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Friday, January 2, 2015

Working on The Heart of the Curse

Chapter 1


Amanda could feel the heat rising in her cheeks as she watched Leah walk across the reddish brown court and hand Ryan her newly written love letter. Perhaps it was the harsh Texas heat, or maybe it was the fear she felt rising in her stomach that made her feel nauseous. Amanda had liked Ryan all year long, but she could never find the right time to make it known. Today was the last day of school for the current school year. While everyone was thinking about their summer break, Amanda was thinking about the chance for a new romance. For the first time she felt confident in putting all her cards on the table. After talking to her mother nearly all night she felt now was the time to make her crush known to him because they were after all near the end of school. As she nervously awaited the arrival of her friend she thought about the many times she and Ryan had flirted in English class.

“Do you think I’m doing the right thing, Florica?” whispered Amanda as she pulled a long dark hair from Florida’s face. “I wish my hair looked like yours. You have beautiful hair, I wish you at least try to curl your hair or something. You’re so pretty. I don’t get why you always cover it up.”

Florica flinched and looked away. “Prettiness has never helped me and I can’t see it helping me in the future. Besides, I like my hair in my face, it’s easier for me to sleep in class without being caught,” insisted Florica. She thought about the stories of her ancestors and how their looks got them into big trouble as she held onto her small purse.

Amanda froze. “Look, Leah’s walking our way. Should I walk away? Give me that bag, I’ll act like I’m looking for something.”

“Calm down. Just act normal,” moaned Florica.

“So, what did he say?” Asked Amanda.

Leah started to squirm and then she looked at Florica. “Well, I gave him the letter. He just looked at me crazy for a few seconds. I thought maybe he thought it was from me. Anyway, after he glared at me with a really messed up look he opened the letter. I’m still wondering why you didn’t just text him. I mean who writes letters? Anyway, he must be a speed reader or something because he looked at it for a second and closed it. He didn’t read the whole thing. There is no way he read the entire letter in a second. I’m sorry, but I don’t think he’s into you. He doesn’t seem to be into anyone. I heard he is practically isolating from everyone.”

Florica looked at Amanda and frowned. “He’s not cute anyway.”

“Yeah and he’s like really dirty. He wears the same socks to school every day. I had to sit in the seat behind him one day and I noticed he had on dirty dingy socks. I mean really who never washes their socks? I mean honestly, if I were you I would think about that. His hygiene can’t be all that good if he wears nasty socks. Can you see clean people putting on dirty socks?” Leah asked as she looked back at Ryan.

“Okay, Leah! What are you, the sock police? I don’t wear socks at all, so big freaking deal,” laughed Florica as she kicked off her shoes and wiggled her toes.

“You’re nasty too, put them back on. Your feet stink. That’s disgusting, I can still smell them, Florica.” Leah grabbed a piece of paper from her notebook and grabbed Florica’s shoes. “Second thought you need to throw these babies away. I’ll do you the favor.”

“You can’t do that to my shoes. I paid five bucks for them at a garage sale. Give them back.” Florica chased Leah to the dumpster.

Leah looked on in horror as Florica went dumpster diving. “You’re going to get something in that dumpster, I hope you had your tetanus shot.

“Guys, I could use a little support. The guy I like just turned me down.”

“You’re better off,” insisted Florica. She knew something was wrong, and she had a pretty good idea of the problem. However, she wanted to be normal, and leave her gypsy upbringing behind her. So, she pretended to be clueless while digging in the dumpster.

Amanda frowned. “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t even like boys.”

              “I like boys just fine, but I don’t want a boyfriend. I’m not getting pregnant or any other disease.”

Leah started laughing. “Pregnancy isn’t a disease, you idiot. Amanda, it’s okay if he doesn’t like you. It doesn’t mean that you can’t find someone else. It would have been odd anyway. Florica and I don’t have any candidates for a boyfriend. Everyone who has a girlfriend or boyfriend always looks sad or either angry.”

              “I know, but I thought he liked me,” said Amanda as she wiped a tear from her eye.

Craig tried not to eavesdrop, but Amanda looked so sad. She and Ryan would make a great couple, but getting to Ryan was the problem. She was his type after all, and Ryan had told him months ago that he did like her. She was pretty compared to some of the other girls in the school. She might not have been the best looking girl in school, but she was by far the nicest. If things had turned out differently he would have loved to double date with her and Ryan. He gazed at Florica. Unlike Amanda, Florica was the prettiest girl in school. However, she was extremely shy. Most of the time she wore her hair covering half of her face, and she never wore the tank tops, or shorts that the other girls wore. She wore long jeans and sweaters all year round.

              Leah looked back towards the court. “Amanda, don’t cry he’s looking at you.”

“I need to get out of here. I feel stupid, I’m not crying because I’m sad, I feel really stupid. Is he still looking at me?” Amanda asked.

Florica glanced his way and shook her head no. Ryan was feeling guilty about something, but he wasn’t giving it away. She wanted to find out more, but if she pressed anything people would ask questions about her. So, she minded her own business once again to avoid trouble.

 “No, now he is talking to Tiffany.”

“Maybe she is his type. I guess that means I’m still a single lady. Lunch time!”

              “Leah, would you happen to have two bucks I can borrow until tomorrow?” whispered Amanda. As soon as the words escaped her mouth she noticed Leah’s facial expression change.

“About that, Mandy, this is the last time I can give you lunch money. My parents want me to pay a portion of the cable bill and it is taking all my extra money. Here’s five bucks, but can you give it back to me before the end of the week?”

Amanda felt like the wind had been knocked out of her. She always managed to pay Leah back, but this month had been really hard because her father couldn’t work his normal forty hours as usual.

              “It’s okay! Keep your money, Leah; I have five bucks I can lend her. Besides I don’t eat lunch here at school anyway. It’s nasty,” insisted Florica as she pushed Leah’s five dollars away.

As Craig stood behind the girls in line he felt a sudden niggling of guilt for once again eavesdropping. He wanted to help Amanda, but it was nearly impossible for him to help anyone out in his current state. Besides he needed to get Ryan’s attention before he was forced to leave for good. If Ryan could find his ring everything would go back to normal. So, he continued silently to his table. Before he turned to leave he noticed Florica looking straight at him. He gave a simple smile and continued on his way. It was odd how Florica seemed to always look in his direction as if she could see him.

“I promise I will get the money back to you, Florica,”Amanda said as she placed her lunch tray in front of the cafeteria lady.

              “Please, you forget, I live two doors down from you. I can just raid your refrigerator from time to time, and we can call it even. Well, come to think of it maybe I could borrow a pair of shoes from you. I couldn’t find my shoes in the dumpster,” whispered Florica as she watched her friend squirm with discomfort.

After the final bell rang Amanda felt like a burden had been lifted off her shoulders. She opened up her small pink torn book bag and placed her papers into her ripped Jimmy Dean folder. She couldn’t wait to get on the bus for the last time this year she thought as she waited in line next to the other kids who rode her bus. In a few minutes it would all be over she thought as she counted the street signs from her bus window. Finally she was at her stop. As she stood up and turned around she noticed one of Ryan’s friends looking at her.

“Do you need some help Amanda?” Craig asked as he noticed Amanda putting on her jacket.” He didn’t know how much longer he would be able to help people out, but he vowed to do whatever he could until he couldn’t do anymore.


Florica looked at Craig as he continued to walk towards Amanda. How was it that he was able to talk to people she thought as she watched him in silence. Why was he not well within the spirit world by now? As for Amanda she was mortified that someone other than Florica knew her secret. She couldn’t recall seeing him there before. Perhaps it was because she never tried to look around at the other children on the bus. She was so scared that someone would ask to visit that she often placed her earplugs in her ear and played sleep most of the ride. She was more than certain that Ryan knew she was homeless because Craig looked at her rather knowingly.  It would be all over school next year she thought as she rushed into the isle. Before he could ask any questions she quickly managed to jump off the bus. However, her jacket got caught between her legs forcing her to fall face first onto the ground.

              “Let me get that,” Craig offered as he picked up her books and placed them neatly into her bag.

“Thanks.” Amanda continued in silence and then it hit her that he was walking in the same direction she was walking in. “You’re coming all the way. I don’t need any help.”

Craig smiled. “I know.”

“How did you know I lived here? Amanda asked as she held out her hands to retrieve her things.

              “My father owns this hotel. I have known it for a long time. Your secret is your secret. I would never tell.”

              Amanda’s face grew red. “Does anyone else know?”

“Um, one or two other people might know. Do you recall last Christmas?”


“Well, my friends and I played the elves and my dad was Santa.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that.”

“It’s okay. There are a lot of people in your shoes right now.”

Florica again paused as she watched him make communication with Amanda. He was still able to touch things, and hold things. Perhaps, she needed to find out more about this situation. It was getting odder and odder by the second.

For the first time Amanda couldn’t help but think it really was for the best that Ryan didn’t send a reply back to her letter. It would have been too odd explaining her situation to him. She hadn’t told anyone about her situation not even Leah.

“So, what happened how did you guys end up living here? “ Craig asked as he walked her to her room.

              “It’s a long story. My father was in the military and my mom worked on base. He was gone most of the time and my sister was diagnosed with ADHD. They had her on so many meds that the meds started to mess with her behavior in ways you wouldn’t believe. So, my mom quit her job so she could homeschool her because the school system didn’t know how to work with my sister. My mom worked with people with disorders like my sister, so it was a given.”

“I’ll see you later, Amanda. I’ll try to come over after I help my grand cook dinner.” Florica looked once more in Craig’s direction.

              Amanda held her head up and nodded. “If she cooks anything sweet, can you bring me a piece?”

              “Will do!”

Craig stopped by the door. “Do you mind if I come in? I would like to hear the rest of the story.”

“Um, well, I don’t have anything to offer you. We have water,” whispered Amanda. 

“I don’t need anything.”

“Anyway, after my mother stopped working things got a little crazy around the house. However she was able to bring my sister’s moods back to normal. My dad and she talked about how the military might have offered money, but it didn’t offer emotional stability. So, they decided it was time to get out,” Amanda said as she held up the water to her mouth.

              “So you moved here because he got out of the military?” Craig asked as he bit down on his tongue.

Amanda tried not to laugh, but the sight of him kicking like a small child was funny. He acted as if someone stuck him with a needle. It felt good to talk to someone she thought as she looked at the clock. “Yes and no. My mom was hired to work at a base in Alaska for the military, but her family wanted us closer. They decided it was best for everyone mainly my grandpa if we moved here. He was having a real hard time dealing with the fact that we would have been moving to Alaska. My mom totally made the right decision because he died a few months ago.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that.”

“Of course you didn’t know. It’s okay.”

“Do you miss your friends?” Craig watched her struggle with the right answer.

“Well, I did at first. My friends played a pretty big part in us moving to be honest. I started hanging out with a group of girls who had bad connections as in gang connections. My mom and dad freaked out, and decided the best thing for us was to move even if it meant us losing everything. If you rated the reasons on a scale from one to ten, that would be pretty high on the list. I think that was the main reason they wanted to move, they didn’t want to lose me. I was starting to change for the worse,” Amanda said as she looked down at the floor.

              “You’re a gangster. Did you join?” Craig asked.

Amanda started laughing. “I’m not a gangster! They were my friends and we looked out for each other. I just saw them as my friends. I never did anything bad, and they didn’t do anything either. Anyway, what about all this red!”

              “What?” Craig looked down at his shirt. He had never noticed it before, but he was in his favorite red silk shirt. It was the shirt he and Ryan purchased when they went on spring break two years ago. “I like red,” replied Craig.

Silence had begun to sneak in for the first time perhaps it was the mentioning of the red shirt she thought as she watched his expression change into sadness. She didn’t think it was ugly, she only meant to change the subject.

              Amanda pushed a pillow in his direction. “I like your shirt. I only meant that you have red socks too. It’s odd to see a guy match down to his socks.”


“No, it’s okay. I was just thinking that my dad will want to see me before long, so I need to be going. If you ever want to talk about anything just let me know. I’ll be around for a little.” Craig halted before he exited the door. “I had fun talking to you.”

              “I did too. Maybe you come by tomorrow.”

              Craig smiled and closed the door behind him.

“Why are you still here?” Florica asked as she stepped out from her door.

              Craig stopped. “What do you mean?”

              “You know what I mean. I know what you are, but what I don’t understand is why you are still here? I see your spiritual form,” whispered Florica.

Craig didn’t know what to think. He was new to this ghoul business. Only a few people could see him. It was only by luck that Amanda was still able to see him. His father could see him, and a few other older people who lived in the hotel including Florica’s grandmother.

Craig walked down the hall then he turned and faced Florica as she was leaning against the wall. Her long dark hair was pulled back, and for the first time he noticed a line of freckles that outlined her eyes.

“Maybe you can tell me why I’m still here. You seem to know more than I do about it.”

Florica looked up him and smiled. “Who did this to you? I mean she had to have some really strong magic in order to capture your spirit like this.”

              “What do you know about magic?”

“I know you stink of it. It follows you like a dark cloud. Your time is almost up. I can see your spiritual form lingering further and further behind.”

              “Where are you from?”

              “Originally, I’m from Bulgaria. My grandma moved us here when I was a little girl.”

              “Are you gypsies?”

              Florica smiled. “Are we gypsies?”

              “Don’t make fun of me. Are you or are you not.”

              “If I am, what does that have to do with you?”

              “Why are the gypsies here? I thought you guys lived only in Europe. Are you friends with the one who did this to me?” Craig asked.

Florica looked puzzled. “I don’t know who did this to you. Most of the gypsies I know don’t hex people because we are hated and hunted. What did you do to the gypsy that placed the curse on you?” Florica asked as she walked towards the middle of the hall.

              “It’s a long story, but it has a lot to do with Ryan. Neither one of us did anything to her, but Ryan blames himself for my death. Yet I’m not dead yet.  She made him think it was his doing just like she made everyone believe that I’m dead. The horrible part about this is the fact that soon I really will be if someone can’t bring me back. I can feel strange things happening to me.” Craig looked toward the ceiling. “My ex-girlfriend put a hex on Ryan and that’s the reason why I am here. She blamed him for us breaking up. In her mind if she can kill him off soon she will be able to bring me back. However, it isn’t working because he is strong. I think we have a strong enough bond to beat this, but we have to beat her. I thought that if Amanda and Ryan hooked up it would ease his sadness, and it would open a doorway for him to see me.”

              “That sounds really crazy. Why would she do that?”

              “I don’t know. She’s not right in the head.”

              “Can you tell me anything about her? Where did you meet her?  Most importantly you can’t send Amanda into this without knowing the truth. Why would you reach out to Amanda? You know better than that. Some curses reach out to others. I wouldn’t want Amanda to get touched by the spell,” cautioned Florica as she looked towards Amanda’s door.

              “I really can’t tell you much. Lura is the name you are looking for. She’s not evil Florica. She’s just hurting, and she blames Ryan for it.”

“So, she placed a curse to cause him great depression. Did you know that he walks in a great darkness? When I’m around him I can feel the darkness that surrounds him. The first time he came near me it was so strong that it made me feel ill. It looks like depression to the unknowing eye. However, the hex is more than depression. It is the tip of the ice, Craig. Spells can do awful things to people. Trust me she did not put a spell on him to cause him to be depressed. There’s more to it.”

“I know that! Didn’t you just hear what I said?”

              “His hex will reach others; whoever this Lura is she knew a lot about the dark arts. She was able to cast a living spell that breeds. You need to warn your friend. He will not believe me because he does not know me.”

“I can’t warn him because I’m not allowed to see him. I don’t know what to do.” Craig reached up and touched the side of Florica’s face. “I didn’t think any of this would happen. One minute we were all talking about vacations and the next minute I was watching them carry my casket into the church.”

              “I can go see my aunt and uncle for a few days, and then I should know more about the curse, and how to remove it. However, you need to try to make contact with your friend.”

              “I’m not sure how much longer I will be here. I lose a little more of myself each day. If you find her, tell her to let this go. Tell her she needs to let this go before it’s too late. Make sure she understands that I will not tell anyone about her.”

 “I’m afraid she won’t care. She crossed a very dangerous line when she cursed your friend and put you in this state. She knew what would happen,” Florica stated as she walked into the room and shut the door.


                  Chapter 2


Florica arrived to the complex late in the evening. She walked up the stairs and waited in the room with her uncle. “ So, we need to talk.”

“What’s going on, Florica? You haven’t been here in a long time,” stated her uncle as he poured her a cup of hot tea.

              “Uncle, I’m afraid gypsy magic has been used here, and it’s very strong so I know it’s not the normal American child’s play,” said Florica as she pressed her chin on her knuckles. “I can smell the gypsy magic all over the guy who has the spell on him. I’m willing to bet its Roma magic.”

              Her uncle’s right eye widened. “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Florica, how do you remember the old magic?”

“Gran has taught me our ways since I was a little girl.”

Her uncle nodded. “As it should be.”

“Well, I guess the next or the most important question is, does he know it?” questioned her uncle.

              “I’m not sure. I’m willing to bet he doesn’t. You know these Americans. They play around with media magic. I’m only concerned because it involves a friend of mine, and it brings unwanted attention. I can smell it so others might be able smell it,” insisted Florica as she watched her uncle’s face flash great concern. “As if that wasn’t bad enough, the idiot also created a ghoul. He is not yet dead, but not alive either. He actually sent a message by me to give to her. ”

“You talked to him?”

“Well, yes.”

The uncle frowned. “You should’ve stayed out of it. This isn’t good at all. If the gypsy hunters find them here they will find us also. They’ve managed to kill of thousands of families within the last decades. That is one of the reasons we gypsies travel so often. Please tell me you didn’t confirm anything.”

“I don’t know, I might have. By accident.”

“Florica, come on.”

“Does this mean grandmother and I will have to leave again?”

              “I don’t know, but I’ll give you enough money to get out of here just in case, and make sure nobody knows where you are going. This should take care of your tickets,” stated the uncle as he handed Florica a large purse of money.

“It’s best if you think on the side of caution. I think you need to get mama out of here. Don’t worry about investigating the gypsy behind this Florica. If Gypsy magic has been used we are all in danger.”

“Thank you uncle. I will make sure your mother is well taken care of I promise. When will you meet up with us?”

“I don’t know.”

Later that night after Florica returned to the hotel she found her grandmother still waiting up. She didn’t look her normal carefree self. She looked as if the world was crashing down all around her.

“Granddaughter, I have something I must tell you,” stated the older gypsy as she held onto Florica’s hand.

“When you were smaller about a baby really. I took you from a place that was built to hold gypsy children .You have siblings. You have sisters and a brother,” said the grandmother as she held her hand out to her granddaughter.

Florica sat on the bed. “I remember my sisters from when I was younger. I have dreamt about them from time to time.”

              “That’s great, I didn’t want you to forget them. The problem is, you and your sisters are very different,” warned the elderly Gypsy. “I had a dream; you will meet with one of the sisters very soon. In the dream she was shadowed by a great demon.”

“What?” Florica asked.

              “You can’t give into her. Get what you need from her and then you must go. Take Amanda with you because all of this starts and ends with her. She has been touched by a curse. You must find your brother and he will be able to bring all of this to an end,” stated the aging Gypsy.

“What? I can’t just take Amanda!”

              “Florica, your sister isn’t alone. Amanda will not be able to survive this because the curse is binding. She’s very dangerous, and she will kill you because she is jealous. Promise me you will go back to Bulgaria. Your brother is in Bulgaria. You will know more when you return there, please just go and pack,” begged the grandmother.

              “I don’t know anything about Bulgaria. Where do I go, and how will I get around? Why should we even have to leave? We aren‘t living in the Eighteenth Century anymore. Grandma, we are in the United States. We have been here for years I just don‘t see how all this is necessary. If she is my sister then she should understand how important family is. You have always told me that our family bond is the greatest bond we share.”

“She is not of your father. Your father was a kind man, but her father was horrible. He was evil. That is the reason your mother gave you up. She wanted to make sure he would never find you. He wanted to kill you and your siblings.”

“Think child, think about the past.”

Florica looked at the window and saw a vision of her mother’s swollen eyes race across the glass.

“You said family could heal anything.”

“Not this.”

“Maybe she will remember me. Bonds are often created by the relationships that you share with someone. She is Roma.”

“You don’t understand, baby. I knew her when she was younger. There was something different about her then, and that is the reason I made sure you two were separated. If she placed a spell on someone; she can’t be trusted. The spell she put on that boy is like a dark hand with many fingers. Each finger reaches out to people in his circle. Only an evil heart would do that. Just listen to me. There is a small village located right outside of the old capital of Bulgaria near Veliko Tyrnovo. If you take the farm road that leads you to a road called Balkin. You will find an old manor about five miles down the road. It’s known as Little Bulgaria. Promise me, you will go. Find a way to do this for me.”


Chapter 3


 “Did you hear that?”  Taylor asked as she ran to the door.

              “You know mom said never answer the door for anyone. She warned us about a little girl who was raped and killed a few months ago.” Amanda lectured as she raced near her sister.

It was too late. Taylor already opened the door and was talking to a strange lady in a long blue dress. Amanda didn’t want to seem rude, but she didn’t want her parents to come back and see them talking to this stranger.

“Can I help you Miss?” Amanda asked as she held the door halfway closed.

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to scare you, honey. I came to give you guys a phone number. Someone told me you were looking for a rental house, and I happen to know this person who needs to rent his house out because he is moving out of town. He is sick, and he can’t be on his own anymore. The house was one of his rentals, but after he got out of the hospital last month he couldn’t keep up with the work on the property within regulation for the city. It needs a lot of work, and he knows it will take time to fix everything. So, he has been asking around about potential renters. He wants to rent it out to a family. He said he would rent it out for a cheap price. Maybe your parents could take a look at it. Word around the grapevine is that your dad has picked up a permanent job that pays a little more. So maybe this will be something in their budget. You guys might finally get a chance to move out of here,” stated the woman as she tried to hide her excitement.

Amanda looked at the woman in surprise. “How do you know my parents?”

“I know everyone who lives here.”

“Hmm, thank you! I will tell my mother and father when they return,” added Amanda.

              “Tell your parents to call the number on the back of the paper. I wrote it down in orange numbers. Tell him that Ms. Cass gave it to you. And don’t be so mean to your sisters. We often hear you yelling at them down the hall,” whispered the old lady as Amanda shut the door.

              “Creepy little woman.”

“Before I forget. A little old lady came by today. She was kind of scary.” Amanda looked for the paper. “Darn, she gave me something to give to you. Wait, I know I have it. Well at least I had it.”


“I got it,” laughed Amanda as she pushed the paper into her mother’s hand.

“She was a creepy old lady. I’ve never seen her here before. She said she knew all the adults.”

“What was her name?”

Amanda frowned. “I don’t know.”

Her mother looked at the paper, and then she looked back at Amanda. “I know this location. It’s off the highway. If we are able to move there, we will have to set up transportation for school.”

              “Do you think dad will want to check it out? He’s always so tired when he comes home. I could go with you and we could check it out on our own.”

              “No, this is something adults take care off.”

              “I’m almost an adult.”

              Clair smiled. “I know it.”

              Nearly two days later Amanda sat in the middle of the bed eating a mouth full of gummies. “So, I’m guessing you guys didn’t go to check out the house, or it was horrible.”

              “What makes you think that?” Clair asked.

              Amanda crawled to the end of the bed. “Well, what’s going on? You’re being all quiet about it.”

              “Mandy, I can’t keep anything from you.”

“So, you saw it! Are we getting it?”

“We’re moving into the house soon. It’s not great, but it’s a house. The yard needs work. The wood needs to be repainted.”

              Amanda emptied the rest of the bag into her mouth. “Do I get my own room?”

“Yes, you will have your own room. You and your sisters will be able to walk around outside. No more being stuck indoors.”

“I’m ready, can we leave now?” Amanda asked as she jumped up and down on the floor.

              “We move tomorrow morning.”

              Taylor rushed near Clair. “Did you say we’re moving? Are we getting a house? What does it look like?”  

“Guys, it’s just a house. It isn’t the best looking house in the world, but it has three bedrooms. There’s a little pond that sits off to the side near the edge of land. Some of the lights don‘t have fixtures on them, and the floor sinks in near the kitchen. It isn‘t like a hole or anything, but a little dip. We think there was some water damage or something a long time ago. Dad had someone come out and look at the old house to see if mold was growing inside because of Kim’s Asthma. She can’t be near mold. They told him the house was okay. Some of the windows don‘t have screens on them, and I noticed that the front door is old and the paint is chipped, rather badly. However, the landlord told your father that he could do whatever he needed to fix the place up. There is a small shed in the back of the house with mowers and other things that we can use to help tidy the area up a bit. However, the best thing about the house is the fact that we might be able to buy it one day. The owner said he is willing to do a rent to own deal,” Clair said as she grabbed the key back from her daughter.

Amanda couldn’t sleep all night. She woke up every hour on the hour. Finally, she gave up trying to get sleep and snuck outside the door.

“What are you doing out here this time of the night, Amanda?” Craig asked as he walked towards her in the hallway.

Amanda smiled. “We’re moving.”


“I can’t sleep. It’s been a long time since I had a room by myself. I guess I’m happy things are changing and I’m kind of sad things are changing. Anyway, why are you up? It’s late as shit.”

“I know, I can’t seem to rest either.”

 Amanda’s mouth flew open. “My mom has some medication that helps with that. I could get you one.”

“Nah, I’ll be okay.”

“Did you stop going to school at Mathis? I remember you and Ryan were once thick as peas! Or whatever that means! I don’t see you two hanging out anymore. He is always in a bad mood lately,” Amanda said as she playfully kicked at a small bug that scurried across the floor.

 “I’m in and out. I travel a lot,” lied Craig as he placed his hands onto his knees. “I have to go, but good luck!”

“Thank you and you have a nice night too.”

 When the morning came everything that happened the morning before went out the window. Clair was cooking her eggs and ham while her husband was singing in the bathroom. Amanda leaned back on the wall and smiled. “Look at them. They are happy, Taylor.”

“I know, I just hope they stay that way,” stated Taylor.

 “Don’t forget my art supplies. If it is as country as it sounds, I’ll be able to paint something.” Amanda pushed the last of her art supplies into a small bag and grabbed her paper off the nightstand. “I’m so excited. I never got the chance to thank Craig for helping me when I tripped off the bus. Can I say bye before we go?”

Clair laced her shoes up. “Make it fast.”

Amanda walked to the counter and stood before Craig’s father. He was holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a paper in the other. “Sir, I wondered if you wouldn’t mind giving Craig a message for me. Can you tell him I said, thank you.”

His dad stiffened and stepped back. This was the third family this month that came up to him and offered to thank Craig for helping them. He didn’t know what to say, but he knew one thing. His son was special. He was still helping people just like before. “When did you see Craig?” Craig’s father asked as he pulled Amanda to the side.

              “I’ve talked to him twice maybe three times,” answered Amanda.

                Craig’s father started laughing. “I will tell him you said thanks.” He held the cup to his lips and sighed for a minute. That was his Craig alright he had a thing for the pretty women. He couldn’t resist them in life and apparently he couldn’t resist them in death either. He thought as he smiled and waved the family goodbye. It was too bad that he couldn’t reach Ryan the way he reached others. From what he was hearing around town Ryan was having a really hard time dealing with his death.



                      Chapter 4


As they pulled into the driveway Amanda noticed the small wooden house. The driveway was small with a lot of potholes that seemed to appear from every direction. The large potholes made it nearly impossible to park in the driveway, so her dad had to park on the grass near the front door. It wasn’t the house of her dreams, but it was a house. It had four windows that were in the front facing the street and it had a rather large wraparound porch. The first thing she noticed when she got out of the car was the large pine tree that sat right next to the door.  As she walked closer to the door the smell of pine took over the air from the large tree that had branches reaching out in every direction.

“Well, I guess this means we don’t need to buy the smell good deodorizers to put in the car anymore dad. We have all the pine fragrance we will ever need. Just roll your windows down.” Amanda giggled and looked over at her parents.

“I like it. It reminds me of home,” replied her father as he went to the trunk to unload the car. “My home.”

“Well what do you think kids?” Clair asked as she kissed the girls on the forehead.

“It’s beautiful mom! Does this mean we have our own home now? Can I pick my own room?” Taylor asked as she ran into the house first.

Before Amanda could enter the house the door slammed and a breeze took her star comic book across the yard onto their neighbor‘s front lawn. The neighbor’s house was really pretty. It was a two story house with a large bay window that centered the front yard. As she bent down to pick up her comic book she was interrupted by a sound.

“What are you doing here?” Ryan asked as he walked over to Amanda.

Amanda rubbed the tip of her nose. “I live here. We just rented the house next to this one.”

“You’re going to be next to me?”

“Uh, don’t say it like that. I’m over it.”


“Anyway, what’s up with you? You’re all weird now.”

Ryan looked towards the woods. “I don’t know. I don’t really want to talk about it?”

“Whatever, I have to help my parents.”

“Oh, so you’re pissed off now?”

“No, I just don’t feel like being in the middle of anything. Something’s up and I don’t have time for this. If you want to talk, you know where I am.”

Ryan didn’t answer he only looked off into space. “I miss my partner. Things have been bad ever since he went away. Craig was like a brother to me.”

Amanda looked confused. “I saw Craig, he isn’t gone anywhere.”

“I’m so sick of hearing that crap. He isn’t here anymore. He is in the ground under dirt? He’s dead.”

Amanda dropped the comic book on the ground. “He’s what?”

“Dead. When did you see him?”

“We might not be talking about the same guy because I talked to his father and he is alive and quite well. His father owns a hotel or motel off the highway.

“That’s Craig’s dad,” insisted Ryan “He hasn’t been dead long.”

“That’s not possible. I’ve seen my Craig at school.”

“I don’t know.”

Amanda shook her head. “Well, I know, I know what I saw.”

Ryan smiled. “I guess I have been thinking about him so much lately that everything reminds me of Craig. I sometimes look out there in the woods and when the moon hits it certain ways, I swear he’s standing there looking at me. I still see his red shirt that we buried him in, and those horrible red socks. His mother wanted him to be color coordinated even in death,” said Ryan as he noticed Amanda turn pale.

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Red shirt, and socks, I gotta go. I’ll see you later.” Amanda dropped the comic book once again as she ran towards the house. This time she didn’t even know it was missing. He named off the very same outfit that her Craig wore. Could her Craig and his Craig be one of the same? She thought as she was walking back to the house. As the memories started to flow back to the three times she saw him she recalled the shirt and socks. Each time he was in the Red shirt and he had on those same red socks. He never changed clothes. Reality hit her as a bag of stones would. She had been visited by a ghost.

That night it was really hard for Amanda to get to sleep. The temperature was wrong, the noise was loud, but most of all she was nerved. She recalled how his dad looked when she told him about their conversation. He smiled about it. It couldn’t be her Craig she thought once again, because if he were gone she would know. His father would have mentioned it to her. Finally she was able to calm herself enough to rest.

              “Rise and shine! Time to start painting the house, “yelled her father as he was gathering up shoes and paint brushes.

“Oh my gosh, what time is it? Oh come on dad! This is my first night in my own room in like a year or two. You can’t wait until we have been here at least a month before we start this stuff? Come on,” moaned Amanda as she covered her head with her pillows.

              “Oh come on ,Amanda! He is excited about this and you’re right this is the first time we have had a real home in two years. So don’t ruin it by sleeping the day away,” argued Clair as she pushed Amanda’s clothes under the pillow near her face.

Amanda knew her parents were right, but she couldn’t help thinking about the night before. It was still new to her, and she was still in shock. It had to be a mistake Amanda thought as she pulled her jeans up over her knees. She needed to find a way to get back to the hotel and talk with Craig’s father. He was the only one that could clear everything up.

“Mom, do you think I can use your phone to call Leah and ask if she and Florica would like to sleep over tonight? Since this is such a special time for us, I would like to invite my best friends over.”

“I kind of just wanted it to be us right now, Mandy.”

“Please! I have never asked Leah over in the entire time that we have been friends. I would like to do it just this once. I promise after this I will not invite anyone else until you guys are ready.”

“Okay! I will tell dad about it. We have to work really hard if we want the house looking presentable before your friends arrive tonight,” Clair stated as she walked out the door.

“This paint looks pretty good on the front porch!” Amanda’s dad yelled as he poured orange paint over the entire front porch of the house.

It took everything Amanda had to keep herself from gagging over the horrid, orange sherbet colored newly decorated porch.  Her mother looked on in silence, or perhaps it was disbelief Amanda thought as she secretly laughed. “Yeah, it’s great! Mom, don’t you just love the color? I think we need some plants to put over by the swing. Let’s go to Roman’s discount store and find some pots and stuff to enhance the loveliness,” giggled Amanda as she saw her mother’s face turn into a frown.

Her mother looked at her and frowned once again before pulling her keys out of her purse. She couldn’t say the words, but her actions spoke louder than any sentence ever could. She pointed to the orange paint and gagged! Amanda couldn’t help but laugh. Her mother was trying to be the positive one. If only her dad knew how much she hated the color orange. Amanda thought as she buckled over in laughter.

As soon as Amanda was in the car she would ask her mother to stop by the hotel she thought as she pulled off her shirt to replace it with a cleaner one. She needed to find out about Craig and the only way to do that was to go back to the hotel.


                    Chapter 5


              “Amanda, what brings you back here so soon?” Craig’s father asked as he helped out a customer.

“Have you seen Craig today?” Amanda asked as she looked for signs of discomfort. “I have a question for him.”

 “I see him every day. He loves this place, but I haven’t seen him yet.” Craig’s father looked down the hall.

“Can you tell him I need to talk to him? I really need to,” demanded Amanda as looked on in silence. She didn’t know how to ask the question. Perhaps this was a bad idea she thought as she turned to walk out the door. She was sure it was a mistake anyway because Craig’s father said he saw him every day.

              “Amanda, before you go I have something for you behind the counter.” Craig’s father walked back into the small room directly behind the counter.

              “Craig would have wanted you to have this,” stated the father as he handed her a small picture of Craig, and Ryan. “He wants you to help Ryan. I don’t know why my son is back, but it has a lot to do with Ryan. They were like brothers.”

Ryan was right. Amanda found herself unable to speak. It was true Craig was a ghost. A ghost had befriended her, and now it was time to find out the reason she thought as she waved him goodbye and started off down the hallway.

“Craig, Craig! I need to talk to you. You said if I ever needed to talk to you that you would be here,” said Amanda as she stood by what used to be her room. “Come here.” Perhaps she was doing something wrong she thought as she paced back and forward. She called his name a few more times, but still no Craig. Soon she would have to go she thought as she looked around the corner awaiting her mother’s arrival. The store was only a few blocks down the street, and her mother said she would be right back. “Craig, please where are you?” Amanda asked as she tried to open the door.

Craig hoped she would go away, but after fifteen minutes it appeared she wasn’t going anywhere until she got what she wanted. He didn’t know how to tell her he was a ghoul because he didn’t understand it himself.

              “Amanda, what do you want?” Craig asked as he appeared near her leaning on the wall.

              Amanda pinched him. “I want to know why you always have on the same clothes. Why do you have to focus so hard to do normal things? How can I pinch you?”

“Ouch, and I don’t know.” Craig looked at her and rolled his eyes. “I don’t know what’s going on. You need to talk to Florica. She can tell you about it. Why aren’t you dead?”

“I can’t answer it. I helped you so that you could help Ryan. He isn’t going to make it, if you don’t help him to move past this. I need him to focus for the both of us. You need to clear his head because his life depends on it, and so does mine,” said Craig as he moved closer to Amanda.

“So you aren’t a ghost?” asked Amanda.

“I’m worse than a ghost. I’m a freaking ghoul. If I stay in this state any longer I will be dead.”

There it was. She had been looking for the truth, and now she had it. Everything she learned was true. He was a ghost, but how was he able to touch things? “I want answers, you owe me more than that.” She crossed her arms. “It’s only right, if you want me to help him I want to know what happened to you, and why are you a ghost?”

 “First of all, I’m not a ghost! I’m a ghoul. There is a difference, although, I’m not sure what it is. About three months ago Ryan and I went to a party. We met this really hot girl. She had red flaming hair, and sea blue eyes. I thought I was in love. Ryan told me I was moving too fast. Anyway about two weeks into the relationship things started to change. She started to get really possessive,” said Craig as he started recalling the events that led to his death.

              “So, what happened?” Amanda asked. “Is your body in your coffin?”

              “Come on. Look, it started with my ex. Ryan told me something wasn’t right. He tried to warn me, but I couldn’t let her go. I continued to see her. Ryan and I started to fight all the time which was odd because we were like brothers. You know that saying bros before…well you know! So, I decided that the relationship was turning me into someone I didn’t know. I told her it was over,” continued Greg. “However, she wasn’t going to let things end like that or at all. On the night I died, or didn’t die, things got crazy! She came to my house while it was pouring down rain, I mean raining like a freaking tropical storm or hurricane. She was crying and very upset, I hate to see girls cry. I told her I wanted to take her home. On the way there I hit a slick spot on the road and ended up wrecking. My first thought was getting her out of the car, but she was already out of the car by the time I reached out to her. I asked her for help, and then she told me to pick out of her and Ryan. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t thinking straight. I told her that Ryan and I had been friends every since grade school. She went crazy after I told her that. She reached down towards my hand acting like she was going to help pull me loose, and took my ring. After she got my ring she said something in a language that I couldn’t understand and the next thing I saw was darkness,” said Craig as he looked away.  

              Florica emerged from the ice room. “She performed an old curse that was taught to gypsies a long time ago. Back in the old days when our ancestors fell in love with people sometimes they would curse them in order to insure a match. She put a pain and sorrow curse on you. It’s a circle of sorrow curse, and Ryan is being destroyed by the sorrow that she felt on that night as well as his guilt. Amanda is in danger just because she’s connected to him.”   

“How do you know what’s going on and where did you come from?” Amanda questioned as she looked at her friend.

              “I went to ask my aunt and uncle about the spell and the smell that was associated with it,” stated Florica. “They both said that the girl would need to be found.”

              “What about Ryan?” Craig asked.   

               Florica frowned. “Ryan doesn’t stand a chance as long as she holds the key to the curse.”

              “What kind of key are you talking about?” Amanda asked.

“It must be the ring that she snatched from your hand that night. You said she starting talking in a language that you didn’t know. She cursed your ring and your friend as well. We need to get it back, or things can’t get better for you guys.”

“She still has my ring.”

 “That explains the hold that she has over you two. More than likely she is watching Ryan as he suffers from the curse. She sounds demented enough to do something like that,” cautioned Florica.

“So, what are we going to do?” Amanda asked. “We can’t just let her get away with doing that. I’ll go beat her up if you want me to.”

Florica laughed. “Yeah, and no. I have to get the ring back, and make sure you guys are safe.”

 “Amanda where are you living at now?” Florica asked as she held out a piece of paper. “Write your address down and I will come over tonight and we can talk about it then.”

After the ride home Amanda ran straight to her room and shut the door. Everything she knew had now changed, and it was all because she wanted to date Ryan.

“AMANDA, LEAH IS HERE!” yelled Clair as she held the door open.


“Shit! I forgot to tell her that tonight wasn’t a good night to come after all,” Amanda whispered as Florica walked into the bathroom.

              “Well you might as well tell her about Ryan. More than likely you guys are all in danger because of your relationship with Ryan.”


              “Tell me what?” Leah asked as she walked into the room.


              “Leah, I’m glad you could make it. We need to talk,” stated Amanda as she slid onto her bed.


              “You know those movies you like to watch about supernatural stuff?”


              “Yeah, we all love those movies. Well, at least we do. Florica hides down in her seat when the blood and guts appear.”


              “Yeah, but I think you might want to sit down,” Amanda said.


              “Oh goodness, just tell her,” Florica insisted.

              “Tell me what? Oh, wait let me guess. Your new house is haunted.”


              “Well, that isn’t far from the truth,” Amanda stated as she turned on the night light.


              “Okay, forget it! Amanda, you suck at telling things. Remind me to never have you ask my grandmother for anything dealing with me. Amanda is trying to tell you about Ryan. Ryan is cursed, and the curse is slowly killing him.”




              “Oh wait, it gets better. Craig is a ghoul and if Ryan dies he will come back to life as he knows it. However, Ryan will die. Not only will he die, but anyone who has come into contact with him and the curse might have something happen to them too because it was a circle of sorrow curse .”

              “Shit, what do we do now?” Leah asked.


              “Well, we have to find the person that performed the curse before it can spread to anyone else.”


              “Guys I think we should just sleep on it until in the morning.”


              “Who can think of sleep now?” Leah questioned as she looked at the door.



Once again sleeping in the new house proved to be difficult. Amanda lifted her head off the pillow and saw a dark figure walk across her room. Before she could say anything the figure had disappeared into the night.


“Florica, did you see that?”asked Amanda.


“What? Amanda, you’re seeing things  go back to sleep,” hissed Florica as she slowly put her pants on.


“Yeah, you’re right! I’m just freaked out.”


As soon as Amanda was in a deep sleep Florica put on her shoes and walked out of the room. Before she could make it down the hall the dark shadow appeared once again.


“What are you doing in Amanda’s house?”


 “I don’t have any problems with any of you. Not yet anyway. Leave this alone, and you will be ok. This doesn’t concern you. However, I can make it concern you.”


“ Aww, well it kind of concerns us when you are standing in my friend’s house.”

“You don’t understand what happened. Ryan looked down on me because I’m a gypsy. Would you like to be treated as badly as I was?” Lura questioned as she backed up next to her window.


“What are you doing here?” Amanda asked as she glanced over towards the next room.


“You can’t save him, but you will most certainly join him if you don’t let this go. I was just telling your friend that this can be handled without having to do anything else that might cause anymore of your loved ones pain,” Lura said as she placed a small ball of something into her mouth.


“ Craig wants you to stop. If he came to me I know he came to you,” Amanda stated as she looked towards the door.


“ Of course he wants me to stop it. He had a chance to pick his future, and he made his decision. He picked his friend over me. Did you know we talked about getting engaged?” Lura questioned.


              “I know you have done something that puts a lot of lives in danger. You have risked Ryan’s life as well as Craig’s life,” Florica stated as she walked closer to Lura. “Wait a minute, I know who you are. I know about your markings.”


Lura looked at Florica in question. What did she know about the Romanian Gypsies? She couldn’t see any marks on her, but then again she was covered from head to toe.


“Who are you?” Lura asked as she walked near Florica. “How do you know about my markings?”


Florica slowly took off her night shirt and showed the vines of Romania. Lura staggered with confusion. She knew about the vines because she had the same set as well as her other sisters.


“How are you here? I don’t understand how is it that you are here?” Lura questioned as she walked away from Florica. This was better than anything she could have imagined. She was told that her family members were here, but they were in hiding. They were good at running away she thought as she recalled watching them run away from the orphanage window.


              “Grandmother took me from the orphanage when I was younger. We lived in Bulgaria until I turned ten. She managed to save enough money to buy us tickets to the United States. When we got over here we hid so we wouldn’t be deported. After a while we changed our name, and she was able to fake her citizenship. I was able to start school, and that is why we are here today,” stated Florica.


“What happened to you? Our family has always been kind. We don’t do this.”


              “What happened to me? Hmm, where do I start? A nice American family adopted me!” Laughed Lura as she thought about the countless nights she spent slaving over floors, and washing windows.


Lura looked at Amanda, and then she looked back at her sister. Perhaps now wasn’t the time to deal with Amanda for sticking her nose in gypsy business she thought as she looked at her sister.


“You know about the ring. Don’t you?” questioned Lura.


“Of course I do, and I know more than that. You aren’t well. You have a demon following you.”


“ I don’t have anything following me. I told you what happened to me. You should understand it. Wait, second thought you wouldn’t understand it would you? You were saved. What was so important about you? I don’t know why you want to save him. Yet, I will do what you wish if you do something for me. I have dreamed of meeting our grandmother. I wanted to ask her about that night. I will give you the ring , but you must give me something back in return.” Lura stated as she looked at her sister.


“What is it?” Florica asked as she put her night shirt back on.


“I want you to help me find our sisters,” Lura said as she walked over and placed the small ring into Florica’s hand.


Florica thought back to her grandmother’s dire message about her sister. She needed the ring in order to remove the curse. Her grandmother warned her that Lura couldn’t be trusted.


“Right now you need to worry about yourself Lura. Our sisters are safe. You have used gypsy magic, and nobody is safe here anymore. I smelled it on Ryan. If I can smell it so will trackers.”


“You don’t understand I want my sisters with me. It’s time to be united.”


“Is that the reason you put the spell on Ryan and turned Craig into a ghoul?” asked Amanda.


“I’m not talking to you. This doesn’t concern you.”


“Don’t talk to her like that. She is my friend,” Florica stated as she saw Lura look at Amanda and in the direction of Leah.


“Oh, I see what it is. You have replaced your need for your sisters with these girls. Maybe I put the curse on the wrong one,” whispered Lura as she reached out for a strand of Amanda’s hair.


“AMANDA, MOVE!” Yelled Florica.


“It’s okay I know what to do with this,” stated Lura as she smelled the strain of hair.


“Lura, give it to me!” Florica snarled.


“I will give it to you, if you do what I asked.”


“Okay, I will help you find our sisters. Just give me her hair.”


“How do I know that you are telling me the truth?”


“I promise.”


“You promise on grandmother’s life?”


              “Yeah, I promise that you will be reunited with the family.”


              “You know you can’t break the promise because our blood will not allow it.”


              “Okay Lura!”


              “We should go see grandmother now,” Lura stated as she looked out the window once more.


“ No, I will meet you tomorrow. Where shall I come?” Florica asked as she took the ring and placed it in her pocket.


Amanda didn’t know what to say. How could this happen? She asked herself as she watched the two sisters glare at each other. Ironically with the sisters standing side by side they looked a great deal alike. Both of them had small pointed noses with beautiful round eyes. However, Lura’s eyes showed sadness and something else that she couldn’t put her finger on.


“I would love to come to your house sister and meet our grandmother.  I would really love to meet this grandmother that saved you and left the rest of us to rot in that place,” Lura stated as she tried to hide her frown. “I didn’t mean it that way.”


“How did you mean it?” Florica asked.


“I’m not mad at her; I just wonder how it all happened.”


It was too late Florica had seen the frown, and now she knew more than ever that she needed to leave or she would get her grandmother killed and her friends.


“I will come to you Lura. We have so much to talk about. Grandma will be happy to see you,” smiled Florica as she tried to keep her voice from cracking.

Lura didn’t want to press too hard. She wanted to see their grandmother, but she would have to gain her sister’s trust before she led her to the elder. She slowly backed out of the house and started to plan how she would kill both her sister and her grandmother.


                   Chapter 6

 “Amanda, do you trust me?” Florica asked.


 “Oh gosh, why are you asking me that? What do you need? ” Amanda asked as she sat on her bed.


“First of all we need to get Leah out of here. Leah, call your mother and tell her you are sick. After you get home take this withered vine and place it under your bed. Don’t go to the mall, movies, or any restaurants until you hear from one of us.”


“I wish I could hide, but your crazy sister knows where I live.”


Florica couldn’t help but smile. It was so like Amanda to bring humor into bad situations. However, she had no idea of just how bad things could get this time around.


              “ Amanda, this is going to sound crazy, but I need to tell you something. The vines that Lura and I share are special vines. Our mother had us branded as children. The real reason I needed to crash here tonight was because I knew she was coming here. My grandmother warned me,” Florica said as she turned to face her friend.


Amanda continued to listen. She couldn’t help but feel a little relieved that someone was a little more sorted than she was. Yet, Florica still seemed really bothered by the whole situation. Leah didn’t say a word. She just looked on as if she were watching a movie.


              “You know what; I’m not going to tell anyone anything. You and I have been great friends for the whole time we have been here. I would never betray you like that Florica.”


              “Florica, you don’t have to worry about me telling either. I think it’s kind of cool that you are a gypsy. Well, as long as you aren’t like your sister. She needs therapy really bad.”


“I’m afraid it isn’t that easy. I knew something was going on with Ryan, I have known for a while. The reason I never got involved before was because deep down inside I feared it was Romanian magic,” Florica said as she cleared her throat. “ You know how Salem had their witch hunts right?”


“Yeah everyone does.”


“Well in Romania gypsies were hunted and killed by the thousands. We moved from Romania, to Turkey, Germany, and also France. Some of us came to America.”


“I heard you tell her that your grandmother took you from Romania, or was it Bulgaria?” Amanda questioned as she slid under the covers.


“There is a lot more that I need to tell you, but right now we need to rest.”

“I would like to know more,” whispered Leah.


“Can we talk about this in the morning? Now that we have the ring back, Ryan should be released from his curse. I just want to go back to bed, and get some sleep,” Amanda stated as she tried to close her eyes and forget about the magic.


 “Well, see that’s the problem. You aren’t out of danger just because she gave the ring back. She’s evil, and she is planning something else. I think Lura wants to kill my grandmother and me. My grandmother also told me she will come after you as well because she wants to hurt me,” Florica stated as she shut her eyes hoping to ease the glare she felt melting down onto her face. “ She will come after you again. If she was crazy enough to put a spell on Ryan and cast the curse on Craig she will do something to you too.”

              “What happens to Craig?” Leah asked.


“Well, that is the other problem,” whispered Florica.


“Oh hell, what do you mean?” Amanda moaned as she looked towards Leah.


“We have to go to his grave, and dig him up.”


“WHAT THE HECK? ARE YOU CRAZY?” Leah yelled as she ran towards the window.


“Well honestly I only need one person to come with me.”




“I need Ryan to come with me to the cemetery.”


“Oh my gosh! This keeps getting better! So, how are we supposed to get him to help us dig up his best friend’s body?” Amanda asked.


“ Can’t you go over to his house?” Florica asked.


“Um, no I can’t.”


“You liked him at one point. He doesn’t know me.”


“Um no I can’t.”


“Amanda, come on! Don’t you want to help Craig?”


“Oh I’ll do it. I will go over there and tell him you want to talk to him outside, Florica.”


“He will not come if you tell him that,” stated Florica as she looked at Amanda once again.

“Something tells me he will,” Leah said as she thought back to the conversation she heard him talking about with the other guys. All the time Amanda thought he liked her , he was trying to get close to her for Florica’s sake.


              After Leah went over to Ryan’s house Florica waiting on the front porch. It wasn’t long before Ryan could be seen walking across the yard with Leah. Florica looked into the darkness trying to see if there were any hints of her sister.


              “Hey, Leah told me that you wanted to see Craig’s grave.”


              “Yeah, I wanted to see his grave because I never got to say goodbye.”


              “I didn’t know you knew him.”


              “Yeah, I knew him quite well.”

              “Okay, well I’m going in the house. Let me know how it goes! I’ll tell Amanda that you will be back in a little while.”


              “ He is buried about a mile from here. At night sometimes after my parents went to sleep I would walk down there, and talk to him about school.”


              “It must have been really hard on you to lose your best friend. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to Amanda.”


              “Yeah, but something tells me it will be okay now.”


              “How much further is the grave?”


              “We are closer. Soon we will be there. Look there is the gate to the graveyard.”


              “ Oh great! Which one is Craig’s grave?”


              “It’s over here.”


              “Great!” Florica yelled as she rushed down on the dirt and started to dig.


              “What the hell are you doing to his grave? Stop that.”


              “No, we have to do this. He isn’t dead Ryan. We need to get him out of this grave now.”


“You’re freaking crazy. Damn I knew something was wrong with you.”


“ You and Craig argued about a certain gypsy right?”


“Yeah, how did you know about that?”


“I know the gypsy, and you were right about her. Something wasn’t right about her. She did this to him, but it can be undone.”


“Oh okay! I think we need to go back to the house now.”


“Please, I’m telling you the truth. I have proof.”


“What proof?


“ I have his ring. Look!” Florica said as she placed Craig’s ring in Ryan’s hand.


“ How did you get his ring?”


“Lura gave it to me.”


“What’s going on?”


“She isn’t lying, Ryan!” stated Amanda as she joined Florica on top of the grave.

“What are you doing here?” asked Ryan.


“I knew she would have a hard time convincing you.”


“You guys are crazy.”


“ If you help us we can get finished a lot faster.”


“I’m not digging his body up, and that is final,” stated Ryan as he fell to the ground.


“Leah, did you kill him?”


“No, but we need to hurry before someone finds us digging up Craig’s grave.”


Finally the girls were able to reach the top of Craig’s casket. Leah handed each girl a long knife and they started cutting into the latches that held the casket closed. Within a few minutes Craig was visible.


“What do we do now?” asked Leah.


“We wait for him to wake up,” Amanda said.


“That will not be long at all, he is already opening his eyes,” Florica stated as she walked towards Ryan.


“Don’t worry about him. I know Lura came to you tonight. Get Amanda out of here. I felt the hate that she harbors for her,” Craig stated as he pulled Ryan upright.


“How will you tell your parents what happened?” Amanda asked.


“Don’t worry about that. My parents told me about curses before I was five years old. Something tells me they will understand. I’m just not sure how everyone else will deal with it.”


“Just tell them that your body was kidnapped after everyone left the cemetery that night. Tell them that the bad guys dug you up and held you captive,” Leah stated.


“Yeah, I wouldn’t say anything about the ghoul thing,” said Amanda.


              “You forget that I visited my parents often.”


              “Well tell them the truth, but don’t tell the others the truth,” replied Leah.


              “If you tell them about us everyone I know will be in danger,” Florica stated weakly.


              “I will make sure that my parents know the importance of keeping this a secret. Now you guys need to leave here.”


                     Chapter 7



              “So, what happens now?” Leah asked.


              “Now you need to call your mother, and Amanda and I need to leave town for a little while.”


              “How long are we leaving for?”


              “I don’t know, but I have enough money for two people to travel to Bulgaria to find my brother. My grandmother said he is the only one that can stop her.”


“And just what do I tell my mom and dad? Um hey mom and dad, I’m going to Bulgaria,” Amanda said as she stood on the porch.


              “You should want to protect your family Amanda,” Florica said as she walked to the door.


 “Where are you going?” Amanda asked.


 “I’m going to tell your mother and father about my sick mother in Rome,” Florica stated.


 “You don’t have a sick mother in Rome,” stated a hesitant Amanda. “How do we know that she won’t follow us there?”


“She will be waiting on me to contact her so that she can meet our grandmother. Her hate will keep her here long enough for us to escape.”


“My mom will not be easy to trick!”


“I know that, but trust me she will be more open to you traveling with me to Rome for a few weeks than you coming to Bulgaria. I don‘t know, but my grandmother thinks we need to go there and find another family member. She said he will be able to bring harmony to our family,” explained Florica.


“Why can’t you just call him?”


“I don’t know. We do things differently than you. If my grandmother tells me to go, then I must go. Besides we aren’t safe here anymore. The smell lingers, and if there are trackers here they will bring more. Lura gave away our location.”


“ I will do what I can, but you better sound convincing. My mom and dad are going to be really hard to convince.”


As Florica went out the door Amanda felt a flash of guilt. She had never lied to her mother on such a level. Her stomach was starting to feel ocean wary. Perhaps, she needed more time to think about things. Before she could think of a good reason to back out Florica came back in the room sporting a face full of tear streaks and holding a tissue.


“What happened she said no?” Amanda asked as she shut the door.


“Are you crazy? After I told her about my mother and her illness, she was easy. It just took a few tears and she agreed,” Florica stated.


              “Okay we need to pack just take something we can fit into one bag,” Florica stated as she picked up her pink book bag from school and started stuffing it full of clothes.


“Is your passport still good?” Florica asked.


 “Yeah, but it’s for Germany.” Amanda stated, as she walked over to her draw.


“This is how we can do it. When we get to Germany we can take the train to the Czech Republic. Once we get to the Czech Republic we can then take the train to Slovakia an after Slovakia we can take that train straight down to Romania, and Bulgaria is right below.” Florica said as she studied her map.


“What about my passport? Will they say something? Do you realize how long that will take?” Amanda asked.


“It should take no more than a week. Let me worry about the check points once we get there,” Florica stated as she folded the map up and headed to the door.


“So, now what do we do?” Amanda asked.


“We try to get an hour of sleep, and hope that everything turns out okay.”


The next few hours were crazy. It took the cab a lifetime to get to the small house. Finally after the cab arrived the  girls looked across the small pond and noticed a tall figure walking towards them.


“Who is that?” Florica asked as she tried to adjust her night vision.


“I can’t let you go by yourself,” Ryan said as he handed the cab driver a small bag.


“How did you know we were going somewhere?” Amanda asked.


“The window was open when you were talking about your plans. I will do everything and anything I can in order to help bring Lura down. She nearly killed Craig and almost killed me too. Craig’s parents are with him trying to come up with a story to tell the neighbors.” Ryan said as he pushed Florica into the cab.


“Well, what do we do now?” Amanda asked.


“We go to the airport, and hope everything goes well.” Florica said, as she took a look at Ryan’s navy passport.


“You guys must travel a lot.”


“I have family in Germany. We go there every other summer,” Ryan said as he took his passport and placed it in the back of his pants.


                   Chapter 8


“Could you stop looking so scared?” Florica moaned as they watched the flight attendant make her way towards the back of the plane with the drink cart. “You will make them think we have bombs or something if you keep it up.”


Ryan looked at Amanda and laughed. He could see she was trying to be brave, but she was terrified. Perhaps she had never flown without her family he thought as he asked for a cup of ice and a can of soda.


              “I’m going to die on this stupid plane. Oh my gosh did you feel that? I need a drink. Do you think they would give me something?” Amanda moaned as she grabbed onto Florica’s arm.


“Ouch let go, you’re killing me. It’s not that bad. I thought you told me you lived in Germany some years back,” Florica said as she rubbed her arm.


 “I did, but with my family, my mom rubbed my head the whole flight,” Amanda said as she grabbed onto Florica once more.


“Oh no, this flight can’t end soon enough,” Florica said as she once again managed to grab her arm back. “Try to take a nap, maybe when you wake up we will be there.”


 “I have some Tylenol pm maybe they can help you take a nap until we land,” Ryan said as he placed two Tylenol in the center of Amanda’s hand.

After a few minutes Amanda started to snore, and the turbulence was barely noticeable. Ryan couldn’t help but wonder about Florica after the things he heard from the window. All this time a gypsy was going to their school, and he never knew.


“Do you think we will find your bother?” Ryan asked as he slid closer to Florica.


“I don’t know. If we do it will be a great thing for my family,” Florica said as she held her head back. “I’m tired; I think I should get some sleep like Amanda.”


“Okay, I’ll be here. Thanks for helping me get the curse off, Florica. If it weren’t for you, I would still be in that pit of nothing, and Craig would be dead,” Ryan said as he touched Florica on the head.


 Florica woke up she looked over her shoulder and noticed Amanda was sound asleep, and her sweater was no longer covering her. Oh no she thought as she looked around the bottom of Amanda’s feet, but the sweater was nowhere to be found.


“Amanda, where is my sweater?” Florica asked.


Amanda didn’t want to alarm her, but those marking would give her away. She looked under the seat in front of her and found a small folded letter pushed near her feet. As she opened it her face turned pale while her finger started to shake.


“What, what is it?” Florica asked.

Amanda handed her the note, and Florica grew very silent. She stood up and turned around, but they were the only people left on the plane.

Ryan grabbed the letter and ran to the front of the plane. Whoever placed the note there knew a lot about the girls. Most importantly the person took Florica’s sweater which left her exposed to everyone.


“Did you see who put it there?” Florica asked as she looked around once again.


“No, I was sleep just like you. I woke up a few seconds before you did?” Amanda said as she held on close to her small bag. “We have to get you a longer shirt. Whoever left the letter took your sweater.”


Both girls looked at each other and dreaded going any further. Without Florica’s sweater the hunters in Europe would most certainly find them. At least America was on more friendly terms with the gypsies, but not Europe.


“I have an idea!” Amanda stated as she pulled out a shirt from her bag. “Put this over your arms like this.”


“I could just give you my shirt. I don’t mind walking around shirtless,” Ryan stated, as he opted to remove his shirt.


Amanda looked at her former crush and secretly wondered why she ever thought he was boyfriend material. He was okay, but it wasn’t like he was a manly beast or something she thought as she turned around.


“It’s okay. I will go with Amanda’s idea,” Florica whispered as she looked over towards her friend.


It wasn’t the best fashion in the world, but the shirt seemed to cover her arms. The next step was finding out how they could get Euros for their dollars.


“We need to find a currency changer,” Florica said as she stood near Amanda.


Amanda started smiling. She knew how to ask for currency she thought as she remembered her mother asking about exchanging Euros for dollars years ago. It was starting to feel familiar to her. Frankfurt hadn’t changed much unfortunately the importance of baths still hadn’t caught on with some of the individuals either. She noted as a large man walked by.


“Weißt du, wo wir eine Bank zu finden," Amanda asked as she wrote down directions.“ Vielen Dank für die Hilfe."


Florca was astonished that Amanda still knew the language. She was pretty good at it! Perhaps this would not turn out to be as bad as she thought it would be she thought as she noticed a middle aged man looking at them from across the terminal. 


"Okay, so I asked her where the bank was and she told me that we are near it.

She also told me they have one in the airport! I think we can use the one here. Perhaps it will make us look more like locals," Amanda said as she noticed Florica looking in the direction of a man dressed in dark glasses with a leather jacket on.


As soon as Ryan noticed the guy in the glasses he took both girls by the hand and walked further into the airport. The man continued looking until the friends had stepped out of his view.


"Why are the gypsies hated so much here in Germany?" Ryan asked as he hid the girls in a corner. 


"All I know is that it has nothing to do with me." Florica stated as she moved to another spot in the terminal. 


Someone wanted them to know that they knew she was a gypsy, but they didn’t want them to know who they were in return. He was looking at them hard a little too hard Florcia thought as she leaned over to Amanda's side.


“Why do you think he was looking at us?” Amanda asked. 


“Oh what if he was one of those slave traders now we will not only have to worry about the gypsy hunters, but we will have to worry about the slave traders too.” Florica moaned as she looked for the man once more.


 “I don’t think you have to worry about that. Maybe, if it was just the two of you, but I’m here with you. I don't think anyone will try anything on you."  


              “Please don’t talk about that. We have enough to worry about without you bringing more baggage. Maybe we remind him of someone,” Amanda said as she watched him go outside the terminal and talk to someone who pulled up in a silver coupe BMW.


“I don’t have a good feeling about this. I think we need to go to the USO,” Amanda said as they watched the stranger talk to his friend.

"What's the USO?" Florica asked.


" It's something for people in the military," Amanda answered.


“We aren’t in the military,” Florica replied as she looked at her friend.


 “I know, but we have passports from the USA. We can tell them that we are visiting our aunt and uncle who happen to be based out this way,” Amanda said as she grabbed her friend and pulled her down the terminal.


“They will never buy it!” Florica said, as she covered her face with her hand.


 “Just try it Florica,” Ryan said as he grabbed her hand.


“You have no idea who you are dealing with! Amanda sang as she walked up to a young soldier and started flirting.


Within hours the friends were on their way to Eastern Germany. The man would have never thought to look in the USO section and even if he did they hid out in the bathroom until their ride had made it.


“I feel just a little gross,” Amanda said, as she washed her hands for the fifth time.


“I know, but we had to stay in the bathroom in order to make sure that Mister creepy didn’t find us,” Florica said as she drank a soda.


The guys were nice enough to take the girls to a train station and one managed to give Florica a sweater as long as she returned it. She took down his number and promised to call him, and they parted ways.


“Do you really plan on giving him back his sweater?” Amanda asked as they walked down a red paved road.


“Sure, I do! I gave my word,” Florica stated as she looked at a small flower garden that sat off to the side.


“Well it doesn’t matter right now, because we have to find your brother. Plus I know military guys. More than likely you will never see him again,” Ryan gloated. 


“Hey lets grab cigarettes. Look at that machine on the corner. It doesn’t matter what age we are here in Germany. We can smoke and drink,” Florica stated as she went in the direction of the cigarette cart.


“No, you don’t! We aren’t here for pleasure. We need to find your brother, and get back to my family Florica,” Amanda stated as she held Florica by the tail of her sweater.


As soon as they got their tickets they were on their way. The bus was large and congested, but everyone seemed friendly. As they rode beside the Berounka River they found it hard to concentrate on anything other than the beauty of the land. The trees and flowers seemed to flow as easy as the river at times. At times they would see occasional castles pop up looking every bit like images in fairy tales.


“It’s so pretty here,” Amanda said as she looked out at the river.


“Yeah I know. The land here looks so rich and full of life. I could see myself living here. Maybe that is the reason my ancestors didn’t like living in towns and cities. Just look at the land. It would be a dream to wake up to this sight every morning,” Florica said as she closed her eyes.


Amanda was beginning to understand the way of the gypsy. They wanted to be one with the land. In truth it really was romantic. However, that didn’t mean that she wanted to stay there she thought as she watched her friend fall back to sleep. 


“I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings when I told Leah that I didn't like you for a girlfriend. I have always thought of you as a good friend. I kinda had my eye on someone else. Honestly, I really like this girl. I don't want to lose your friendship,” Ryan said as he looked at Florica sleep.


Amanda looked at him and frowned. He really was stuck on himself she thought as he continued to stare at her friend. In reality she knew he was right. She liked the idea of Ryan a lot more than the person she had come to know. He was nice, but just not her type. Honestly Craig was more of her type she thought. He was sweet, kind, and back from the dead. Perhaps that was the relationship she wanted to continue or start she thought as she recalled his blond hair and green eyes. 


“I’m over it,” Amanda said as she continued to think about Craig.


“Would you be mad if I wanted to go out with Florica?” Ryan asked, as he glanced down towards his shoe.


“No, but I don’t think she will say yes. She isn't into dating,” Amanda said as she looked over at her sleeping friend.

She secretly hoped that they would find her brother fast and be on their way back to Texas before the week was over.


As they entered into Slovakia the scenery seemed to change a little.  The castles were seen less and less. 

They were replaced by small villages that seemed to house small houses. The land was pretty, but they saw more potato farms, and hops fields than anything.


“That’s odd.” Amanda said, as she looked out the window.


By the next morning they were pulling into Bulgaria. As they exited the bus they stood in the middle of the train station trying to figure out where they would go next. 


“So on the map it says that Sofia is the capital,” Amanda said as she looked at her friend.


“It is, but we are going to the old capital,” Florica said as she looked for a taxi to take them toVeliko Tyrnovo. 


“I never dreamed Bulgaria was this pretty,” Amanda said as they got out of the taxi and walked outside to the eateries.


“Everything is nice about this place,” Ryan said as he looked at Florica.


“I think we have a few minutes to burn; we can walk into that village down the hill and grab a bite to eat,” Florica said as she took off the shirt.


“Why did you take the shirt off?” Amanda asked as she tried to shield Florica from anyone and everyone.


“This is my home. I will need these markings to get us around Bulgaria. Plus, I don’t really remember what my brother looks like. It’s been a really long time. However, he will know me by my marking as I will know him too.” Florica said as she reached into her pocket to grabbed a twenty Euros.


As they entered into the small restaurant the first thing that stuck out were the pictures of various castles that sat on the walls. Off to the side of the restaurant sat a small pillar shaped vase that held flowers. The inside looked to be made of a dark wood, while the bar held different types of beer steins located all around the interior.


“We will have a glass of water, and one pork and cabbage meal,” Florica said as she looked at Amanda flinch.


“Pork and cabbage. I don’t know about this,” Amanda said, as she looked at the glass of water as it was placed onto the table.


“We might as well have a good meal,” Florica said.


As Amanda bit into the pork she noticed that she was being watched. The person never looked more than the three second rule she concluded, but he did glanced quite often in her direction.


“Amanda, I’m going to use the bathroom,” Florica said as she got up and left the table.


“Ryan, someone is watching us. Should we leave? What if he knows that person from the airport?” Amanda questioned as she tore into the meat.


“ Try to stop looking at him. Maybe he knows we aren't from here. Try not to stare at people. It's rude in any culture,” Ryan said as he got up to walk outside.


Amanda tried to down play the inner warning that was now yelling to her as the a stranger from across the room got up and walked to her direction.


“Who are you?” He asked with a heavy accent.


Amanda didn’t know what to say. She looked at the door, and then she glanced back towards the bathroom. He continued to look at her as if he were reading her thoughts. Nervously she managed to release a small smile. However, it still didn’t break his intense glare. Before she could open her mouth he left the building without saying a word.


“I’m back.” Florica said, as she sat down at the table.


Amanda didn’t say a word. She

continued to eat the salad and pork. Something was wrong, but how could her gypsy friend not feel it she thought as she grabbed a spoonful of cabbage.


“Someone came up to me while you were in the restroom.” Amanda said, as she watched her friend frown.

Florica didn’t think about the fact that her friends might be in danger. This whole time she was thinking about finding her brother, but she forgot one very important thing. Gypsies hated outsiders.

                              Chapter 9


 “Where are we going?” Amanda asked, as they came up to a small road that led to a field of trees.


“You’ll see! “ Florica stated, as they came upon a large house made out of stone.


“This reminds me of a village we visited in Ireland.” Ryan said as he looked around that the structures.


“I don’t know how this place could remind you of Ireland. Although, it does have a little charm to it. It makes you feel like you are home,” Florica said as she bent down and played with a small broken rock.


Amanda was amazed once again. As they walked to the door the first thing she noticed as a large rug that covered most of the walk way. It was beautiful she thought as she bent down to touch it. The rug was perhaps the best part of the whole house. It looked like something that someone would own in the Renaissance Era. She thought as she looked at the large rug and the blended threads. It was too bad that the house was old, and the windows were very dirty.  


“It doesn’t look like anyone has lived here in ages,” Amanda said as she stood behind her friend.


Florica silently agreed. Her brother wasn’t there. She looked around and everything was dusty and bare. For the first time she began to worry. Did they send her on a wild goose chase? 


“Maybe he will be here in a few days. Granny said I would understand everything once I got here,” Florica said as she started dusting off the old curtains.


Ryan walked over towards the old worn cupboards. As he reached down to open the cupboard near him he noticed a small ribbon on the floor. It wasn’t covered with dust or webs. Perhaps someone had been there he thought as he placed the small ribbon in his pocket.


Later that night the friends were awaken by a violent rain storm. It shook the shutters, and nearly took the old door off the house. In certain areas in the house you could feel the rain blowing in. Amanda looked back at her friends but they both seemed to be in deep thought. Perhaps she was afraid of rain storms she thought as she pulled up a chair next to Florica.


“Amanda, what if this was nothing more than a trick to get me out of the area so they could move without me?” Florica asked, as she looked down near her feet.


“I’m sure it isn’t. I’m sure your grandmother had good reason for sending us here,” Amanda said as she held Florida’s hand.


“Do your people do things like that?” Ryan asked ,as he walked over towards the girls.


“If they think it will save members of the family they will do anything for safety.


Grandmother has often told me that she would do anything for me. I think she feels bad for leaving the others behind,” Florica stated.


However, it didn’t make Florica feel any better. All she could think about were the tears from her grandmother. If she knew she would bring her brother back why would she cry? Yet, gypsies never left their children behind she thought as she closed her eyes.


“Maybe tomorrow we will know more,” Amanda said as she stood up.


As for now they needed their rest. They would have to sleep in one of the rooms for the night. Amanda didn’t feel good about that. There were two rooms that had beds, and both beds had webs over them. It was too late to hand wash the blankets so they would have to figure out a way to sleep without getting sick from the dust and spider bites, Amanda thought as she pulled out a night gown from her bag.


The next morning they  woke up to a large mess. Water was everywhere. The door was barely hanging on and the water had managed to pour into the house.


“What are we going to do? “ Amanda asked as she sighed. The manor was in really bad shape.


“ We have to fix it,” Florica whispered as  she thought about her grandmother and how she would have loved staying in the house . She just wanted a place to stay.“I just don’t see how anyone would want to live outside all of the time. I would love to have a home.”


“Yeah I think this could be a nice place if someone could fix it up,” answered Amanda.


“I wish grandma could see this place. She would love it.” Florica said as she touched the walls." I would love to live here. "


Amanda felt bad for her, but she understood her point. There were many times that she would have loved staying in a little shack that had a few rooms than living in one room with five people. Being homeless wasn’t fun she thought as tears started to swell up in her eyes.


“You guys will get your own place soon," Amanda said, as she turned her head to the sound of a knock at the door.


“Maybe it’s your brother.”


Florica ran to the door and opened with great force. The person on the other side of it looked familiar. He was the same guy from the airport. He didn’t smile, he seemed all business like. 


“This is for you,” stated the stranger as he handed her two letters from her grandmother.


Florica looked at the man as he turned and walked back out the door. She didn’t know if she wanted to open the letters because something within her told her that the message inside of it would be a sad one. Perhaps her brother died many years ago she thought as her fingers started shaking.


“I will open it for you,” Amanda said as she opened the first letter.


“Heart, I need you to understand how much I love you.”  


Amanda couldn’t look at the rest. She looked at Florica with tears in her eyes. She couldn’t read this to her friend. Slowly she walked Florica to the chair and handed her the notes. As Florica read them her eyes started to water up. It was as she feared. There wasn’t a brother. Her grandmother had left because of Lura. She said if Lura believed she was gone then she would follow them and leave Florica alone. Florica sat still for a while not knowing what to say.


“I guess I’m the last Roma gypsy. “ Florica stated.


“You aren’t the last. You haven’t seen what Lura can do. She is very angry, and something tells me that she hates anything that is good,” Ryan said as he placed his arms around her shoulder.


“Well I guess that’s it. We came all the freaking way out here for nothing,” Florica said as she pulled the panel from the window.


Before she could finish pulling the rest of the panels off she heard a small

 knock at the door. Perhaps her grandmother had come to Bulgaria Florica thought as she ran to the door.

When she opened the door three small raven hair girls stood smiling from ear to ear. They were triplets. They looked to be around twelve.  Florica didn’t know what to do.


“I’m Gee and these are my sisters Claudia, and Nora," Gee stated as she looked at Florica.


“I’m Florica,” Florica said, as she looked towards Amanda.


“We know!” Laughed the girls as they embraced their sister.


“How do you know who I am?” Florica stated as she held Gee’s glance.


“Are you kidding me, only we have the vines of Roma,” Claudia said as she kissed her sister on the head. “ We have been staying with a friend of grandmother’s for as long as we can remember. She raised us. She told us that our time to part was coming soon. I guess she saw you in her dreams.


“So, what’s the plan sister?” Nora said, as she looked at Amanda.


“ I’m not sure. I just made it here a few days ago. This house is horrible, but we might be able to fix it up.”


Amanda looked at the girls and then she looked at Florica. Perhaps, a happy ending was still in sight. Depending on how much money they had left over maybe they could get a new door, and clean up the old home. 


“How long would it take us to fix the door?” Amanda asked.


“I can fix the door,” Ryan said as he walked over towards it and held it in place. “However, that isn’t the real problem. This house isn’t ready to be lived in.”


“He’s right I don’t know, but it needs more than new doors,” Florica stated as she looked around.


“Yeah I think you’re right,” Amanda said, as she looked around.


“Are you guys telling me that you want to fix this place up?” Nora asked.


“If you want to replace things on this house sell the rug, I heard it belonged to the king many years ago,” Nora said, as she started laughing.


“Yeah, the running joke is that the rug is worth more than the house,” Claudia laughed as she walked outside.


The only problem was the ground was now horrid because of the rain Florica thought as she stood looking down at the soaked rug. It would take days to clean it. However, there was no way she was leaving her sisters behind even if it meant sending Amanda home alone. After three days of shampooing and washing the rug it looked near perfect. Perhaps it would bring enough money to get the girls a ticket.


 “I think we should put it on eBay,” Amanda said as she took the picture.


“What will we tell them? “ Florica asked, as she watched Amanda log onto the site from her phone.


“We will tell them what they told us, and we will have the money sent to PayPal so they won’t ask questions.


It took all but two days and the rug was sold to someone from Germany named Claude Von Deliekc. The auctions went up and down until finally Mr. Von Deliekc placed his bid so high that the bidding wars seemed to stop all at once. The girls sat and looked at each other, and then they looked back at the old house.


“What will we do with the house?" Gee asked.


“I think we should fix it up. After all we can't come to the states. If we try to fix it up we can stay here," Claudia said as she walked over towards her sister.


“Well it’s up to you Florica. Do you want to stay here and fix the old house up?” Gee asked as she looked over at the others.


“I would love to fix it up. I’m the oldest sister so there is no question. I have to take care of you. Once this house was great, and maybe now we can make it great again,” Florica stated as she walked towards Ryan and Amanda.


“I’ll take you two to the train station. I will miss you so much Amanda. Maybe you can come visit me after school next year?”


“What about you? How will you finish school?” Amanda asked.


             In one of the envelops that grandmother sent she had my birth certificate and other papers. I guess she wants me to stay here. Who knows maybe she is coming here, or maybe they want me to be the rock for my sisters,” Florica said as she smiled at the girls.  


Amanda grabbed hold to her friend and hugged on for dear life. She wanted her to come back to the states, but she knew her home was here with her sisters. Sadly she kissed Florica on the head, and waved goodbye to the girls.


“Are you sad she’s staying behind?” Amanda asked Ryan as he silently stepped onto the train.


“Honestly, I knew she needed to be here the minute I saw her pick up that stone. She will do so much for this place,” Ryan said as he placed his bag under his seat.


As Ryan closed his eyes to drift into sleep he saw Craig standing smiling at him from a distance. It was now over, and everything cool go back to normal. As for his gypsy he would see her again he promised as he smiled and gave over to a deeper sleep.


“Mom, I’m back.” Amanda yelled, as she ran to her parent’s bedroom. 

“Did you have fun?”


“Well yes and no! Florica is now staying there with her family. However they have invited me back next summer. If it's okay with you I would love to return and visit Florica once more,” Amanda stated as she kissed her mother on the head.


" I like Florica, if your grades are good next year I don't see a problem with that. We have a year to talk your father into it! Now get your booty outside and help your dad fill in those horrible potholes," Clair laughed as she closed her book, and looked out the window at Ryan and smiled.


                 Chapter 10

 Do you think you will ever see your friend again, Florica?”
              “ I think I will, but we have a lot of catching up to do, Gee!”
              “I’m glad things worked out this way. It’s hard knowing that you have family that you can’t talk to,” stated Nora.
              “What will happen to Lura?” questioned Gee.
 “I’m not sure, but we must learn the way of the gypsy. Lura wants a family and a home. One day we will be able to give that to her, but before we can she needs to find forgiveness.”
  “She hates grandmother for picking you,” said Gee.
            “When I was talking to her I saw tenderness deep down inside. However, she is followed by rage. In a way the curse she tried to put on Ryan was the curse that has a hold over her heart.”
       “What about Ryan? He is very cute.” stated Claudia.
       “I like him, but I want to get to know more about myself. If he ever comes back this way, I might tell him. As for right now, you guys need to get washed up because it’s time for bed.”



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