Lucky 13

Sculpture in the underwater museum MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte)

“There’s no such thing as curses.”
“But let’s say there is—then it’s bad luck as long as there’s thirteen of us. Which means we won’t get rescued…”
“Until—”
“Unless—”

Ah, the innocence of children. Just look at them play! A perfect picture of innocence still unspoiled by the world, pure hearts as yet uncorrupted by adult vice… but did I just detect a gleam of malicious glee in Julian’s eyes when Bennie tumbled off the slide and cried over his skinned knee? Are Judith and Mattie pushing little Bonnie just a little too high on the swings, despite (because of?) her shrieks of terror? As William Golding knew, and showed us in full, raw color in The Lord of the Flies, the unspoiled innocence of children is grafted upon the equally untamed savage within; their hearts as driven by innate, uncorrupted purity as by equally innate, uncorrupted wickedness. Ah, yes, the innocence of children… but should you find yourself on a deserted island or a battered lifeboat fighting for survival, be sure to keep watch for that malicious gleam in the eyes…


“As the sea water crept through the hole in the boat and pooled around their feet like a salty promise of things to come, the idea that they’d been cursed began to sprout like a desperate seed poking its way out of otherwise barren soil. Even Judith was starting to think that maybe Justin was on to something with his unlucky thirteen idea. How else to explain why they hadn’t been rescued already? Or why the boat was leaking and they couldn’t catch anything to eat…
and now it wasn’t even raining any more.”
 
To find out what happens to the unlucky children stranded at sea in my short story “Lucky 13,” as well as read twelve other tales of Gothic chills, strange happenings, and creepy suspense, click here to purchase my collection of short stories The Knife and the Wound It Deals in paperback or ebook format.