I had my assistant repost the previous posts so that if you missed one it is easily found. There are some inconsistencies with the story but I am going to move forward and fix them in the final version. I’m going to pick this up again and try to be consistent. Life seems to be against me lately but I’m going to persevere!
Felix nodded toward the cursed items. “I want you to tell me what you can determine about each object.”
“I doubt it will be much.” Jacques stepped closer to examine the objects and clasped his hands behind his back to prevent any impulsive touching.
“Smart not to touch right away.”
A light tingling rippled across his skin when he leaned down. Sitting on top of a strip of red velvet fabric were a small silver box, a gold cross adorned with rubies and a black stone that resembled onyx.
“I can already tell you’re magical sensitive,” Felix said in an approving tone. “What can you tell me?”
“I can feel a tingling on my skin.”
“Hmm.” Felix hummed. “Interesting. You are extremely honed to magic. Your vampire didn’t tell me if you had any special abilities.”
“I’m a lion shifter but I can’t do magic or anything. I don’t know anyone who can,” Jacques confessed.
Felix’s eyes lit up like Christmas and his birthday had both arrived wrapped together in a shiny gold bow. “Fascinating. I’ve never met a shifter. I wonder if all of you have the same skill.”
Jacques shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Well that is something to look into later.” Felix shook himself as if coming out of a trance. “Now I want you to pick each up one at a time. Don’t pick them up together.”
“Is it safe?”
“Safe? Well that is a relative term. They are cursed items after all.”
Jacques hesitated. “I don’t especially wish to be cursed.”
“I don’t wish you to be either. What are you doing to my mate, Mr. Underson? I’d hate to think I made a poor decision to let you tutor him.” Nevio’s deep voice sent chills down Jacques spine to join the tingling across his skin.
Felix paled and lost the smug confidence he showed seconds before. “No. Of course not. Nothing that will seriously hurt him.”
Nevio came to stand beside Jacques. “So you know how each item will react to a shifter then?”
“Um. I don’t think it will be different than anyone else,” Felix protested.
“You’d best hope not.” Nevio answered with a sharp-toothed grin.
“I’m sure he wouldn’t bring me anything too harmful.”
“They are simple curses. I would’ve removed them already if I thought they were dangerous.” The sincerity Felix’s face reassured Jacques.
He refused to admit he had a few reservations of his own. “Will you be here for each of my tutoring sessions?”
Nevio shook his head. “Of course not. I just want to make sure you are getting the knowledge that you need. Your online classes start next week don’t they?”
“Your books should arrive today.” Nevio patted him on the shoulder. “Enjoy your session and tell me if you need anything else.”
“I will.” It took a few minutes for Jacques to get back into the right mindset. Nevio always scrambled his senses. Maybe one day he could be around the vampire without having to actively resist the pull.
Forcing his attention back to his tutoring session, Jacques picked up the silver box. His hand went from tingling to throbbing as if there were a hidden heartbeat in his palm. “What’s this one?”
“What do you feel?”
“It’s like I’m holding a heart in my hand.”
“Perfect. You’ll make a good curator. Inside that box in a voodoo doll. It has been given a shape and a target. What you are sensing is its connection its victim.”
Jacques quickly set it down. “Where did you get it?”
“I found it in an abandoned shack in Louisiana. As I don’t know who the victim is or the person who created the doll I don’t want to destroy it. I could inadvertently kill someone.”
Jacques quickly set the doll down. Creepy. “Do you run across many voodoo dolls?”
“I wouldn’t say it was common but it isn’t unusual to run across items that seek to control others. The trick is to understand when to leave them alone and when to investigate. I’ve run across some soul catchers in different cultures that were created for different things. It is never a good idea to paint all items with the same brush. The reason behind a curse is often just as important as the curse itself. After all a curse without meaning behind it doesn’t exist.”
Jacques thought about Felix’s statement and couldn’t find any fault in it. He nodded his agreement. “But what if the reason no longer exists.”
Felix grinned, a wide delighted smile. “That’s when you break it. Now pick up the cross.”
A quick glance at Felix’s face showed he wasn’t kidding. He set the silver box back where he found it then picked up the cross. “This won’t hurt Nevio will it?”
Laughter greeted his question. “That is a lie spread by worshipers to make them sleep better at night. There is little that will hurt vamps. You’re more likely to hurt Nevio by breaking his heart than injuring his flesh.”
The hard knot of worry dissolved as he blushed over his superstition. “My pack didn’t know much about vampires and I couldn’t find any dependable sources of information.”
“You could’ve asked any of the vampires around you.” Felix pointed out.
Jacques frowned. “I don’t know them well enough to know if they will tell me the truth. Besides how would you react if someone living with you asked what it took to injure you?”
Felix smirked. “You might have a point.”
The jewels on the cross glittered beneath the lights. “It’s pretty.”
Unlike with the box he didn’t feel anything from picking it up. “I don’t feel a curse.”
“Good. It’s the only one that doesn’t have anything wrong with it. I wanted to test your sensitivity.”
“Where did you find it?” He titled it back and forth but nothing stood out to let him determine if it had any other special properties.
“It’s my mothers’.” Felix held out his hand and Jacques gave it to him. “The only thing special about it is that she doesn’t know I swiped it yet.”
“Pick up the stone.”
Forcing back his nerves Jacques picked up the black rock. “Is it onyx?” A spark of blue burst beneath his fingers. With a yelp he dropped it.
A soft thud followed its landing on the table.
“What can you tell me about onyx?” Felix prompted.
Jacques searched his memory about the properties of the stone. “I thought it was supposed to be a soothing stone.”
“Excellent,” Felix praised. “That’s why it’s cursed. It does the opposite. It sends feelings of fear and unease. Whoever created this curse wanted someone to be worried. I’m showing you this one so you can feel what a more subtle curse can do.”
“Huh.” Jacques kept a wary eye on the stone. “Good to know but do you think I’m going to need this knowledge as a curator? Won’t someone like you already remove any curses?”
“Maybe, or you might have an unscrupulous dealer. Best to be able to identify curses even if you can’t break them.”
With that bit of advice they spent the rest of the afternoon discussing curses.