Preview: The Cursed Lover

*Samuella’s POV*

I watched the sun start to come up over the horizon and I knew it was time to get up. I stayed out on the back porch all night on the lounge chair. I hadn’t slept a wink. The same nightmares kept playing over and over in my head. For six years the same events haunted me at night. The night my parents were murdered in cold blood and how the killers spared me. I never knew why but my aunt Emmy told me not to stress myself over it. I had just graduated and today is my 18th birthday. I could smell the griddle cakes and bacon seeping from inside the house. I knew Emmy was up and cooking my favorite breakfast as she did every year since I lived with her. She took me in after it all happened. I got up and stretched my arms above my head and yawned. I was tired but I knew I could manage. I went inside and she greeted me with a hug and a birthday card. “Happy Birthday my dear! You are a woman now.” she sang. “Thanks Emmy.” I said and smiled while taking the card. “Another sleepless night?” She asked. “Yes ma’am, but I will be okay. I’m used to it.” I insisted. “Honey, nobody should be used to not sleeping. It’s not good for you. Why didn’t you take the melatonin I gave you?” She asked. “That stuff doesn’t work for me. I took two last night, almost considered a third but I knew you would freak.” I said. She just chuckled and went back over to the stove. “Well, you may not sleep but I know you will eat. Sit down while I make your plate.” she advised. I sat down at the small table in the breakfast nook and picked up my phone and started to text Starla. “Here you go, birthday girl.” She beamed as she handed me the plate with griddle cakes, bacon, grits, and eggs. This breakfast always reminded me of my parents because this is what my mom made for me every birthday and my aunt wanted to keep up the tradition.

The first birthday after it happened, I rejected it but she still tried. I used to be so angry and thought she was trying to act like my mom. She never gave up on me though and loved me through it so over time I began to warm up to her. We had become close and she gave me the space I needed when I had my moments. “What do you and Starla plan to do today?” She asked. “We are supposed to go to the mall and then the fair tonight.” I said. “Okay, just make sure…” I cut her off. “Steer clear of boys, I know.” She did a slight nod and turned back to the sink to finish washing the dishes. Starla texted me back and let me know she was on her way. I had a license but I didn’t have a car. My parents had a trust fund that I was now able to access, so I planned to use some of it to get a car, go to college, and get a small apartment. I went upstairs to my room and shuffled through my closet for something to wear. Since I had barely gotten any sleep, I really didn’t feel like putting on anything too cute. I found some black sweats and a blue tank top. I grabbed my sneakers and headed to the bathroom to take a shower. By the time I got ready, Starla was outside waiting for me. I quickly ran downstairs throwing my waist long brown hair into a bun before I ran out the door. I yelled bye to Emmy as I closed the door behind me. “Hey bitch, you got me out here waiting like I’m your chauffeur.” Starla jokes. “Yeah yeah, at least it wasn’t too long. let’s get out of here before I change my mind and go binge watch dreamers on Netflix.” I said. She laughed as I hopped in the car and we sped out of the driveway.

We headed to the mall and met up with a few other friends. “Whew, why do you look homeless today, Sam?” Dalton said. “She didn’t get any sleep last night, leave her the hell alone.” Starla said. “It’s okay, Star. I’m just tired, Dalton. Don’t have to be a dick about it.” I said. “I’m just kidding, you know I love you Sam, don’t take it personal.” He said. “I won’t, but believe me when I say even on my worst days, I look better than you, bedhead.” I quipped. Everyone chuckled and Dalton just laughed and flipped me off. We all walked around going into the different stores and getting outfits for the fair. Star asked me to go to the bathroom with her. She was in the mirror fixing her makeup and it felt like we were in there forever. “Girl, you look good. let’s gooo.” I complained, getting impatient. “One more minute, bitch.” She said. I stared down at my phone and saw Emmy text to check in on me. I text her back and let her know I was okay. “Okay, I’m good. Let’s go catch up with everybody.” Starla said.

Soon as we walked out of the bathroom everyone was standing there and Dalton handed me a small bag. “What’s this?” I asked. “Just open it, dork.” he said. Everyone just stood around quietly as I opened the bag. There was a green velvet box inside and when I opened it up there was a silver moon necklace with matching earrings. “Guys, you really didn’t have to do this.” I said, with a lump in my throat and choking back tears. “We wanted to.” Starla said. “You have been such an amazing friend to us Sam.” Sage Chimed in. I gave each one of them a hug and a tear slipped from my eye and down my cheek. We had all met when I first moved in with my aunt and they approached me at school because they said I looked lonely. I didn’t want friends at the time, but they were insistent and didn’t give up until I gave in. We had all been so close since then. “Okay, enough with the sappy shit, let’s get some lunch and get ready for the fair!” Starla exclaimed. Everyone laughed as we started to head for the exit.

Back at my house, Emmy was in my bedroom fixing my hair after I got dressed. She did that so often because she said I had the most beautiful long brown ringlets she had seen on anyone. She said it complimented my slightly tan skin and green eyes. I bought many outfits that day but I decided to wear the beige and black plaid shorts with matching tank top because Emmy said I needed to show off my long slender legs. I asked her how she wanted me to ward off the boys but give them a tease. She just laughed and said there is nothing wrong with a good tease every once in a while. After she finished my hair, we went downstairs to eat some pizza before Starla came. I was finishing my last slice of pineapple and ham before I heard the horn outside. I tossed the crust onto the plate and grabbed my purse. “Be careful.” Emmy shouted out after me. “I will, love you.” I said as I headed out the door. We made it to the fair and met back up with everyone before going to pay for our admission bracelets. The weather was a little humid but felt nice since it was getting darker. After we got inside, everyone looked around as we tried to decide what we wanted to do first. “I don’t know about anyone else but I want a funnel cake.” I finally said. “Hell, let’s go.” sage said. As we headed over to the dessert stand, I couldn’t help but get this eerie feeling.

As we stood there waiting for our order, I turned around and saw a man standing off into the distance staring at us. I could barely make out his face, but he had a black coat, black pants, and hat on. He just stood there. I turned around when the man handed me my funnel cake and by the time I turned back around towards the mysterious man he was gone. I tried to shake it off as we went and sat at a nearby picnic table to eat. We laughed and joked around as we enjoyed the sweets and the scenery of all the bright, colorful lights and the laughing children. Then that feeling in the pit of my stomach arose again. I looked around and finally my eyes set on the man again, staring at us. “Star? Do you see that guy over there looking at us?” I asked. “Huh? Where?” She asked, trying to look around. “That guy over there by the torpedo ride. In all black.” I said. She looked in the direction I was looking. “Yeah, what the fuck is his deal?” She said. “I don’t know but this is the second time I caught him watching us.” I said. “What are you guys talking about?” Dalton said. “Some fuckin’ creeper is over there staring at us.” Starla said. “I’m going to go over there and see what his deal is.” Dalton said. “Come on guys, forget him, let’s not make a scene. He isn’t saying shit so just let the old creepy bastard go on about his night.” Sage said not wanting a confrontation. “You are right, fuck him. He probably likes what he sees over here. Weird prick.” Dalton said as he flipped off the strange man. We got up and threw away our trash and headed towards the rides.

As we were walking to choose a ride, all the carnies who set up shop kept trying to get our attention to play their rigged games. Starla and sage teased them saying they would steal their prizes like they steal people’s money. I didn’t try to engage in shit like that because I tried not to be a troublemaker. They said sometimes it seemed like I had a stick up my ass. I just feel like the experiences in my life have caused me not to mess with people because you never know what they are capable of. After we rode a few rides, I started to feel a little sick because of the food and the fumes in the air from all the generators. I did not see the man again and that feeling I felt earlier was gone. We all were headed out and made plans for the next few days for summer. Starla and I decided to go get milkshakes before she dropped me off at home. “Call me tomorrow morning so we can head to the beach.” She said. “I got you girl. I can’t wait to be out soaking up the sun.” I said. “You need a damn boyfriend and to get laid. But your aunt would kill you.” she said. “Well, it’s going to change soon because I’m 18 now. I need to have a life outside of friends.” I said. “I agree. Bout time you realized that. Get laid then get paid” she joked. “Fuckin’ nut job, I’ll see you tomorrow girl.” I quipped. “Bye bitch.” she said as she sped off again with her bleached blonde locks flowing out the window. Her parents bought her an older corvette so she speeds around everywhere in that little thing. It fits her personality, fast and loud. 

I was sipping my drink and checking my phone as I slowly walked up the steps to the porch and the door swung open. “Samuella, thank god you are here.” Emmy said with worry in her face. “What? what’s wrong?” I asked. “Nothing, I just was a little worried because it was getting late.” She quickly said. “I came home later than this before Emmy. It’s actually early for me.” I said curiously. “I know, it’s just normally you hear such bad things happening after people leave the fair. I just didn’t know because I didn’t hear from you.” She said. I looked at her with a furrowed brow. She was hiding something because she was acting peculiar. “Okay, well I’m here. I’m fine. Nobody touched me, wanna check?” I asked. She just laughed. “No, no I don’t want to check.” She said. She was really acting weird. Well, she had always been weird but right now it wasn’t her type of weird. I just went ahead and put my stuff down and went out on the back porch. Star, my aunt is acting super weird. She opened the door as soon as I got there and was all like thank god you’re okay. Saying it was late and stuff. Idk man.

A few minutes later, Star text back. Isn’t Emmy weird anyways? Besides, you’ve come home later. Yea idk I’d check her meds lol that seems fuckin’ weird for her to say. She was right. Something was off. But I couldn’t put my finger on it and I couldn’t trust Emmy would tell me the truth. She was notorious for not being a hundred percent transparent. As I sat outside and continued texting, I heard the doorbell. I turned around and saw Emmy dart towards the door. I got up to see who the hell was at our house this late. Literally nobody really came here. I peeked into the glass door as I saw her open the front door. A middle-aged couple was standing in the doorway and my aunt welcomed them inside. They sat down in the living room and began to talk. Okay now really what the fuck is going on. I got up to go inside. I quietly slid the sliding glass door open and tip toed inside. “Emmy?” I said. “Sweetheart, can you please go back on the back porch or to your room for now? I’ll come get you in a little bit, okay?” She said. I looked at them and they were staring at me and not saying a word. It was almost creepy. But I felt my stomach twist into a knot. Similar to the feeling I had earlier in the night. I looked back at Emmy and nodded my head. I decided to go up to my room to try to hear what was being said. I could barely hear anything they were saying but I got the sneaking suspicion that this meeting was about me.

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