The first instalment of the Eternally Cursed Chronicles, “Bound by Betrayal,” delves into a tale of ancient grudges and supernatural vendettas that weaves a gripping narrative of two women bound by tragedy and united in their quest for answers.
Eithne, a woman betrayed and murdered by her cheating husband, finds herself unexpectedly resurrected by a powerful Goddess with a hidden agenda. Trapped in an otherworldly box by the conniving woman who stole her husband, Eithne awakens centuries later, her heart still seething with righteous fury.
Enter Maretta, who suffered a cruel fate at the hands of her abusive spouse and was cursed by her own family to become Eithne’s eternal warden. As Eithne rises, Maretta is torn between aiding her restless charge in unravelling the mystery behind her resurrection and preventing her from unleashing chaos in the human world.
Bound together by a shared thirst for truth, Eithne and Maretta embark on a perilous journey to uncover the reason behind Eithne’s return from the beyond and the secrets surrounding the ancestral curse. As they navigate through ancient realms and confront dark forces, they must grapple with their own pasts and seek solace in each other’s company.
In The Eternally Cursed Chronicles: Bound by Betrayal, revenge and redemption intertwine, and the power of sisterhood transcends the barriers of time and death. Will they find the closure they seek, or will their pursuit of truth unleash consequences beyond imagination? Dive into this gripping supernatural fantasy that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
The beep beep beep of the metal detector echoed along the ages and down through the earth, competing with the sounds of the insects and animal life that can only be found on a South African farm. The two boys’ excited laughter got louder the faster the beeps came. They’d stumbled onto something. It was the first time they’d found anything with their homemade instrument. They’d discovered the design online and built it in their father’s workshop. Their arses had burnt when their father realised they’d cannibalised his lawnmower. But judging by the beeps, they’d hit the motherload.
Sneaking onto their next-door neighbour’s farm had been exciting, to begin with, but finding treasure would make any punishment their father would dish out worth it.
Sunlight filtered down through the branches of the ancient Blue Gum trees as Sam handed the spade to his younger brother, Daniel, and said, “It’s your turn.”
“It’s always my turn,” Daniel grumbled.
“That’s because you’re younger and have to do as I say,” Sam said as he crossed his arms and nodded. “And if you don’t, I’ll make you, and we both know I can.” Sam grinned as the memory of Daniel’s last attempt at rebelling against his rule as older brother drifted through his mind. It had the sweet taste of victory to it.
Daniel ignored the self-satisfied grin on his brother’s face and started digging.
The spade struck the ancient wood, sending splinters flying.
“What have you hit?” Sam asked, peering down into the hole.
“How the fuck should I know,” Daniel said, blushing at his use of the swear word. His mother would have made him put a five Rand coin in the jar if she’d heard him.
“You said the F word.” Sam grinned once more at him, this time with pride. “Don’t worry; I won’t tell Mom.”
“Of course. I would never split on you.”
“That’s what you said the last time, and I was grounded for a week.”
“That wasn’t my fault. Dad already knew it was you but was going to ground me if I didn’t tell him the truth. I had to tell him. I didn’t have a choice,” Sam said, spreading his arms out in supplication. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s cool. Just don’t tell Mom I used the F word. I’m saving up to buy Maria something for Valentine’s.”
“Maria?” Sam frowned. “Really?”
“What’s wrong with Maria?”
“Isn’t she a little… round?”
“She’s not fat.”
“Whatever. Let’s just get this… whatever it is out of the ground.”
Sam took the spade from his little brother and made the hole bigger. Sweat poured down their backs when they uncovered what looked like an old coffin with intricate carvings cut deep into the wood. The wood was rotten and crumbled when they touched it. The desiccated corpse of what they assumed was a woman stared at them through empty eye sockets, her jaw open as though she’d been screaming when she was buried. Strands of copper-coloured hair lay across her skeletal shoulders.
“Fuck,” they both said as they looked down at her bones.
“Why’d the machine go off for a bunch of old bones?” Daniel wondered.
“Who knows? Maybe it doesn’t work?” Sam said with a shrug.
“But we tested it in the kitchen, and it worked. We now know where Mom puts all the coins we put in the jar.”
They stared down at the skeleton. Frustrated frowns creased both their faces.
“What’s that?” Daniel asked, pointing at the woman’s hand.
Sam bent down and picked up her hand, but her arm came away from the rest of the body.
Daniel giggled like one of the girls in his class and put his dirty hand over his mouth to smother the hysteria building in him.
“That’s so gross,” Daniel said once he got the giggles under control. “What’s she got in her hand?”
“Looks like a huge rusty old nail,” Sam said. “Actually, it looks like she’s got them nailed into her bones all over the place.”
“I guess someone really nailed her,” Daniel said with a grin.
“Not funny,” Sam said after he finished rolling his eyes at his little brother.
“Should we pull them out?” Daniel asked.
“Ja,” Sam said with a nod. “They might be worth something at the junkyard. They also look really old, so we might even be able to take it to one of those shops that sell all those old things.”
“You mean that shop Mom likes to go to and that Dad doesn’t want her going to because she always spends too much money and always comes home with junk?” Daniel asked.
“That’s the one,” Sam said. “Did you bring the pliers?”.
“Ja, they’re in my bike’s toolkit,” Daniel said.
“But our bicycles are back at the road,” Sam said.
“Ja,” Daniel sighed.
“Best you get running then,” Sam said.
“Why do I have to go?”
“Because I said so, and you were the idiot who left the tools way back there,” Sam said.
“Fine,” Daniel groaned, climbed out of the grave, and ran back through the bushveld the same way they’d walked. His skinny legs struggled through the long grass. His green shorts collected blackjacks as he went.
Sam watched him from his perch on the sand they’d collected from their excavation. Laughter burst out between his skew teeth when his brother stumbled over tree roots and ploughed face-first into a spider web. Daniel was afraid of spiders, a fact Sam never tired of exploiting. Daniel’s figure grew smaller, and Sam tried to ignore his discomfort. He felt as though the empty eye sockets stared at him. He tried turning his back on her, but the sensation of being watched grew stronger.
A brisk wind rustled the leaves of the trees above him. He shivered and rubbed his arms, bringing his knees closer to his chest. The temperature dropped a few degrees. He peered up at the sky through the branches, expecting to see clouds covering the sun. Not a single cloud dotted the endless blue summer sky. The wind picked up some sand from the heap he sat on and blew it back into the grave.
“What the…” Sam said as he jumped off the pile, watched as a dust devil formed where he’d been sitting, and took more of the sand back to the grave. The earth once again covered the skeleton.
“Shit,” Sam said, scanning the horizon for his brother, whose small figure in the distance had just reached their bicycles tied to a tree next to the dirt road. Watching his brother, he realised that leaving them there probably hadn’t been the smartest thing they could have done. If their father drove past, he’d know exactly what they were doing. But the bush was too dense to ride their bikes through it.
They’d heard stories about their neighbour’s farm being haunted and an old gold mine on it that had been deserted because of the ghosts. There were also stories of buried treasure left by the English army during the Boer War.
The ghost stories hadn’t scared Sam. He was interested in the gold and the treasure. It had taken a bit of convincing to get his brother to help make the metal detector, but once the promise of buried treasure had come into it, Daniel had come around. Another dust devil picked up another load of sand and deposited it in the grave.
An exasperated sigh escaped Sam’s lips as he picked up the spade and dug the sand out again. Every shovel load he managed to scoop out of the grave was replaced by what felt like another two loads.
“That’s it,” he shouted at the wind. “I’m getting those fucking nails out even if it means I have to use one of these bones to do it.”
He scrambled out of the grave and retrieved the discarded arm he’d dropped earlier. “One of these finger bones might be small enough to get under the nail head,” he mused out loud as he examined the skeletal arm. The nail firmly wedged in the hand fell to the ground without further help.
The wind howled.
Sam picked up the nail and jumped back into the grave. He decided to start with the nails in her skull and make his way down. Using the tip of the nail from her hand, he began digging the one out between her eye sockets and slightly above where her nose would have been.
He assumed the skeleton was a woman’s because of the long strands of hair still attached to the skull, and it just felt like it was female. He didn’t know why he thought it, but he just knew it was. He also just knew he had to get those nails out of her. He felt compelled. It was as though a soft voice was whispering to him, telling him to get them out. The voice begged him for help. Another voice carried on the wind screamed for him to stop. He ignored the angry, screaming voice and focused on the sad, pleading one. He felt sorry for her. She needed him.
Sam pried and wiggled the nail between her eyes till it flew out after what seemed like an hour, narrowly missing his right eye, but nicked his temple. Blood slowly dribbled down his face and landed on her forehead. The air around him crackled. The wind screamed. Her bones vibrated.
“What the fuck did you do?” Daniel squealed from above. His dirty face peered down at Sam from the edge of the grave.
“I freed her,” Sam shouted over the roar of the wind.
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Be A Freaky Darling!