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The cursed Cardinals

It is Friday the 13th, so let’s get spooky

Carl Yastrzemski during game one of the 1967 World Series Photo by Dennis Brearley/Boston Red Sox

Hey! Just a quick Author’s Note here: It is Friday the 13th so I thought I would write up a little over-dramatic, spooky story. It is very mildly spooky, but as I was writing it I realized there might be a line or two that some might refer to as “body horror”. I hate scary stuff and I find it pretty tame, but if you are squeamish to that sort of thing, I wanted to make sure to give you a proper warning!

1 March 2023

To Mr. Mozeliak:

I must admit I cannot say to hope this correspondence finds you, for its inability to do so might suggest that my efforts at anonymity were successful. If fate allows for you to be reading my words at this moment, however, I do hope it finds you in good spirits. Those are not the spirits I find myself in and I wish upon you a far better fate than I.

I write to you regarding my abrupt departure. I had hoped to spare you the harrowing doom I saw before me as I took my slumber one fateful evening. It was a sight that left a pallor upon my countenance and chill within my blood. It felt as though a frigid, necrotic hand had tore open my abdomen with whetted fingernails, wrapped its skeletal fingers around my lungs, and crushed them into paste. All the air escaped my body and as consciousness left me, I was sure the last sound my ears would hear would be my shallow wheezing as I wasted the remaining oxygen I had left attempting to scream.

When I awoke the next morning, the memory seemed a distant nightmare. It was of my immeasurable relief when my body took an autonomous breath with no ill effect. I greedily breathed in deeper, relishing the feeling of the precious air coursing down my throat and the expansion of lungs in my chest. I was alive and — dare I say? — jubilant. That was until I removed my shirt to dress for the day and saw the claw marks across my midriff.

It was a flurry of decisions upon that discovery, some of which will forever haunt me with guilt, but I regret nothing if it means you were to avoid this wretched fate. Only now do I feel it is safe explain my actions and hopefully assuage any lingering concern of my fate. While I would not describe my state as well, the bitter grip of the doom I once foresaw no longer holds me. The looming presence that has chased me all this time feels further and further back in my wake. I finally write to you because I dare to feel hopeful I might one day be able to return, the wretched destiny that once seemed unavoidable thwarted, reduced to nothing but a scary story children tell themselves at slumber parties. This is my hope for you.

Please refrain from attempting to contact me in return. And please forgive me as I do not sign my name.

Good luck this season.

John Mozeliak read the letter again as an unpleasant chill ascended his spine. He quirked his eyebrow as he inspected the paper and the envelope it arrived in. There was no return address, of course, but even more curiously, no postage at all — just a crinkled brown envelope with “Mr. Mozeliak” scrawled across it. Its origin was unclear to him and he recognized nothing from the frenetic script that made up its contents.

“Clearly the work of some deranged madman,” he muttered to himself as he tossed the letter in his wastebasket. He stared at the letter sitting face up in the trash, practically staring at him in return. For reasons even months later he could not explain, he picked the letter out of the wastebasket, opened the drawer to his desk, and with one final glance tossed the letter inside.

Months later, on Friday, October 13, he raced to his office and breathlessly tore through the drawer for the letter. He clawed through the papers and tossed aside anything irrelevant. That turned out to be everything. He wretched the drawer from the desk and turned it upside-down with violent shake.

The letter was gone. Only a haunting image remained.