The whole family had been cursed since granny disappeared, at least that's what they said. The family tiptoed through life and thought more than once before they decided if it came to leaving the house. The old villa had hardly been changed since that notable day. The old man wanted to leave it in exactly the same way and after he died and was buried in the backyard no one had felt the need to change anything. The house was the last what was left from her and it fulfilled all their needs. It had been her who decorated it and she had done it with care, love and dedication. Each piece of furniture and even the smallest item was chosen for a specific reason. She had cherished what she had and that was what the family decided to do too. Although her disappearance had shocked them at that moment they never felt the urge to move out and sell the place. The house brought life, joy, and love into their lives and it felt to them as if she had never left.
Three generations lived in perfect harmony underneath the same roof together with the old Dan the butler.
"Grandma would have loved it this way," Teddy said and they all agreed.
Each one of them knew it was inside they were safe. The curse could not reach them. Outside was a different story. No matter who went out, old or young, male or female, it never ended in a good way. It felt as if a cloud of misery followed the one as soon as the gate was left. The cloud did not follow the person but crushed him. The adults, each one of them had at least tried once. Each time it resulted in a high amount of disasters from being beaten up till hit by a car and ending up in hospital or prison or the graveyard. Teddy was the only one who managed to order a phone and groceries before he ended up in the hospital.
Some family members said they had felt it in the atmosphere, the pressure, their doomsday.
For this reason, not one of the children had ever visited a school, seen a doctor, been able to visit the cinema or ever played with friends outside. It's hard to tell if they missed it. They never complained, neither felt bored or sick and tired. The house seemed to fulfil their wishes and the property outside was their kingdom.
"If you had the power to change one person's life, how would you do it?"
Her question had shocked him. She was in her late forties and what they called very foolish.
"Why you ask?"
He looked at her waiting for an answer. An answer that hopefully made some sense. He had never thought about a change, changing his life or someone else's.
"You can change mine," she said as she walked over to the window. "I like to be up there."
She pointed at an aeroplane in the sky.
"You will not make it and die."
"I know," she said with a smiling face, "but don't we all? You can help me."
"You never make it to the airport."
"You can help me build one. I fly from here or..."
"We ignore the curse. I think we can do that. Ignore it and..."
"Find out what happened to granny."
As far as he knew no one ever asked what happened to granny. Grandpa had accepted the fact she disappeared at least that's what he told and everyone thought. Had the police ever looked for her? Had there been a case?
"You can't ignore the curse. We all tried and you know what happened. Look at you."
She was the most foolish person he knew and it was a miracle to him why she asked him.
"I found something... it's important. I'll show it to you if you help me. I know you can, you are the only one interested in the truth," she buttered him up.
He was a man in his late thirties and she was right. He could be quite considerate plus she had pulled a string as she said she wanted to know what happened to grandma. Vaguely he remembered her and how he had wished she had been around for longer.
"I knew you would help me," she said as she took his hand and pulled him out of the room into the corridor.
"You've ever been here?"
He shook his head.
"I was." She hesitated, "as long as I remember I go over here... I know I am not smart, not the smartest if you all but I think it's important."
Carefully she opened the door and slipped inside and he followed her. For a moment he saw her as a four-year-old with a lace dress and pipe curls.
"You have to sit down. This is where I spent many hours. I watched."
She pointed at the hole in the wall. "You have a look."
He bent forward and peeped through the hole. What he saw wasn't unfamiliar to him. He didn't know what to say. She was older than him and had figured it out. Perhaps she didn't know it yet but she did.
"What do you think?"
"It... it looks interesting. You have been inside."
"No, no way how could I? The hole is just a peeping hole. I am Alice but not the Alice in Wonderland."
She started at him and waited for a response.
"Who made it," he whispered.
"The hole? It wasn't me. It's old, it always been there. Can we get in there, the room I mean?"
He thought and didn't know what to say. Would it alarm her if he refused?
"What did you see?"
Again he peeped through the hole. How much could she have seen?
"I saw them," she whispered, "I saw both of them and as she came in...they were so mad at her. I didn't know what to do. I hid and covered my ears..."
It was not what he had expected her to say. He saw fear in her eyes and she shivered.
"Follow me we have to talk. We need to talk somewhere else, not here."
He closed the door of the living in his wing behind her and gave her a cup of mint tea. She accepted it gratefully.
"Are you angry with me?"
"No dear but you know we have to talk. Do you know who's room that is or... was?
She nodded but didn't dare to speak out loud about what she had seen, saw long ago and had never spoken about.
"It's granddad's or..."
"... The butler. I am not sure. Both stayed there and granny..."
"She found out about it. What they did. They were not the only ones... there were more."
He swallowed and closed his eyes.
"Someone was arrested and after that..."
"After that granny disappeared."
She nodded again.
"You were there?"
It was his turn to nod.
"You know what happened to her?"
He shook his head. Granny had meant the world to him. He had loved her more than his own parents. He wasn't sure if she had noticed him but he had seen her. She had never been that angry. Angry at grandpa, the butler and the others, all those men who gathered around the table. He knew she waited for a response.
"The story started in an aeroplane," he said, "it's where they all met but I don't know what happened that night or... to granny."
"Grandfather knows, the old man knows and..."
The old men stood in the doorway and a gun pointed at them.
"We made a deal and the only thing you had to do was keep your mouth shut. Why can't you be like the rest? Do you have any idea how much it takes to keep a curse alive?"
"I want to fly," she said, "I want to be up in the air."
"You foolish girl why can't you be satisfied with what you have? You are just like your grandmother."
His eyes were filled with hate and he didn't hesitate for a second as he pulled the trigger and shot.
Surprised he felt as he heard the shot. "It doesn't hurt at all," was his first thought. He felt his chest and looked at the blood at his hand. He didn't hear her scream or felt how his head hit the coffee table as he fell forward.
"Why," she screamed, "why did you shoot him?
"I had the intention to shoot you my dear but he was dumb enough to catch that bullet for you."
Without wasting more time he shot the screaming woman in front of him. He had never liked women and the only reason he had accepted the job as a butler was to be close to the one he loved, to be free to do what he liked.
"Don't worry you will meet her soon," he said to the bleeding woman at his feet, "you know what killed the cat." He kicked her against her head on his way out.
"Why can't you be satisfied with what you have? There's no reason to interfere in my business. I cannot allow you to blow up my cover-up, my life work," he grumbled on his way out. Two more had to disappear. How come this family was never convinced and after all these warnings they still didn't give up?
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