View Full Version : Murphy's Curse

Kenneth J. Ester
May 20th, 2012, 03:24 PM
This is a book I have been playing around with for years. I wrote this part and I have one other part written, as well as a Prologue revealing how the curse began. But this would be Chapter One (in modern times).

My problem has been, not being able to come up with the perfect outline to the story. I want them to try breaking the curse, and fail, but I don't know how to go about it that would be right. Once I find the perfect setting and course, the rest will come with ease.

I am looking for opinions on what I wrote as well as ideas for where to go with it.



Thomas Murphy sat in the worn out cushioned chair, leaning forward with his face pressed into his palms. His cousin, Mike, was seated next to him, twirling a half dollar coin between his fingers. Neither spoke a word as they simply sat and listened to the sound of the heart monitor and respirator working in a strange symphonic unity.

Taking a slow deep breath, Tom, pushed himself up from his seat and walked quietly over to the hospital bed. It was not until he looked down at the elderly man, who lay unconscious upon it, that he finally let the breath out just as slowly as he had drawn it in. His grandfather looked much older than his sixty-three years. His eyes were sunken in and heavily wrinkled. His mostly bald head was covered by the beginning of age spots. Even his ears had the thickest hairs protruding from them that Tom had ever seen. If he had not known how old his grandfather was, he’d have thought him in his eighties. He had lived a very hard life.

“Kind of screws up your birthday, huh?”

Tom jerked a little at the sound of Mike’s voice. He hadn’t noticed his cousin had come up beside him. Giving Mike a glance, he looked back down to his grandfather. “It’s not as bad as it could be.”

Mike looked up at the clock above the door to the room. It was still only just after 7:30 in the morning. “True. I guess he could live another twelve hours. That would be one hell of a birthday present for you huh? But I don’t know man. Just look at him. He is ready to go any time.”

Tom cocked his head as he gave Mike a quizzical look, but said nothing.

Mike was not finished though. “Yup, I’d be pretty surprised if he lasts another hour much less twelve.” Putting a hand on Tom’s shoulder, he gave him a small grin. Letting him know he was messing with him. “That must really suck for this to happen with only half a day to spare huh?”

Mike had always been the quickest, to throw in a jab here and there, to mess with someone’s mind. Growing up, he had enjoyed, rubbing in, every victory of even the smallest kind. He was not malicious about it, just a little on the impish side. So for once it was Tom’s turn to get the last laugh.

“Hey Mike? You do know I was born at 7:46 A.M. right?”

Mike’s smile lasted a whole two seconds before the ramifications of the comment became realization, then he stole another glance at the clock. His mischievous smile slid from his face like jell-o on a butter knife. His face went white as the hospital’s bed sheets. Suddenly the smile was back. “Naw, you are just messing with me.”

Tom stared back at his cousin and raised an eyebrow. “God’s honor, Mike, I was born in the morning.”

Mike’s smile faded again, this time however, it never returned. “You mean…” Looking up at the clock he did the quick figure. “You mean in seven minutes you’re in the clear?”

Tom nodded. “Then it’s all yours Mike.”

Tom immediately felt guilty for rubbing it in like he had. He was not like Mike, in the way his cousin enjoyed reveling in a victory. In fact he felt pretty bad for his cousin. In seven minutes he would be free and Mike would then be the next in line to face the curse.

The dreaded curse! The world knew it only as a simple saying. ‘Anything, that can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worse possible moment’. What the world did not realize was that Edward Murphy, who had made the saying famous, was in fact, one of the unlucky cursed ones himself.

Nobody remembered how the curse started or when, but every Murphy who is related to him, knows how it works. One Murphy is always cursed with extremely bad luck. When a cursed Murphy dies, the curse sits in waiting for the next Murphy to turn twenty-five years of age, then he or she becomes the next cursed Murphy. Their grandfather lying in the bed before them is the current Murphy with the curse.

“I’m sorry Mike.” Tom said, genuinely ashamed for rubbing it in.

When Mike did not reply, Tom looked over at his cousin standing next to him. Mike’s eyes were fixed hard on something as he stood lost in his thoughts. Tom followed his cousin’s line of sight and saw what Mike was looking at. The plug to the respirator!

“Oh, oh don’t even go there Mike.” Tom knew exactly what his cousin was considering, and he didn’t blame him. If their grandfather lived another six minutes, Tom would be in the clear and Mike would gain the curse when he turned twenty-five. That was not for another seven months and there just was no hoping their grandfather would last that long. “That would be murder and you know it.”

Mike didn’t answer as he stared at the outlet then looked up at the clock.

“Mike, you know it would be murder. You would spend the rest of your life as some guy named Butch’s boyfriend.”

After a moment, Mike sucked in a breath and gained the strength to speak again. “Butch would be better than the curse Tom, and now there’s only five minutes left.” A small, nervous, chuckle escaped his lips, then Mike darted for the plug.

As soon as Tom realized what his cousin was thinking, he knew he would try it and he was ready. Before Mike took a second step around the bed, Tom dove and grabbed his cousin by the belt, dragging them both to the floor. “I won’t let you Mike!”

In a tangle they fought, one to get away and the other to hold on, but both with every ounce of strength they had in them. Everything was riding on these last precious few minutes and both were now fighting for their very lives. “You have to let him die on his own Mike!”

“Dead is dead!” Mike retorted as he slowly dragged them closer to the plug.

Mike continued to try and prod Tom’s fingers free from his belt, but every time Tom lost his grip with one hand, the other hand was there to fasten on again. Tom felt Mike’s hands in his face, trying to shove him off. Slowly, they slid across the floor, towards the outlet.

“It’s wrong Mike! Do you hear me? It’s wr--”


A flash of light sprung through Tom’s vision that seemed to dance in perfect unison with the pain that plowed through his head. Somehow, he didn’t lose his grip on his cousin and as his vision cleared he looked up to see Mike swinging the bedpan a second time.


Again his vision blurred and still he held on. “Mike, get control of yourself--”


“Stop hitting me with the bed pan!”



The steady pitch of the heart monitor froze them both. With saucer-wide eyes, the cousins stared at each other; Mike still holding the bedpan as if he stopped in mid swing. The look between them lasted for an eternal second, and then they both looked up at the clock.

It was still only 7:44 AM.

Reflexively, Tom looked at the plug to find it was still in the wall, and then he looked back to his cousin again. It was Tom’s turn to let out the nervous chuckle, this one was much louder and followed by shear panic.

“NO!” Tom screamed as he jumped to his feet and threw himself at his grandfather. His fingers curled into a tight fist that he brought down with all of his might onto the elderly man’s chest. “Two more minutes old man! You gotta give me just two more minutes!” Again he slammed his fist into his grandfather’s unmoving chest. “Breathe you old bastard! Breathe!” Again he hit his dead grandfather then suddenly there were hands on him, grabbing him to pull him away.

Struggling against the hands, Tom spun around looking to knock his cousin into next week. The hail-maker swept over a ducking doctor and nurse. “Doc, you gotta save him!”

The doctor didn’t do anything more than shake his head sadly.

“Doc, come on! You can’t just stand there! You have to try!”

“I can’t do it son!” The doctor said as he shook his head again. “I’m sorry, but he signed a waiver not to be resuscitated. I really am sorry!”

With a quick glance at the clock, Tom grabbed the doctors white coat. “Please Doc! All I need is one minute then you can let him die again. Just one minute!”

Still the doctor only shook his head and Tom fought down an urge to offer the doctor a bribe before he finally had to face the truth. He was the next cursed Murphy.