Cursed(The Thrice Cursed Mage Book 1)

By: J.A. Cipriano



With that happy thought, I pushed open the heavy black framed glass door and found myself staring at exactly no one inside. It made me wonder briefly how places like this even stayed in business. It wasn’t like it was attached to an apartment complex where expenses were mostly covered by rent and the change collected was like extra profit. No, this place was off on its own. That meant people used it a lot. People who couldn’t afford things like washers and dryers.

Great. I was in the poor section of town. I didn’t have a problem with poor people or anything and wasn’t exactly worried about getting mugged. If someone tried something, I was going to go with the whole “beware my demonic hand” thing while making scary faces. No, my sense of unease came more from distaste. As I stared at the spinning, rumbling dryers, I knew I was going to steal myself some new clothes provided I found anything even remotely my size. I was robbing poor people. I might as well have been a banker.

With that ugly thought, I began pulling open dryers, looking for stuff I thought would fit me. It didn’t take long for me to find a navy blue polo that had clearly been washed one too many times, a pair of tan khaki pants, black socks, and even though it hurt me deep in my soul, a pair of red boxer briefs. Yeah, that’s right, I was going to steal another man’s underwear. For all I knew, this wasn’t a new low point in my life, but it sure as hell felt like one.

I stuffed the pilfered clothing under my arm and moved toward the bathroom in the back. When I’d stepped in here, I wasn’t sure if they’d even have a lavatory, but hey, apparently today wishes were horses. Once inside the restroom, I locked the door so no one would bother me while I changed. Since there wasn’t any good place to hang up my stolen clothes and I was loath to put them on the floor of a public bathroom, I stuffed them on top of the faucet and prayed they wouldn’t fall in the sink. I turned on the hot water and much to my surprise, nothing came out.

“Swell,” I muttered in a voice that had smoked one too many cigarettes and chased it with one too many shots of cheap whiskey. “Double or nothing the cold works.”

It did. Cold water splashed out of the faucet and struck the cheap ceramic bowl in a torrent. So they’d shut off the hot water, probably to keep people from bathing in here. Cheap bastards. Well, I’d show them. I stripped off my clothes and flung them next to the pathetic black trashcan in the corner. Yes, it was a little gross taking them off since they were stuck to my skin with sticky blood. It was even worse because they left slimy streaks of crimson across my body.

Once I was naked, I stared at myself in the scratched mirror above the sink. I had one of those douchebag faces you’d see on a tennis court at an expensive country club attached to a guy named Chet. It was the kind of face that begged to be punched. Someone else must have thought so too because my right eye looked like it’d been on the wrong side of a fist, and my nose was crooked just enough for me to know it’d been broken at least once. My cheeks were covered in at least a day’s worth of stubble and my blond goatee was streaked with dried blood and curdled milk.

The rest of me wasn’t much better what with the cuts, scratches and bruises. My ribs were an ugly shade of yellowish purple, and as I touched them with my index finger, a stab of pain nearly made me cry out. As far as I knew, I wasn’t a doctor nor had I played one on TV, but nothing seemed to be broken. Maybe the bruising was my body’s way of telling me not to go getting my ass kicked. I instantly agreed with its sentiment.

Whoever had put me in the dumpster hadn’t been kind, and not being able to remember why it happened was really starting to piss me off. Why had someone left me in a dumpster with no form of identification and no memory?

Still, I had to admit it was possible those two things weren’t connected. Maybe it was a simple mugging that had no connection to me having no memories. It wasn’t like I’d searched the alley well. Maybe if I went back, I’d find my wallet, sans money and credit cards, on the ground somewhere? I needed to check as soon as I cleaned myself off. A surge of confidence shot through me.

“All I need to do is go back to the alley and find my wallet,” I told myself, trying to ignore the possibility that my wallet had been in the dumpster along with me and was now in the belly of the garbage truck that had tried to eat me.

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