Toys in Cross: Joan’s Tea Set

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Joan Ward was a miserable little girl.

This isn’t surprising, considering both her parents were miserable as well. Neither the mother nor the father could find good in anything outside their family, and even with that, it was generally tinged with a fatalist approach.

When Joan was six, her mother ordered a tea set of fine china for the girl to play with. The parents fully expected the set to arrive in less than optimal condition, and even Joan was heard to bitterly complain that she expected everything to be broken.

I suspect they were surprised – and disappointed – when the set arrived whole and without a blemish.

They shouldn’t have.

The set was far worse than they could have imagined.

I drink tea occasionally. Otherwise, my drink of choice is coffee. This preference saved me a great deal of pain.

On September 1st, Joan’s mother made some tea for Joan to drink, pouring it into the child’s toy teapot. This information I was able to gather from the mother, who was the last to die.

Joan poured the tea into one of her cups, and she took a drink. With a smile, the child finished it off and poured herself another cup. After four cups, the teapot was empty, and Joan collapsed. Her father, who had finished his tea a moment before, fell out of his seat and onto the kitchen floor. Mrs. Ward had only half a cup, but this only prolonged her death.

Up and down their street, people were finishing their morning tea or coffee. Those who drank tea became ill. The closer they were to the Ward homestead, the worse the reaction. Three other people died immediately. Another four died later that night, and old Mr. Willis passed three days later.

I was called down to lend a hand, and I learned of the story from Mrs. Ward as she breathed out her last. She bid me destroy the tea set.

I declined.

The tea set is tucked away, secured from the rest of the world.

Destroying the set might release whatever magic is bound to the china, and who knows when I might need to serve tea from Joan Ward’s set.

Best to be prepared.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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