First Time Fortune Teller

Submitted into Contest #152 in response to: Set your story in an oracle or a fortune teller’s parlor.... view prompt

3 comments

Suspense Fantasy Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Hands shaking, she smoothed and folded the velvet bag, then opened the drawer to assure everything was ready. Murmurs from behind the curtain stirred Frieda’s regurgitating fear. Breathing in courage, she stood and caught the globe before it rolled off the table. Calm down

Spirits flashed and spun around The Client’s aura, a tie-dyed blue, purple and white. Mouth tight with a small nod, his triceps flexed under a black hoodie as he pushed the heavy drapery aside to enter the small room. 

His guides came. A worthy reading, but he was a non-believer. She would need all her skills. It was Freda the Fortune Teller’s first time alone. The shop was small, but perfect for her work. The energy was fantastic, there were no old sad dead people floating around, sighing and sucking the energy out of the room. Instead this place felt empty. Probably no ancestral burial grounds or massacres on the site. She filled it with love and furniture; burning sage, hanging curtains and shelves while repeating Auntie’s chants and prayers.  

“Welcome.” Freda lifted her voice, then exhaling, opened her field of vision. She almost forgot to add the sweeping palms up flourish; Auntie’s favorite move for effect. 

The Client looked away first. Good. Freda considered him, dark hair, sad eyes, shoulders rounded forward with the weight of the world. A docile, easy first read. Hope he just wants love advice. Something quick. 

Auntie’s smoky voice swirled within her, “Establish confidence, Sweetie. He needs to believe in this. A little ritual goes a long way to suspend disbelief. Beyond that, let go.”

“Please, have a seat.” Freda motioned. Sitting together at the round table, he was silent while Freda kept a soft smile, and checked inside her mind. Words swam past, clouds in an inner night sky. Leaning back, Freda felt Auntie slip in from behind to fill her arms and chest.  

“Place your hands on the table,” Freda slid her gaze down to the crystal orb between them. “Your guides are here. Do you feel them?” 

The Client fingered the edge of the tablecloth. “Ummm, I’ve been having dreams.” He coughed, a choking sound. “Sorry. I’m not sick.” He paused, “I wake screaming. I don’t know what to do.”

Freda saw an image, like a memory of an old movie inside her mind’s eye. “I see a small boy.” She began, “He’s afraid.”

The man’s face changed. He looked up, suddenly younger and furious. Or was he afraid? Freda considered both options, then felt another presence enter the room. 

“You’re out of your league, little girl.” A deep voice inside her head sounded like it originated behind The Client. A Spirit? His voice icy and flat, the Spirit tried to slip into her belly. 

No. Freda pushed back, creating a protective bubble, but she was too late. The Spirit filled her mind, and Freda’s vision blurred, narrowing into a tunnel. At the end was a small image, like at the end of a telescope. 

“Let me show you.” The Spirit’s voice caught on the end; rough with old pain. She blinked, or so it felt, and the image in her mind grew into the size of a computer screen. Below a man in armor stood in a stone courtyard, crying, “No, no!” He held another soldier crumpled in his arms. 

With a blink the scene changed to two women, one very pregnant and still, the other knelt above her. A midwife? Freda wondered. The grass and dirt stained purple with blood under them. The image pulled out, and Freda saw them alone in a shaded grove of trees. 

Images sped up and mingled until Freda was certain. Each time one of the two people died, the other felt in some way responsible. Many times and lives the pattern repeated until a scene cleared, slowing to normal time. 

They were in a driveway, next to a 1970’s era muscle car. One boy lay crumpled on the ground, eyes open, his head against a large rock. No longer a witness, Freda became the other child, sick with regret and paralyzing shame after pushing his friend too hard. Freda felt herself back up, blurring the scene through tears, she watched the expanding brown blood halo and drop of spit foam at the corner of the dead friend’s mouth. 

Freda’s belly churned as she pulled out, the image shrinking. She now watched the boy she’d been inside. He stopped crying, still and listening, then ran away. Gasping, Freda came back, to now, and to the room. Her hands were still on the small round table. The low, angry voice inside her head was gone.  

Remembering Auntie’s teaching, she placed attention on her abdomen and ran cool water energy. Dilution is the solution, she repeated, silently waiting for calm to drop in, but instead her heart raced. 

Auntie’s voice cut through her panic and confusion, “Compassion, Sweetheart. You know what to do.” 

Freda’s next breath, in and out, filled her with blue calm and she finally spoke, “I…I think I understand. You have been one of two souls tormenting each other across time. Many lives. But you need to stop.”

Across the small table, the little boy from the vision was now grown - her Client. The rage was gone, replaced by fear. His mouth shook, snot collected under his nostrils. 

Freda continued, reaching across to touch his hand. “My Auntie taught me something you need to know.” Freda paused for dramatic effect, then continued, “You must forgive yourself.” She lowered her voice to demonstrate confidence. “You did not mean to harm him. It was an accident. This shame is killing you.”

The man sat, hand over his heart. Gurgling. “Please… forgive…” He collapsed, sliding off the chair. 

Freda sat for a moment, uncertain. 

“Well done, Sweetheart.” Auntie’s deep voice calmed her. She did not rush, walked to the phone and dialed. 

“911 - please state your emergency.” The dispatcher’s voice sounded calm after years of training. 

“A man just stopped breathing. Please send an ambulance.” Freda hung up, hands shaking as she checked his pulse. Nothing. Starting chest compressions after giving two breaths, Freda saw peace on the Client’s face, and she smiled, Auntie’s voice softly singing the Bee Gees song with her to keep the heart rhythm. 

June 30, 2022 06:22

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3 comments

Sharon Williams
17:52 Jul 07, 2022

Hi Vicky, I enjoyed this and thought it was well written. Towards the end, I felt that it faded slightly, and wonder if you were unsure how to finish. Something you might try experimenting with is cutting and pasting to alter the order of your story. For instance, if you began from: “911 - please state your emergency.” and then from ' keep the heart rhythm.' went into: Earlier, hands shaking, she smoothed... it would maintain the drama of your work. I liked your use of italics to give Freda's thoughts and there are some excellent descriptive...

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Ross Williams
00:18 Jul 07, 2022

Well-written. It moves at an almost breakneck pace as Freda is reliving his memories, and you feel the pain of his past as if it were happening to you.

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Tommy Goround
04:55 Jul 06, 2022

Clap clap clapping

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