremonies, so to speak, holding the remote control as if it was a wizard’s wand.

“Change the channel,” his other siblings roared but Max seemed to be deaf to their cries.

“I want to see this before I go to sleep,” he announced. “Then, the remote is all yours.”

Wilson watched his brother dancing in delight: he wore the shoes.

– 0 –

Wilson could not sleep: the neighbors’ dogs howled one after the other. There was a full moon so that might explain their chilling noises.

Or, maybe the spirit was coming to take back what it rightfully owned.

The series of howling continued after a few pauses. The dogs could be warning humans of unfriendly spirits roaming around.

Then, there were scratching sounds on the roof. Cats usually ran around at night to hunt for rats that used the outstretched branch of the tree as a bridge to their house.

Or, they were not cats but the spirit that has arrived, preparing to scare the wits of the one who held the shoes.

Damn, he swore. The window was wide open. The night breeze disturbed the leaves of the trees, the rustling sound provoked spooky notions in his mind. His imagination ran wild.

Instead of getting out bed to close the window, Wilson covered himself with the blanket and waited for his brother to scream for his life.

(to be concluded)


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