A Gypsy’s Bane

The sound of the doorbell reverberated throughout the hollow and desolate frame of this once opulent abode.

It travelled past the cobweb ridden rooftops down through the termite infested timber of wooden tiles that had stood the test of time.

The noise, as sound was always credited to be in this dwelling, caught the ears of Thatcher Brown, the steward of this sad and sorrowful stead.

The chime chased away the crows that were perched on the boughs of the chestnut trees covering the conservatory. As these feathered representations of gloom took flight, the luminous eyes of beasts in dark holes followed their course against the bleak backdrop of darkness.

Thatcher grunted and groaned as he forced his hunched and haggard form to shift from the complacent bearings he found himself in and traipsed downstairs to attend to whatever midnight madness that had found its way to his hall.

As Thatcher heaved one half of the heavy hatch carved from Hemlock, the moonlight’s glow glared down on the godforsaken figure that stood in the doorway.

A light crimson cloak covered itself around the creature’s curved constitution concealing a woe-ridden face full of forlorn.

An old gypsy hag with a voice that rattled and shook, stood on the steps of the mansion looking for salvation from the sequestered night as she shivered from the biting cold of the rain.

Thatcher looked on with loathing as his barren heart bore no love for this languishing life form. He had half a mind to shut the door with a furrow on his face but thought better as he would then miss out on bearing witness to the woman’s woeful request.

“Shelter from this thunder and rain, bid me escape my current pain,” The gypsy desired as her body shook. “In return, to you kind sire I give my wares, not much but cloth and rags should you not mind the tears.”

Thatcher scoffed and smirked as he bared his sandy teeth at the somber expression on the gypsy woman’s sorrowful face.

“Away with you pitiful wretch, should I call the police and your neck they stretch.”

“Please Sir, on your doorstep I will lay, nothing more will I ask for I’ll even pay,” she pleaded.

The emaciated old creature, his years of desolation had honed him into a harrowing husk of a man, would have none of it.

He shoved the gypsy lady down the steps of the stairs and watched as she spun and slid. He scanned the surroundings as he did so, making sure not a soul saw the selfish and sadistic scene.

Contented with his commission, his lips creased into a curve that crept to his ears. He surveyed the current condition the gypsy lady was in and applauded his actions. Like a jester jeering at the local fool, he danced on the steps of the mansion.

The gypsy woman reared her head out of the mud that had formed and frothed from the rain and looked at Thatcher with eyes full of malice. The pleading eyes of a woman longing for compassion had been compensated with cold contempt.

She drew herself to her full height, not the slouching squaw who appeared scrawny and scraggy that had shown herself to Thatcher. Her lips moved as she mumbled and moaned, the words too silent for straining ears to snare.

“With kindness I approached you, but contempt your heart shows true. A curse placed upon your head, to hover above you constantly with dread. Until the task should you fulfill, never will you walk a man until, you sell these wares and all contracts sealed, before the last matryoshka doll revealed.”

The pattering of rain drops on the rooftops resounded like an orchestra playing the world’s most revered refrain. It pierced the silence between the old man and the gypsy lady, both patiently prognosticating the phenomenon that would proceed post pestilence.

Thatcher was not a particularly superstitious sort of specimen and not many were in this advanced society, but this situation strictly called for a more serious stance should strange events show. Both waited with bated breath as to what boorish business would bear itself.

Finally, the gypsy lady stood and slowly scanned Thatcher searching solicitously for any shift from his standard state.

Finding none, the she scoffed and walked out into the downpour, her form a silhouette against the dark backdrop of trees and rain.

Thatcher sneered at the retreating shape of the woman and spieled his own curse under his breath. He stared for awhile longer into the obscure darkness, the droplets of rain falling from the nebulous clouds above, a pronounced contrast to the stillness of the night.

He yanked the weighty door shut and wiped his exhausted feet on the old and musty rug that had for years bourn the weight of Thatcher’s selfish and miserly frame. Thatcher walked up the malodorous stairs clutching onto the teak carved banister that slowly swayed under his shifty structure.

Thatcher, being the modestly labeled miserly man that he was, refused to switch on the lights fancying darkness over decency and elected to light a candle instead. He crawled cumbersomely under his cumbrous covers and drifted off to sleep.

His dreams were heavy that night as he slept. Abound with scenes of an assortment of articles ranging from knick knacks of all shapes and size. These novelty cigarette lighters, rubber chickens, miniature disco balls and other inane and impractical items filled his consciousness drowning him in the murky waters of his own mind.

Thatcher awoke in a cold sweat amid heavy breathing as his breasts bounced to a rhythm only his heart could hear.

He felt for the Egypt cotton covers that constantly concealed him from the cold during nights such as these. However, as his hands explored his bed, it felt firm objects of varying shapes and textures. His eyes snapped open at this new development.

Adjusting to the darkness, he saw that his room was littered with doodads and doohickeys of every description. Marbles littered the top of the bedroom cupboard; alarm clocks of various designs covered the floor while rubber chickens and miniature disco balls along with Rubik’s cubes and backscratchers filled every corner of the room.

Every inch of the room was covered with these pointless novelty objects save for the varnished and veneered bedside table that upon it, hosted a small Russian nesting doll.

The matryoshka doll, seven in sum served as a scope for the span of time Thatcher could take to trade these tokens and turn them into profit.

A coincidence is all Thatcher thought this was. These items must have been delivered during the night and not conjured by some gypsy’s curse. He was always a cynic when it came to circumstances that were beyond common cognition, especially his own.

Trudging past the heap of plastic wands and toy toads, he carved a clear course towards the bedroom door. Opening it, the moonlight illuminated what he had feared. Stepping out into the hallway whilst looking down from the banister, the entire mansion was filled to the brim with these objects. Thatcher tapped on the teak rail and thought for a moment. Finding no fleet solution for this stupendous scrape, he turned to resume his slumber.

The sounds of swiflets stirred him from his sleep. Thatcher cracked an eye open to check his surroundings. The nesting doll still sat solemnly atop the sheen surface of the side table while the rest of the room was replete with the rubbish. Thatcher groaned.

Getting ready that morning took a tad bit tardier than he thought. After eating his breakfast and reading the morning paper amid a table topped with porcelain cats, Thatcher thought he should get to the bottom of this.

He drove ten kilometers to the gypsy camp to have a little talk with the gypsy lady that had visited his home the night before.

Upon confronting her, the gypsy lady seemed surprised yet satisfied that the bane she had burdened him with had been accomplished.

The gypsy lady told Thatcher that this tedious task should not be taken trivially.

“These items will reappear, and continue to put fear, should you throw them away or keep them at bay. Sell them all each and every one, or be drowned in the weight of a ton. But do it fast this tedious task, I don’t know how, please don’t ask, before the last matryoshka doll appears, or live with these items your remaining years.”

With that, the lady hobbled back to the fire she was huddled around to tell her peers the curse she cast actually worked. “Need not pay for my own beers, I can drink happy these last few years.” And with that, she hobbled in the direction of the local bars.

Thatcher arrived back at the brimful building with a purpose. He would sell off all these items and after he was done, the local gypsy community will have something to fear. Vengeful and vindictive, Thatcher would show them why he was not a man to be trifled with.

In the room, the matryoshka doll’s first figurine had emerged. Time was ticking and Thatcher knew it would take years to sell off these trinkets.

The first few weeks, Thatcher took inventory of the items which were in the thousands. He kept them in the shed at the back of the mansion and sold them table to table at local taverns in town and supplied them to wholesale stores and shopping networks on television.

As each year passed, another figurine emerged fueling Thatcher with fearful foreboding. Desperation to makes these items disappear was driving him to drudge double hard. He became more aggressive, more persuasive. He was selling the items by bulk and had commissioned hundreds of foreigners with a bagful of bouncy balls and other knick knacks out onto the streets in a bid to sell them.

By the time the fifth matryoshka doll appeared, Thatcher had already sold off every item in every nook of the mansion. He had even amassed a following of collectors as well as an empire to boot.

However, Thatcher knew there was a task that he thirst to fulfill.

The following morning, he strolled into the local land council and expressed interest in a particular plot of province. That empty parcel was the plot where the gypsy caravans camped. Holding the deed, Thatcher ran them off his land and left it empty on purpose. He constantly taunted them as every land they camped on, Thatcher bought up. He left them no place to live while laughing derisively at the local land council each time.

He dared them to do what they did those decades before. For during their daring deed upon him, Thatcher discovered something direly convenient.

“Curse me with your words and your magic, I don’t care because it isn’t tragic. Curse me again I say, for now I have discovered a website called eBay.”

 

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