6 comments

Fiction

Kendra Sharp-Hayes was a positive, upbeat, polite woman born in 1976. Unbeknownst to her, her life changed dramatically in 1997. She and her best friends- Brandy May Beau Ralph, Martin James Walters, and Ann Margaret Austin-Jay were the top-ranked archeology students in their class., and they were all selected to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime archeology expedition. They were excited as they boarded the plane to fly all the way to Cholula, Puebla, Mexico to search for artifacts and relics from the Mayan pyramids. On the way to Mexico, Kendra and her crew reviewed all of the facts they learned in school. They were excited to visit the largest archaeological site for pyramids in the New World. 

After landing in Mexico, the group took a taxi to their hotel, had a quick bite to eat, and settled in for the night. The next morning, the group began their archeology survey. The team always worked well together, but Kendra had an inexplicable urge to break off from the group. She made her way into a tomb filled with gold and riches that had never been discovered before- what a wonder! She knew to not be tempted by any of the artifacts. She left the old coins, sculptures, colorful beads, and other riches in place. Something caught her big, sky-blue eyes. She became fixated on a bracelet with gold and diamond charms. She reached out to touch the bracelet, and she froze when she realized that her hand was touching a mummy's hand wrapped around the bracelet! She had made a very significant discovery in the field of archeology, but she didn't report her findings to her team. Instead, she carefully worked the bracelet free from the mummy’s hand, tucked the bracelet in her backpack, and she quickly returned to her teammates.

Kendra initially had some second thoughts about taking the bracelet, but she got busy during her team’s field study, and she almost completely forgot about the bracelet. Once she got home, she came across the bracelet and tucked it away in a jewelry box for safekeeping. She vowed to only wear the magnificent bracelet on special occasions.

Kendra forgot all about the bracelet until one chilly autumn day about twenty years after her expedition to Mexico. It was the fifth anniversary of Kendra's retirement from archaeology and her new career in journalism. Kendra was getting ready for a big day in the office. As she was getting ready for work, the sunlight highlighted the golden, brown, and orange leaves as they swirled through the air. The sunlight’s reflection reminded her of something she once saw decades ago–the gold and diamond bracelet. She had never worn the bracelet, and she decided today was the perfect occasion to wear such a special treasure. She gently placed the bracelet on her wrist and then rushed out of the house, giving her husband, Peter Wolfgang Sharp, a peck on the cheek as she rushed out the door for her big day. She drove her black Ford to her office building. Kendra had an important meeting today to discuss a big promotion. When she stepped into the building, she took a deep breath, and then coughed as she got a whiff of the stale printer ink smell that permeated the air in the building. Kendra nervously tidied up her office and drink a tall glass of minty lemonade that made her breath smell fresh even though it tasted terrible. Five minutes before her meeting, she began visualizing how her interview would go. As she repeated positive mantras over and over, she stared at the beautiful bracelet that adorned her wrist. She twirled it around her wrist, and she felt confident that this bracelet was a good luck charm that would help her secure the promotion. 

Her boss arrived at her office, and it was time for her interview. She was excited, but she tried not to show it because she wanted to act professionally. 

"Hello, Mrs. Sharp-Hayes. How are you doing today?" asked John McCarthy, a white-haired slim man, who was her boss at the time, while sitting down on a fluffy white swivel chair. "Terrible-Absolutely terrible now that you're here!" she exclaimed, happy as a clam. 

John glared at her, hoping that it was just some nervous sarcasm that he had never noticed from her before. He put the pen in his mouth and chewed on it for a minute or so before asking, "First question- how do you like your current position?" "Well, Mr. McCarthy, I hate it so much! It's so terrible. I would cry if I had to keep working this job with all you awful people." 

"Next question," said John. "What are your salary expectations for this new role?" After thinking for a moment, Kendra said, "Frankly, since you're so cheap with my current salary, you'd have to at least quadruple my paycheck for me to even consider taking this terrible job you’re offering me."

Kendra thought the interview was going well, and she had a quizzical look on her face as she realized he had a scowl on his face as he angrily took notes on his pad of paper. 

John wasn't having it. He wanted to scream louder than a volcanic eruption, but he quietly asked her one final question. He huffed, "Alright, fine, this is the last one! Why do you want this promotion?" "Well, Mr. John McCarthy, because I'm so tired of the job I have right now, I can't stand to do it for a second longer," she quipped. 

Kendra eagerly leaned forward and silently prayed for the promotion as she waited for his decision. She knew she had answered all of the questions in a positive manner and he would surely grant her the promotion. Kenda glanced up and noticed that John's face was as red as a fire engine, and she almost expected to see steam came out of his small, round ears. He could not bottle up his fury any longer, so he yelled, "Get out! Right now! You are fired! Never come back!" Tears filled poor Kendra's eyes. Why? Why me? I did so perfectly, she sadly yet angrily thought. She stormed out of her office, leaving behind all of her belongings, her papers, her computer, and her books as if they were garbage, and she walked out of the building with her head hanging low.

Kendra replayed the events in her head over and over on her final drive home from the office. She could not find any reason that she was fired on the spot. After arriving home, she began to get ready for a long, relaxing soak in the tub. She did not want to get her beautiful bracelet wet, so she set it on the edge of the garden tub as she stepped into her bubble bath. As soon as she sunk down into the warm water, she realized why she was fired. The bracelet was cursed. Whoever dared to wear the bracelet was cursed with saying the opposite of what they meant. She couldn’t believe that her actions decades ago were just now haunting her! The mummy’s curse!

February 03, 2023 01:18

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6 comments

Violet McGarty
21:51 Mar 30, 2023

THIS ONE IS MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE!!!!! I LOOOOOOOOOOVE IT!!!!!!

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14:15 Apr 12, 2023

Thanks Violet btw you can publish stories without paying you just don't send them in to the contest

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Michał Przywara
20:42 Mar 16, 2023

A cursed item that forces you to lie, I've seen before. But a cursed item that forces you to lie, and you don't even realize it, now that's an insidious twist :) Normally with these things people clue in pretty quickly, and find workarounds like not answering questions at all. Kendra didn't have that luxury, and just kept digging a deeper hole. But, given she stole the thing, we might say that's justice :) Thanks for sharing!

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22:03 Mar 20, 2023

I'm so happy to hear from you!

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Wendy Kaminski
02:40 Feb 07, 2023

Well, I guess that will teach her to steal artifacts! This was a fun story, Charlotte. Welcome to Reedsy!

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22:47 Feb 12, 2023

Thanks for the feedback!

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