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Crime Fantasy Fiction

TELLS and TRUTH

‘I have a copy of your advert right here. It reads: Need direction in your life? Call Luna Blaise authentic experienced star seed moon psychic! The thing is your real, authentic name is Jan Smith. By the reports we have received nothing about Luna Blaise is authentic. I don’t understand why anyone believes in such things, never mind someone who pays for it. This is your third complaint through fair-trading in two weeks. If it was not for the fact your customers could not produce receipts, you would need to pay serious fines or go to gaol! You need to re-evaluate your services, or even better, get a genuine job!’

Though his words were spoken in a quiet and mundane way, its execution winded me. Dennis, the consumer affairs regulator’s monotone crucifixion, had me unable to speak. Though I might have exaggerated the ‘all seeing interstellar moon birthed new age psychic title’, I can read people. It is the way an orphan kid survives. My childhood memories were a ram road of cold homes, schools, and carers. A life of transactional relationships. Reading people meant I could survive as a flake in the snowstorm. With plain looks and nondescript stature, I blended in like the proverbial wallflower. To gain anything, I needed to offer something. I listened well, studied body language and watched people’s interaction; usually as I huddled on a street out of the way hoping someone or something would ‘beam me up’ from my childhood existence. I used this information as barter for food or entertainment.

***

At 19, I walked out of the job search office and headed to the nearest cafe for a coffee. A woman came in, her head down, her right hand playing with her ring finger. To my surprise, the stranger sat at my table.

‘Do you mind if I join you at your table? I’m at my wit’s end. I just need to sit for a while?’

I shrugged, continuing to sip my coffee. The stranger began,

‘Oh god, can my life get any worse? I don't even know how I am in this predicament.’

I looked at her, scrutinising the woman. Her manicured nails, now chipped, but the manicure job was high class. Her clothes, now ring marked with sweat, were high end labels. Nothing about this woman screamed second hand or Kmart couture. This lady did not understand poverty. I took a sip of my coffee and began.

‘You married a dream and then reality set in. He has left you for a younger girl now that he used you to become a recognise professional. My guess, he is a lawyer and you got him there. You know, you’re better off without him. He is a leach, and he will learn his lessons as you have learnt yours.’

Her mouth dropped open. 

‘How do you know that? Are you psychic?’

I shrugged again 

‘Yeh Sure, I’m an indigo child.’

I had read a book I found in the thrift store called 'Indigo Child.' It sounded good, and she seemed impressed. We spoke for over an hour. I read her well and enjoyed the awe on the stranger’s face.

She handed me a twenty dollar note.

‘Thank you, you are amazing what you do! I could not decide whether to fight for him or move on. You have helped me so much; you could do this for a living.’

From that day on, I knew my calling and I became great at it.

The fact I had seen her tell and overhead her plight in the cubicle next to me at the job search place remains only with me. She represented my first ‘Hot reading.’ I had mastered tells all my life. Reading people got me what I needed to survive. I grew my business attending conferences, high-end professional shows about building business, or hard-core sales on pyramid selling. They were people ripe for the picking. Twenty regulars would mean I could afford a place to live. Before I knew it, I had hundreds. 

Now I only accepted the richest, most miserable upper-class clients. In 10 years, I never had a complaint. Then Carol walked into my office and changed my life. She did not enjoy my reading. She did not want to believe what I felt. Usually, I would just tell them what they wanted to hear, but this woman, I could not let it go. I needed to get through to her. My gut told me she was in danger. This intuition led her to set me up. First reporting me and then sent two more people to do the same thing to fair-trading. She rang me just before Dennis, the fair-trading rep did, each time to brag about the fact.

Staring at my stylish office with its beautiful white walls softened with bamboo, spider plants and peace lilies, I felt a lump forming in my throat. I loved my own small place; I created a studio apartment behind the office, which kept me safe from the memories of my past. It was the first place in my life I felt safe, surrounded by minimal but elegant furniture, each piece a year’s worth of savings. 

‘What the hell am I meant to do? This life was all I knew.’

A darkness overcame me, like a shroud on a corpse. I closed my store and curled up in my reading lounge, numbed by the soft aroma of jasmine coming through the window on the evening breeze.

My eyes flew open without warning. The clock said 0300, my whole body felt stiff. A black mass formed in front of my eyes, swirling and diving until its size reached my height. Slowly, it formed into a figure. Though translucent, the form looked familiar. First the eyes, then the high-end haircut formed a well-manicured hand and then another. Its arms, slender and bronzed, the hands came around my shoulders as the shaking began.

My body convulsed underneath the figure, its rigorous assault sending my neck into spasms.

‘I am Dead Luna Blaise, or should I say, I’m Dead Jane Smith! I am Dead.’

The pain in my head felt as though a hot iron steamed through my brain. I screamed, the agony taking over every part of my body as blood spill over my eyes. My vision a curtain of red and grey mush.

I sat up with such force I ended up off the couch, landing on the floor. 

‘What the hell was that!’

All my muscles seized, it felt like I turned into the wizard of oz tin man in desperate need of oil. Slowly, I caught my breath, moving my arms first, finally being able to walk on two feet. I needed a scotch and I needed it fast. Opening a kitchen cupboard, I found a Frangelico bottle. ‘Even better!’ I thought. Grabbing the bottle, I turned to face the kitchen. Standing on the other side, a pale, black eyed image of Carol stared at me.

‘Ahhhhhh Shit!’

The glass bottle shattering across my floor and the scent of almond liquor did not register at that moment.

‘La La La, you are not real. Go away, I can’t see you!’

I kept my eyes shut tightly, wishing I could reach the light from where I stood. Silence surrounded me though, and after a few moments, I slowly opened one eye and then another. ‘Oh, thank Christ!’ I thought

‘I am still here Jan and I’m not going away until I get what I want from you!’ 

Stumbling over myself at the sound of her voice, I fell straight through her. It felt like I had just walked through a spider web.

Steadying myself on the fridge, I opened the door, found a beer and sculled it. 

‘For a psychic, you seem awfully upset to see a ghost, that’s for sure.’ 

Carol commented

‘Listen to me, you, whatever you are! You are not Carol. I just spoke to her a couple of hours ago. That vengeful wench is fine!’

The sound of laughter exploded in my mind. I could not get it out of my mind. It surrounded me. 

‘You were the last person I spoke to before Jed put an iron bar through my head. He is a vengeful prick, that one!’

‘Great, so now I’m a suspect in your death, too! You are a true pandora’s box Carol! GO AWAY.’

The image blurred, but it did not leave. 

‘You need to find my body; my family will need it for closure. I am not going anywhere until you do. I want the bastard caught for what he did to me!’

A bang on her door tore my vision away from the shadowy image. 

‘Jan Smith, we know you’re in there. Open the door now, this is the police!’

‘Shit, are they going to see you too?’

I turned back to where the ghost of Carol stood. The room stood empty in front of me. I tried to calm down, willing my fingers to not tremble as I opened the front door.

‘Do you want to announce your arrival in the whole suburb? jeez, I’m right here you know!’

I wondered why on earth would the police be at my door so quickly; it did not make sense. 

‘Ms Smith, do you know a Carol Bundy?’

‘You know that I know Carol Bundy,’

I tried to play it cool, though the flushed cheeks and shaking appendages may have given me away somewhat.

‘Tell them I’m dead! Tell them! Tell Them!’

Carol’s voice reverberated in my brain until I screamed in exasperation.

‘Back Off!’,

‘I beg your pardon. Do we need to take you down to the station?’

‘Oh, I’m sorry, it’s not you, look I know her. She and two of her friends reported me to fair-trading. She has jeopardised my business. We are not friends.’

‘So is that why you killed her!’

‘You are way off! What makes you think I could do such a thing?’

The lead detective, Lana Caruso, glared at me.

‘She is from a wealthy family. Her husband said there is no one who would want to hurt her other than you. We don’t know where her body is, but the amount of blood at her house is so much that there is no way she could be alive. Her husband said you were the last one to speak to her and she arranged for you to meet at her house.’

I knew they didn’t have her body, otherwise the psycho phantom wouldn’t be in my head. 

‘Great, my body shook like a leaf in a winter storm. I was being set up!’

‘I don’t even know where she lives! When did she die?’

She went missing between 3pm when her husband and her kids last saw her and 5pm today when her husband came home and found the blood.’

‘Well, good, I mean, oh bollocks! It’s good as I have camera evidence I have been in my business during the whole time.’

I motioned for them to follow me to my camera system. It showed me doing a reading from 3pm till 4.15pm, watering my plants and doing computer work until 4.45pm and then taking a phone call (My friend Dennis from fair-trading) finally, closing the store at 5.15pm. fifteen minutes earlier than usual but still long enough to alibi me.

The two police officers viewed and reviewed the footage. I grabbed the scotch bottle and sculled it.

‘Tell them where I am! tell them, tell them, TELL THEM!’

‘How can I tell them WHEN I DON’T KNOW!!’ 

My seemingly one-way conversation got the attention of the two detectives, though at the time, I did not notice.

‘If you want me to tell them, you need to help me!’

Carol’s cackle made the hair on my arms stand on end

‘I am in the drain by the river. I can feel the tide coming in. It will wash me away soon. It is the drain near my house. Tell them.’

I turned to look at the bemused people by my surveillance system. This whole affair was beyond ridiculous. Yesterday I could not speak to ghosts, I could only read tells. Now I’m being followed around by one I don’t want to know.

‘It may be hard for you to believe, but she is here, Carol, I mean. She said her husband killed her.’ I paused as Carol continued to speak to me. 

‘She said he had an affair, Carol found out. His secretary called her the wrong name. She followed him, and it did not take long to find out who he chose to be with and what they were doing. There is footage at the Hilton hotel. After they left, she confronted him outside their home.’ 

I shook my head at the vision she showed me.

‘Her body is in the drain near her house.’

The female detective frowned 

‘I thought you did not know where she lived!’

I screamed

‘By god I don’t! But you do. She is telling me this. Please, you don’t have to tell anyone, just please look. You need to get there before the tide comes in.’

The two detectives grabbed copies of the surveillance. Turning, the woman spoke.

‘We don’t believe in your mumbo jumbo, but we will check it out.’

Carol kept coming and going for the day and night. I woke the next morning with black eyes almost as bad as hers.

Turning on the news, I watched the red flashing alert on the bottom of the screen.

‘Police found the body of Carol Bundy. The Claremont police have taken her husband in for questioning.’

Suddenly, the image of Carol in front of her looked radiant.

‘Thank you, Jan Smith.’

Light auras spilled from the image, blurring her form until nothing but sparkling balls of light remained. Then they were gone.

I sighed, my mind at long last cleared of Carol’s screams. 

‘Please god, don’t do that again’ I giggled at my silent prayer. 

‘As if a male god would care about my prayers!’

The next day began like all other bookings and emails. I had just finished a reading, using the tells only, I had learnt my lesson about using my gut instinct, never again!

Suddenly, I felt a searing pain in my heart. The pain made me vomit, and the voice screamed in my head.

‘She shot me! My wife, she killed me for my money!’ 

Another dark shadow morphed into a forty-year-old man, his eyes dark glaring at me.

Sighing, I shrugged, ‘so this is my new normal,’ I thought.

I picked up the phone holding the detective’s business card and dialled.

January 03, 2022 07:58

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