The Curse – Part 2

He looked up as the Englishman and the girl entered and beckoned them to join him. The Englishman sat while the girl went to prepare tea. The two men waited in silence until she returned with a fine china teapot and two small cups. She poured the tea, handed each man a cup, starting with the older man, then sat down at the far end of the table.

Finally, the old man spoke, in what dialect Simpson, for such was the man’s name, knew not. He thought it might be Shanghainese, but he could not be sure. The girl translated simultaneously and she was so quick that it seemed to Simpson that the two voices blended into one. The old man had asked if Simpson had brought everything that had been requested of him.

“I’ve brought the hair and the photo, also something of great personal value that belongs to the man,” he said. “I could not get the finger nail clippings though.”

He paused, and the old man looked at him in silence. Suddenly, Simpson remembered the last item.

“Oh yes,” he said. “And I brought the gold.”

He unlatched the briefcase and opened it, taking out a large brown envelope and putting it aside. Then he removed a small felt bag and placed it on the table before him. Untying the drawstring he opened it and withdrew two taels of gold.

“It’s all here,” he said. “Fifty thousand dollars in taels, just as you instructed.” You offered the bag to the old man. “Count them, please.” He said.

The older man said nothing and did not touch the bag. He motioned to the girl who reached over and replaced the gold taels in the bag with the others. She then hefted the bag in one hand as if it were a piece of fish from the market. Satisfied, she nodded at the old man.

“The nail cuttings are not vital. It would have been better if you had got them but we will make do with the hair.” The older gentleman said in perfect but accented English.

Simpson had collected the hair labouriously over the last few weeks from the headrest of Allen Chan’s office chair, one or two at a time. One he had even taken from his wife’s coat while it was hanging in her wardrobe. He did not want to think of how it had gotten there. The thought of Allen holding his wife, embracing and caressing her, made his blood boil.

When he first discovered that his assistant manager was having an affair with his wife his initial reaction had been disbelief. Then rage, cold-blooded, murderous rage. And for a long time, he had sunk into a fantasy world where he saw Allen, this man he had taken in off the streets as a trainee, one of the thousand newly qualified accountants, torn limb from limb.

For the first few weeks while he had them followed to make sure of his facts he had lived through a kind of hell. The question foremost in his mind was hell Allen could have done this to him. He had trained the man and helped him financially to complete his exams. And then, to have him turn on him like this was too much to bear. It never once entered Simpson’s mind that Amanda, bored and tired of her role as the dutiful housewife, might have been the instigator.

And so he had found this old man, this old sorcerer. It had taken him months and thousands of dollars spent on occultists both fake and genuine. And just over three weeks ago he had come to him for the first time to strike a deal. Fifty thousand dollars in gold taels, some hair, a photo, and a personal item belonging to Allen, in return for the most hideous death imaginable. Simpson was adamant about this point. He wanted Allen Chan to suffer as much as possible. He was unsure as to what had hurt him the most, the betrayal of his trust or the fact that this betrayal had lead to the taking of his wife.


(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan 2020 – Not for Distribution


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