Anti-Wish, by Tyr Kieran, is this week's Terror Tuesday! This is a birthday story, but the birthday boy is a tad reluctant to party-hearty. Hmmn. I wonder why . . .
Read this story in its entirety on the Pen Of The Damned for free - I only gave you a teaser here - and, while you're there, read more of Tyr's great stories and those of the other members of the Damned. We'll be waiting.
Anti-WishThe flames swayed in the light breeze of the ceiling fan. Still, they burned strong and bright. To Dustin they were scorching eyes glaring at him straight out of Hell, all ten of them. Beads of red wax rolled down the candles and pooled like blood on the iced surface below.
He wanted nothing more than to forget his birthday altogether.
His family would have obliged him, but not this year. It was an even numbered year—a check year. The celebration was more for them than for him.
Dustin was the youngest of three boys in a family bonded tight to their kin. The problem was Dustin wasn’t kin. He was adopted. Orphaned as an infant, he never knew his parents. Supposedly, they were killed in a botched break in, but the details, as told to Dustin, were always watered down or vague.
The Thompsons, neighbors to his parents at the time, offered to take him in. The justice system granted their request since no other relatives were known and there was an existing connection between the families. The court also awarded the Thompsons’ rights to Dustin’s inheritance, doled out in biennial support checks; the same frequency with which they chose to celebrate his birthday.
“Better get them all, Dusty.” Tucker said and punched Dustin in the ribs. Tucker was the younger of his two foster brothers, but still five years his senior. The brothers both displayed the Ginger linage that dominated the Thompson bloodline—fiery red hair, freckles, pale skin, and a lean but strong frame that matched well with their innate aggression.
The unexpected blow sent a dull burning pain through Dustin’s chest, shortening his breath. He winced as much from the nickname as the punch. He hated that name. The foster brothers dubbed him Dusty because his bedroom was nothing more than a mattress tossed in the middle of the dirt floor basement. At least he didn’t have to sleep down there tonight. Every two years, after his birthday dinner, Dustin was allowed to spend the night in his ‘for-show’ bedroom. It was a small room with minimalistic décor for guests, unless Child Services stopped by to check on Dustin, then a few posters, books, and toys were sprinkled around.
“Yeah,” Barney added, giving Dustin a punch of his own. “Blow hard or take the curse.”