The Prediction 

Amanda Chancey drummed her fingers on the black tablecloth. She sat across from the fortune-teller again, hopeful a new love relationship was on the horizon. Unfortunately, she had a habit of only hearing what she wanted to hear, grasping onto the wrong nuggets and taking off with them, only to return to the psychic looking for new answers and the promise of romance.  

While the fortune-teller shuffled cards, Amanda peered through the lace curtains. On the small lawn with overgrown grass was a hand-painted sign by the street: “Psychic, Medium, Tarot & Palm Reading.”

The fortune-teller turned the first tarot card. “There is a crossroad in front of you.”

“A crossroad?” Amanda’s eyes were as wide as the fortune-teller’s crystal pendant. “Tell me which one to take.” 

“Take the patient road.”

“Not that again.” If Amanda was willing to be patient, she wouldn’t be here. “What’s down the other road?”

The fortune-teller flipped the second card.

“A man. An important man who will be famous and loved by millions.”

Amanda brightened, sat taller, and leaned closer to the table. “Will he be my husband?”

“You will be the most important person in his life, his goals, his destiny.”

“Ha! I told you! Every time I come here you tell me to be patient, that my perfect match awaits me later in life.”

“That is true. You will be happy in love, but it will be many years from now.” The fortune-teller pointed to the first card. “Take this road.” She pointed to the second. “Not that one.”

“Meanwhile all my friends are in relationships. I’m prettier than any of them. I went to a better college and I drive a fancier car. But they keep rubbing it in that I’m the one without a love life.” 

The fortune-teller tucked her lips between her teeth, and straightened the edges of the cards. 

Amanda sank back in her chair and crossed her arms. “What? You don’t believe me?”

“That’s not it.” The fortune-teller stopped tapping the cards and locked her gaze on Amanda. “You don’t need a love life to be happy. For that matter, you don’t need to be pretty, have gone to a special college, or drive a fancy car. Your friendships might need adjusting, too, if they make you feel bad for not being in a relationship.”  

Amanda sat quietly, considering what the fortune-teller said. Then she shook it off. “Look, last month I was a bridesmaid again in one of my friend’s weddings. Did you know what color the dresses were? Peach. Peach isn’t my color and Suze knows it. She also made us wear our hair in ridiculous updos. I’ve told her I'm self-conscious about my ears. She did it on purpose to remind me I wasn’t the beautiful bride. I look terrible in the pictures. She probably laughs every time she looks at them.”  

“Maybe she made those choices because it’s summertime,” the fortune-teller offered.

“You don’t know Suze. She did it to twist the knife.” Of that, Amanda was certain. As certain as she was about the important man the fortune-teller saw in the second card. “Back to this new man.” She tossed her hair and cupped her hands on the table. “What else do you see?”

The fortune-teller drew another card and turned it. “Oh my, I didn’t expect this.”

“What? Tell me what’s there.”

“You will share your heart with this man.”

“The man from the second card? The famous man loved by millions?” Excitement and adrenaline flashed inside her like a lightening storm.

The fortune-teller nodded. “His accomplishments will be because of you. He will be eternally grateful for your gift to him, which he’ll repeat over and over throughout his life.”

Amanda pressed her hand to her chest and sighed, “How romantic. Who is he? When will I meet him?”

“The man I see will be on your airplane.”

Amanda practically jumped from her chair. “I have a flight booked next week for work!” 

The fortune-teller tsked. “I advise you not to take this path. You will lose the man awaiting in your future.”

“Now your’re talking in circles. You just said my future husband is on my flight. He’ll be powerful and thank me for his greatness. That sounds better than waiting until I’m an old lady.” Amanda flopped back in her chair. “Will the old guy coming later be rich and powerful and famous?”

“No.” The fortune-teller held up a finger, “but you will make each other very happy for the rest of your lives.”

“This sounds better. My friends will be so jealous.” Amanda leaned in again. “What signs am I looking for? How will I know it’s him?”

The fortune-teller grabbed a notepad and pen. She closed her eyes and swirled the pen on the pad. She made big circles, then littler, littler, then wrote something. She opened her eyes and slid the pad across the table. Amanda pulled it closer. In the middle, among all the swirls were two letters “SW.”

Amanda lifted her eyes to the fortune-teller. “What does this mean?” 

“Those are the initials of the important man on the plane.”

Amanda traced her fingertip over the initials. “These are the initials of the famous and beloved man who will credit me for his amazing life.” She practically whispered it in her awe.

“Yes, but I advise you not to be hasty. Wait for your other destiny. This man can have someone else’s heart and his destiny will be the same.”


Amanda wore her lucky outfit to the airport. It was a statement suit that showed off her figure and complemented her complexion. She arrived early and sat at her gate to find her SW.  

A handsome man, casually dressed, took a seat nearby. He put his phone to his ear, “Hey, it’s Steve.” Amanda straightened her posture. “Call me when you get this.” She checked his hand. Wedding band. Strike one.

An announcement came on, “Mr. Wilson, please report to the gate counter.” Amanda held her breath. An elderly couple stepped to the counter, the man handing over his passport. Strike two. 

A mother with two children approached the waiting area. The daughter hugged her teddy bear and bounced along next to her brother who was in a wheelchair, frail and pale, despite his long teenage frame. An IV bag dangled from a pole connected to his arm by a tube. They settled in next to Amanda, cramping her style and visibility. Worse, the wheelchair boy wheezed when he drew breaths which sent slugs up Amanda’s spine.

She moved seats and, as soon as she’d settled, a sloppy fat man in a suit plopped himself two seats over. He set his briefcase and leather journal in the chair between them. He groaned reaching to tie his shoelace. The cover of his journal was embossed with “Whitley.” 

Amanda swallowed hard but tried to appear pleasant. “Excuse me, I’m curious about your journal.” The man turned and grunted as he sat back up. “Where did you have your name embossed?” She pointed to the journal.

“I didn’t. It came like that. Brand name, I guess.”   

“Ah.” Relieved, she scanned the waiting area.  

Boarding began and Amanda gathered her things and went to the end of the line. She found her window seat. Good, the seat next to her was empty, apparently the only empty spot on the flight. After the plane takes off, she’d move over and make herself more visible. 

Excited and delighted, she buckled up. 

The little girl with the teddy bear climbed into the empty seat next to her. 

Amanda held in her groan.

“I’m Bella Sanford, what’s your name?” The little girl swung her feet and smiled. She had a missing tooth.  

“Amanda.” She turned away and stared out the window.

“What’s your last name?”

Amanda sighed with a little exasperation mixed in. “Chancey.” 

“Why are you on this plane, Amanda Chancey?”


“I’m here cuz my brother is sick. Michael. He has to sit somewhere else. We’re going to another hospital. Dad usually sits with me, but he’s on another plane this time.”  

Amanda would rather have forks jabbed in her ears rather than endure Bella’s jibber-jabber the whole freaking flight.

The girl’s mother appeared. “Good job on the seatbelt, dear. You all set? You know where Michael and I are, right? Maybe this nice lady can help you if you need it.” She gestured to Amanda.

Bella peered up at her mother. “Her name is Amanda Chancey and she’s on this plane for work.”

The mother snickered and directed her attention back to Amanda. “I see Bella has wasted no time getting to know her neighbor. She remembers everything, so I’m sure I’ll be hearing all about you when the flight is over. Just let her know if you need quiet time.”

Amanda wasn’t sure if Bella knew the definition of quiet time, but at least she wasn’t stuck next to the brother’s constant wheezing. New plan: she’d walk the isles after the plane was in the air. Her SW would find her.

The flight took off, a bumpy one where no one could leave their seats. Bella droned on about all her travels over the last three years, all for her brother’s illness, as if Amanda cared or was the slightest bit interested. “When I grow up, I want to be a flight attendant, a heart doctor, or a ballerina.”

When they landed, Amanda’s patience was down in cargo with the luggage. 

The flight attendant came. “I’m taking you back to your mommy.”

“I know. We have to get off the plane last.” Bella bounced away smiling her toothless smile and waving goodbye to Amanda.  

Amanda stood and opened the overhead compartment.

“Let me help you with that.” The man was dashingly handsome. 

How had she not spotted this adonis until now? A wide smile crept across her face and she tossed her hair, brushing her fingertips on her shoulder, her well-practiced signature move. “Thank you.”

They exited the plane walking side-by-side until they’d made it to baggage claim.  Peering up at him through her eyelashes, she cleared her throat. “I’m Amanda.” She extended her hand, not too forcefully, not too demure. Just right.

“Skip.” His hand enveloped hers. “I noticed you boarding the plane. But then, how could I not?  You’re the most attractive woman on the flight.”  


“He’s perfect!” Amanda told the fortune-teller. “His name is Skip, or that’s what everyone calls him. His full name is Richard William Sanks, so the initials aren’t quite right, but they’re close. We’ve been seeing each other for three months. He’s an ivy-league graduate, comes from loads of money, and has a high-powered job that requires a lot of travel to exotic places. His company employs thousands of people around the globe.” She practically squealed the last part.

“This man has secrets. I advise you to wait for your future love. You cannot have both,” the fortune-teller warned.

“I don’t want the old man who comes later. Skip is dreamy. Besides, he told me his secret. He had a drinking problem, but he’s sober now. He doesn’t mind that I have a glass of wine with dinner.” She flattened her hands on the table. “Now back to the reading. Do you see a wedding for us?”

“There will be no wedding.”

“What?” Amanda glowered. “I don’t think you understand our relationship. We’re in love.”

“I’m sure you are, but there won’t be a wedding.”

“Look again.” Amanda tapped the deck.


“Ta-da.” Amanda held out her hand and showed the fortune-teller her band. “And you said we wouldn’t be married. See, you’re not always right.”

“I’m always right. It’s up to my clients to listen. You didn’t ask me if you were getting married, you asked if there would be a wedding. Was there a wedding?”

Amanda made a pouty face. “Well, no. We went to city hall.” She brightened. “But he promised me something lavish later, after the big company merger when his money won’t be locked up anymore. He said I could make it as grand as I wanted, with all my friends, making them jealous of how perfect we are.” She eyed her wedding band. “I'll be getting a better ring, too, one with big diamonds.”

“I see. Then why are you here today?”

“I want to know when he will be famous, of course.”

“Who?” The fortune-teller questioned.

“Skip, my husband.” Amanda squinched her face. “You’re the one who isn’t listening.”

“No, you aren’t listening. I advise you to get out of this relationship and wait for your destined love.”

“Yeah, yeah, we’ve been through that. Just tell me when he’s going to make a name for himself.”

The fortune-teller turned a tarot card. “Your husband’s name will be widely known this year. He will be in the news in a matter of months.”


Amanda went snooping for her birthday present. Skip had hinted at a surprise and she was hoping for expensive jewelry. She checked drawers, under the mattress, and all the usual places for a small box. She stood on a chair in the closet to check the top shelf. She peeked in the hot water heater closet. Nothing. When she closed the door, there was a loud clunk. She reopened the door and a metal lockbox lay on the floor. She peered above the door frame and spotted a small section of wall removed. That’s where the box must’ve fallen when she shut the door. 

She grinned, squealed, and clapped her hands. She’d found the hiding spot. But the box was locked. From the tool drawer, she grabbed a screwdriver and hammer, knelt over the box, and wrenched it open. 

There was no jewelry inside. Only papers. Two articles, both about dead women, one who died from a fall, the other by suicide. She sifted through more of the contents. Driver’s licenses from three states, all with Skip’s photo, but using different names. Bank statements of women. Five marriage certificates, including theirs. Including the two dead women. Life insurance policies on the women from the marriage certificates. Including hers. 

“You weren’t supposed to find that.” Amanda jumped and turned.


She lept to her feet, clutching the policy. “No. I, I…what—” 

He grabbed her by the throat and pushed his thumbs deep into her trachea. His face twisted into a horrible expression, his lips peeled back. Amanda kicked and fought, but his grip was too tight. Darkness began its descent over her. 

The distant sound of a doorbell rang.  


For months the local news ran the story of Skip Sanks, one of his many aliases. Amanda Chancey was virtually a side-note, the woman found unconscious in their rental by a delivery man. She died during resuscitation attempts.


The fortune-teller turned on the TV to watch her favorite show. For almost a decade, her home psychic business was no longer. She’d found something more interesting and profitable: working with unsolved crime units. Unlike her home clients, detectives actually listened.  

The TV show began with its signature crack of thunder.

“Welcome, friends.” The elegant man swept his hands open to the audience. “First, I want to thank my legions of fans for supporting me. My book Chance Encounters is another best seller. But it’s your stories, our stories, of miracles, coincidences, and chance encounters which made my book possible.” The audience cheered.  

“Today’s first guest is my own sister, Bella. She will relate an encounter she had on a plane as a child with a woman who later tragically died.”  

“Awww,” the audience sounded.

“I know, it’s sad. But that’s not where the story ended; it’s where it began.” The crowd cheered again.

The room darkened, thunder clapped, and a lightning bolt dashed across the big screen behind him. It went to black, then a white pinpoint circled, growing larger and larger, spinning on the screen, initials emerged and swirled—MS, SW, MS, SW, MS, SW.

“You're watching Super Wonders. I’m your host, Michael Sanford, grateful to you, and eternally grateful to Amanda Chancey who literally gave me her heart which has beat in my chest since I was a teenager. I urge you all to be organ donors. Stay tuned for today’s miracles.”

June 24, 2022 18:47

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CoCo Lee
14:13 Jul 04, 2022

Wow I'm extremely impressed by this story! I loved how self-absorbed Amanda was, how all she wanted was a rich husband etc. I thought this was lovely how it was written, and how you could picture every scene thanks to your vivid descriptions. I also loved the twist, it added even more edge to the story. Great writing!


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Alice Richardson
09:04 Jul 02, 2022

A good story with a great ending. Didn't see that coming.


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