I lie for a living.
It has become second nature to lie to people to earn money. After all, it is a family business. I've been helping lie to people to earn money for the family since I was 5.
I am a psychic medium. Have you ever heard such BS? Someone who sees and talks to ghosts to pass on a message to a loved one.
When all they want to hear is the same thing?
That their dead loved one has passed on peacefully and is at rest in the spiritual world.
That their dead loved one loves them and is proud of them.
Or that their dead love one forgives them for something that they did before they died.
You see when people are grieving, enough so to reach out to a psychic medium, they are reaching out for comfort in their time of despair. Who am I to not give them that?
So I lie.
Just tell them what they want to hear. Even if it is a lie. It isn't hurting anyone. It brings them comfort in their time of need.
So I lie.
Just like my Mum did before me and her Mum before her. But we lie differently. We are from different generations after all.
My Mum was old fashioned in how she 'spoke' to spirits. Firstly in the way she dressed. In old fashioned gypsy fortune telling outfit. A purple puffed dress with a gold chain belt, large gold hoop earrings and a scarf with what could only be described as gold coins hanging around the edge. Underneath her scarf her once black hair used to curl tightly and puffed out more than the skirt on her dress. To top off the outfit silver bangles on her wrist jangled at every movement that she made.
To fool people she had to perform. Make people believe that she was actually talking to a dead loved one, it had to be a well timed performance. Flickering lights and candles. Check. Unexpected cold blasts of air. Check. A ouija board with a planchette that mysteriously moves all by itself. Check.
That's where I came in. I hid underneath the table in a secret compartment that let me control the planchette and the tables movement. Scrunched up in the secret compartment, I could move the planchette with a magnet and move the table simply by knocking on either side of the secret compartment.
Prior to Mum 'contacting' the dead loved ones she would ask the client who they would want to contact so she could prepare them for coming back to Earth.
Apparently it was an arduous journey to travel from the spiritual world to ours.
And then all we had to do was search the obituaries and newspapers for the same name and voila we know about the dead loved ones.
With all their senses being overwhelmed and tricked into believing that they are talking to their dead loved ones is overcome with such strong emotions that most people end up answering their own questions without even realising.
My brothers and sisters helped trick people out of their money too, but it would always be I that would carry on the family business of lying. Not because I'm the first born, I am actually the youngest. But because everyone else has normal names.
And then there's me. Esmeralda.
My name perfectly suited to make people believe I am a psychic medium (If there were such things). That's half the trick of faking having psychic powers, have a name that literally makes you imagine a gypsy telling fortunes and being spiritual. But the battle we have these days is that people either don't believe so we need to make them believe. Or people believe but belittle us for being such a thing like a witch, in case we need to hide.
So to the untrained eye, I look completely normal. Just a young woman with mid-length jet black hair and bright green eyes. I dress more inconspicuously than my Mum. Nothing more than ripped denim jeans, a vest top and a plaid shirt matching the colour of the vest.
I don't wear bangles on my wrist, instead a tattoo of a lotus flower, crescent moon and stars. I don't wear a scarf over my head with gold coins around the edge, I personally never saw the point in that. I do wear an emerald gold pendant, after all, Esmeralda means emerald. I also choose not to wear the big hooped earrings that my Mum did. The only other jewellery that I wear is the witches rings. They're a simple touch to an outfit that helps people believe the lies that I spin about speaking to their dead loved ones.
After months of being a 'psychic medium' I have even learnt the best way to lie. It's what I am doing currently. Sitting alone in the apartment above the little shop where we do readings. Scribbling away in my notebook, all the details that I can find about the people that have booked readings tomorrow. You will be surprised how much you can find by simply typing in their names on social media. Dates, names of people in their family, holidays, who died, what they did with the loved one that died. Everything.
I know that outside the apartment the clock has long since stroke midnight, streetlights casting an orange glow into the darkness, reflecting onto the pools of rain water on the streets and pavement. Maybe I have been watching too many horror movies or true crime documentaries. Everytime I turn to write something in the notebook or look at something on the laptop screen, I feel something watching me. From the darkness behind me. Waiting to reach out and grab me. Shaking off the shivers that run down my spine, I call it a night and go to bed. I am just tired and overworked.
After all, there are no such thing as ghosts.
But in the morning light, I still can't shake the feeling that I am being watched from the shadows and from something in the very corner of my eye. Not quite visible but still there. I also keep having cold blasts of air hit me out of nowhere and cause shivers to run down my spine.
There are no such things as ghosts. I am just tired and overworked.
Groggily I get changed, ripped jeans, white vest top and a red and white plaid shirt. Stumbling over my own two feet, I make my way downstairs into the shop to get everything ready for the appointments. Lighting candles and burning incense. Unlocking the doors, I sit down at the receptionists table nursing a mug of coffee as I look at the notes I made late last night.
Out of nowhere I see something move in the corner of my eye. The place where I have had the feeling that someone is watching me from. Looking up I see a well dressed man, wearing black skinny jeans, a white shirt and a leather jacket, lounging across the chairs where people wait if I am busy in an appointment.
"Excuse me but what do you think you are doing?" I ask, startling the well dressed man to the point that he falls out of the chairs and on to the carpeted floor with a light thud.
Looking up at me with awe and amazement in his grey eyes he answers my question.
"Esme you can see me?"
"Well of course I can and how the hell do you know my nickname is Esme?" I snapped back, not understanding why I would not be able to see him in the first place. He is a human.
The well dressed man suddenly jumped up from the floor, picking me up into a tight hug and kept shouting that I could see him. That I could finally see him.
Eventually, the strange well dressed man put me down carefully on the floor and I could finally ask him who he was.
"Let me introduce myself properly Esme, I am Alex and I am your spirit guide"
"A spirit guide. I'm a ghost that helps you connect with the dead loved ones of your clients"
I couldn't help but laugh at Alex, a mysterious well dressed man claiming to be a ghost and not just any ghost but my spirit guide too.
"Who put you up to this, I bet it was Zack" I managed to ask Alex in between the laughs that would not stop.
It had to have been Zack. Even though he was the oldest and therefore the most protective over me as well as the most well behaved he was also the one that would think of something like this. His way of getting back at me for continuing to lie to people for their money.
However, at that exact point in time, Zack walked through the door. The bell tingling as he entered the little shop.
"Come to see my reaction to my spirit guide have you?"
Zack raised a questioning eyebrow at me "Esme what on Earth are you talking about?"
"Alex, the spirit guide, the ghost, standing right there" I point at Alex who is standing right next to Zack. But Zack looks and cannot see Alex. Instead all he feels is a shiver run down his spine.
"You have to wake up three hours earlier to trick me Esme"
Zack continued walking, straight through Alex, and up to the apartment that is above the shop where I talk to dead loved ones and pass on messages.
All this time I thought I was lying.
Bringing comfort to people that were grieving the loss of their dead relative. By lying.
But all this time I was telling the truth.
Alex whispering to me what to say. What needed to be told to the person opposite me to bring them the most comfort.
So I tell the truth.
I am a psychic medium. Have you ever heard such BS? Me being able to talk to ghosts when I didn't even believe in them. But now I do.
So I tell the truth. I always have.