You must be dying to hear everything I know about my grandfather. He was the first one to try and end this curse, after all! So let me tell you what I do know, but remember that I never knew the man myself. I very much had to do my own research with him. He has simply made things a lot easier and faster for me, but don’t expect me to have all the answers.
My Grandfather was… an ambitious man, from what I’ve gathered. And more than a little obsessed by the end of it, as you will see. I don’t have the same kind of files and writings about him as I had for the others, since he would have had to have written those himself. I do, however, have his notes and his diaries.
Since he was raised by someone unrelated entirely to our family, he wasn’t aware of the curse until he was a young teenager. The woman who adopted him was still a member of the police force, and a very respected one at that. He didn’t join her at work often – like any other teenager he was preoccupied with school and his hobbies – and therefore he didn’t hear the rumours until they attended an event hosted by the police sometime during his early teens. It was nothing offensive, I don’t think. There was no finger pointing, no open accusations, or anything like that. But the officers gave him looks, and occasional frightful glares, which had Ashton curious as to why they would react to him like this. Some of the officers remembered Ella, of course, and the others had heard stories, and everyone knew who he was. They whispered behind his back, and before long he had caught word of a curse. He never confronted them, I don’t think. In fact, according to his notes it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that he asked his ‘mother’ about it.
That is where his notes get more interesting. He must have known deep down that the rumours were true – of course, his ‘mother’ had nothing more than that – and began research right away. Not one officer would have allowed him access to their top secret files, or any files for that matter, just in case he took after his mother and grew into a dangerous madman, but it was a different matter for his mother. She loved him like any mother loves her child, and was only too happy to provide him with the information they had. She didn’t think anything of it. It was only natural that he was curious about his birth parents, after all, and she knew that Ashton was too smart to be thrown off by his parent’s occupations.
And right she was. He didn’t care that his mother had been the most dangerous woman in Bridgeport, or that his father had been a cunning mob boss. In fact, those details hardly made an appearance in his notes at all. He was very much focused on the curse, and from the amount of information I’ve got stashed away I can only guess that he didn’t leave much time for anything else. Until she came into his life, that is, but we will get to my Grandmother later.
For now I’ll tell you everything I know about what he tried, and where he ultimately went wrong. You probably remember this, unless you haven’t been listening to a word I’ve told you, but my grandfather tried to undo the curse and fa-
Once again, just to be sure, Ashton went over the same paragraph again, writing down everything that seemed important to him as he read. This was fascinating, and to think he had never realised it… A curse. An actual curse, placed on his family such a long time ago by some witch! That it still lasted even now was troubling, and very impressive. He couldn’t help admiring the strength of the spell, or the skill of the woman behind it. He didn’t want to die, and he hated her for having done this to his family, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t admire her obvious talent for such things.
The things he had found thanks to his mother – well, not his mother, his real mother had died shortly after he had been born, but thanks to the woman who had adopted him – were astonishing. He couldn’t say for sure what exactly had been involved in the curse, but he had a pretty good idea. It had taken a while to decipher Sosostra’s writings, but once he had made sense of the old dialect and had restored what had faded over time everything had started to fall into place. This woman, Geraldine, had been out for blood when she had cursed Sosostra. She had lost everything she had held dear, and wanted revenge. She had cried, shaking with cold, insatiable fury, knowing that no magic in this world would bring back her family. And then she had cursed Sosostra anyway, wanting to see her suffer for all eternity.
Ashton wondered if Sosostra was still alive, somewhere. He had studied curses for just over a year now, and believed to understand how these things worked. In fact, he was pretty sure that he had found the design for the same curse placed on his family. Sosostra, as the main villain, would be doomed to watch her family suffer through the generations, unable to do anything to stop it. And Geraldine, bound through the curse to Sosostra’s fate would in turn watch the same fates, mad with glee while Sosostra went mad with grief.
If he was right, of course. It was very possible that he was targeting the wrong curse, but even if he was the idea and vital designs would be the same.
Deep in thought, Ashton walked across the room, sitting down after more than five hours of intense studying. He was certain he could break the curse, but there was one thing that was troubling him. A curse like this demanded a sacrifice, and he didn’t have it in him to kill someone. He hated killing anything, even spiders, but his mother hated the little things so whenever they had one in the house he got rid of it for her. Maybe that would be enough… Not a small spider, of course, something bigger. A dog, maybe, or a cow. A chimpanzee.
He shook his head. It would be near impossible to get a cow or a chimpanzee into the house and smuggle it through the living room into his room. And his mum would be furious if she found out, so that was no option. No, no, there had to be another option. He still had time, he knew. He hadn’t fallen in love with anyone, and as far as he knew no one had fallen in love with him. The curse hadn’t claimed an heir yet, and he would use that time to his advantage. He would find a way to end this without having to sacrifice anyone or anything, and then his family would finally be free of this curse.
Hmm. Hmmmm, what? ‘Don’t sit up’, what do you- Ow, my head! Why am I on the floor?
Oh, I see. Another one of those… visions, or whatever you want to call them. And here I had hoped I had- No, never mind. I’m fine, I’m just tired. And these visions, they- Ella must have protected herself from anyone reading her mind, and other methods of tracking her. She was a powerful witch, something like this wouldn’t have been outside her talents. I thought I had found a way to stop these, but it looks like Ella’s magic was preventing me from seeing her like I’ve been seeing the others.
That was Ashton. My Grandfather Ashton. He looked exactly like he does in the pictures…
Hmm? No, I told you I’m fine, didn’t I? This is nothing, I just hit my head on the floor and it hurts. The headache hurts. I’m not crying, I just- I’m smiling, see? My Grandpa Ashton… But let’s carry on.
Can you tell where he’s gone wrong yet? No, I won’t say, you’ll see soon enough. Before it comes to that, let me tell you all about my Grandma Alba, and how they met.