Do you believe in ghosts, curses, or any aspect of the paranormal? Are you a sceptic? Or are you among the ones who have not made up their minds yet whether to believe or not? Well, after reading this story, you will.


“…and it was in this cave where the Queen had King Gavaran beheaded. Legend says that after his death…”

On and on droned the elderly tourist guide, while David plugged in his earphones and switched on his iPod. David did not believe in such ghost stories, but he could see that they were being eagerly lapped up by his two best friends, Nero and Eric. The three of them had decided to take a break from their hectic college workload. David had suggested that they go hiking for the weekend. But somehow, Eric and Nero had managed to turn this into a project. Figures. What else could he expect from two very dedicated (obsessed) history majors (freaks)? Now he had to listen to this guy blather on about some old King getting whacked because he played with his wife’s handmaiden behind her back.

Unable to take it any longer, he sighed loudly and interrupted the guide’s monologue. “Guys, how much longer are you going to listen to this bullshit?” Eric quickly shushed him and Nero gasped as though he’d committed a grave sin. The old guide glared at David, and said stiffly, “King Gavaran is one of the oldest legends of this land. People still believe that-”

David cut him off, “Yeah, well, he’s not still around, is he? Got himself killed for getting on with his wife’s maid? That’s basically the entire story, right? So if you’re done, can we just get out of this creepy place?” The bald old man started spluttering with indignation. Before he could recover, David grabbed Eric and Nero and dragged them from the cave.

Outside, in the cool mountain air, he cursed at them, “You guys so owe me a hike. I did not come here to listen to that old codger’s stories.”

Nero, the craziest of the three, said,

“Dude, you don’t know what you’re saying! These things actually happened, man!”

Eric calmly said, “There is historical evidence that support the story of King Gavaran. On the other side of the hill, we can see the ruins of his magnificent palace. And on the southern wall outside this cave, there is a hole in which the scorned maiden hid the King’s heart after she cut it out of his dead body.”

“Say what?” exclaimed David. “Now that is cool! Let’s check it out!”

He strode over to the southern outer wall of the cave. Amidst the ancient carvings, there was a dark round hole that looked like it could fit a whole fist inside it. Eric and Nero hurried after him. David went to put his hand inside the hole but Nero grabbed his arm before he could do so. Nervously, Nero said, “David, you can’t just put your hand in there. It’s cursed! If you touch the King’s heart, your body will be possessed by the King’s spirit which has been roaming this land for centuries without finding peace!”

David laughed. “What! You actually believe that stuff? Come on, man! Okay, maybe the part about the King having an affair with the Queen’s maid is true. And MAYBE the Queen had him beheaded when she found out. But you can’t possibly believe that the maid really cut out his heart and put it here just because she was mad at him for ‘seducing her with false adulations of love and empty promises of marriage!’” He finished the sentence dramatically, imitating the old tourist guide. In his normal voice again, he said, “Here, watch, I’ll prove to you that nothing is in there.”

Again, he went to put his hand inside it. But this time Eric stopped him. He said, “Even if you are right and the stories are false, you still can’t just put your hand inside. Who knows what animal or creature could be holed up in there? You could get bitten or something.”

Nonchalantly, David said, “Well, then, that will just prove that the stories about the curse are fake.” As Eric watched with trepidation and Nero with terror, David slowly put his hand inside the hole and groped around. There wasn’t much space inside. It was cool and dry. He felt around with his hand, when suddenly, he encountered something warm and squishy.

“Argghh!” he yelled and ripped his hand out of the hole. He stared in horror at his hand which was now completely covered in red. Nero began shouting, “Oh my freaking God! The curse is real! You’ve been cursed! Aaaah!” He tore down the trail they had used to climb up to the caves, without looking back. David was about ready to run after him, when he was stopped by the sound of laughter.

Astonished, he turned around to watch Eric doubled over, laughing. Had he just been pranked?

“You- you did thi- you were behind this?” he asked incredulously.

“The look on your face!” Eric said, still laughing. “And Nero’s! Oh man, that was priceless! I should’ve taken photos!”

David slowed his rapidly beating heart and looked at his hand again. “You know I’m gonna get you back for this,” he warned Eric. “What is this? Is this ketchup?” he scrunched up his nose, trying to smell it.

“Yeah!” Eric said, finally managing to control his laughter. “I put it in there before I told you about the hole because I knew you’d want to show off that you don’t believe in legends.”

David sniffed his hand. Weird. It didn’t smell like ketchup. This smell had a more metallic tang to it. He held up his hand for Eric to smell.

“Dude, I’m telling you-” Eric started. David interrupted him shakily, “Does this smell like ketchup to you?”

Eric took a sniff and the blood drained out of his face, confirming David’s suspicions. With hearts pounding again, both of them slowly turned around to look at the hole.

Thick black mist was coming out of the fist-sized hole.

Eric and David whipped around and raced down the trail after Nero, yelling, “The ghost is after us!”

If they had stayed behind for a little while, they would have noticed the black mist just drifting off into the air like smoke from a chimney.

Just a few feet away, from the entrance to the cave, a bald head slowly peeked out. Looking at the students fleeing in the distance, the old guide emerged fully from the cave. He stood there watching the smoke being blown away in the breeze, and snickered.