For Anne Greyhawk and Her Curses, Part 1: click here.


 

“I heard books like that are Satanic. Are you a Satanic Indian, Anne?”

Jeremy Wheeler’s hand, the one reaching out to snag the slim book from her grasp, had flaky scabs on each knuckle.

From the other direction, came Brian Farson.

Down below the rest of “Wheeler’s Goons” cheered and jeered. “Squaw! Squaw!”

Anne lost her concentration. The spells were in the back of the book, but they were in an odd order. She ended up in a section titled “Psionics.”

Jeremy’s face leered, twisted with amusement and anger. She jerked the book away.

“Gimmie the book, you little bitch.”

Then a rock hit his temple. Then another struck his forehead. He grabbed the monkey bars to regain his balance.

“Leave my sister alone!”

It was Ben Greyhawk, Anne’s pudgy little brother with straw-colored hair from the first grade. He wore a red polo shirt with food stains on the front and khaki shorts.

“Someone get that little bastard.” Jeremy climbed off the monkey bars. “You make sure she doesn’t get away.”

Brian nodded.

Scott ran at the boy. Ben lobbed the last of his rocks in an awkward volley. Scott grabbed him while the other goons laughed. Ben tried to fight back, but Scott’s hold was too firm.

Jeremy walked up and punched him the stomach. Ben when limp and Scott let him fall to the ground. Jeremy kicked him.

“Throw rocks at me!”

“Jeremy,” Anne cried. “Stop it!” She looked around for help.

The playground aides were still dealing with Tony Townsend problems, the Bully of all Bullies. Not even Jeremy Wheeler and his goons would cross his path if they could help it. Anne and Sarah once watched Tony chase down Jeremy, push the third grader to the ground and made him eat turf.

“I’ll teach you to pick on my sister.” And to everybody’s amazement, Ben got up and took a swing at Jeremy. It was far from being a great punch, just what he could summon after he’d been hit in the diaphragm, nearly getting the wind knocked out of him. But he landed a blow to Jeremy’s face.

“Ben!”

Jeremy punched Ben in the jaw, and Ben went down a second time.

Brian started climbing down the monkey bars. “Jeez, Jeremy, I don’t know…”

Anne gestured to the other goons, who stood and watched. “Tell him to stop. My brother’s only a first grader.”

Now Jeremy held Ben face down, stomach to the ground.  “You retard. You think you’re tough, huh? Are you tough enough to eat grass?” He tore a patch from the ground and stuffed it in his mouth. “Eat it!”

Ben’s face turned red, puffy. He coughed and spat dirt. “Get of me.” His voice rasped.

“He’s got asthma!”

“The he shouldn’t have thrown those rocks.” Ben wriggled on the ground. “I’ll let him up of his says he’s sorry.”

The boy’s hand kept trying to reach for his pocket, but Jeremy grabbed his wrist and twisted.

Anne anger kindled. The anger came from a place in her heard where fury was both righteous and wicked. She could accept, to certain degree, being picked on. But Ben? No. He was her annoying little brother who got everything he asked for, spoiled rotten by his parents, misunderstood and different but he was still a little kid. Her brother.

That charm spell might have worked. Or sleep, but Jeremy might have fallen and hurt his head.

Ben could die.

The fury took over. She flipped through the book, found the perfect spell, then set the book in her lap. With one hand, she reached into a special pocket in her book bag where she kept some of collection of marbles and grabbed a handful. With her other hand, the sinister one, she made the sign of the Horned God, except she pointed her fingers at Jeremy.

“Ihr Licht dimmt
Ihr Gehirn verrottet
Sie sind nun verflucht
unterhalb von Gut und Böse
Mein kleine untermenschen”

The words came out as if by second nature. A rainbow of crushed marble dust fell from Anne’s right hand, brief wisps of smoke came from the book as some of the writing on pages 62 and 80 vanished.


A few minutes later, after the bell had run and most of the kids on the playground had gone inside, Ben managed to stand up. He had taken a few puffs of his inhaler. But the stars and sparks before his eyes had diminished and he was more coherent.

A hospital visit was in the near future, that was for certain.

“Anne?”

Scott and Brian were gone, along with the rest of the goons.

Anne lay on the monkey bars. She had passed out, her body had fallen to the side instead of backward. She clutched the book with the demonic idol on the cover in her hands. An acrid smell hung in the air.

Jeremy Wheeler bumped into Ben from behind.

“Get away.” It was hard to talk, to breathe. Ben took another puff on his inhaler, hoping Jeremy wouldn’t hit him again. Ben’s chest still felt heavy. The doctor would put him on a nebulizer, for certain, just like last time.

The bully looked relaxed, even peaceful. His pupils were dilated and he kept making chewing motions with his mouth.

The teachers were coming.

“Jeremy?” Ben waved his hand in front of the bully’s face. Even this motion took effort.

“Look. Indian.”

Jeremy pointed at Anne, and giggled.