Shadow of the Phantom Curse

Hospital Visit Arrangement

Wind grazed the cheeks of the people on the cliff, which was covered in grass and fields of sunflowers. Visitors gathered around the edge to admire the view of the sea and the faint smell of the salt in it, accompanied by the blue of the sky and the harsh winds .

A young child with black hair that grew down to his shoulders and eyes that gleamed and glistened in the sunshine exclaimed, ”Grandma? What happened on the island that made us leave? Its so pretty here! ”

The old lady turned her head away and looked down in shame, before taking in a large breath of air while the breeze ruffled her short white hair.

”No matter how many sins we have committed as a family, I will always come back here for the memory. ” She tiredly croaked in a hoarse voice, before reaching out her worn hands, aged throughout the years, to the petals and leaves ripped off by the wind that drifted through the air.

The boy perked up with a questioning gaze after hearing such a confusing jumble of words for his age.

”What is that supposed to mean? ” He asked, waiting for a reply before he could prance off away from the ledge to play around in the sunflowers.

The old womans expression softened into a fond reminisce of the past.

”This island holds many secrets, you know? You used to have a great aunty, but she died at sea when we were just children. She was older than me, and she had showered me with so much affection back in those days… ”

For a moment, both of their expressions froze to process what the other had said and what the other had heard.

”I don understand adult talk- ” The boy began.

”-Youll understand it when you
e older. ” The old woman replied matter-of-factly.

And that was the end of their conversation, one that became engraved in Catheris forever and stayed with him even as he grew up.

Childhood memories were fragile things that were certain to be affected by the transcendence of time. That peaceful, beautiful island that once was soon switched for the developed and busy mainland, Virosiad. The mainland was situated near the island where a quaint small village was traded for the restless streets of the foreigner tourist trap cities – one of those cities where the rent prices multiplied based on the sheer amount of money a tourist would be willing to spend on the damn place. Luckily, the place stood its ground and instead, citizens opted for producing luxury services and goods to make up for the general market being promoted to foreigners.

However, what did not pass the test of time was his grandmother, who was currently at deaths door on a hospital bed while the familys situation had descended into a shitshow over the inheritance. Of course, with a village as small as Catheriss, there came some traditional views, which led to the most horrid restrictions if you wanted to be included in the will. It also made for the worst holiday arguments while he laid back and peeled fruits for his cousins or played games with them.

He had no siblings as his parents started having relationship issues after his father had been caught paying for strippers when Catheris was just finishing elementary school. His parents showed up to every social event together, trying to create a picture perfect image of them and their relationship, but everyone knew what had happened. Despite their rocky relationship, the cowards were both reluctant to divorce. But still, he stood unwillingly between the arguing between the grown-ups and teens with their constant meddling, as his age was between the two groups. The only person who was even a bit close to his age was his older half-brother, who was disconnected from the family and who Catheris couldn care less about.

For most of his life, his mother was the one who raised him; his father took no part in raising him at all as he ditched his mother for his main woman. Therefore, to her, Catheris was really her only hope in life, so hed been shielded away from the outside world to ensure that he wasn exposed to any bad influences, such as the dad. Hed always been cooped up studying inside in his room all day, to assure his mother that he would grow up well and get a high paying job. He wasn even able to go outside as he was told that itd be dangerous for something like him to go outside without his mother.

It was like Catheriss entire existence was being swallowed whole from the obsession directed towards him from her.

School memories? He couldn recall even a single memorable conversation.

His school days – the calm times in life that were meant to be used up to do whatever you wanted – had instead been spent refusing event invitations and studying.

There were some points in time where his classmates couldn even remember his name for how dull his school life was; he was just known as the guy who ate alone at his desk while reviewing notes.

His interaction with the other students at his school faded away slowly, from a simple ”Sorry, my mom needs me right now ”.

His impression was that of an emotionless person; of course, that wasn the case – it was just that he never knew how to receive affection or give it. Though he did have a few friends that were involved in popular friend groups, the only thing he could ever do whenever they got into drama and wept, was console them with a simple shoulder pat.

He was also known a bit for being a friend of some other guy. The only person who stayed with him throughout the years was good at socializing; Catheriss subtle popularity came from his popularity. It was a bit admirable how hed always stay by his side even if Catheris did every act of passive aggressiveness to get him to go away.

But the time that person spent on Catheris – no, wasted, rather – was meaningless anyways as he drifted away from the people he once knew once everyone went their ways off to college.

Even the childhood best friend had stopped talking to him. Well, it was to be expected; he went into design while his friend thought that they were both going into law like their parents. That was how they met, actually – his mom introduced the son of a friend she knew from work, and the meeting was as simple as that. But hey, seeing from the posts Catheris occasionally went through it was easy to deduct that his childhood friend was enjoying college love life.

The only remarkable things Catheris could remember about his school days were rather embarrassing to admit, but-

During classes he would look out of his window and fawn to himself when he observed people outside without making a sound. He never had any crushes; romance should be saved for when he was a stable adult and not a dumbass like his mother had said. But goddamn did he stare at some people running outside.

Of course, love wasn for him, he thought. All day long, Catheris would just daydream with a slight blush on his cheeks, before getting flustered at the realization of what he was doing and going back to taking down notes. He would repress any growth of romantic feelings into a burning pain in his chest – which is what he thought of his growing feelings of romantic attraction to the people he stared at; that it was heartburn, or something, anything that he could pin the blame on, honestly.

Adult-Catheris still somewhat treasured the fact that he used to daydream, though. Even if he did choke up in repulsion at the thought of the type of people he once daydreamed about, the thoughts were a bit cringy to his adult self… Gods, if he had dated who he actually wanted to pursue at the time, hed probably have broken up just from thinking of the lectures his mother had given him to prepare him for relationships and what type of woman he should look for. But in the end, the daydreaming had made school a bit easier to tolerate.

Now he had a simple life – working at a well-known luxury clothing company designing suits – but it was to be expected, as every company on the island he resided on was popular. Still, his life was as mundane as ever. At his job, everyone knew his name, but his air just gave off ackground character vibes; no one ever paid much attention to him unless they needed a favor from him.

But it was soothing to open up the windows of his new apartment away from his family, and to take in the slightly salty air by the beach. Again, his life was quite ordinary. The experiences he had been having lately, on the other hand…

With nobody to confide such information to, he thinks hes going a bit insane. For moments at a time, time seems to freeze and he can move. A figure of pitch black always hugs the edges of his vision, morphing to fill the cracks of any structures around him and slithering around his surroundings. Then it would slip out of his field of view, after which he could move again.

It was eerie, but if he were to ask his mother about his recent situation, it would have driven him insane from what he knew she would do. Telling her would mean that everyone in the family would know. The fleeting pitch-black figures he faced reminded him of some folktales from where his family originally came from and which his grandmother told him stories of. But he didn think it was noteworthy enough to bother the people around him; he thought hed just come off as a burden anyway.

Come to think of it, the Cathedral on Deliamois felt familiar, with the same mood and vibe that the shadow-slithering moments gave off. The feeling was very distinct, he still remembered the cold sensation filling him even after the years since hed last visited.

If he turned clinically insane over time, he decided that he would seek help. If that didn work out, then hed take a trip over to the Cathedral if the delusions worsened; for some reason, he couldn put off the feeling that the Cathedral, in particular, had something to do with everything going on. And if the visit didn help him find the cause of his problems, he could always just drown himself in the sea he loved so much.

In fact, the whole island of Deliamois felt off. During the few times hed taken a boat over to it, it felt like a dream, as if it wasn actually the real world but a sectioned off area that was an illusion. Sometimes, it felt so peaceful that it was only natural for Catheris to be a bit wary. Though the Cathedral and the ledge it was on was the only place that invoked his wariness to its maximum setting, Deliamois was still horrifying.

The air felt heavy in the Cathedral, leaving a feeling of having to be cautious of ones very breath. The impact the building had on him was powerful. The sheer amount of space within the building and how high the ceiling reached, as well as how intricate and detailed the carved stone walls of the Cathedral were – engraved with several deities – always struck him as majestic and yet foreboding. On a whole different level; that was the only way to describe the atmosphere of the Cathedral.

Whenever he entered the place with his grandmother, it was like the pain in his head could snap at any minute and send his mind into a sharp, painful, and agonizing recoil – almost like being struck over the head with a baseball bat; pain, accompanied by a dizzying nausea. His clouded mind would feel like it was about to burst, which made his ability to think clearly weaker. His grandmother would hold his hand tightly even as she was unfazed by the atmosphere; he didn know why she did so – it hurt, but he never questioned it.

Adults knew better, he had always supposed.

Whenever the Cathedrals bell rang – he could no longer remember what times it did – his whole body would freeze while every other visitor remained unfazed. The older visitors who knew more never even spared a flinch; he had been the only child partaking in the visits back then. If he were to recall trivial details, he remembered that the bell just rang – nobody went to ring it, it just activated itself with a mechanism.

Catheris had told his younger cousins what happened at Deliamois. At first, they didn believe him, but when it was their time to go and experience the eeriness of the Cathedral, they came back scared shitless. They then told their younger siblings and nobody really visited it again; the adults also ended up not visiting because their children didn want to. Thats why none of his younger cousins came to visit the island, because of the experiences their siblings who had experienced Deliamois had told them of. So, the island remained untouched for a few years. The island was then treated as if it were private property, where only the original people and their descendants could go on it. Catheris didn really know why; there were reasons and secrets that he wasn privy to.

What else could he recall? Well, there wasn much left to remember, anyways.

What did he live for anyways? A slice of petty family drama? Would he watch other peoples lives develop and change while he remained on the sidelines, or would he live his own life? It wasn like the rules of life were defined in a book. However, he didn have a say to decide what he lived by; the rules were outlined by his mother.

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