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The Curse of the Fuwa, Part 1

Okay, so this is first draft of a short story. So it is subject to change if I come up with a better idea. Or if I just decide to add or edit it. So don't judge me too harshly. I'm going to post it in two or three parts this week. Enjoy part 1.

The Curse of the Fuwa, Part 1

“Do you know a Noire Tenebris?” Stan asked as he walked in the door carrying a FedEx parcel. The rich, delicious scent of chocolate chip cookies filled the neat home.

Peeking around the kitchen doorway, Bev smiled at Stan. “Yee-aaah,” she drawled. “Back at college. Why?”

Stan held up the box. “I found a package for you by the front door.” He tossed the box onto the trim blue couch in the front room and hung his coat up in the closet. Bev brought a plate with a couple of still warm cookies from the kitchen.

They sat together on the couch in the front room facing toward the large picture windows. Bev set the cookies on the low oak table and gingerly took the plain box and looked it over. “That's odd. She hated me at college. I wasn't all that thrilled about her either. Why would she send me a package?”

“Maybe there's a note inside?” Stan tapped the box. “Why don't you open it and see.”

Inside the package they found a plain, white, cardboard box. Inside the cardboard box was a fancy green and silver box, with “Beijing 2008” engraved in the top along with the five Olympic rings and “One World, One Dream.”

Inside the fancy box under a piece of foam were a couple of small slips of paper, documents of provenance, and a clear box with five little, silver, Chinese figurines.

“Mascots for the 2008 Olympics,” Bev murmured. “Why would Noire send me silver 2008 Olympics mascots?”

“I have no idea.” Stan reread one of the documents. “Maybe they're not really silver. Maybe it's an elaborate prank.”

“She wasn't really the type. I can't remember any prank she ever pulled. She was more the stab-you-in-the-back, pull-the-rug-out-from-under-you, ruin-your-life type. Nothing so light-hearted as a prank.”

“Did she do anything against you, or you against her?”

“Not really. She and my roommate, Lisa, had some kind of competition-rivalry going. Lisa and Noire were both after the same guy. I tried to help Lisa out, distracting Noire once or twice at parties and what not. If I remember correctly neither of them got him. Lisa ended up meeting Bradley after graduation, but I don't know whatever happened with Noire.”

“And now she's sending you little silver figurines.”

“I wonder how she got my address.” Bev put the clear box with the figurines on mantle near the vase with the yellow, long-stemmed roses. “They are kind of cute.”

“You have to admit it's kind of weird.” Stan pulled her in for a kiss.

“So was Noire.” When they came up for air, Bev asked, “I guess I should send her a thank you card.”

* * * * *

The wind woke Bev in the night. This was no gentle breeze, or wind whistling around the corners of their little piece of suburban paradise. This was a roaring wind. It shook the windows and rattled the house.

“Stan!” Bev shook her husband. “Stan, wake up!” She grabbed her phone, found the notice first thing. “Tornado? We don't have tornadoes here.”

They raced down the hallway past windows that were flexing and vibrating like drum heads. The stairs shook beneath their feet, pictures falling from the wall as they passed. They took refuge in the powder room, the most interior room in the house, shutting the door on the tortured creaking and groaning of their home. They crouched, huddled together on the polished tile floor.

Minutes seemed like hours. The roaring grew monstrously loud, crashing down around them like unending thunder.

By the time it was over, Bev's fingers hurt from clinging so tightly to Stan's arms, which were bruised from the strength of her fingers clutching him.

They emerged from their immaculate powder room into a dark disaster area. In the occasional crackle of sparking electricity they surveyed their ruined home. On the stairs a thin stream of water gurgled and slipped down the steps. Several windows were cracked or broken. The roof was mostly missing. They were surrounded by a damp windblown mess. Bits and pieces of debris clutched and clung damply to their ankles as they slowly shuffled around.

The only part of their home that was untouched, dry, clean, and tidy was the bookcase and the clear box with the five silver figurines.

The next few days passed in a stunned fog of plastic tarps, insurance adjusters, and building contractors.

Before the roof could be fixed another rain storm washed through the house. The stairs turned into a veritable waterfall. The street turned into a river. The river ended at their house. The ground floor of the house turned into a pool.

Coming home, Stan found Bev standing in the front room, standing in thigh deep slowly moving water, staring at the untouched little silver figurines.

“It's them,” she whispered. “I know it's them. Maybe if I'd sent a thank you note, this wouldn't have happened.”

The water swirled coldly around their legs.

“I don't think a thank you note would stop the storms that have been coming through.” Stan carefully turned her around and walked her out of the house. “This has nothing to do with those figurines. Everyone has a run of bad luck at some point in their life. Everyone has their troubles in life. This is ours. We'll be okay. We'll stay at a hotel for a bit, while the house gets fixed. This won't last forever.” He walked her toward a waiting motor boat.

“It'll last until our lives are ruined. I just know it,” Bev whispered as she climbed into the boat.

At the hotel Bev googled 2008 Olympic mascots.

The mascots were called Fuwa, “The Friendlies.” They were supposed to be welcoming, cordial, happy marketing swag. They were made into a variety of figurines and plushies, printed on posters and cards, used in video advertisements. They were sold, given away, and presented.

They were also, apparently, cursed.

* * * * *

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