Jemma was a good girl. She did what she was supposed to do whenever she was told to do it. She was loved by the people in the land for her kindness and goodness to all. She was creative and funny, and very intelligent.
Jemma had one enemy in the kingdom. An evil old witch named Vida. Vida did not like anyone to be happy, but especially Jemma. So she cast a curse on Jemma and her husband Jefferson that whenever things were going too well or they became absolutely overcome with joy, something disastrous had to immediately follow. Vida loved to see Jemma suffer because she was too kind and the world should not be kind to nice people.
So for years it went that Jemma would find a short respite of happiness, only to be knocked on her ass five minutes later. Her wedding day? Pure bliss. The rest of the year was a disaster: Jefferson’s aunt passed away, the family cat passed away, and Jemma lost her employment. Jemma and Jefferson finally afforded their own home and immediately things began to go wrong such as the furnace breaking in the middle of winter, Jefferson losing his job and not being able to find another. Stress on top of stress.
So Jemma finally gave up trying to be happy. Instead she buckled down and got to work and paid her bills, and tried to find ways to make it through the days of bleakness. Friends left, too busy with their own lives, careers, and babies, to bother with Jemma and Jefferson even when Jefferson fell in the well and was laid up in bed for days.
One day Jemma had had enough. She marched up to Vida’s door and banged as loud as she could. Vida smiled knowing this day was going to come. “All right you old hag,” screamed Jemma, “I know you cursed me and my husband and I want to know how to break this curse so one of us could be happy.” Vida laughed at the enraged Jemma, so far from the lovely, sweet girl everyone thought she was all those years ago.
“I will give you the knowledge you seek, but once heard, it can never be unheard,” said Vida with her evil grin.
“Just tell me you wicked woman,” snarled Jemma.
“If happiness is what you seek
Then listen close to me
For one to be happy
The other must be set free.” replied Vida
“What the hell do you mean?” asked Vida
“Simple, my child. In order for one of you to be able to experience the full measure of joy without the ever present disaster after, one of you must die to appease the evil spirits holding the curse in place. They will feast on your soul, and while they are busy doing that, I will be able to eliminate them. There is no other way,” cackled Vida.
“Fine, let’s do it,” said Jemma with a deadened look in her eyes
“What?!” said Vida startled at Jemma’s quick agreement to the terms of lifting the curse.
“I can’t live this life always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anxious about when the curtain of doom is lowered. I am tired and if it means Jefferson can be happy, really, truly happy, then I’m willing to die for that.”
“Are you sure?” asked Vida curiously. “Once I start the ritual, there is no turning back.
“I’m sure said Jemma,” standing resolutely in front of the old woman.
And so Vida let loose a barrage of lightening at Jemma, stunning her but not killing her. She sent daggers soaring through the air into Jemma’s stomach, arms, and legs. Not enough to kill her of course, but enough to cause her excruciating pain. She lit Jemma’s feet on fire and soon Jemma’s simple dress caught and the fire crawled up her body and lit her hair on fire. Jemma screamed at the pain and agony of it all until finally she fell silent, dead at last.
Vida watched as the shadows crawled out of the walls and towards Jemma’s charred, bleeding, body. There were hundreds in the room feasting on the pure spirit that was formerly Jemma. Finally, as promised, Vida muttered the chant to kill the demons and lift the curse. A bright burst of white light filled the room and all the shadow demons were killed instantly.
Back at the house, Jefferson woke with a start from his bed. Something had happened, but he wasn’t sure what. He looked all over the house for Jemma but could not find her. As he stepped outside the front door to see if she was in the garden, a beam of pale blue, glittery light enveloped him and he felt a sudden lightness he had never felt before. He wanted to dance, and laugh, and sing, and cry tears of joy, it was so beautiful.
He saw a beautiful woman in a white robe approach the house. She had lovely auburn hair and eyes as green as a four leaf clover. She seemed familiar somehow but she was glowing so it was hard to tell. “Jefferson, my love, you are free to be happy,” she whispered. “Jemma?” he asked bewildered.
“It is I my love. I have allowed the witch to kill me in order to ensure your happiness,” she said smiling at him lovingly.
“No. Jemma….I…I can’t live without you,” said Jefferson
“But you must, or my sacrifice will have been in vain,” said Jemma
“I will see you soon, my love,” said Jefferson as he pulled his hunting dagger from his pocket and slashed his throat.
Jemma stared in horror as her husband laid on the ground bleeding out. She wept bitterly as she realized the full enormity of what she had done. Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder.
“Hey now, no crying,” said Jefferson behind her. “Now we can be happy together forever.”
And so the two walked hand and hand into eternity together, at last beyond the grip of Vida and her cruelty.
Hope you enjoyed my short story! Comment below but be kind.