She saw the mark one morning while she was brushing her teeth.
Elizabeth Webber took care to wake an hour before either of her rambunctious sons crawled out of bed. She used that hour to drink a cup of coffee, take a shower, pay her bills—do any number of the thousands of things that required her attention so that when her boys were awake, she could be with them one hundred percent.
It was important to them that her babies always felt like they were the center of her attention—that nothing was more important than them. No one would ever accuse Elizabeth Imogene Webber of not putting her kids first.
She couldn’t say for certain that the mark hadn’t been there the morning before—or even that it hadn’t been there when she had gone to sleep.
It was there now—just a tiny, pale pink shape at the base of her thumb. An inverted pentagram.
Elizabeth stared at it, the tooth brush sliding from her fingers into the porcelain sink, the white paste mingling with the water still pouring from the faucet.
She ran her fingers over it, lightly at first, and then, her breath mixed with half sobs, digging at it with her nails.
But it wasn’t a scab. It wasn’t a stain from her inks or markers. It was part of her skin, staring at her as if it had always been there.
Her mother had had a similar mark. So had one of her aunts. According to the stories Elizabeth had been told as a teenager, two of the three Devane women had seen the mark appear at their birth. But it was supposed to be over—a curse cast generations ago by a scorned enemy of an ancestor, broken by Elizabeth’s mother and aunts.
And it had been broken—Elizabeth was the first woman in more than six decades to have a son—two of them—and see them past their fifth birthday. Cameron was nine, Jake was seven.
She stared at the mark, reddened by her nails, and closed her eyes.
Oh, God. Would she be dead in five years? What would happen to her boys? Was this the fear her mother had known in the days leading up to Elizabeth’s birth? Knowing that even if Gracie Devane Webber did everything right, she would never see her daughter grow up? Gracie and her sister Maria had sacrificed their lives to break the curse so that Elizabeth and her cousin Nadine could have a chance at a normal life.
But it had been a lie. Elizabeth had been granted merely more time but not a lifetime.
She opened her eyes and stared at her reflection in the mirror.
There was no choice, not really. She should have known it would always come to this.
She would have to go home.
Home was not here in New York City, in the cramped two-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights. The room her boys shared barely fit their bunk bed, dresser, and toy box. She and the boys used the dining room table for eating meals, designing greeting cards, and completing homework.
Their entire world—a world Elizabeth had worked so hard to give them—existed in this fifteen hundred square feet space. Her boys didn’t have much, but they were happy. Safe. Secure.
And now she would have to blow that apart. To stay here, wait for the inevitable meant her boys would be left without a family or a parent to care for them. They would never have any answers.
And they might even somehow carry the same curse that had afflicted her family for generations.
She would have to take them home, back to her family. Back to the life she had fled.
Jake’s father would have to deal with him finally, and Elizabeth would have to come face to face with the horrors she had fled more than seven years earlier.
She had to find a way to break this curse, or barring a miracle, find a way to see her boys taken care of.
It was time to return to Port Charles.