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Lisa Farrell

Lisa Farrell, Author of The Cursed Lisa Farrell has been writing for as long as she can remember. Much of what she writes is speculative fiction, but she tries other things from time to time. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.


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The Cursed by Lisa Farrell The Mother by Lisa Farrell

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The Cursed by Lisa Farrell
Magic cannot be used without consequences, that's why you need a license to use it. But if your child was suffering because of the backlash of someone else's spell, could you stand by and do nothing? Wouldn't you want to save them, no matter what the cost?

This is a dark tale of magic, desperation and revenge.

Word Count: 7600
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $ .99

The Mother by Lisa Farrell FREE READ!!! As a child of the temple, Alandra's goal is simple: to please the Mothers who raised her. When sent on a mission, she knows she must obey without question, no matter who is to be punished or how. Until the face of a victim brings back memories she didn't know she'd lost, and changes everything.

Word Count: 4400
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $ .99


The Cursed

She pretended not to notice the women watching her as she approached the bier. She kept her head up and eyes forward as she passed them, her baby held carefully in the crook of her arm. Her offering was precious perfume for the chaotic god; she had to bring the best she could afford. It wasn't her fault the other women could only spare a loaf of bread or a bunch of wild flowers. Their husbands toiled in the wheat fields because they hadn't the skills to do anything else. Her man could both write and count, and so served the lord personally, up in the great house on the hill.

That was where he was now, though the sun had almost set. The farmers were able to attend to the rites with their wives while she had to make their pledge alone. As the other women joined hands with their men and marched past her with their noses in the air, she turned to head for home. She cooed to her baby, who was waking up.

It was a warm day, so she kept to the shade of the tall rickety houses along the street. The smell was worse in this season, as the sun released the vapours from the dung that had been walked into the cobbles of the road.

She hated the town. Everywhere there was life, but of a very different sort to that around the country dwellings where the more fortunate lived. The sort she could have lived in, had her husband's family not been cursed with ill fortune. It would be a long time before he could afford to house her on one of the hills above the town, where the air was clear and the ground not infested with maggots or disease.

Her husband worked all day up on that hill, and she envied him for that. She had to return now to their poky little house, with nothing but a stone wall between her and the farmers' families. At times she even envied the farmers themselves, who at least got to spend their days in the open fields beyond the town walls. They weren't encased in stone all day.

Her baby began to cry as she closed the gate behind her. He didn't like the grate of metal as the latch dropped back into its place. Her garden was a mass of herbs and the scent greeted her. Everything she grew had a strong smell; it served to mask the stench of the town.

She walked up the little stone path, jiggling the baby in an effort to quieten him.

“It's all right, my sweet one,” she said, “we're home now.”

She wished that she needn't take him out when she paid homage, but she couldn't keep a nanny for him, and it would look bad if she didn't take something to the bier in the square at least once a day. Not with her husband doing so well in comparison with the other poor souls around, and with a young child to keep safe too.

Her key was in the bottom of her pocket; she could feel it digging into her thigh. She held the baby close with one hand and fumbled for the key with the other. Her long skirt was too tight, she couldn't get her fingers in without shifting position again. The baby was starting to thrash in her arms.

“Stop it,” she snapped. “Give me a minute.”

Her tone did nothing to soothe him, but when she pushed the heavy door open at last and stepped into the dark of the hall, the cool air quietened him. He whimpered softly as she moved to the living room, where she placed him on the rug before the empty grate.

“There, that's better,” she said, smiling as she knelt before him, hoping to have a smile in return. He just stared at her with his big blue eyes, but she tickled his round tummy and was rewarded with a giggle. He was getting bigger so quickly. It hadn't been long ago she could leave him lying there as she worked and he'd be safe. Now if she turned her back for a moment he would crawl off somewhere more interesting.

“Are you hungry?” she asked as he reached for her. “Already?”
She gathered him in her arms and sat in the chair by the fireplace to feed him. She had worked hard today, washing and baking. She hoped he'd sleep after his feed, and give her time to rest herself.

She woke to his wailing and sighed. Her head hurt, as it generally did when her sleep was interrupted. Her husband rolled over to face her and mumbled something, but she hushed him. She would get up to quiet the baby and let him sleep.

Her candle had burnt down while she slept. Moonlight highlighted the cracks in the shutters and allowed her to see her way to the cot by the shades of grey. The baby's cries were angry and urgent, as though he was in pain. He was kicking his legs in the air as he shrieked, and his tiny fists were clenched. She reached in to lift him out, but before her fingers touched him she could feel the heat radiating from his body. She was afraid to touch him. She put a finger to his wrinkled forehead and yelped at the burning of his skin.

“Mark!” she cried. “Get up! Something’s wrong.”

She didn’t try to lift him for fear of dropping him, so stood uselessly looking down at his face. Her husband stumbled to her side and blinked down at the screaming child.

“Maybe he just needs feeding?”

“He’s too hot, Mark, feel him. I think... I think someone has brought the curse on us.”

Mark put his hand to the baby’s forehead and the little hands latched onto his bare arm. The sickly smell of burnt hair began to fill the room but Mark didn’t move.

“Fetch the doctor,” he said.

She spared little thought for the shame of having to go herself, but hitched her nightdress up and ran barefoot through the street to the doctor’s house. A learned man who came at no small price, his house had a wall higher than her own. She clambered over the gate, for her hands shook too much to open it, and hammered on the door.

She was shivering by the time he opened it to her, but couldn’t feel the cold. She could only blurt out that they needed him before she broke into sobs. He came with her at once, throwing a coat over his dressing gown.
They could hear the baby’s cries from halfway down the street, and she cried harder to think that his little throat must be raw with screaming.

“He’s burning up,” Mark said as they entered the bedroom. “What’s wrong with him, Doctor?”

He had detached his arm from the child and lit a candle. She could see red welts on his arm where he’d been gripped. The doctor hurried to see into the cot, and swore.

“What is it?” she asked, and gasped as she peered over his shoulder. The child’s face was scarlet, and his eyes, open wider than she’d ever seen them, were bright yellow.

“Oh, gods help us!” she said. “What’s happening to my baby?”

The doctor turned to her, his lips a tight line and his brow furrowed.

“I can’t help you,” he said. “It’s the curse. Only magic can save him from magic.”

“No!” she shook her head, and her husband caught her trembling hands before she could grab the doctor by the collar. “There are no magicians in this town! There must be something we can do.”

“I’m sorry, Madam, but this is no natural sickness. Do you want me to inform the witch-finders?”


“No,” Mark said. “That won’t help him. We must employ a magician to redirect this curse.”

“Someone has cursed our child,” she growled at him, “and we can’t let that go unpunished. No one has a license in this town. They must be brought to justice!”

“One man has a license,” Mark said. “Our lord. And I shall go to him at once.”

“Be sure that you do,” the doctor said. “The child will burn out; he doesn’t have long.”

“Wait!” she shrieked, breaking from Mark’s grip to follow the doctor from the room. “I beg you, Doctor. Send for the witch-finders.”

“As you wish, Madam.”

Back to The Cursed

The Mother

“We are all proud of you, Alandra,” the Mother said. “You have learned your lessons well.”

“Thank you, Mother,” she said, bowing low and taking hold of the holy skirts to kiss them. The feel of the rough, bleached fabric against her lips was familiar and comforting.

“You performed well on the last mission, and we think that the time has come to send you on a task of your own. Do you feel ready to face the world with no one by your side?”

“I know that the Great Mother will be watching, Mother,” she said, unable to keep the smile from her face. She kept her eyes cast down. “I will attempt whatever task you see fit to give me.”

“Good, child.”

She felt the Mother's bony fingers brush her cheek, and images began to flick through her mind like memories. She saw the house they wanted her to hit, along with the route she must take to find it.

“It is up to you, child, how you bring their fate upon them. But the Great Mother has made Her choices and tonight you must be Her instrument. However you do it, be sure that Her will is made known.”

Alandra nodded, the smile still upon her face. She waited, listening to the slow, sliding footsteps of the Mother shuffling away across the marble floor. She flexed her hands, stretching her fingers, then clenched them into a fist, digging her long nails into her palms. Only when the Mother was definitely gone did she lift her head. The room was empty, but for the crates stacked against one wall, obscuring a frieze of the Great Mother defeating the crocodile god of a nearby island, some old enemy of her people.

Alandra would not be carrying any more crates today, she would leave the task for some other child of the Great Mother to complete. She had to prepare herself for the work ahead. This would be her first solo mission, the first time the Mothers trusted her to go out into the world without some elder as an escort. She had done everything she could to show them how useful she could be, and now she finally had a chance to prove her competence.

She would pray. She left the storage room, her bare feet quiet as she walked with practised care. It was mid-afternoon and supplicants still lingered in the temple, waving incense sticks and muttering before the image of the Great Mother. Her statue was made of white marble like the floor, and looked as cold. Her expression was meant to be serene, but it looked merely unfocussed to Alandra, as though the Goddess gazed uncaring over her people and did not see them. Her six arms were spread out, her palms cupped to receive candles and offerings. It had once been one of Alandra's jobs to clean and polish them when night fell and the temple closed, but she had given that job onto another, younger child as soon as she was able.

She passed the statue and went through the dark doorway behind to the inner sanctum, where only the Mothers and children of the temple were allowed to go. She passed through the room containing the Casket, said to house stars that had dropped from the sky, sent by the Great Mother to be made into powerful weapons of war. Beautiful shells had been arranged around it, gifts from the waters surrounding the island, the waters that kept their enemies at bay for much of the year.

Back to The Mother