Chapter 1:

His curse


Eros and Thanatos were two entities with contrasting abilities sent down to earth. As life went on, people revered Eros for his mercy, love and blessings while people feared Thanatos. They feared the illness, disasters and calamity he brought with him. He was an untreatable danger because those plagued by his curse were constantly suffering. It was a curse.

Thanatos lived in the outskirts, far away from civilization in a kingdom he created. Those with his illness were reported and kicked out because people feared how contiguous it was.

It was another day in Yura's life when the chatter and gossip of people reached her ears. The only son that lived across the street was caught with the curse and kicked out to save their village. The more she heard about it, the more unease filled her. The only son that lived across the street was her younger brother. Her only brother. She couldn't let him suffer.

Thanatos flew around his kingdom, going through his checklist of newcomers one by one as they filled his place up. His poor children, treated like outcasts but he hated being lonely so he could never stop infecting people. He can only feed off their misfortune with more. The sound of bell ringing had him vanish to reappear in front of his gates. He didn't expect any visitors. A woman stood still, eyeing him up and down with a big, nervous smile.

"And who might you be?" He didn't get any report of his illness infecting another.

"I'll take it. Give me my brother's curse." She demanded like she had the right.

"You want my curse?" Thanatos laughed at the obnoxious suggestion. What an arrogant tiny human.

"In return, I want you to cure my brother and give him the blessing of Eros." Her confidence didn't waver, looking at him dead in the eyes, smiling.

Oooh, he loved when an arrogant child, blessed by Eros, think they can handle his curse. They usually never can. They end up begging him to take it back. They would rather not live with the thoughts of death hanging on their head.

"Very well, I'll free him." He will, for his amusement, to see her struggle. "On one condition, you are not allowed to beg me to return it back like all the previous volunteers."

Her face visibly twisted. "Why would anyone do that?"

"Oh dear, many do... because they can't live with it. Well, with the exception of parents but they are too stubborn to admit it," he chuckled amusedly. She didn't seem humoured.

"Now that our contract has been sealed, come on in. I'll show you around." He flew as she followed him closely behind. The kingdom was blinding dark. Fog blurred her legs, rubbles surrounded the area, broken glasses crunched on her feet. It was like a graveyard.

A murder of crows cawed loudly, startling her as she entered the fence inside into an old Victorian house. The wood was pure black, the place looked haunted, barely anyone living. In the center, a large staircase led above and he went into the attic. "This is where you will be living."

She looked around, the ceiling was slightly broken, the air chilly, the moonlight reflected on the floor tile. The bed dusty. It felt so empty and dull. "Are you going to fix that?"

"Nope... that's part of the experience living here." He eyed her closely.

"Hmm... experience... right." Yura checked the door to the bathroom, taking in the condition. Slightly broken as well. She turned on the knob of the sink, nothing came out. "There is... no water?"

"Some days there are, some days not. If you want, go to the river outside the kingdom."

She furrowed her brows. So she can't shower everyday?

"Do you still want to be here?" His lips widened.

She looked around the place one more time before she smiled brightly, nodding. If it saved her brother, she was happy to do so.

He shook his head. Oh foolish child of Eros. Lived a privileged life, she won't be able to adjust.

"Since you will live here from today onwards, I'll have you checked in." He declared, magically bringing out a penchant and quill pen, writing down another citizen and crossed out another. "I'll cure your brother and let him go tomorrow. Let's see how long you will keep that smile."

Thanatos always kept his promise. When he came in the next day, the place was cleaned spotlessly. But that's how they usually are, energetic at first.

"I'll be your tour guide today." He showed her around the destroyed buildings and garbage streets. In comparison to the land rule by Eros, there is no way anyone could live here.

"No wonder nobody likes being here," Yura stated, closing her nose from the stinky smell.

He laughed. "But people still chose to stay here, I never stopped them from leaving."

"That's because they have nowhere else to go." She understood them.

He tilted his head in curiosity. That was… correct. He was surprised she figured it out so easily. "You are smarter than you look."

She frowned, what did he mean by that?

"Well then, I'll leave you be. I'll come visit you everyday to see how long you will hold on."

And visit he did. She consistently tried to be better, consistently tried to live the life she had in Eros. Thanatos would come visit her every night to see her lose her smile like he had a vendetta against her. Because how dare a child of Eros be so arrogant.

As many months passed, she was slowly slipping. Her smile becoming less frequent, her ability to maintain herself, fading away.

"Are you finally losing your smile?" He asked.

She smiled at him. "Not yet…"

And visit again he did. He twirled around her room, waiting for her to come home. He looked around, amused by the condition. It wasn't pristine anymore. It was dusty with clothes piled on top of each other, messily. He glimpsed at her pillow, the white case still clean but there were stains on it. Stains he didn't remember seeing yesterday. His head jerked toward the door from the creak. Her face looked more worn out than usual.

"You are finally home. Are you finally losing your smile? Do you want to beg me to break the contract?" he asked.

Her smile cracked a little. "Not yet."

How unfortunate but he was almost there he could feel it.

Years have passed and finally, she stopped smiling. She lay on bed, terminally sick as she looked up to him, unable to get off bed, near death from the poor conditions. "Your wish finally came true."

"It took a long time." She really battled his curse for a very long time. "How do you feel now?"

"Glad." He frowned.

"Glad I saved my brother," she muttered. "Now the pain will finally stop. I don't have much time."

She will be gone soon. Unlike the others, she withheld for so long but that made his victory more tasteful. He never felt happier. It was a call for celebration so he went to Eros to gloat, to see him angry except Eros had no idea who he was talking about. He had to drag him to his kingdom, to see her in person in case he grew senile.

"You were talking about her?" Eros recognised her immediately. His white wings flapped as he circled in the air. "I do know her. I remember the villagers never caught on the fact she had your disease. I see, she finally got caught."

"She had my disease?" Thanatos's head turned, stunned. How long? How long had she had it? Why didn't he notice?

"Yes, she said she liked.... to pretend to be happy," Eros humorlessly responded. "That's why she lingered in my kingdom even when she knew she would feel like an outcast. I let her be."

Thanatos tore his hollow eyes away from him to her. The way she stared at people lifelessly.

He has made a grave mistake. He has given her his disease twice. He was killing her faster. The dark figure lowered, settling in front of her, forgetting about Eros. "I want to take back my curse. I need your permission to undo our contract."

She looked up at him, tilting her head. "Why?"

"So you can live in ease." Wasn't it obvious? He never once was willing to break his own curse until she came.

"No. If you take it back, you will return it to my brother, right?" She coughed, exhausted.

"And you think he would appreciate it?" He snidely interrupted. "He already lived long enough, enjoying life with Eros's blessing… he doesn't need to go on longer."

"No. I'd rather keep it. You have never felt love, how would you know what I feel?"


How the tables turned. He went from visiting her to torture her to being tortured by her. He thought she would be the one begging him to break it but he was the one begging her instead. He has never wanted to save a life so much in his life.

He watched as cried herself to sleep and as she slowly got weaker. His heart ached for a human. Watching the light in her eyes dull and her arms go limp had him secretly weep. Even death didn't want her gone. As she took her final breath, he carried her body, burying her. He waited as her soul floated with him.

"Let me take you to heaven." He offered her his bony hand and her soul laid hers on top of his, letting him lead her.