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Be Not Afraid ~ Part Three: by John Hansen and Chris Mills

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

Grand Wat, Thailand Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Grand Wat, Thailand Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Be Not Afraid ~ Conclusion

“I had it translated.” He held up the document. “It was easy to find a translator. Thai has barely changed in a thousand years.” He began to read.

King Rec of the K̄hlạng kingdom sought to end the siege of his capital by the neighboring kingdom of Mī Xảnāc. He summoned his trusted Mi Pho to devise a spell to destroy his enemies.

I, Preecha, provided stone amulets along with a written description of the spell that would accompany each.

The amulets would be given to the Mī Xảnāc prisoners who would be lured into our trust with the deceptive and magical phrase, ¨Be Not Afraid ̈. We would return them to their homes with the amulets that supposedly spoke of peace.

But the carriers of the amulets would be transformed into murderous beasts that would terrorize the villages of Mī Xảnāc. They would kill and devour men, women, children, and animals.

The horror would go on until there was nothing left but the land for King Rec to claim as his own.

The Parchment

The Parchment

“It all sounds like a legend,” said Beth. “But we know it’s true. I saw you as one of those beasts. And now I have some things to share with you.”

Beth sat down on the couch and reached for the manila folder on the coffee table. “Gerald, this is the dissertation you wrote for the Archaeology and Anthropology Department at Princeton about your expedition to Asia. I borrowed it in the hope it may shed some light on…well…on what happened to you.”

She opened the folder, removing the dissertation and passed it to him. He still held the box close to his body but reached out with the other hand and accepted the file. Staring at the title, Studies in Asia: Archaeological Digs and Findings: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Thailand: Jan-April 2016 by Dr Gerald R Thompson. Gerald sat down and began to read through his writing. His face registered each new recollection and he nodded now and then.

Beth allowed him to finish reading before she spoke again, “I found it interesting and quite detailed, but the only thing puzzling me were the words in red ink vertically down the right margin…BE NOT AFRAID. Your translated parchment explains that mystery however.”

She smiled and waited for him to speak. When he didn’t, she left him, still clutching the box, saying, “You just sit here while I make us some coffee, then we can talk more. I even remember how you have it, black and one….?” Gerald just nodded.


Gerald waited in the living room while Beth made coffee. He remembered she made it by pouring hot water through a hand-held filter that she suspended over the cup. It was quick and easy. She would be back soon. He opened the box and reached inside.

After only a couple of minutes, Beth stepped through the doorway and abruptly stopped. Coffee splashed over the top edges of the cups. The tray crashed onto the hardwood floor. “Gerald! No!”

The amulet hung from his neck against his chest. Its eyes glowed, and Gerald could feel the power surging through his mind and body. This is what he wanted for himself—and for Beth.

He reached into the box and tossed it onto the couch. In his hand, Gerald held another amulet. “I found one for you, too.” His voice was strained. Sweat ran down his face that was quickly losing its form. The jawline grew longer and broader. His limbs were grotesque and deformed. He moved toward her.

“Gerald, don’t!” Beth backed into the kitchen and opened drawers blindly while she kept her eyes on the beast...on Gerald. She lifted a butcher knife in her right hand.

He came forward.

She drove the knife toward his chest.

Gerald grabbed her wrist. The knife fell. He raised the second amulet by its leather cord and moved to lower it over her head. “Be—not—afraid”.

She could feel his hot breath on her face. His grip nearly crushed her wrist. “No, Gerald. Don’t do this,” she nearly whispered.

“You...me...together...always.”

“Not like this, Gerald.” She looked him in the face and spoke words that seemed strange, even to her, yet she stated them deliberately. “Fear—shall—set—you—free!” Beth lowered herself to the floor and grabbed the knife. She lunged at him again, just missing his throat. Then she saw his jaw begin to narrow and shorten.

He released her wrist and stepped back, looking down at his body, his arms and hands, as if he didn’t recognize them. The changes began to reverse. He looked Beth in the eyes. “What is happening to me?”

be-not-afraid-part-three-by-john-hansen-and-chris-mills

“I didn’t believe it would work.” Beth kept her distance. “While I was researching, I contacted someone mentioned in your dissertation, a Dr Kraisee Chalerm who gave me information about another Thai dig site where archeologists discovered these same amulets. It seems the kingdom on which the beasts had been released had conjured a counterspell. While the magic catalyst to enable the magic is the phrase, “Be not afraid,” the anticatalyst is, “Fear will set you free”.

“It worked!” Gerald gasped.

“Yes it did.” Beth slipped past him and retrieved the box he had used to bring the amulets to her apartment. She held it toward him, open.

He hesitated, then lowered both amulets into the box. “We need to do more than this, Beth. We need to get rid of them.”

“I wonder.” Beth lifted one of the amulets out of the box and hung it around her neck. They waited. Nothing happened.

Gerald took the other amulet and hung it around his neck.

“Like you said, it worked.”

“True,” said Gerald. “But don’t you think they would make a nice donation to the University’s Thai collection?”

© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 16, 2019:

Thanks Rodric. Yes, quite a generous gesture lol.

Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on December 16, 2019:

I like the simple ending and the donation to the museum.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 06, 2019:

Thank you Lawrence. Much appreciated.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 06, 2019:

Chris and John

Great and somewhat unexpected ending. Well done to both of you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 09, 2019:

Thank you for reading the whole story, Li-Jen. Glad you found the ending to be fitting.

Li-Jen Hew on November 09, 2019:

Nice ending Jodah and Chris. And no, the ending did not disappoint. Did not expect that Gerald wanted Beth to be like him. Luckily they did not transform into monsters after wearing the amulets. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to new stories.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 07, 2019:

Thank you for reading this story Lynne. I like to think Gerald has learned his lesson, but time will tell I imagine.

Lynne Samuel from Malaysia on November 07, 2019:

Beth is so loyal! And Gerald is free... until he goes traveling and brings back another enchanted amulet or figurine!

This story is so interesting. Thank you John.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 03, 2019:

Thank you for the wonderful comment Sean, and for the offer to join a future collaboration. We may take you up on that at some stage. You would add another dimension .

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on November 03, 2019:

I was lucky enough to have a lot of work during the week. So I had the chance to read the two last parts at once! Excellent work, my dear brothers, John and Chris! I think that we were right to ask for it! Talented, clever, dark and luminous at the same time! A perfect mix! If you need a third member to the "Great Stories and More Ltd" please have me in mind! Grateful to read your work!

True friends are sources of miracles!

Sean

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 02, 2019:

Jason, thank you for such an encouraging comment. We tried to keep the “edge of your seat” factor going. Glad it worked.

Jason Nicolosi from AZ on November 02, 2019:

Breathtaking right to the very end. Kept me on edge the whole read through. This really could be a movie, so great guys. Congratulations on an amazing story. I'm just sad it's over.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 02, 2019:

Nikki, you had Gerald figured out all along. Lucky Beth was prepared. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 02, 2019:

Thanks for reading the whole story Linda. Glad you enjoyed. You are right, if the amulets are donated they could very well cast their spell on others. Maybe not without the use of the magic words but if the parchment is with them....

Nikki Khan from London on November 02, 2019:

I knew Gerald would try’n turn her into beast as well, from the very beginning. But she knew to protect herself, and how, she did it, is quite interesting.

Great story John and Chris!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 02, 2019:

Wow, you two! You do work well together. You had me wondering till the very end how it would work out. Of course, if the amulets are donated, could they cast their spell on someone else?

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 02, 2019:

Lorna, Mixing genres is a good way to go, I think. Most stories can do with a little humor.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 02, 2019:

Lora, I'm glad you were able t pick up on some of the fine points of the story. Thank you for reading.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 02, 2019:

Flourish, John causes most of the trouble. You'll have to talk to him about that. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Lorna Lamon on November 02, 2019:

I wasn't expecting this ending, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Suspenseful in its telling with a hint of humor in the background, I thoroughly enjoyed this creepy tale. A great success John and Cris and I look forward to a sequel - you now have a fan base.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 01, 2019:

Thank you for the wonderful comment, Lora. We are happy it all came together in the end.

Lora Hollings on November 01, 2019:

What a surprise ending that left you dangling in suspense for quite awhile until the last minute! And then the last line which was like something out of Alfred Hitchcock with his ironic twists. I loved it! Great storytelling. Horror combined with humor.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 01, 2019:

I am glad you liked the way the story ended, Flourish. yes, I wish the University well. Anything could happen.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 01, 2019:

Haha Ruby, I think there is more of a horror writer hiding in you than in me, Glad you enjoyed the story.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 01, 2019:

Ok thanks Shannon. I think I have seen advertisements for a couple.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 01, 2019:

I really liked how the story ended. The thought of donating the amulets to the university sets up the possibility for more trouble.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

Ruby, I'm consulting you before I write my next story.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

Shannon, Glad we kept you guessing until the end.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

Thank you,Tiyasha.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 01, 2019:

Wow, this was a story that had me guessing until the end. I was sure that Beth was more involved and expected her to change into a monster and eat Gerald, yummy

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 01, 2019:

I don't specifically know of any personally, but there are sites designed for submitting material to be converted into television or movie plots.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 01, 2019:

Glad you approve of the happy ending Shannon. Are Goosebumps and Tales From the Crypt still going? If you know any film or TV producers...send them this way.

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 01, 2019:

Nice twist! I thought for a minute he was going to eat her and then that she was going to kill him. Yay for happy endings, though. LOL....Maybe this deserves a television episode for something like Goosebumps or Tales From the Crypt, you think?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 01, 2019:

Thank you to everyone who has commented so far: Tiyasha, JC, manatita, Bill, Shauna, and most of all Chris for the his great story line and contribution. This story was a lot of work but also an enjoyable learning experience.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on November 01, 2019:

I was engrossed till the end. Great round off. Thanks for this great story Chris and John. Hope to read more soon.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

JC, We thank you for that.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

manatita, Yes, there is nothing like lingering, old magic to stir things up.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

Bill, Yes, you do that. Glad the story had a moving effect.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 01, 2019:

Shauna, glad you liked the story enough to want more from John and me.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on November 01, 2019:

As always...excellent.

manatita44 from london on November 01, 2019:

Scary moments. Quite an original and unexpected twist. Not always good to meddle with spells. Nice archaic touch!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 01, 2019:

Excuse me while I go change my underwear!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 01, 2019:

Wow! What an ending, guys! This has been an amazing collaboration. You make an awesome team. I hope to see more from you, John and Chris!