The Cursed Ones (Chapter 1)
A medium-sized story for Halloween. It’s kinda horror-mystery themed, so I thought it would be better to post it in serialized format. The next chapters will be posted soon.
Please comment if you can.
THE CURSED ONES
That was just a nightmare. It had to be. Put yourself together, Clementine, it wasn’t real. You aren’t back in that awful place. When you wake up, you’ll be back in your bed, safe and sound, and that horrible creature won’t be able to hurt you.
Clementine kept repeating that in the back of her drowsy mind, but she didn’t open her eyes yet. She rubbed her hands against the mattress and felt the comfortable, familiar texture and smell of her sheets. She smiled. She really was home, safe in her room. It all had really been a nightmare.
She opened her blue eyes slowly, taking a while to adapt to the sunlight coming from the window and onto her face. Again, the familiarity of the morning sounds and the sight of her bedroom felt reassuring. Yet, something was immensely wrong. She could feel it now, even though she still hadn’t realized what it was.
It took her half a second to understand that the off sensation came from her own body. Clementine tilted down her head to look at her upper body, around where more of the odd feelings seemed to come from.
That was her white undershirt, all right, but her eyes also met with two very round and large breasts, a far cry from the flat 12-years-old chest she had gone to bed with last night.
Clementine yelled, but only a stifled shriek came from her dry throat. She shot up upright and away from her bed. Standing up proved she had also grown taller, and that the rest of her body had also suffered radical alterations. Her hands raced to her butt, where they cupped the two fleshy cheeks that now overflowed her short pants.
Running towards the mirror, the girl didn’t see her young head over a developed body, as she had half-expected. Instead, her face had changed too. It still had some of her familiar features, but they had also matured into those of a lady about twice her age. No matter where she looked, she faced the same fact: she was now all-woman, obviously fully grown and very attractive, which Clementine couldn’t help but noticing despite her distress.
She realized that her reflection was trembling. She tried to steady herself, to calm down a bit, and maybe figure out what had happened. Her fingers ran through her hair, which was slightly longer than before, as she tried to concentrate. Somehow, she felt she knew exactly what had happened.
I was having a nightmare before waking up, I think. God, why is it so hard to remember?
Slowly, very slowly, the first piece came into focus.
I was… I was back there, in that dreadful place. I was even more scared this time, but I was alone. I don’t remember any of my friends being in the dream, either. But there was someone… that horrible woman was there. And she… I don’t remember exactly what she said, but then… I started changing. Yes, I remember, I started changing into this… into an adult.
Unlike the rest of the dream, this part came vividly to her mind. She remembered the lengthy and painful transformation process that had rendered into a woman. Clementine could recall every detail of the change now: being in front of the fireplace, standing and shivering; her breasts suddenly protruding in front of her; her bones cracking larger; her innards transmuting…
Then she remembered something else too. The threat that had been made: her friends were in danger.
As fast as she could, she took her phone and texted in the WhatsApp group they had created before the break-in. They needed to know.
Guys, the curse is real. She got me tonight. I need to see you ASAP at the clubhouse.
There was a certain air of nervousness among the seven kids who had gathered at the old cabin, even though most of them were quite sure it was all a practical joke.
Still, the fact remained that Clementine was the least likely candidate to make a jest out of the situation. The girl was serious to a fault, and her friends knew she had a very limited sense of humor.
“Still, she must be joking for some reason, isn’t she?” young Melissa kept asking. She looked the tensest of all. “It can’t be real, can it?”
“Of course it’s not real,” her sister Barbara said. “I think she’s anxious and now she’s just seeing curses where there are none.”
“That makes sense, actually,” said Jenny impressed, adjusting her glasses. “It’s much more likely than Clementine actually making a joke. I mean, curses don’t exist, but her sense of humor doesn’t either…”
Sabrina just sighed and shrugged.
“Whatever. I should have known she didn’t have a backbone and would panic. If we can’t control her, she’s going to get us all in trouble.”
“She’s just scared, Sabrina. We all are,” admitted Isabel, looking at the other girl with a bit of disgust.
Next to her, the tall tomboy Daniela didn’t look too scared, but she grunted in support of her friend and glared at Sabrina, who immediately backed away.
Kenneth didn’t say a thing. He was the only boy at the clubhouse, and not an actual member of the clique, which had been formed in an all-girls’ school. But he had been dragged into the messy situation by being Jenny’s brother… and by having a major crush on Sabrina. He was starting to regret the whole thing.
They fell into a tense silence until the sound of the door made them all turn around. A shivering woman wearing a raincoat was standing in the doorway, looking as dumbfounded as the rest of them were.
In all the years since the girls had been using the abandoned cabin in the woods as their clubhouse, this was probably the first time that an adult had set foot in there. But, before the kids could inquire the stranger’s identity, she declared in a coarse yell:
“Guys, it’s me! I’m Clementine!”
After that, she collapsed over a chair and started weeping uncontrollably. The others just looked around in confusion.
It took over ten minutes to bring back some semblance of calmness to the woman. She was still sobbing, but at least she was able to speak intelligible sentences again.
“I’m really Clementine”, she kept claiming. “Please, you have to believe me.”
“Well, she does really look a lot like Clementine,” Barbara admitted.
“But she CAN’T be!” Sabrina looked much angrier than anything else. “She’s just probably her big sister, or something.”
“I don’t have a sister!” yelled the woman.
“It’s true. She doesn’t,” said Jenny.
“She does know all the passwords from the clubhouse,” argued Daniela, who apparently was having a hard time admitting there could be something to the woman’s claims. “And she was able to answer all our questions. It’s weird, I know, but I think we should give her a chance to explain herself.”
At that, the stranger seemed to calm down a bit more as she nodded.
“So, explain yourself, then,” said Daniela brusquely.
“It was… Her. She stole from me. She said we all had to pay. And that she would come after each of you next. Stealing a decade of your youth for herself.”
“I swear I’m telling the truth! How else can you explain what happened to me?”
“So… Are you ten years older?” asked Melissa.
Again, the stranger nodded.
“I must be 22, yes. Because she said we would pay with a decade each.”
“And she… got younger in return?” asked Kenneth, speaking for the first time since her arrival.
“Yeah, she did… a bit. It didn’t make as much of a difference in her, to be honest. Not like it did on me.”
“But when did this happen? Where?” Barbara asked.
“It’s hard to explain. It was last night. I thought it was a dream at first, but it wasn’t. I was at home, yet it all happened elsewhere… in front of her fireplace.”
“So she’s like some kind of Freddy Krueger thing…” muttered Jenny. “She comes in your dreams. We can’t fall asleep, then?”
“You’re all being ridiculous. I still don’t believe any of this.”
They stared at Sabrina, who was standing behind them, her arms crossed over her chest. The woman who claimed to be Clementine looked furious now.
“Maybe you don’t want to believe this because you know it was your fault on the first place! It was your idea to go there. I didn’t want to, and you forced me by teasing me about being yellow. Well, maybe I am, but so are you sometimes! I still remember how you peed all over yourself in the first grade, when you saw that little spider at my house.”
Sabrina fell silent and motionless, then she looked up and down at the woman.
“Oh, my God. Clem? How is this possible?”
“I’m not sure, but it’s all true,” said the new adult.
“And… we’re next,” said a terrified Barbara. “That’s what she said, isn’t it?”
As Clementine nodded, horror seemed to catch fire all around. That, at least, until Isabel shrugged visibly.
“Why are you all so scared? Am I the only one who thinks this sounds good? I mean, have you truly looked at Clementine? I don’t get what is so horrible about it.”
They seemed to consider it for a second.
“Yeah, but… It’s true, Clementine looks great and all…” said Kenneth, blushing a bit. “But it’s 10 years, Isabel. Ten. We’re losing a decade of our lives for good.”
“Luckily for us, it’s the dreadful decade. Our teenage years. Everyone wishes they could have skipped them. And now we will.”
Barbara noticed that tears were silently falling down her sister’s cheeks.
“Shush, guys. You’re scaring Melissa. And don’t talk this way. Maybe nothing will happen to us. We can… maybe we still can cheat this. Find a way around the curse, or something.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize you were a ghost expert,” said Sabrina sarcastically, back to her haughty self.
“And what about me? I’ve already changed!” protested Clementine.
“Maybe there’s a way back for you too,” said Jenny, siding with Barbara after deciding that panic wouldn’t do any good. “Though we should think what we must do with you for now. Your parents will notice you’re gone.”
A few of them gasped. With all the worry about the curse, they had forgotten about their more immediate troubles.
“Can’t she stay here at the clubhouse?” suggested Daniela.
It wasn’t exactly clean or comfortable, but it would do. Clementine nodded.
“Can someone get me some food, please?” she asked weakly. “I didn’t have anything for breakfast. And maybe get me some bigger clothes? I’m freezing. This thing was the only stuff I could grab without waking my parents, but…”
She opened her raincoat, revealing her extremely tiny shorts and undershirt, which could barely contain her adult curves. Her friends were speechless for a while.
“I’ll… I’ll do it,” said Daniela. “And I’ll stay and keep you some company for a while. I’m not afraid of the woods.”
The others didn’t say anything, but they were all very relieved to hear her offer. None of them were too eager to walk alone among the trees after what had happened, especially not at dark. But Daniela had always been a tough one.
The meeting broke and Clementine was left alone for a couple of hours. It was truly horrible, and she almost despaired, but Daniela was back with three pizza boxes and some of her mom’s clothes. They spent most of the afternoon playing board games at the old cabin and for a while they felt almost relaxed and normal. Then Daniela’s cellphone rang and they both jumped in fear.
Clementine waited until her friend’s conversation was over, her anxiety creeping again.
“It’s Isabel. Your parents have been asking for you all day,” Daniela announced. “The police still isn’t involved, but everyone at town is very nervous because you’re gone.”
Clementine tried to fight back her tears, not wanting to cry publicly yet again, but she failed.
“Don’t worry, sweetie.” Despite her usual coarseness, Daniela could be quite supportive at times like these. “Everything will sort itself out. But I probably should leave for today. It’s getting dark now, and I don’t want my parents believing that I’ve also disappeared.”
Clementine knew that Daniela was right, but it was very hard for her to let her go.
“Just try and sleep, and we’ll be back with you tomorrow morning,” promised Daniela.
“I don’t want to sleep! I’ll have nightmares!”
“But you’re safe now! She already got you, so she doesn’t need to come back for you. It’s the rest of us who should be careful. I know I’m drinking all the coffee I can. I’m not falling asleep until we know how to get rid of her.”
Finally, Clementine let her friend go, though by then it was already quite dark, and even the brave Daniela had to admit she felt a bit nervous walking alone among the old trees.
Having four brothers had made her strong, so she had always been confident, especially since last year, when she had started growing taller than average, and also gained just a bit of muscle mass. She was the best at sports in her class, and there was nobody at school –not even older girls- who would dare to get into a fight with her. But this threat wasn’t tangible, so Daniela felt vulnerable for the first time in ages.
Maybe anxiety was really starting to do a number of her, because the woods felt unfamiliar and threatening. There was an odd wind, and terrible sounds coming all around. Was that a wolf? Well, that was certainly something she never had heard in these parts. Not to mention what sounded a lot like evil cackling.
Daniela started to run. She had no idea where, since she was completely lost by now, but she just wanted to get away from the forest as fast as possible. Yet, the trunks seemed even thicker than ever, and the branches kept tangling around her like claws.
“¿Qué está pasando? ¡Esto no es normal!” she said aloud. She never spoke Spanish unless she was nervous, which hadn’t happened in years, and that realization scared her even more.
The darkness around her wasn’t natural either. She was sure it wasn’t that late, plus there were no stars or the moon in the sky any more, as they had been just minutes earlier. She grabbed her black, short hair in desperation, not even thinking about using her phone. She just wanted to… cry.
Taking a step back, her tennis shoe found a large root and she fell over the dry leaves, which creaked.
Actually, the creaking sounds continued after she had fallen. There was someone else stepping on the leaves, approaching.
Daniela squinted her eyes trying to see in the dark until she finally found it. Standing before her was the terrible figure of the crone she had seen just a few days earlier, though she was upright this time, looking directly at her with her sunken eyes. The girl though that she seemed a bit healthier than the last time, though Clementine had been right: the difference wasn’t very noticeable. The crone was still very old, with a mane of white hair that fell to her knees and gaunt, wrinkly features.
She pointed at the girl with a frail, bony finger, and Daniela couldn’t help it but yell loudly. She couldn’t hear the exact words the crone was saying, but it was something about “paying the price” and “restoring what was hers.”
Then her hand grasped the air like a claw and Daniela could feel years of her life leaving her; an unfathomable force coming from her whole self. She started to shake and she knew there was no escaping this now: her 13-years-old body was getting older.
Since she was already tall, she had often wondered if she would grow more. The answer was yes, and a lot. Her legs and arms got even longer, then her torso, leaving her well past the six foot mark. She was in no position to regard herself, though, since the girl was in agony. Her elongating bones cracked painfully and noisily.
Daniela crawled over the ground with her lengthier limbs, trying to get away from the crone, to no avail. Then, her muscles felt like they were on fire as they started to engorge substantially. Her thighs became impressively wide, ruining her short pants, and she could feel her abdomen developing the gentle beginnings of a six-pack. Her blouse was tearing too as her back broadened, so she had a peak of her washboard-like stomach.
The old woman was cackling, and Daniela looked at her to see that she was indeed youthening a bit, though it was mostly visible because her hair was now a darker gray. But then the girl’s own face started to morph uncomfortably and she had to look away from her attacker.
Even her hair follicles hurt. She had always cut her hair short as a boy, but now it was growing longer, until it stopped just past the middle of her back. Besides her haircut, her trim body had always made her look boyish, which had never bothered her, but now she was showing noticeable signs of femininity.
Though still firm, her buttocks were ballooning out along her hips, which, coupled with the sudden growth of her chest, gave her an hourglass figure that was quite womanly despite her well-developed muscles. Like the rest of her, her new breasts were firm and large, her pectorals rising them up and giving them a striking roundness which snapped even more of her top.
Tears flooded down her face freely, but the pain was subduing. Her eyes were closed, and she let herself over the leaves, passing out just seconds after.
She woke up and it was still dark, though not as much as when the unnatural veil had covered the woods. The old woman was nowhere to be seen, and Daniela was surprised to catch sight of the clubhouse cabin just a few yards before her.
Too weak to stand up immediately, she sat over the ground first. Knowing what she would see, she looked down at herself, nevertheless surprised at the sight of her womanly proportions.
She stood up slowly. Wow, she was tall. And buff. Now that the pain was gone, there was an impressive sense of power rushing through her well-muscled body. Her legs felt like tree trunks to her, which maybe was lucky, since she felt like she could fall on her face, partly due to the hefty orbs hanging in front of her.
But she managed to keep her balance and make her way to the clubhouse. She opened the door and flicked the lights on, waking up Clementine with a start.
“Ahhhhh! What…? Who…? Daniela? She got you too!”
Though she knew her face had changed, Daniela felt a bit comforted about the fact that she was still recognizable enough for Clementine to identify her. Nodding quickly, she walked past her friend and towards the very filthy, broken mirror that hung on a wall.
Her features had gotten sharper, yet also more feminine and even… attractive. Her longer hair added to that image, but she had to admit she liked it. Gone was the tomboy. Even though she looked stronger than ever, she also looked girlier. And somehow, it didn’t bother her.
“Oh, my God, you’re huge!” said Clementine, standing next to her and not even reaching her shoulders. “And you’re a decade older, of course.”
“I’m twenty-three…” Daniela said in disbelief. Her new voice was deeper than Clementine’s, suitable for her imposing frame.
“Feels strange, doesn’t it?” said Clementine. “Finally someone can understand what this is like.”
Daniela didn’t answer right away. She was still looking at herself in the mirror, surprised, yet somewhat pleased at the sight of her athletic shape. She posed and flexed her muscles, until her already ripped top snapped from her, exposing her large, hard nipples.
“Oh, sorry.” Both she and Clementine blushed, while Daniela looked for some of the spare clothes that she had brought for her friend.
They had been suitable enough for her mother and for Clementine, but on Daniela, they were painfully tight. They were the only thing around, though, so they would have to do. She ripped a bit of the pants’ seams so that they could fit a bit more comfortably.
“We need to warn the others,” said Clementine after a while. “They aren’t safe even while awake.”