The Changeling Curse
Pitch art by Caitlin Like
A boy enlists the help of the fairy haunting his music school to stop his family’s curse before it steals his voice.
The Driscoll family is cursed. Generations of talented singers never make it past twenty with their voices intact. Hundreds of years later the curse still remains unbroken, its origins a mystery.
Uriel Driscoll, a kind but deeply bored boy, lives alone with his frantic mother in their modernizing seaside town. Uriel longs for the chance to become a renowned singer and break the curse over his family. Unexpectedly, he receives an invitation from his estranged maternal grandfather, Declan Driscoll VI, to attend his exclusive and infamously haunted music school. Knowing this is his big chance to learn more about his family curse and sing, he accepts. Uriel's determination lasts as long as orientation, where he chokes in the face of his more experienced classmates.
Humiliated at this failure, Uriel joins his classmates in the dormitories to learn about the spirit that haunts the school. During the search for the spirit, Uriel becomes separated from his classmates. He discovers a mirror in a mysterious chamber, where the spirit frightens him. The beautiful spirit introduces himself as a faerie named Raphael, who offers to grant him a wish. Uriel asks for help to break the curse on his family, and Raphael agrees.
Apparently, the first step to breaking the curse is becoming the lead in the school opera. Though confused, Uriel relies on Raphael for lessons and friendship. Raphael's familiarity with his family, including his mother, raises suspicion in Uriel. As Uriel grows more confident and he begins to notice faerie activity all over the school.
At the auditions, Uriel has improved radically and aces his audition. A rival star classmate, before a shoo-in for the lead, blows out his voice horrifically. Uriel secures the lead but cannot shake the terrible suspicion that he caused his rival to destroy his voice. He accuses Raphael of causing it and of cursing his family, which he doesn’t deny. Unable to enjoy his victory, Uriel abandons Raphael out of guilt.
Now that Uriel has won the lead, Declan finally pays attention to him. Declan doesn’t look concerned over the family curse affecting him, worrying Uriel. Upon seeing his rival recover his voice, Uriel returns to Raphael to apologize. Uriel at last voices his suspicion that Raphael is his father. He confirms this and the two reconcile, Raphael swearing to protect him.
On opening night, Uriel cannot find Raphael. Uriel returns to the chamber where they met and discovers that Raphael is in a deal with Declan and has been for hundreds of years. Declan has been stealing the bodies and voices of descendants and students alike for hundreds of years and Uriel is next. Raphael refuses to make the switch and when he begins to turn into stone for breaking his word, Uriel intervenes. With Uriel willing to make the exchange to save Raphael’s life, Declan steals his body. Raphael turns to stone for failing to protect him and Declan seals Uriel in the mirror he discovered Raphael in.
When Declan tries to perform the opera in Uriel’s place, his classmates throw the performance into chaos. Using his newfound faerie powers, Uriel summons his defiant spirit to the stage and threatens to haunt Declan forever if he doesn’t return his body. Declan abandons his body, ripping his voice away entirely. When Uriel returns to his body, he cannot speak.
For being willing to live without his voice, the terrible curse over Uriel’s family is broken. Restored and freed from his obligations, Raphael seals Declan away in the mirror. He returns Uriel’s damaged voice, even though he will never be capable of singing like he was before. Uriel is confident that one day he’ll be fit to sing again but knows his life will be whole, regardless.