Never Be a Medium

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write a story about a pathological liar.... view prompt

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Horror Funny Fantasy

Man, I used to love my job!

Now, look at me. 

Would you believe me that I got big bucks just to lie? 

Of course you wouldn’t, you’re too trusting of other people. That’s your problem. You expect everyone to be honest with you. Well, guess what. That’s exactly how people like me take advantage of people like you. We rely on your naivete and willingness to see the good in people to our advantage. I’m only telling you this now because there’s no point for me to lie any longer. 

You see, like many people in these neck of the woods, all I wanted to do was to make money as easy as possible. So what do I do? I become a professional medium of course. You think it being the twenty-first-century high-minded people would have no need for spiritualism and the supernatural, but that’s where you are wrong. Those people who live in million-dollar mansions are just like you and me. Believe me, they hide it the best they can, but they only reveal their true selves once the cameras are turned off. 

Ironic ain’t it? 

They spend all this dough convincing others they know what’s up, but when the cards hit the table, they’re the first ones to be duped by a low life like me. Takes a liar to know one, understand?

Anyway, I would spend my days traveling down the Hollywood strip, banishing evil spirits and setting good ones free. Once the bills and taxes were paid, I spent all my money on booze and clothes. If you want to act professional, you got to look professional. I’m talking a three-piece suit, a gold chain necklace, a button-down shirt with my pecs and chest hairs exposed, denim jeans, black shoes, fifteen gold rings (three for each finger), brown tinted sunglasses, and tall wavy hair that yelled “I’m the boss of this town! Don’t mess with me!” 

I had billboards with my face plastered on them all over LA and the best part of being a medium is that you can say anything you want, and none of it would be considered false advertising! I could say that I grabbed evil spirits by the throat, send them to the nether, and everyone would believe me. I was on top of the world! Since those movie folk don’t have any concept of money, I’d get paid thousands of dollars just to walk around the property and spout a bunch of mumbo jumbo I made on the fly. And they ate it all up! It was amazing! 

But then I got the call. 

Oh, boy if I knew what was to happen next, I would have never picked up. 

The call came from some broad named Ebanine Straton on the east side of Hollywood. 

Without giving it a second thought, I packed up my things and headed out.

Mrs. Stratton’s estate was quite big for one person, but then what do I care? There must have been seven to eight rooms, each filled to the brim with stuff from the good ol’ days. The lady herself was the widow of Jefferson Straton who was an executive producer for Hammer Head Studio. It's alright if you've never heard of them before. The whole operation sounded like a tax write-off to me, but hey, if I had a creative bone in my body, I would do the same thing. 

I drove to the large house and greeted the eccentric woman with a warm handshake and a welcoming grin. The lady wore a red scarf around her head with a little red feather. Her face was pale and covered in dark blue veins. The lady wouldn’t stop shaking, I was afraid she would fall over before I could charge her the bill. 

To sell the bit, I placed my fingers on my forehead and closed my eyes.

“What’s wrong?” asked Mrs. Stratton.

“Nothing, it’s just that…” I gave out a gasp for dramatic effect. “I’ve never felt so much spiritual energy before.”

“See, I told you,” said the lady. “Ever since my Jeffy died, terrible things have been happening here.”

“Don’t worry madam,” I said, flashing her my infamous grin. “If anyone can put a spirit to rest, it’s yours truly.”

Mrs. Stratton smiled and collapsed her hands together. 

“Please, come in, come in!” she said, holding me by the hand. 

If there’s one thing that impresses me about my clients is their willingness to believe everything and anything, no matter how bogus it is.

Mrs. Stratton gave me a tour of each room while giving me her entire life story. I picked up on a few things, but I ignored most of her incoherent ramblings. After all, I was a medium, not some cheap magazine reporter doing a story on Hollywood nobodies.

According to her, the spirit was residing in the lounge room. 

A chandelier hung from the ceiling, and every piece of furniture was covered in hard, crusty plastic. The whole room smelt like dust despite the floors looking like they were just waxed, and the fact this woman could afford a maid. 

I closed my eyes once and gave Mrs. Stratton a performance she would never forget.

“I’m sensing, someone is here with us,” I said, sticking out my left hand and moving it around as if I were turning a steering wheel. 

“Is it my Jeffy?” Mrs. Stratton asked, grabbing my free hand. “Please tell me it’s Jeffy!” 

“Don’t know,” I recited. “It’s a little weak. I may need to get a closer look."  

“I begged him to stop throwing things last night,” Mrs. Stratton insisted. “Perhaps he’s tuckered out.” 

It was good that my eyes were closed because they would have been rolling. I couldn’t believe there were people like Mrs. Stratton who feared every bump in the night. 

“Do you know why your husband would be throwing things?” I asked, doing my best not to grin. “Perhaps he’s angry about something? Maybe it’s the reason he hasn’t moved on.” 

“Well there were some deals that went bad, there was one that he was really looking forward to before he died.” 

I could tell Mrs. Stratton was holding back.  

I opened my eyes and did my best to look comforting to the old woman. 

“You can trust me,” I told her, and for the cherry on top I added, “Don’t you want your husband to be at peace?”

Mrs. Stratton’s lips quivered, and tears fell from her eyes. 

“It was going to be big,” she whimpered. “He was making a deal with Orbital Comics. He said it was going to be Hammer Head’s Cinematic Universe.”

“I assume it didn’t turn out well?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“No, it went horribly,” she cried. “Not only did he die two days before he signed the contract, but the studio was barely making ends meet.”

“So, he regrets not making a deal with Orbital Comics?” I already knew the answer, but it was important for Mrs. Stratton to say it aloud.

“Yes, I believe he regrets it very much,” Mrs. Stratton went into a fit of tears. I gave her a hug and rubbed her back. I allowed her to weep for a few more moments before I couldn’t take it anymore. 

I have several methods on how to get out of a sob story.  For that day I chose Method Number Thirteen, pretending to have a headache due to a sudden rise of spiritual energy. 

“Madam, I must get to work,” I said, giving a fake groan. “Your husband’s spirit is regaining his strength. I must act now!” 

Mrs. Stratton gasped and released her grip on my arm. 

“Is there anything I can do?” she blubbered. “Perhaps I can stay and help encourage Jeffy to move on.”

“No, madam,” I said, gritting my teeth. “Your presence here will only give your husband more incentive to stay! Quick, close yourself off in another room, and don’t come out until I say so!” 

Mrs. Stratton wasted no time and bolted out of the room without saying a word.  

I waited for her to close the door before doing my magic, which is doing absolutely nothing. 

Well… that’s not entirely true. 

I wave a bunch of burning incense around and say spiritual stuff for fifteen minutes, but that’s usually it. Sometimes I yell or hit the wall to give my clients something to talk about. These house cleansings cost around seven-hundred-fifty a pop, plus travel expenses, so I might as well give them a little show. 

“Go on Jefferson,” I said, knowing Mrs. Stratton could hear me. “Time to move on. Head towards the light. That’s it. Head towards the light.”

I waited a few seconds, and then Mrs. Stratton said it was okay to come out and that her husband’s spirit was at peace. 

The woman gave me a big hug, a dry kiss on the cheek, and most importantly, my check. 

I went to bed sleeping soundly after taking advantage of another gullible customer. Or, I would have if I didn’t get a call around two o’clock in the morning.  

If I knew what was best for me, I would have slept through it, but after seeing the number belonged to Mrs. Stratton I felt compelled to answer.

“Come back here now!” she shouted. 

“Ma’am it’s…” but she didn’t let me finish. 

“You said my husband was at peace. Well, you lied, sir. You lied to me! He’s still here!” 

The lady was so mad, that I could feel her breath running down my neck.

How could she know that I lied? 

I brushed it aside as her being crazy, but I still felt uneasy. 

“Don’t worry ma’am, I’ll be right there,” I told her. 

“You better! You’ll have to hell to pay if you do,” she growled. “If you don’t solve this right now I’ll get my lawyers, and you’ll be sued all the way to Sunday!” 

“That’s nice,” I mumbled before hanging up.  At first, I wanted to stay in my bed, but I didn’t want to get a second angry call, so I forced myself into some clothes and drove back to Mrs. Stratton’s manor. 

I drove up to the gate, only to see her standing in nothing but a red kimono robe. 

She raised  her hands in a cartoonish manner and placed them firmly on her hips. Before I could get a word out, the lady started screaming at me like a banshee. 

“Jeeze, lady!” I said, rubbing my ears. “What’s your problem?” 

“My problem? My problem?” she wailed. I took a few steps back just in case she planned on throwing a fist or two. You might laugh, but she looked crazy enough to try it. 

“Fine, I’ll go in there just stop yelling at me!” I groaned, flinging my trunk open and dragging my suitcase of herbs out. 

“Oh, you better!” Mrs. Stratton scoffed without seeing a need to back up her threat, but then again, she didn’t need to. 

It didn’t matter if I thought she was either mad or craving attention, she was rich. She could use all her money to make sure to end my career. So, I had no choice but to go back and cleanse the house once again. 

The first thing I noticed was how dark everything was. I had to turn the flashlight setting on my phone to see anything. I felt glass crunching underneath the souls of my shoes. Scanning the room, I saw an array of collapsed lamps and light fixtures. 

I was astounded by how far Mrs. Stratton was in her delusions. I never thought I would see any destroy their house to prove the existence of spirits. My hairs stood on end just thinking about it, or was it the sudden cold breeze that filled the room? 

I walked into the living room, which was cold enough to be a walk-in freezer. I had to rub my hands to keep warm.

I threw open my suitcase and got out some herbs and incense. 

“Mister Stratton, if you are here, give me a sign!” I recited from the other day.

Just when I went to the next line, I heard a scratching sound behind me. 

I dropped the incense as soon as I turned around.  

On the wall, right above the couch, I could see words being scratched in as they were carved in by someone with a knife. 

G-E-T O-U-T

“Oh, come on!” I had, had quite enough of Mr. Stratton’s games. True, she could snap my entire life out of existence, but she didn’t have to insult my intelligence. As I stormed out of the house, I was willing to make a deal with her if it meant saving my career and not having to deal with her over-the-top guilt trip. 

Thank goodness she was standing in front of the door, I was not looking forward to trudging back outside. Unfortunately,  it didn't look like she would be dropping the charade anytime soon. I saw that she was wearing contacts because her eyes were pitch black. 

"Alright, Mrs. Stratton, you got me," I said spreading my arms wide. "I'm sure we can reach some sort of understanding. How about I give you a fifty-percent refund?" 

She moaned. I was impressed by the fake blood squirting out of her lips as she grind her teeth. 

"Okay, okay, since you've put so much production value into this…this…" My mind struggled to think of another word. "Well, whatever.  I'll give you an eighty percent refund, how's that sound?" 

"Get out!" Boomed a deep growling voice which Mrs. Stratton lip-synced to. 

"Alright, what’s this Disney World," I asked, patting down each wall. "Are there like hidden speakers or something?" 

I laughed, but my jovial mood was cut short.

I felt something push me down, but instead of hitting the ground, my body hit a bed of air! It didn't make any sense. I waved my hands above and below me to find the strings, but I couldn't. 

For the first time in my life, I ever came face to face with the spirit world, and I was petrified! 

If this thing was powerful enough to loft me off my feet, what else could it do to me? My mind went wild, flipping through every horror movie I have ever seen. Would it split me in half? Rip me apart? Make me go mad? Send me to its sinister dimension of no return? 

Well, whatever it had planned, I was about to find out. 

I saw myself moving further away from Mrs. Stratton, and I could feel a breeze brushing against my body. 

Lights flashed around me. China plates zoomed passed my skull and crashed into the wall. I tried begging with the spiritual entity, but all I could get out was a whimper and a scream. I didn't want to die, not like this.

"GET OUT!" 

My body went flying through the window and tumbled onto the grass. Shards of glass pierced my designer jacket and scraped my hands. When I hit the ground, I felt my bones crack. 

I must have lain on the grass for hours until someone called and the ambulance came for me. 

And that’s my story. 

I left my suitcase at that house, and it can stay there. The evil spirit can keep it to its little heart's content. 

I'll never be a medium ever again!

Too risky to tell lies if you wind up having to face the truth.

July 30, 2022 01:38

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1 comment

Graham Kinross
00:24 Aug 06, 2022

Never get yourself involved with rich people if you can help it seems to be the lesson of the tale. They’ll just go ballistic when things don’t go their way. She knew it was nonsense and she still went for it, why get mad when the fortune teller tripped up in the lies? Just shows her insecurity.

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