The silver edges of the glass became dull and blended into the warm glowing light bursting from the centre of the ball. It always happened quickly, like when one falls asleep, and it’s impossible to remember the moment you become unconscious. One moment, she was looking down at the world; it’s milky, orange glow, entrapped by the glistening glass, and then suddenly she was inside.
‘Mmmh, yes I’m here,’ she said aloud, letting her voice ripple out beyond the atmosphere. She had to hold it all in her mind, every little detail suspended. She could do it easily when she was dreaming; alert herself that she was asleep and yet still manage to interact with scenes as though she was awake. It was the same thing with scrying but it was harder.
The young woman sitting beside her was difficult to ignore. She’d sensed her before she’d arrived. The night before, a quaking, slippery substance had squirmed and slithered into her bed. She’d awoken in a mad heat, the feeling stuck to her like the dank sweat coating her skin.
The young woman was quiet now, her lips a thin line, but still her flesh quivered and the clairvoyant felt every twitch like a shock of electricity. She tried to channel this frantic energy, draw it from the random points in her body, guide it up towards her forehead and use it to make the scene clearer.
And it worked, she was intuitive, of course, but also many years of experience made her adept at channeling energies. Her eye widened and the scene began to grow darker. The flickering light from the candle faded into a still sunset, like that of a painting, and the flickers turned to brush strokes.
There was someone there. She could sense their imminent reveal. Whether it was male or female, man or spirit she could not tell but she guessed human. There was a somewhat ethereal intensity burning in the sunset but it was also emotional, dripping with passion. It tasted like human feeling. And as she saw all this through the eye, a human did appear. She noticed suddenly that a thick dash of texture was in fact moving and spreading into human form.
‘It’s a girl, I think,’ the clairvoyant said, ‘a girl or a young woman. It’s not you. I could tell if it was you.’
She felt the young woman stir beside her. The girl was turned away, walking away from her towards the burning sky. The clairvoyant tried to reach her, call out with her third eye that she meant no harm. That she could feel everything she felt searing through her own veins.
The girl wasn’t really there of course. This was the future. It was all intangible, its fabric of reality could be unravelled now and sewn carefully back up at the end.
‘Dear child, someone wants to speak to you,’ the clairvoyant said.
The young woman shuddered beside her.
‘Cathy is here,’ said the clairvoyant, the young woman’s name fell from her mouth like a rock and the girl stopped suddenly, as though she’d heard it fall.
‘Cathy is here,’ the clairvoyant repeated, ‘Do you know Cathy?’
Still the silhouette did not move.
The young woman was shaking more violently now, little sparks flew from her and stung the woman’s skin. She knew the young woman wanted to say something. But she must stay quiet, the clairvoyant thought, if she utters one word the flow will break and I’ll lose her.
It was strange she couldn’t tell what the girl was feeling; whether it was pure ecstasy or screaming anguish. But she could feel it rushing through her hot and fast. She felt her temperature rise, and knew if she was touched she would burn.
‘My dear, are you happy?’ asked the clairvoyant.
Cathy sat, rocking beside her.
The sky was mellowing into soft pinks and purples and the woman crept closer to girl. She made no sound as she floated down the dirt track, the golden grass fluttering like the sea on each side.
‘Please stop’ said the girl, her voice barely a whisper. ‘Please don’t let Cathy see me.’ And the calmness of her voice jarred with the piercing shrieking racking through the women’s veins. It unnerved her.
‘Cathy can’t see you I promise,’ the woman said gently. Cathy suddenly sat still beside her, and the clairvoyant could feel her terrified eyes pressing on the side of her face.
‘I’m the only one who can see you, please my dear. Don’t be afraid.’
It was normal for people to be reluctant at first, or distrustful. The worlds she entered were strange, in-between places. They were the future as it stood, carefully plucked from shifting, alternative realities.
The beings she spoke to were saturated with twisting, layers of emotion.
Feelings she could not discern but that she felt through every fibre of her flesh. Sometimes their origins were easy to guess; the hurt pride that was often buried deep within young men. The sensation of an old bullet wound in the chest sometimes indicated deep, forgotten grief. Love often floated on the surface and created the sickening sensation of flying. With love, the woman often had to focus on grounding herself before she could feel the other emotions grasping at her.
‘What are you feeling child?’ she asked, ‘Look at me, see I mean no harm.’ Now she was close behind her, but the girl was still in shadow.
‘I don’t know how I feel,’ the girl said, her voice sounded full of tears. ‘Is Cathy okay? I know she wants to be here with me.’
‘The Cathy here is not the Cathy you know. What is Cathy doing where you are?’
‘She cries at night and calls for me,’ the girl said, her young voice was sharp and melodic.
‘She calls for you? How do you know she calls for you, are you with her at night?’
Cathy’s body shook and a sob erupted from her mouth. It vibrated through the air and echoed out into the painted world.
The girl turned her head, so that the woman could see her profile against the sky. ‘Is Cathy here?’ the girl asked fearfully.
‘She’s here, but she can’t see you and she can’t say anything, I’m channeling her energy.’
‘I have to go. I need to go. She can’t know I’m here!’ The girl began to walk forward, her body swaying and trembling like old film footage.
‘Please stop. Please if you ever loved Cathy turn around.’
Cathy continued to sob silently beside her, the pain slipped inside the orb and turned into silver fairies. They drooped like tear drops and danced around the scene.
‘I’ll turn around but you have to promise you won’t tell her.’
‘She just wants to know you’re okay. She misses you and she wants to know if you want her to find you. To go after you,’ said the clairvoyant.
‘Tell her I’m happy. Tell her I’m married and have five children. Tell her I love her but that I can’t see her because I’m happily married now and I want her to be happy too,’ the girl’s voice sounded grated with tears.
‘I fear she will never be content as long as she wonders where you are,’ the clairvoyant said.
‘Just tell her that!’
‘Is Cathy happy?’ asked the clairvoyant.
‘How should I know?’ the girl asked, her voice stung with tears.
‘Are you happy with her marriage?’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘When did you last speak to Cathy?’
The girl’s shoulders shook up and down as she gulped back tears. The fairies crowded around her, pulling her hair and grabbing at her. Their sad oblong faces reminded the woman of the sad face of a clown. The girl tried to shoo them away but their little fists clung fiercely to her hair and she whipped round to get them.
It was a flash of white skin, and red was draped down her neck like a scarf. The girl realised her mistake and stood, one clear, grey eye staring at the woman.
The other side of her face was a mess of pink flesh and bloodied brain. Nausea rose up inside the clairvoyant.
‘Oh, oh I...’ she felt faint. The edges began to blur and she knew she was about to wake up. The girl watched, her eye glistening.
‘Tell her to say yes,’ the girl’s voice rang through the darkness. ‘Tell her I want her to be happy. That one day I’ll see her again!’
And the burning in her veins was pain, pain and bliss, an overpowering sensation. The woman’s head spun and her heart thundered in her chest.
‘Don’t tell her where I am!’ the clairvoyant shouted, the girl’s words seemed to get caught inside her and she spoke them through her own mouth. ‘Tell her I love her, that I want her to be happy!’
The grass caught fire and burned, the smoke choked the woman and her vision went black. She heard the girl’s feet, turn and plod down the track. She imagined the grass burning up around her.
‘She’s dead!’ She’s dead! the woman blurted. She opened her eyes to find Cathy’s tear stained face above her.
‘What?’ Cathy exclaimed, ‘No! Oh lord. No!’ She began to howl like an animal.
The woman sat up slowly. ‘She told me she loves you Cathy. She loves you and she doesn’t want you to find her.’
Cathy’s screams drowned out her voice.
‘She loves you and she wants you to say yes. She wants you to marry him.’
Cathy couldn’t hear her, she was hysterical, her blue eyes wild, and the woman sank back onto the floor. She wondered if Cathy would have ever said yes, even if she’d looked into the future and seen her living happily with her husband.
The girl with one eye was her true love, thought the woman. She knew this pain, and had felt it many times. Cathy’s screams penetrated through her and burned like the pain of the girl. And the woman knew, she was intuitive like that, she knew that Cathy wouldn’t marry the man. And there was something else in those screams, a darkness seeping beneath them, that made the clairvoyant know that Cathy would search for the girl, and see her one eye for herself.