It was Kenny who'd said the skull was cursed. We'd found it up on Box Hill, inside a rotten tree, nested like an ostrich egg on a cushion of shivered wood.
We told each other that it was a hanged man's skull, that a witch had put it there, and we set it on a mossy stump and found deadwood swords and spent the best summer of our lives pretending to be pirates.
You've got to put it back, he'd whispered eventually. There's no curse, I said, but I agreed all the same. By then he'd been hollowed out by the chemo and was as brittle as dead leaves, so he couldn't exactly take it back himself. It seemed like the least I could do.
Looking back, I can't say for sure whether or not there really was a curse. But one thing I know for sure is that if there was, then putting the skull back didn't lift it.
Simon John Cox
The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold