“This is dumb.” It was about the thirtieth time Victoria had said so. “It’s been in my family since before they came over. I know where it came from and who it was made for. And on top of all of that, curses do NOT exist.”
“Look, I just want to be sure, okay? You know I love your dad; think about it. He’s a chemical engineer. He knows how proportions work. Didn’t you tell me once he’s a great cook?”
“Then how exactly did he give himself a case of food poisoning?”
Victoria glared at her would-be mother-in-law. “I still think we’re wasting our time.”
“Our time isn’t better spent in the waiting room. We’re being proactive.”
Victoria studied the facade of the building. ISAIAH WELLINGTON – PSYCHIC SERVICES
“I’d rather trust the medical professionals.”
“They’re doing all they can. Come on.”
With a pained sigh, Victoria followed Sylvia into the house. The main room of the small domicile was paneled in dark wood and filled with the smells of sweet incense. It was definitely present but not overwhelming. The man at the table in the center of the room did not look up from the Tarot cards on the table in front of him.
“Please, Sylvia, call me Isaiah.”
Victoria rolled her eyes. “Some psychic. You probably called him.”
“You’re not going to learn anything if you have that attitude.”
“And what am I going to learn here?”
“You’re going to learn about the history of your family.”
“You don’t know a thing about my family.”
“You are Victoria McNally, your family has been in America since before the Revolutionary War, and you come from a long line of conquerors and betrayers.”
“Did you look that up on Google, Mr. Psychic?”
Isaiah looked up. His eyes were completely white, and Victoria gasped at the sight.
“I don’t get much from websites, Victoria.” As he packed up his deck, Sylvia noticed the titles of the cards were in Braille. “Now. Let’s have the item.”
Sylvia fished around in her purse to pull out a white dishtowel wrapped around something. She began to unwrap it. Isaiah’s face uncannily turned in her direction.
“Be careful. It must touch no other hand but mine. Did you wear gloves when you retrieved it from the mansion?”
“Yes I did. It’s considered a historical artifact. Anybody who’s wanted to see it outside of the case has had to wear gloves.”
“Good. It should be as clear as possible.”
Sylvia carefully began to unwrap the towel, letting the contents spill out into Isaiah’s extended hands. Fingers with cracked nails turned ancient metal end over end, and Isaiah’s milky white eyes slowly closed.
“The dagger was forged in the highlands seven… maybe eight hundred years ago. A gift, for one of the first warriors to bear the name McNally. I can see him… tall he was, broad of shoulder…”
“Like the cover of a romance novel?”
“I don’t think he’d know, Victoria.”
“Actually, I wasn’t born blind.” Isaiah opened his eyes and smiled. “But I do need you to keep quiet and not interrupt me.”
Victoria found herself blushing. “Sorry.”
The psychic closed his eyes again. “Ah… there it is. It was forged in honor, and yet, it was used to stab friends and family… even lovers… spouses… and every time it tasted blood that way, its anger grew…”
Sylvia took a deep breath. “How can a… knife… be angry?”
“Shh.” Victoria waved a hand at Sylvia. In spite of the way the atmosphere in the room had changed, grown more cold, Sylvia smiled.
“The anger,” Isaiah went on, “is not from the weapon. It’s from the victims. They left a tiny bit of themselves behind. Soaked into the metal on a level science will never, could never find. And it’s reached out into this family through the ages… Victoria, how did your mother die?”
Sylvia turned to look at Victoria, as the college freshman looked down at her hands. “She got sideswiped by a truck on a bridge. Her car went down in the river and she was trapped inside. She… she drowned.”
“And now your father is… ill?”
“Bad case of food poisoning.” Sylvia studied the dagger in Isaiah’s hands. “Is… is it cursed?”
“In the most simple of terms, yes.” Isaiah turned it over one more time. “Its effects will not always be obvious, but it does not know the state of the world or even where it is. All it knows is its need for revenge. It will never be rid of it.”
“Then how do we get rid of it?”
Isaiah closed his eyes for a long moment. “If the dagger is undone in a way that knows no dishonor, the vengeance will have nowhere to go.”
Victoria furrowed her brows. “Why am I thinking about Lord of the Rings all of a sudden?”
“It’s a shame we don’t have any volcanos nearby.”
“No, but don’t we have that steel mill?”
Sylvia thought about it. “Yes. And they’re very proud that they’ve gone for months without an accident…”
“Which would be dishonor, right?”
Sylvia smiled, reached into her purse and laid some money on Isaiah’s table and plucked the dagger from his hands. “Thank you, Isaiah.”
“I look forward to your return. Oh, and Victoria… if you study too hard for physics, you won’t be rested enough to do well on the exam.”
Victoria blinked, then started to smile. “Wow. You’re the real thing, aren’t you?”
Isaiah smiled and shrugged. “I had to give up my dream of being an indy car driver and find something else to be good at.”
Victoria giggled, and Sylvia took her hand to lead her back to the car. The mill was a short drive away. They found a worker eating lunch outside, and Sylvia paid him a few hundred dollars to throw the dagger in.
They waited for half an hour. Victoria was starting to doubt it’d work, and then Sylvia’s phone rang.