The dark room still thrummed with the feeling of those from the afterlife. Overhead the light flickered back to life and the smoke from the overpowering incense danced its way to the ceiling as though they held the spirits of those who had spoken from the other side. The overhead light finally after a few failed flickers came to life completely and lit the room completely. The bandana floated to the table and were followed by large hoop earrings that clinked on top of it. There was a small laugh that caught her attention as the door to the back room opened.
“Someone is going to catch you out,” announced a deep voice through the laughter. Phillip stood at about 190 centimetres with dark hair and a well chiselled physique that came with his daily gym visits.
“I thought you were out tonight,” she replied.
“The all-seeing great Madame Lavinia should have foretold that I was to be stood up tonight,” Phillip chided as he ducked out of the way of a cushion that was being hurled at him. He raised his eyebrows at her as he heard the continued sound of wind and rain on the clearest night he had seen in weeks.
“Stop music,” she announced to her smart speaker as she giggled. She got up from her seat and headed over to the door of the small shopfront she rented with the small living quarters upstairs for herself and Phillip. She flicked over the sign from Open to Closed on the ornately painted glass door. The cash box clunks on the table as she pulls it up from under the table. The lock pops open with a satisfying click as she rolls through the combination numbers. She smiles happily at the cash inside the box.
“$500 for the day,” she announces.
“I hate that you make more than me by lying,” he told her.
“It’s to compensate for having to live with you,” she laughed as she tossed another cushion at him. The two of them enjoyed a pizza dinner and a few beers. An approaching storm changed the atmosphere and she shivered.
“Lana, how much longer are you planning on keeping up this charade?” Philip asked.
“Probably about as long as we keep telling your parents that I’m your girlfriend,” she replied. Philip grabbed his chest as though she had shot him in the heart and flopped himself down on the couch. A streak of nearby lightning streaked through the sky and cracked loudly causing him to jump back up to his feet. Lana pulled aside the bedsheet they had propped up to be a curtain in the small second floor apartment. The majority of the interior decoration budget went to the business downstairs, so the top level was quiet sparse. Philip often referred to it as homeless chique. The small window looked out to the dark night and the dancing lights that streaked across and down the sky.
“Shouldn’t you be putting out stones to charge or some…” he was cut off by another cushion throw. Lana laughed at the shocked look on his face but was cut short when a bolt of lightning cracked very close throwing the two of them off balance. She rubbed her eyes to try and clear them of the spots that had formed. A look out the window revealed that the streetlamp just outside had fallen victim to the strike.
“Wow that was close,” Lana said stating the obvious. Philip was still staring out the window with his mouth agape. “I better get to bed got a big day of clients tomorrow.” Lana stretched her arms up and headed towards her room. She stops and turns when she realises that her housemate has not moved from the window. “It’s late.”
“I don’t think I will be able to sleep for a long time after that. How is your heart rate not through the roof?”
Lana shrugs and leads him to the couch. She grabs out another beer each and before she notices it, they have finished off the whole carton.
Lana groaned as the morning sun streamed through the window and she covered her eyes with her forearm.
“You’re clients here,” whispered a voice.
“Philip why didn’t you wake me earlier,” she jumps up and notices that Philip is still passed out on the floor. She makes her way to the window and looks out. There is indeed someone waiting for her. She races downstairs and throws her stuff together and opens the door.
A young well-dressed man who was easy on the eyes stood in the doorway.
“Can I help you?” Lana asks,
“I heard you can talk to dead people,” he said.
“Yes, that’s me Madame Lavinia,” she tells him. She takes him into the room and motions for him to sit.
“It’s ok I can stand,” he says.
“Ok who do you want to speak to?”
He raises an eyebrow at her “You’re the supposed psychic you tell me.”
Lana quickly checks her book that is on the bench and realises that her first appointment was a woman.
“No but she’s on her way. I’m her brother and she will have a lot of questions,” he says. There is a knock at the door. She gets up to open it and a woman with strikingly similar features to the man already inside stands there,
“I want my money back,” she yells. “I paid the deposit online, but I looked into you and you are a phoney. Everyone says to avoid you.”
“You didn’t even give me a chance. Your brother wants to join your session.”
The woman slams he fist against the door.
“Give me back my money,” she adds raising her voice.
“I’ll do your session at a discount. Your brother is already inside so you might as well join him.”
“You’re sick you know that!! Preying on people who have lost someone…” she slams her first against the door frame again and storms off. Lana turns back to the room, and it is empty. That afternoon several clients cancel, and her social media page is slammed with accusations of her being fake. The building is egged, and the front window painted with the word “Faker”. Lana sits at her table with her head in her hands.
“You knew this would catch up with you one day,” a familiar voice said. Lana looks up and sees her first client from the morning standing there.
“How did you…”
“I never left,” he told her. Lana opens her mouth as though to say something but then closes it again.
“I need you to get my sister to listen to you,” he explains.
“She was the start of everything falling apart today. She wants he money back,” Lana sighs.
“Then give it to her. There is something she needs to know,’ he walks towards the door and motions for her to follow him. They walk down several streets and come to a small house he motions for her to knock. She does and as soon as the door is answered it is slammed in her face.
“Call her Lily Bear,” he advises.
“Why don’t you call her that?” Lana asks. He sighs and puts his hand up to knock on the door. But there is no sound. Lana looks up and sees that his hand is not touching the door and with each knock seems to go through it. Lana jumps back and screams. The door swings open.
“What the hell is going on?”
Lana gapes and points to where the man is standing.
“She can’t see me,” he tells her. “Now say hey Lily bear…”
“Hey Lily bear..” Lana starts cautiously the other womans eyes widen. “It’s me Silly Bear.”
“I thought you were a fake…”
He then walks into the house. Lana follows slowly cautious to not get hit by the woman who she now remembered was Lily from the booking. He heads to a room down the hallway. Lana puts her hand on the handle.
“You can’t go in there..” but the door is already open and it looks as though it has been untouched since the passing of her brother. He points to the closet and directs Lana to a shoebox that is far back on the top shelf. Lana hands it to Lily who sits on the bed and is surround by a puff of dust that comes out proving the room has been untouched for a long time. She opens the box and pulls out several newspaper clippings. It doesn’t take Lana long to realise that they are all in regard to the murder of a couple.
“I found our parents killer Lily Bear and I thought I could stop him,” he says through Lana. Lily continues through the box and produces a family photo of her parents and what appear to be some uncles and cousins. One of them is circled in red.
“Uncle Mark?” she whispers. Tears start to well in her eyes. “But how could he..”
“Without mum in the picture he stands to inherit millions from grandad.”
“He killed his own sister and brother-in-law for money?”
After a few days of preparation and talking to a police officer who was finally willing to help them out Lily and Lana were able to set up an interview with Uncle Mark. The officer questioned him, and he denied everything. Lily then tried and while she cried Uncle Mark got more annoyed at her. Then it was Lana’s turn with the help of Silly Bear who she had learned was called Tyson.
“Remember when we used to play down by the lake?” Lana asked. Mark stared at her very confused. “You me and dad while mum and the girls would stay up at the house. We found that wounded rabbit that I wanted to try and save and you slit its throat before dad even had a chance to shield my eyes. I was four the first time I saw you kill something and the last thing I ever saw was you killing me.”
Mark jumped out of his chair and tried to come at her and before Lana could react there was another woman in the room. She recognised her from the photo where she had been standing next to Mark.
“He wanted what was best for our girls,” she said.
“Who is this?” Lana asked Tyson.
“Aunty May is here,” Lana told Mark. “I guess just May to you.”
“What the hell are you doing?” Mark growled as he lunged forward the police officer had returned to the room to restrain him.
“May says there is nothing you could have done for her the cancer was so advanced that no amount of treatment was going to help.”
“You’re insane if you think I am ever going to believe..”
“She still wears the pendant you got her at the Arndale fair where you had your first kiss by the Ferris wheel,” Lana continued. “She wants you to give Lily the peace of mind she deserves. She says that your girls will still be set up but there was no need for you to do what you did.”
After hours of refusing an arguing Mark finally admits to the fact that he was the one who killed Lily’s parents. But that Tyson was an accident he came after him with the accusations and he only meant to shove him away he hadn’t meant for Tyson to hit his head and die. When Mark is arrested and taken away Lily comes in to see Lana.
“Where are they standing?” she asked.
“They are right next to you,” Lana explains.
“Can you tell them I love and miss them?”
“I don’t need to,” Lana tells her as she looks from Tyson to May. They smile at her and then fade away. Lana takes Lily home and Lily promises to give her good reviews online. Lana says it’s fine and that she likes people thinking she is a faker so she doesn’t have too much work. Lily laughs and heads inside. Lana makes her way home and sees Philip standing at the sidewalk looking at the cracks that spread out from the base off the fallen lamppost.
“That could have been worse” he says as he notices her.“Oh I didn’t realise you had company.”
Lana turns to look and sees that Tyson has reappeared.
“You can see him?”
“I just wanted to say thanks. Mum and dad are so much more at rest now.” Before Lana can respond he disappears.
“I think we both gained something last night,” Lana announces as her eyes follow the cracked scorch marks up to their second-floor window. She turns back to see Philip talking to an elderly woman who was not there a few seconds ago.
“Might need to make the business a partnership,” Lana laughs as she heads inside.