Cathy’s Curse: Eyes of Jade
Original Adaptation by J.B. Midura
Based on: Cathy’s Curse (1977) film
December 1947 – Westmount, Quebec
Veering around the chain link entrance bend at fleeting speed, dark silhouettes formed into articulately designed mason manors in the bright beam of a red locomotive’s headlights. The motor slowed down as it tore through a streaming sheet of misty drizzle flowing from the street lamp’s yellow cone. Tiny newborn zephyrs swirled under the lamp’s shaft, yet the sparkling drizzle was invisible in the darkness beyond.
The car’s tires came to a skidding halt at a stately home, breaking the neighborhood’s salubrious silence.
Westmount, a thriving suburb of Montreal, had been inhabited since the earliest days of the French colonial settlers’ migration in the middle of the seventeenth century. By the twentieth century, the area had progressed into an opulent enclave for Anglophone businessmen.
A dusting of crystallized snow rested on the rocky entrance way of the Gimble manner, glistening on the trail . Before the engine’s pistons could cease, Mr. Gimble, dressed in a brown suit and tie, with a thick mustache that commanded dignity, rushed hastily upon the porch of his posh residence. He over gripped the doorknob with savage force, aggressively twisting and squeezing it.
In an anxious fury, he burst into the foyer, not even bothering to shut the door behind him. It slammed up against an empty coat rack, incurring a transient wobble. “Joanne! Joanne?” He shouted, eyes searching around for any sign of human activity. The lights were fully shining about the house. Still, he felt the dark despair that filled the place. The silence hemorrhaged the senses into fraught and warped vibes. Mrs. Gimble’s perfume was largely absent, though it still lingered in the air—sweet and tangy.
Coming from upstairs, he heard the faint whimpers of a dejected wail. He hurried his way up the staircase, hand gripping the oak railing, ascending past an array of oil paintings and formal family portraits in black and white. The painted green pastures and smiling faces were a drastic contrast to the grave paroxysm of Mr. Gimble.
He swung open the door to his daughter Laura’s room, knelt down at the edge of the bed, and consoled his saddened child. “Where’s your mother and your brother?” He asked calmly, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Mommy’s gone. She’s taken George with her,” Laura murmured, clutching a tattered doll.
He stood up immediately. “Your mother’s a bitch!” Mr. Gimble asserted, sternly emphasizing the insult. “She’ll pay for what she did to you.” He snatched up Laura’s hand and they exited the home, leaving the house as it was.
Luckily, conveniently, inexplicably, Laura had a hold of her coat, along with her rag doll. Ever since her mom had gifted it to her for Christmas days earlier, the bizarre happenings effects on her and the house.
Horridly tattered, the doll’s eyes were stitched shut. Supposedly, Mrs. Gimble had purchased the doll at a Gypsy roadside sale. On a vile quest to find the most hideous gift imaginable, she’d rummaged through a heap of threaded fodder until she stumbled upon the foulest thing available.
She’d ignored the decrepit old lady’s incoherent grumbles, curtly waving the gypsy woman off. Spending only pennies, she still felt it to be a waste of money. Laura was Mr. Gimble’s most cherished asset. Scarring his baby girl’s mind indirectly was a cunning tactic, she had thought.
But she’d thought wrong. Horribly wrong!
The horrors harbored in that doll were as uncontrollable and perilous as a Wizard’s wand in the hands of a simpleton. The curse had empowered Laura with a fiendish will, wreaking terror and malevolent dominance over anyone in its range. Its power flourished wherever it was welcomed.
Infuriated, Mr. Gimble had sensed the strong urgency to rush home that evening after Mrs. Gimble’s telephone tirade 20 minutes earlier. The threats of leaving the two of them behind and bolting with their youngest kid, George, felt real this time. The holiday tension had boiled in the household until its exploding point.
Mr. Gimble was, for the most part, oblivious to the emotional drama in the household and the severity of how wretched his marriage had become. Renowned as a shrewd and stern businessman, he never tolerated dissension in the house, never once left work to attend a family crisis until now.
Strapping the belt over her scarlet dress, Mr. Gimble tucked Laura into the passenger seat of his apple-red Plymouth He’d grabbed nothing to shelter him from the weather, for his rage-scorched blood heated him thoroughly. With a swift click, the engines roared to life and the headlights penetrated the eerie darkness ahead. Mr. Gimble gripped the wheel hard, his brown eyes deciphering the night beyond him.
Chilling organ music came from the car speakers, amplifying the stress of the moment. The windshield wipers whipped from side to side, slashing away glossy snow. It assailed from the dark sky, thick and heavy. The further they drove, the harder it got.
Laura propped herself up to get a read on her Dad’s mood, as well as a read on the evening’s cold, tempestuous mood. Their neighborhood was well behind them now, a small blob of yellow dots in the rear view window.
Suddenly, out of some ethereal realm, an albino Rabbit pranced across the blacktop. Mr. Gimble, knowing the extreme rarity of these wondrous creatures, swerved frantically around it in an attempt to preserve their posterity, clipping a snow bank. The roadside castle of ice crumbled like the walls of Jericho. Laura flashed a terrifying expression at her father, her heart thumping. Shock choked her scream, paralyzing her fright.
Snow camouflaged the Rabbit’s pure white fur, but its soft tracks visibly dotted up the hill.
He jerked the wheel back across the slippery street, skidding wildly into a snow-crusted ravine. In his panic, he had over corrected the vehicle. The heavy metal was crunched into the frozen ground, its grill crushed inward.
Tendrils of black smoke rose from the cracked engine, a precursor to combustion.
Orange flames began to gush from underneath the crumpled hood, hissing in the icy air. Mr. Gimble, unconscious, was hunched over the steering wheel, obstructing their escape. The sound of crackling flames and agonizing shrieks resonated over and over, seething, sizzling inside. Trapped!
“ Help, Daddy, open the door,” Laura cried out, beseeching him to locate his bravery.
But her dire weeps went unheeded.
Mr. Gimble’s skin sprouted revolting pits of caustic flesh about his neck and face, cherry color, the fire quickly charring his bones to iron black. Laura’s teary eyes were extinguished by the rapid spike of incinerator-like temperatures as she reached out at the morbid rictus of Mr. Gimble’s glowing skull. She struggled against her dooming fate until her aqueous humors went as dry as the sands of Egypt. Her bright red dress darkened to crimson, then black ash.
The car was swallowed up by scorching flames and smothered by blackening smoke. Metal ripped and contorted, pinballing bolts underneath the bent hood. The sound grew to an excruciating decibel.
Along the hillside, the albino rabbit witnessed the roadside pyre that it had engendered, its sanguine eyes reflecting the cavorting blaze. With grace, the divine creature hopped up the embankment and into the labyrinth of a shadowy forest, a forever panorama stretching beyond optical limits. The rabbit zagged through the towering Junipers, which stood like imposing Kremlins, contoured by the silver moon hovering behind.